OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a bipartisan coalition in urging Congress to enact legislation giving the manufacturers of popular food and candy products the tools they need to enforce their trademarks against copycat cannabis-infused edibles. Last year, Attorney General Bonta issued a consumer alert warning Californians of cannabis-infused edibles packaged and sold as copycat versions of popular brands, such as Cheetos, Fruity Pebbles, and Sour Patch Kids. These illegal and unregulated products are marketed to children and teens and often boast levels of THC at many times the legal limit.
“While cannabis-infused edibles packaged to look like our favorite brands may seem harmless and fun, these illegal and unregulated products may be dangerous, particularly for children,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In California, we have a safe, regulated, and legal cannabis market, but we need creative solutions to protect against illegal and unsafe products, so consumers can feel confident in the products they are purchasing and the legal market can thrive. I urge Congress to pass legislation to allow these popular consumer brands to enforce their trademarks against copycat cannabis products.”
In recent years, California has seen an uptick in pediatric exposure and ICU visits related to cannabis edibles, as well as an increase in children as young as 12 who are intentionally using cannabis products. In 2020, there were 1,173 calls to the Poison Control Center for services related to children age 0-19 ingesting cannabis products. This is up from 404 calls in 2016, with the biggest increase for children age 0-5. California has also seen a rise in emergency room visits related to cannabis poisoning among young children. In 2016, there were approximately 21 visits per one million Californians age 0-5. In 2020, there were approximately 113 visits.
Californians who encounter lookalike cannabis-infused edibles should file a complaint with the California Department of Justice at www.oag.ca.gov/report and with the California Department of Cannabis Control at www.cannabis.ca.gov/resources/file-complaint/ or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Virginia, Nevada, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, and Washington in sending the letter.
A copy of the letter can be found here.