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According to a new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence by researchers at NYU School of Global Public Health, “copycat” edibles can have levels of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC “that far exceed the limits set by state cannabis regulations” and may be easily confused for popular snack foods.
“Edibles are a popular and growing segment of the cannabis market. In states where cannabis use is legal, more than half (56%) of people who use cannabis consume edibles, with younger people more likely to do so,” reported NYU in a press release.
“These copycat cannabis products are a public health concern given that people—including children—could mistake them for snacks and accidentally consume them. From 2017 to 2019, U.S. Poison Control Centers handled nearly 2,000 cases of young children ages 0 to 9 consuming edibles.”
Taking it to the Hill
This week, the Consumer Brands Association along with more than a dozen CPG companies like Pepsi and Kellogg’s, urged Congress to immediately address the dangers of copycat THC edibles that mimic their brands, by amending language in the SHOP SAFE Act included in the USICA-COMPETES legislation.
“While cannabis (and incidental amounts of THC) may be legal in some states, the use of these famous marks — clearly without the approval of the brand owners — on food products has created serious health and safety risks for consumers, particularly children, who cannot tell the difference between these brands’ true products and copycat THC products that leverage the brand’s fame for profit,” the groups said in their letter to Congress.
“There is a gap in existing law that has led to the widespread online sale of packaging that uses famous brands. The SHOP SAFE Act that targets counterfeit products offers an opportunity to close that gap with a language change. Amending the current language to include famous marks would support reducing accidental exposures to THC in children,” the groups added.
“Unfortunately, this language does not prohibit the sale of the above packaging and products due to the technical definition of counterfeit marks. This should be amended to include ‘famous’ marks, a term already defined in the U.S. Code, to extend this protection and deter the sale of these copycat THC items which clearly ‘implicate health and safety of children,” concluded the letter.