New Jersey cops foil cannabis-laced candy network

A criminal gang reported to be selling branded candy products laced with tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) – the active ingredient in cannabis – has been busted by police in New Jersey.

The year-long operation came to a head last month and resulted in the arrest of 24 people in connection with the scam, which involved purchasing well-known candy products likes Ferrara’s NERDS Ropes and Mondelez’ Sour Patch Kids and infusing them with THC.

Once doctored, they would either be sold under new names such as Stoner Patch or in the case of NERDS Rope be presented in nearly identical packaging, modified to indicate the THC content.

Last October, Ferrara put out a statement denouncing the knock-offs after police in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts uncovered THC-laden candy worth upwards of $1m, raising fears that children might be exposed to the illicit products at Halloween.

Modelez meanwhile sued a manufacturer in Canada making a copy of its brand – called Stoney Patch – that had similar packaging and logo. The lawsuit alleged trademark infringement whilst also pointing to the potential harm to children posed by the knock-offs.

Other operations have revealed Nestlé’s Wonka Bars and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats have also been targeted by the counterfeiters.

NJ police’s Operation on the Ropes seized 21,000 pieces of candy infused with THC, 1,100 pounds of marijuana and over 6,000 flavoured THC vape cartridges, collectively with an estimated street value of $1.9m.

The suspects used a warehouse in Manalapan as well as a hangar at Monmouth Executive Airport as production and storage facilities, according to local news reports. One suspect remains at large.

New Jersey is currently deliberating whether to follow the lead of other US states and decriminalise cannabis, but regardless this sort of counterfeiting would remain illegal as well as posing a safety issue for children.

“Regardless of whether or not cannabis is legal or illegal in one state or another…unfortunately we are always going to see a black market effort to try to profit from that,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

“Colourful and sugary candy like what we seized are among the best-selling edible pot products on the black market.”

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top