Imagine going to a local food bank. You get a couple of boxes of food including what appear to be candy treats for your kids. A few hours later, you are rushing one of your kids to the hospital after he has a reaction to the candy. Then you find out that the candy was actually infused with THC.
This scenario isn’t made up. It recently happened to a family in Roy, Utah. It would be nice to say this was an isolated incident, but it wasn’t. A couple of kids in Edmond, OK were hospitalized after eating THC-infused gummy candies. Nine kids in Florida were sickened by sour candy laced with THC.
In each and every case, the problem was the packaging. The companies behind these THC-infused copycats utilized packaging that made their products look like major brands. Now those brands are fighting back. They are lobbying Congress hard for changes to the law that would make it more difficult for copycats to take advantage of their names, color schemes, logos, etc.
Right now, according to the Washington Post, the biggest problem is counterfeit packaging. Companies that do not even make THC-infused products are purchasing blank packaging they can turn around and print themselves. Then they sell the packaging online. Other companies or individuals buy the packaging and fill it with their own THC-infused products.
This is problematic on multiple levels. First and foremost, package and product being separate makes it difficult to figure out who is actually responsible for making the THC-infused products that fall into the wrong hands. Ultimately, they are the ones choosing to use the branded copycat packaging.
Another big problem is that brands suffer when counterfeiters take advantage of easily recognized brand colors and themes. A counterfeit package maker does not even have to directly steal a brand’s logo or name to succeed. Just making something similar works well enough. That is what brands want to change.
Any and All Similarities
It is already against the law for packaging makers to use another company’s name or logo without permission. But it is not illegal to simulate. Think back to the 1970s and the trend of spoofing major brands. It was so popular that it inspired everything from trading cards to stickers for kids. But none of it was real. It wasn’t intended to be. What were called ‘wacky packages‘ back then were just for entertainment purposes.
These days, real counterfeiters are playing off the same principle. They are taking popular brands and spoofing them, making their packages just similar enough to be convincing without stealing brand logos and names outright.
It is easy to be fooled by the packaging if one isn’t careful about reading the fine print. That explains how the Utah food bank inadvertently provided THC-infused candy in their relief boxes. For the record, Park City’s Deseret Wellness medical cannabis pharmacy explains that cannabis is only legal as a medicine in Utah. THC-infused candies should not even be on the market in the state.
Keeping Things Under Control
If major brands have their way, lawmakers will pass new legislation that will help keep things under control. On the other hand, the question of enforcement has to be addressed. It is one thing to toughen the laws. It’s another thing to guarantee tougher laws will be enforced.
Meanwhile, it behooves parents to pay close attention to product labels. The same goes for food banks, church food programs, etc. The unfortunate truth is that we now have to check labels more carefully. One can never be too careful in a cannabis world.