(NEXSTAR) – Federal regulators are warning marijuana edible manufacturers in several states to stop making products that imitate snack brands that are popular among children.
The Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday that cease and desist letters went to six companies accused of manufacturing the intoxicating products “in packaging almost identical to many snacks and candy children eat, including Doritos tortilla chips, Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, and Nerds candy.”
Images of the THC-laden snacks show font and packaging art closely mimicking the candy and chip brands:
“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 Janet Woodcock, the FDA’s 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 companies who received cease and desist letters were Delta Munchies LLC in Los Angeles; Exclusive Hemp Farms in Gilroy, California and Etienne-DuBois, LLC/Oshipt in Henrico, Virginia; North Carolina Hemp Exchange (dba NC Hemp Shoppe) in Raleigh, North Carolina; Dr. Smoke in Kansas City, Missouri; Nikte’s Wholesale, LLC in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and The Haunted Vapor Room in Franklin, New Jersey.
“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.”
A January 2023 analysis of statistics from the National Poison Data System found that pediatric exposures to edible cannabis products jumped from 207 reports in 2017 to 3,054 cases in 2021, an increase of 1357%.
The companies are suspected of violating Section 5 of the FTC Act which “prohibits unfair or deceptive acts in or affecting commerce, including practices that present unwarranted health or safety risks.”
The FTC has given each company 15 days to detail what specific actions it will take to protect consumers, especially young children.