THC-laced fake candy seized in North Carolina after child death

Law enforcement in North Carolina has seized around $224,000-worth of candy and snack products packaged to resemble brands like Skittles, KitKat and Cheetos that contain tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis.

The operation is the latest against a fraudsters selling THC products under the guise of well-known brands through retail outlets like gas stations, convenience stores, and vape shops, putting the health and safety of children at risk.

"Our agents launched this coordinated enforcement effort after seeing a growing trend of THC-infused gummies and snacks concealed in packaging counterfeiting popular snack brands marketed to children," said North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall in a statement.

"These are brands that kids can easily pick up and consume without knowing what's really in it," she added. "Earlier this year a four-year-old boy in Virginia tragically died after eating THC-infused gummies, so the fact that so many of these products were counterfeiting brands geared toward kids is very troubling."

It has been reported that the boy died as a result of THC poisoning, although that has been disputed by the legal team representing his mother, Dorothy Annette Clements (30), who has been charged with felony murder and child neglect.

The packaging of the lookalike products says that the contents contains THC, but that could be easily overlooked, particularly by a child below reading age, and the products were clearly in violation of trademarks, according to the authorities.

In 2020, an 11-year-old and a five-year-old were hospitalised after eating fake copies of Ferrara's Nerds Rope candies that had been donated to the Utah Food Bank.

The knock-offs were presented in nearly identical packaging to the genuine product, simply modified to indicate the THC content by adding the word “Medicated” to the label.

Last year, major confectionary producer Mars Wrigley filed three lawsuits in the US and Canada against online shops selling "Medicated Skittles", "Starburst Gummies" and "Life Savers Medicated Gummies", amongst other knock-offs, that contained THC.

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