Why Big Brands Hate Marijuana

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Last week, representatives of some of America’s biggest food brands – and internationally renowned brand owners, like cartoon characters tricking young children into eating cereal so sweet it might fail a test of Olympic doping – have called on Congress to pursue a noble quest.

Federal lawmakers must crack down on graphic designers and their accomplices: in particular, anyone selling packaging that mimics their own to underground market cannabis dealers, whose cheeky packaging is tricking more and more children into eating foods containing cannabis. ‘grass.

This isn’t the first time provocative cannabis marketing has angered big value brands. The Girl Scouts of America – whose flagship product was hijacked by a now-famous cannabis strain family, which is why Cookies is probably the best-known brand in the industry today – has filed a lawsuit against the traders using their property to sell pot.

But this is a new development in that it is not so much a drug war law enforcement movement, but a cannabis crackdown demanded by brands, for brands.

According to an April 27 letter to federal lawmakers from a coterie of major consumer packaged food makers — representing major cereal, snack and beverage makers including Pepsi, General Mills and Kellogg’s — though it’s If this is already a trademark violation, lawmakers should amend the federal government’s law to specifically prohibit e-commerce platforms from selling packaging that too closely mimics their protected trademarks.

It should be mentioned that these offending products are not supposed to have been sold legally. States that have regulated cannabis markets already strictly regulate both the packaging and the finished product to protect children. Certain forms of rubber, for example, are prohibited because they are too suitable for children. Other states require cannabis products to be packaged only in plain, bland colors; some states completely ban edibles because of kids’ panic.

But although the “problem” identified is already illegal, according to these major food groups, amending the SHOP Safe Act to ban packaging with counterfeit “famous brands”, such as the underground culture of the wink and wink remix that weed heads have always seemed to benefit from, would solve what they call “a critical health and safety issue.”

How critical? While it’s true that across the country, poison control centers and local authorities are reporting huge increases in emergency calls related to children and cannabis (and also pets, but for now less, children have stronger advocates), per capita incidences of accidental THC intoxications are still extremely low: a few thousand calls per year across the country, at a time when intoxicating cannabis-infused foodstuffs, including hemp-derived Delta-8 THC products “legalized” by the 2018 Farm Bill, are available in 50 states.

Most of the time, these are reports of children overingesting edibles in one way or another. Sometimes, depending on the story, it’s because the kid mistook dad’s weed candy or mom’s potted chocolate for a legitimate treat, including a treat with brand identity, like the weed-infused “Nerds Rope” that ended up in the food of dozens of needy families. bank tills at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to reports.

In April 2020, a scandal hit a food bank in Roy, Utah after 72 families somehow received marijuana-infused candy in their charity boxes. Five kids ate what they thought was legit candy, not the ultra-potent illicit market product at 400 milligrams per package — four times the 100 mg/THC limit seen in most legal states, which the ‘Utah is not – who sent two to the hospital.

All of the children have recovered, leaving an embarrassed food bank to beg for forgiveness. It felt real to them and whoever donated it to the food bank – hopefully, unless it was the gross and dangerous idea of ​​a prank – because of the packaging: a brightly colored mailing , perfectly persuasive and naturally seductive from the real Nestlé-branded Rope Nerds, as reported by The Washington Post.

But if brands or the federal government want to discourage what has always been a strong undercurrent of underground cannabis cultivation, a better option would be to pass full federal legalization, which would encourage consumers to buy more easily regulated and bland products. by law, said Justin Strekal, a federal cannabis lobbyist active on Capitol Hill.

“I understand why they [the big brands] are angry,” said Strekal, who noted that these CPG brands have not, to date, been involved in any drug policy reform issues. “That’s why they should support legalization and regulation to allow a legal market that won’t rip off their brands to take hold and thrive.”

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