RALEIGH, N.C. — Nearly $224,000 worth of THC-infused gummies and snacks concealed by counterfeited brands were seized from vape shops, convenience stores and other retailers in North Carolina.
Trademark enforcement agents with the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office and the Anti-Counterfeiting Task force worked with local enforcement agencies on the effort to obtain counterfeited brands, ranging from Skittles to Cheetos to Girl Scout Cookies, the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office said.
“Our agents launched this coordinated enforcement effort after seeing a growing trend of THC-infused gummies and snacks concealed in packaging counterfeiting popular snack brands marketed to children. These are brands that kids can easily pick up and consume without knowing what’s really in it,” North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said.
While the packaging on the THC—or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive chemical within cannabis or marijuana—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,” she 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.”
The snacks were seized from a variety of establishments as a result of 23 search warrants and 30 consent searches, Marshall said. The total retail value was $223,824.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers about the risk of accidental ingestion of food products containing THC.
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 in June.
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.
A coalition of state attorneys general sent a letter to Congress days after the FDA’s announcement, urging them to act regarding the copycat THC products.
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