The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have jointly sent cease and desist letters to six companies that are currently marketing edible products containing Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in packaging that closely resembles popular snacks and candies often consumed by children. The agencies have deemed the marketing of these products as reckless and illegal, raising concerns about the potential harm to children who may mistake them for regular foods.
Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated, “Marketing edible THC products that children can easily mistake for regular foods is reckless and illegal. Companies must ensure that their products are marketed safely and responsibly, especially when protecting children’s well-being.”
Dr. Janet Woodcock, Principal Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, emphasized the vulnerability of children to the effects of THC and the potential risks associated with consuming such products. She stated, “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.”
The following companies have received letters from the FTC and FDA: Delta Munchies LLC, Exclusive Hemp Farms and Etienne-DuBois, LLC/Oshipt, North Carolina Hemp Exchange, LLC, Dr. Smoke, LLC, Nikte’s Wholesale, LLC, and The Haunted Vapor Room.
The letters indicate that the companies advertising for Delta-8 THC products may violate Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts that pose health or safety risks. The agencies emphasized their commitment to protecting the well-being of children and highlighted the misleading nature of imitating non-THC-containing food products that children commonly consume.
The Delta-8 THC products these companies market closely resemble food items that appeal to children. For example, Dr. Smoke, LLC sells THC-infused “Doritos” packaged in a manner nearly identical to Doritos Nacho Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips. The packaging includes the same red background, the Doritos name and logo, and two tortilla chips in the same position. Similarly, Dr. Smoke’s THC-infused “Cheetos” are sold in packaging that mirrors Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheese Flavored Snacks, even featuring the Chester Cheetah mascot. The Haunted Vapor Room sells Delta-8 THC products called Rope 500mg Delta-8 Nerds Candy and Medicated Dope Rope Bites, which closely resemble Nerds Rope candy in appearance and packaging, including the use of the Nerds candy mascot. Delta Munchies, LLC markets Delta-8 THC gummies that resemble conventional gummy candies often consumed by children.
The FTC has demanded that the companies cease marketing edible Delta-8 THC products that imitate conventional foods using advertising or packaging likely to appeal to young children. The agency also strongly advises sellers to review all their marketing and product packaging for similar edible THC products and take swift action to protect consumers, particularly young children, from them.
The FTC has requested that each company provide detailed information within 15 days regarding the specific actions taken to address the agency’s concerns. Christine DeLorme, a staff attorney at the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, is the primary contact for this matter.
This is not the first time the FTC and FDA have taken action together regarding cannabis-related products. In 2019, similar joint letters were sent to sellers of cannabidiol (CBD) products, warning against making unsubstantiated claims about preventing, treating, or curing human diseases without reliable scientific evidence.
The FTC is dedicated to promoting competition, protecting consumers, and educating the public. Consumers can find more information about various consumer topics on the FTC’s official website at consumer.ftc.gov. In addition, individuals can report instances of fraud, scams, and unethical business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Companies in the cannabis industry must adhere to regulations and prioritize consumer safety, especially when marketing products that could potentially be mistaken for regular food items by children. The joint efforts of the FTC and FDA in issuing these cease and desist letters demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding public health.
As the cannabis market continues to expand, companies need to exercise responsible advertising and packaging practices. By ensuring clear differentiation between THC-infused products and regular food items, companies can mitigate the risks of accidental ingestion by children. Maintaining transparent and accurate marketing strategies not only protects consumers but also contributes to the overall credibility and integrity of the industry.
The actions taken by the FTC and FDA in addressing the marketing practices of these six companies serve as a reminder to the entire cannabis industry that compliance with regulations and responsible marketing is paramount. Companies must immediately rectify any misleading advertising or packaging that may put children at risk.
The FTC has encouraged the companies to promptly review their marketing materials and product packaging to identify any similar edible THC products that may appeal to young children. Companies can demonstrate their commitment to consumer safety and responsible business practices by proactively addressing these concerns and implementing appropriate measures.
The issue of child-resistant packaging and clear labeling is of utmost importance when it comes to products containing THC or other potentially harmful substances. Parents and caregivers also play a significant role in ensuring the well-being of children by keeping such products securely stored and educating them about the potential dangers associated with ingesting unfamiliar substances.
The collaboration between regulatory agencies, such as the FTC and FDA, serves as a powerful mechanism for ensuring compliance within the cannabis industry. By working together, these agencies can address emerging issues, enforce regulations, and protect the interests of consumers.
In conclusion, the FTC and FDA have taken decisive action by issuing cease and desist letters to companies marketing THC-infused edibles that closely resemble snacks and candies consumed by children. The agencies have emphasized the importance of responsible marketing practices, particularly in protecting children from potential harm. Companies must cease marketing products that imitate conventional foods appealing to young children and are urged to review their marketing strategies and packaging to prevent any further risks. This joint effort highlights the commitment of regulatory agencies to promote consumer safety and ensure compliance within the cannabis industry.