The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are after six companies that are allegedly deceiving consumers with their packaging.
The agencies found that these entities are producing snacks in packaging that looks like other popular snack items, except there’s a surprising ingredient – delta-8 THC, a cannabinoid that comes from the cannabis sativa plant.
The biggest concern is that children get their hands on these snacks that are packaged to look like any other snack in the cabinet or on the shelves. However, even for adults seeking out these treats, without proper labeling, it can be difficult to know how much of the drug you’re actually taking.
“Children are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of THC, with many who have been sickened and even hospitalized after eating ‘edibles’ containing it,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, FDA principal deputy commissioner. “That’s why we’re issuing warnings to several companies selling copycat food products containing delta-8 THC, which can be easily mistaken for popular foods that are appealing to children and can make it easy for a young child to ingest in very high doses without realizing it.
“The products we are warning against intentionally mimic well-known snack food brands by using similar brand names, logos, or pictures on packaging, that consumers, especially children, may confuse with traditional snack foods. We’re also concerned that adults could unintentionally take them or take a higher dose than expected and suffer serious consequences. The risk is especially dangerous for those who are driving, working, or have other responsibilities.”
Being mindful about packaging
The FDA and FTC have sent cease and desist letters to six companies who are selling these snacks: Delta Munchies LLC, Exclusive Hemp Farms, North Carolina Hemp Exchange, Dr. Smoke, Nikte’s Wholesale, and the Haunted Vapor Room.
While some of the names of products from these companies give away what they are – Medicated DopeRope Bites, Double Stuff Stoneos, or Stoney Patch – many of their products look like any number of snacks we’re used to finding at the grocery store.
The FTC shared examples of lookalike Doritos, Nerds, and gummy bears, all with packaging that looks like regular versions of these snacks, but that actually contain delta-8 THC.
The only mention of THC is written in very fine print on the bottom or on the back of the packaging. When depicting gummy candy or cheesy potato chips, these images are likely to appeal to young kids, which is the biggest concern for parents.
The agencies have given these distribution companies 15 days to pull the plug on the marketing efforts for these products, with warnings to also review all of their marketing and packaging for similar items.
“Marketing edible THC products that can be easily mistaken by children for regular foods is reckless and illegal,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Companies must ensure that their products are marketed safely and responsibly, especially when it comes to protecting the well-being of children.”