Kellogg, PepsiCo, General Mills Call on Congress to Act on Copycat Cannabis Edibles

As illegal cannabis edibles packaged like Trix, Cheetos, and Oreo cookies are on the rise, one of the biggest consumer brands groups in the country is urging Congress to act.

On Wednesday, the Consumer Brands Association announced that it sent a letter to Congress, signed by companies like General Mills, Inc., Kellogg Company, and PepsiCo, Inc., asking lawmakers to “immediately address the dangers copycat THC edibles pose to consumers, especially children.”

They propose an amendment to the SHOP SAFE Act, which is on track to be included in the final version of the America COMPETES Act, by including language that would crack down on use of “famous” marks. 

“While cannabis (and incidental amounts of THC) may be legal in some states, the use of these famous marks — clearly without approval of the brand owners — on food products has created serious health and safety risks for consumers, particularly children, who cannot tell the difference between these brands’ true products and copycat THC products that leverage the brand’s fame for profit,” the letter reads.

In its announcement, but not the letter, the Association points to a study published last month on the prevalence of these products and to a letter issued in late October by California Attorney General Rob Bonta warning about their risks. 

“While cannabis-infused edibles packaged to look like our favorite brands may seem harmless and fun, the dangers of consuming unregulated and untested cannabis products are high, particularly for children and teens,” said Bonta. 

While the Association began a dedicated push this year on raising awareness about this issue, it has been a loud voice on cannabis product regulation for years. 

In February 2020, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time, the Association created an advisory board to focus on CBD, and formally called for “increased funding for scientific into CBD and additional resources for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s enforcement and regulation of CBD in consumer products.” 

Those board members were: Mick Cornett, former Oklahoma City mayor; Edward Davis, former commissioner, Boston Police Department; Tom Galvin, executive director, Digital Citizens Alliance; Karen Tandy, former administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and Michael Taylor, former deputy commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

In May, the Association formed a Coalition for Smart CBD Regulation with entities like the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Confectioners Association. And that July, they ramped up the pressure with letters to the FDA and lawmakers in Congress working on CBD-related legislation.

“We’ve been in touch with state and federal officials on the need to act. We’ve seen traction from public officials, including several state attorneys general, who have issued warnings about the risk THC edibles in deceptive packaging pose to children. Talks with congressional leaders are in progress, as the USICA-COMPETES legislation enters final stages of negotiation,” Rachel Stephens, director of media relations for CBA, told Cannabis Wire.

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