Senator Chuck Grassley. (file photo)

Drug dealers who repackage illegal drugs to resemble or taste like candy so they’ll appeal to kids would face stiffer penalties under a bill being introduced this week by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. He says it’s becoming a common practice with outlawed substances ranging from marijuana to meth.

Grassley says, “Law enforcement reports that drug dealers frequently combine drugs with chocolate or fruit-flavors or package the drug to look like candy or soda for the sole purpose of attracting young people to that drug.”

There are reports of candy bracelets containing ecstasy, gummy bears laced with Xanax and candy laced with THC. The bill has bipartisan support, Grassley says, and it would target dealers who target children.

“Cynical criminals take advantage of drug trends in the general population thereby making dangerous illicit drugs specifically to market to kids,” Grassley says. “The criminals are very innovative and the law should keep up with them.”

While some of the products in question may be legal in some states, Grassley says drug dealers are making their own copycat versions that could prove very dangerous — or lethal — if ingested by young people.

“They make marijuana into cookies or something like that but meth is a specific one that’s a problem,” Grassley says, “and you know how deadly meth is.” Under the bill, Grassley says those who market candy-flavored drugs to kids will face much steeper consequences, seeing prison sentences increased ten to 20 years.