Cannabis manufacturers are using “copycat packaging” that makes marijuana edibles look like candy or other snacks and can be harmful to children.
A new study published on Tuesday in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal warned that some marijuana edibles packaging looks nearly identical to name-brand candies such as Nerds Rope and snacks like Doritos Nacho Cheese chips, CNN reported. The biggest difference on the packaging is the letters “THC” on the bottom, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in marijuana that gives people a high.
Consuming THC can be harmful to children, which makes the “copycat packaging” so problematic. “Eating even a small fraction of that bag would ‘overwhelm a child,’ said Danielle Ompad, associate professor of epidemiology at NYU School of Global Public Health and senior author of a new study investigating copycat packaging in cannabis sales,” CNN wrote.
The packaging also advertises that there are 600 milligrams of THC in each edibles bag – enough to even make adults feel “miserable,” according to Danielle Ompad, an associate professor of epidemiology at NYU. “If I ate that whole package, I would be miserable,” Ompad said. “People who are using edibles recreationally aren’t typically eating more than 10 milligrams.”
Small businesses in states that allow recreational marijuana consumption can buy copycat bags of edibles online in bulk. While stores cannot sell edibles to minors, some worry that the resemblance to candy could make it more dangerous if it were to end up in the hands of a child.
In the first six months of 2021, more than 2,500 calls to poison control were related to “young children ingesting illegal cannabis products,” according to New York Attorney General Letitia James. Later that year, James issued a consumer alert to notify the public and protect children from illegal cannabis products that look like candy. CNN reported that, since 2020, multiple children under five years old have been hospitalized after eating edibles from bags that looked like candy or chips.
The legal counsel for the National Cannabis Industry Association assured that “reputable business people” in the marijuana industry don’t sell products like these, and they “would like to assist in stopping this.”
Some manufacturers are pursuing legal action against the manufacturers who are copying their brand names and likeness. Mars Wrigley, Hershey, Mondelez Canada, and Ferrara Candy Company have all sued, according to CNN.
Cannabis edibles aren’t only being packaged like candy. One manufacturer has come out with an edible shaped to look like a severed ear, in reference to the infamous incident when boxing legend Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear in a match. The Daily Wire previously reported, Colorado has banned “an edible cannabis product shaped like a severed ear.”
An existing Colorado bill bans selling edibles in shapes that could entice children. “A prohibition on the production and sale of edible medical marijuana-infused products that are in the distinct shape of a human, animal or fruit,” the bill read. “Geometric shapes and products that are simply fruit flavoured are not considered fruit.”