(This story has been updated with comments and additional details.)
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration sent cease-and-desist letters to six companies that market delta-8 THC products “in packaging that is almost identical to many snacks and candy children eat.”
The companies, based across the United States, manufacture and market products containing the intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoid that resemble popular brands including Doritos, Cheetos, and Nerds candy, the FTC said in a Wednesday news release.
The letters allege violations of the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, including using an “unsafe food additive” and the introduction of “adulterated food into interstate commerce” as well as “unfair or deceptive marketing.”
The companies named by the FTC are:
- Delta Munchies in Los Angeles.
- Dr. Smoke, Kansas City, Missouri.
- Exclusive Hemp Farms, Gilroy, California.
- The Haunted Vapor Room, in Franklin, New Jersey.
- Nikte’s Wholesale, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- North Carolina Hemp Exchange, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Only one of the companies contacted by MJBizDaily responded by press time.
Cindy Barton, proprietor of The Haunted Vapor Room, told MJBizDaily she “immediately” pulled the offending products after receiving the warning.
She said the store only sold the products and did not manufacture them.
Though many companies nationwide sell delta-8 THC products, the companies identified Wednesday appear to have attracted federal attention because their goods “are all in forms that may be attractive to children and could easily be mistaken for traditional foods that are commonly consumed by children,” according to the FTC letters.
Putting intoxicating cannabinoid products in packaging that could potentially confuse or appeal to children is “reckless and illegal,” Samuel Levine, the director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
The letters demand the companies “immediately cease marketing edible Delta-8 THC products that imitate conventional foods.”
Consumers continue to show strong demand for products containing delta-8 THC, which producers derive from hemp legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.
An increasing number of states have regulated or banned the cannabinoid outright, but enforcement has proved difficult.
In the case of The Haunted Vapor Room, delta-8 products represent only a “very, very small” portion of the 10-year-old business’ sales, Barton told MJBizDaily.
She said it’s unclear why her business and the other five attracted federal attention.
“There are thousands of them out there,” Barton said.
“They should probably expand their search.”