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Concern About Marijuana Copycat Products Resembling Common Food Brands: State Attorneys General Call On Action To Congress

A bipartisan coalition of 23 state attorneys general sent a letter to Virginia AG Jason Miyares (R) and Nevada AG Aaron Ford (D), demanding action to prevent the sale of packaged marijuana products that resemble popular food brands.

Jason Miyares and a representative from the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) announced the letter to Congress at a press conference.

According to the letter, the state prosecutors are “gravely concerned about the dangers of edible tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) imitators in our communities, particularly the risk they pose to our children.

“We all agree on one thing: copycat THC edibles pose a grave risk to the health, safety, and welfare of our children,” they said despite not agreeing on the cannabis regulatory approach. “Individuals and businesses unlicensed by any state to enter the cannabis market, are making THC-infused edible products to mimic major snack brands that are popular with children—including Oreos cookies, Doritos chips, and Cheetos corn snacks,” read the letter.

“Congress should immediately enact legislation authorizing trademark holders of well-known and trusted consumer packaged goods to hold accountable those malicious actors who are using those marks to market illicit copycat THC edibles to children.”

A month ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also warned consumers about copycat marijuana-infused food products that resemble popular brands, warning of the risks of accidentally ingesting THC.

“Similarly, the federal Food and Drug Administration reported 2,362 THC exposure cases from January 1, 2021, through February 28, 2022. Of those reported exposures, 41% of involved pediatric patients. While individual states have tried to rein in these cannabis counterfeits, the States alone cannot curb this growing threat to public safety,” the 23 state AGs added.

In addition, major companies such as Pepsi PEP, General Mills GIS  and Kellogg K recently raised their concerns about the misleading marketing trend requesting action to address the copycats in a separate letter to congressional lawmakers.

“In the first half of 2021, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported poison control centers received over 2,622 calls for services related to young children ingesting cannabis products. This is a growing problem with no resolution in sight. In response during the fall of 2021, a bipartisan cohort of State Attorneys General issued advisory warnings to consumers within their respective jurisdictions to avoid purchasing illegal and counterfeited cannabis edibles,” read the letter.

The AGs concluded by saying that they have a long-standing and cooperative role in protecting consumers and that now the purpose of the federal trademark laws is to protect them from fraudulent goods through trademark registration and enforcement.

Photo: Courtesy Of Consumer Brands Association (CBA)

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