The dangers of copycat THC edibles, especially to children, headlined an April 27 letter to Congress from the Consumer Brands Association (CBA) and more than a dozen CPG companies and industry groups urging the elected officials to amend language in the SHOP SAFE Act (Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce).
U.S. Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) introduced the SHOP SAFE Act to protect consumers by stopping the online sale of potentially harmful counterfeit products. And as cannabis edibles can have copycat looks of popular snack foods, consumers too want to put a stop to the confusion. An October 2021 Consumer Brands-Ipsos poll found that 85% of Americans want to see the government take a stronger hand in stopping THC copycats.
“While cannabis (and incidental amounts of THC) may be legal in some states, the use of these famous marks—clearly without approval of the brand owners—on food products has created serious health and safety risks for consumers, particularly children, who cannot tell the difference between these brands’ true products and copycat THC products that leverage the brand’s fame for profit,” the groups said in their letter to Congress.
According to a statement from the CBA, the “FDA reported 2,362 THC exposure cases from Jan. 1, 2021, through Feb. 28, 2022. Of those, 41% of exposures involved pediatric patients and 82% of unintentional exposures affected children.”
As a champion for consumers and the industry, whose products Americans depend on every day, CBA said there is a gap in that current law, which has led to the widespread online sale of packaging that uses famous brands.
CBA said the SHOP SAFE Act offers an opportunity to close that gap with a language change. Amending the current language to include “famous” marks would support reducing accidental exposures to THC in children, CBA said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, this language does not prohibit sale of the above packaging and products due to the technical definition of counterfeit marks. This should be amended to include ‘famous’ marks, a term already defined in U.S. code, to extend this protection and deter the sale of these copycat THC items which clearly ‘implicate health and safety’ of children,” the letter said.