WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Six companies that make snacks with the active ingredient of cannabis have been sent cease and desist letters because the packaging looks too much like foods that kids love, including “Stoneos” that mimic Oreo cookies, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Wednesday.
The letters were sent by the FTC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over concern that children may want to try them, the FTC said, including products that could easily be mistaken for Doritos tortilla chips, Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks, and Nerds and other candies.
The products included “Double Stuf Stoneo”, marked as made by “Dabisco”, and “Jolly Rancher Gummies Sours”, as well as “Cheetos Crunchy XXTRA Flamin’ Hot.” All are marked as containing THC – the ingredient in marijuana that produces a high – in a lower corner of the package.
The letter said the FDA had received more than 125 reports of children or adults who experienced adverse effects from a THC consumable from Jan. 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022. “Ten of the reports specifically mention the edible product to be a copycat of popular foods,” the letter said.
“You must immediately cease marketing edible Delta-8 THC products that imitate conventional foods using advertising or packaging that is likely to be appealing to young children,” the letter said.
Frito-Lay, which makes Doritos, said in a statement it applauded the agencies’ actions in “curtailing these deceptive products.” It said it was seeking legislation that would criminalize selling THC edibles using packaging that infringes on that of famous snack brands.
The letters from the FTC and FDA were sent to Delta Munchies LLC, Exclusive Hemp Farms, North Carolina Hemp Exchange LLC, Dr. Smoke LLC, Nikte’s Wholesale LLC, and The Haunted Vapor Room.
Diane Becker, manager of NC Hemp Exchange LLC, said the company had received the letter and was no longer selling the products in question. “We understood their (the FDA’s and FTC’s) concern about the packaging of those particular products and relayed their concerns to the vendor,” she said in an emailed statement.
A person who signed an email “Dr. Smoke” said the company did not make the products in question and was pulling them from the store.
The other four companies did not respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bill Berkrot and David Holmes)