Federal government cracks down on THC edible packaging that looks like kid-friendly snacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government is cracking down on the packaging of certain edibles that contain THC.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent cease and desist letters to six companies that the agencies argue use “illegal” and “reckless” packaging for delta-8 THC edibles.

“They are so similar to foods you would find in the supermarket to packages of Oreos, or Sour Patch Kids or Doritos that children certainly could mistake them for conventional foods,” said Christine Delorme, an attorney in the FTC’s Division of Advertising Practices. “We’re focusing on the fact that the packaging is really misleading and is really enticing to children and could really cause accidental poisonings.”

Delta-8 THC is a psychoactive substance that has not been approved or evaluated by the FDA for safe use in any way.

According to the FDA, national poison control centers received 2,362 exposure cases involving delta-8 THC from January 2021 to February 2022.

Of those cases, 41 percent involved people under age 18.

One case in that timeframe involved a child who died.

“Certainly, this is an issue of public concern,” said Delorme.

The National Cannabis Industry Association said it agrees copy-cat kind of packaging is irresponsible and they point out it’s used on unregulated products.

The association said this problem underscores why the federal government should pass federal regulations for the cannabis industry.

“The actions are certainly understandable, but are just a band-aid,” said Aaron Smith, CEO of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “The real solution here is to regulate cannabis across the country so that these sorts of loopholes and ways that they’re being exploited by these bad actors are no longer available.”

In response to the letters from the FTC and FDA, at least one company told our Washington News Bureau it immediately removed the products in question from their website and store shelves and is fully cooperating with the federal government’s requests.

That company, North Carolina Hemp Exchange, echoed the same push for federal regulations for the cannabis industry.

NC Hemp Exchange, LLC. Manager Diane Becker wrote in part: “As a retailer in the hemp and CBD industry, we do not want to break rules; we just need to know what they are. That can’t happen if they have not been created and implemented. Passing regulations would better protect consumers, manufacturers and retailers alike.”

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