Connecticut Attorney General Warns Retailers to Stop Selling Illegal Delta-8 THC Products

Warnings, lawsuits come after undercover visits to vape shops, gas stations
Delta-8 THC products
Photograph courtesy of the Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong sued five retailers for allegedly selling illegal delta-8 THC products mimicking youth-oriented snacks and candies. He also is sending letters to all Connecticut licensed retailers of electronic vaping products, warning them to take any delta-8 THC products that exceed 0.3% THC off the shelves unless they hold the proper license to sell.  

The actions stem from a series of unannounced visits by the Office of the Attorney General in late December to vape shops and gas stations. Illegal delta-8 products were found for sale at every vape shop visited, and at one of the gas stations, Tong said.

The Connecticut stores Tong is suing are Raheem Mini Mart, Manchester; AZ Smoke Shop and Wireless, Manchester; Smokers Paradise, East Hartford; 7 Puff, East Hartford; and Anthony’s Service Station, Plainville, according to documents shared by his office.

“Our undercover investigation revealed widespread sale of untested, unregulated, delta-8 edibles mimicking popular youth snacks,” Tong said. “The five retailers we are suing today offered some of the most egregious lookalike edibles posing the worst risks for accidental youth poisoning. None of these edibles are tested or approved for sale in Connecticut, and packaging statements regarding THC content and safe serving sizes are not to be trusted. If you see delta-8 THC offered outside any licensed cannabis retailer, do not purchase it, and report it to my office immediately.”  

Tong sued the retailers for alleged violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Products that exceed 0.3% THC on a dry weight in Connecticut are considered cannabis products and may only be sold in the regulated market, he said. Recreational marijuana could legally be sold in licensed retailers in Connecticut as of Jan. 10.

“Cannabis products in Connecticut cannot be sold by unlicensed retailers and must meet rigorous testing and packaging requirements. Period. Any unlicensed Connecticut retailer selling delta-8 THC products that purport to contain high levels of THC is breaking the law and may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties,” Tong said.

To avoid any confusion, Tong said he is sending letters to thousands of vape shops who might sell these products, demanding they remove any illegal products from shelves immediately.

Products mimicked brands like Skittles, Life Savers, Fritos and more, he said. Illegal look-alike cannabis products pose a unique health threat to children, who may unknowingly ingest the products, Tong said. Between 2000 and 2022, the Connecticut Poison Control Center reported 189 cases of ingestion in children under the age of 19.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its first warning letters to companies selling delta-8 THC in May. Delta-8 THC is one of more than 100 cannabinoids produced in the cannabis sativa plant, but is not found naturally in significant amounts, according to the FDA. Concentrated amounts of delta-8 THC are typically manufactured from hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and have psychoactive and intoxicating effects. Products containing delta-8 THC can come in a variety of forms including candy, cookies, gummies, vape cartridges, smokeable hemp and more.

There are no FDA-approved drugs containing delta-8 THC, and the agency has not evaluated whether these drugs are effective for the uses manufactures claim, what an appropriate dose might be, how they could interact with FDA-approved drugs or other products or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns, the FDA said.

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