Ferrara Wins Lawsuit Against Copycat THC Gummy Brand

Company sold Nerds, Runts, Trolli in counterfeit packaging
Ferrara candy
Photograph: Shutterstock

The Ferrara Candy Co. has won a trademark lawsuit against HC LLC, a company selling THC-infused gummies in packaging resembling Nerds, Runts and Trolli brands.

Ferrara sued the THC gummies company in May, and last month, a court ordered HC to halt the production and sale of the products.

Edible products containing THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, can easily be mistaken for commonly consumed foods such as breakfast cereal, candy and cookies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The FDA received more than 125 adverse event reports from Jan. 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022, related to children and adults who consumed edible products containing THC. Adverse effects included hallucinations, increased heart rate and vomiting, and some required medical intervention or hospitalization, the agency said.

“The FDA is actively working with federal and state partners to further address the concerns related to these products and monitoring the market for adverse events, product complaints and other emerging cannabis-derived products of potential concern,” the agency said.

In addition to the adverse event reports, the national poison control centers received 10,448 single substance exposure cases involving only edible products containing THC between the same dates. Of those cases, 77% involved patients 19 years old or younger and 65% involved unintentional exposure to edible products containing THC, the FDA said.

After the FDA’s report, coalition of state attorneys general urged Congress to act on copycat THC products. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers lack the legal tools to hold counterfeiters accountable, and the patchwork of legality for cannabis exacerbates the confusion for consumers, the attorneys general said.

A similar case took place in North Caroline last year, where THC-infused gummies concealed by counterfeited brands, ranging from Skittles to Cheetos to Girl Scout Cookies, were seized from vape shops, convenience stores and other retailers.

While the packaging on the THC edibles included markings indicating the snacks had THC, Marshall said the markings could easily be overlooked.

“This goes to the heart of our work to protect health and safety,” North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said. “Earlier this year a 4-year-old boy in Virginia tragically died after eating THC-infused gummies, so the fact that so many of these products were counterfeiting brands geared toward kids is very troubling.”

Chicago-based Ferrara is a Ferrero Group company. Its portfolio includes nearly 35 brands, including SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Trolli, Brach’s, Black Forest, Nerds and more.

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