[Canniseur: Parents and children shouldn’t have to look closely at packaging to figure out if it’s a THC infused edible or not. This is a dangerous. The packaging needs to be distinct and unique from the original packaging. By making packaging look like regular candy, the manufacturer of this candy risks having more packaging rules and regulations in a marketplace that already has too many rules and regulations.]
After police intercepted a package of cannabis edibles in Kentucky, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said Trick or Treat will never be the same.
Halloween is still months away. But in Charleston, West Virginia, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart says Trick or Treat will never be the same. On Thursday, Stuart’s office in the Southern District of West Virginia issued a public health alert about THC-infused edibles. The alert warns about cannabis edibles that look like normal candy, saying they pose a potential hazard to kids. The alert stems from a June 15 drug interdiction that intercepted 7.5 pounds of cannabis-infused candy traveling through Kentucky. The statement issued by the prosecutor’s office provides an image comparing the intercepted edibles to the popular Nerds Rope candy.
US Attorney Says THC Candy is “All Trick and No Treat”
United States Attorney Mike Stuart is warning the West Virginia public that THC-infused edibles are being packaged in a manner that is appealing to kids. The public health alert comes just days after members of an Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (AHIDTA) task force intercepted a parcel containing several pounds of marijuana edibles. In a bulletin announcing the seizure, AHIDTA stated that the parcel had originated in Mill Valley, California and was on its way to Coconut Creek, Florida when the task force intercepted it in Kentucky.
Courtesy of The Justice Department
The edibles in question closely resemble the brand packaging of normal Nerds Rope candy. But the AHIDTA bulletin acknowledges that the THC-infused candy had clear warnings to keep out of the reach of children and animals. The packages also display California’s THC warning badge and large lettering indicating the quantity of THC in the package—400 mg per rope. Above the word Nerds on the cannabis-infused version, block letters spell out “Medical.”
Despite these warnings and labels, however, the HIDTA bulletin says the edibles’ packaging uses colors, shapes and promotional characters that make them appear similar to the commercial version of the candy. The bulletin then cites a 2016 University of Washington study on the factors that attract children to edibles packages. The research details that the colors red, orange, yellow and green were most attractive to children. The THC-infused Nerds Rope packages contained all those colors, as well as “festive writing” and common naming conventions. The result, HIDTA says, is a product that is highly appealing to children and youths.
“This fake ‘candy’ is all trick and no treat,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart. “It is packaged like candy. It looks like popular candy, tastes like candy. But, instead, it is a very powerful and potent way to get high.”
Parents Urged to Inspect All Candy for THC
“High-potency” edibles are increasingly coming under attack by law enforcement and public health officials for the perceived threat they pose to young people. U.S. Attorney Stuart’s public health alert hits familiar notes. “Any unsuspecting child or teenager could easily stumble along a package and innocently et it not realizing the potency of the THC infused in the product,” Stuart’s office said in the alert. “The average marijuana joint contains 0.3 grams of THC. This fake “candy” contains nearly 35 percent more THC than an entire average joint. It is outrageous that this powerful drug is marketed to children,” the statement continues. But states that have legalized retail cannabis products like edibles all have regulations that prohibit packages children might find appealing.
But some of the traits of the intercepted edibles suggest they were manufactured before California revised its rules for marijuana packaging. When those regulations took effect, they instructed retailers to destroy non-compliant products. But instead of the incinerator, many products ended up on illicit distribution networks. It’s therefore possible that so-called black market diversion sent these “Medical” Nerds Ropes with THC on their way to Florida.
So states are trying to do something about THC products that could appeal to children. But U.S. attorney Stuart’s office says parents will have to pick up the slack. “Parenting is challenge enough without having to check a child’s candy for potent levels of THC. This just means parents will have to work double duty on Halloween.”
Prosecutor Issues Warning About Cannabis Edibles That Look Like Normal Candy was posted on High Times.
[Cannisuer: Colorado leads the way with this state initiative. Cities still have to opt in and it won’t take effect until 2020, but you can almost smell cannabis normalization. Yay for Colorado!]
Colorado’s new public consumption law could completely transform the state’s retail cannabis industry.
On Wednesday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a bill legalizing and regulating public cannabis consumption. Colorado cannabis advocates have been fighting for legalized public and social use since 2013. But their latest and most expansive attempt, House Bill 1230, finally broke through the Colorado Legislature this year. While establishing regulations for retail shops to set up consumption lounges, the bill also clears the air for mobile and temporary licenses, which advocates say will help spark more creativity, innovation and, they hope, equity in the cannabis industry.
The new law won’t take effect until the beginning of 2020. But municipal governments can pass resolutions to opt in ahead of time if they wish. Of course, as with dispensaries and retail shops, Colorado towns can also opt out and ban public and social consumption licenses.
Public, Social Cannabis Consumption Green-Lighted in Colorado
The landscape of retail cannabis in Colorado is about to change dramatically. Previously the province of underground cannabis clubs, social consumption venues like marijuana cafes, lounges, tasting rooms, tour buses, limousine services, and more now have the official green light from the governor’s office.
In fact, House Bill 1230, which Gov. Polis signed into law this week, establishes regulations for social and public consumption licenses for all kinds of businesses. Under the new law, businesses like music venues, art galleries, yoga studios, restaurants, and hotels can obtain public consumption permits and even licenses for limited cannabis sales. There’s also a pathway for awarding temporary licenses for special events. “Imagine legal consumption on 4/20 being a thing,” said cannabis lobbyist Cindy Sovine.
In addition to creating more opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs, which Sovine hopes will encourage diversity, Colorado’s new public consumption law also benefits tourists and the towns that host them. “Colorado has many tourists and residents who choose to participate in legal cannabis use. Up until this bill, there’s been no way to have safe public consumption,” said Gov. Polis ahead of the May 29 bill signing. “I’ve smelled it walking my dog. For many of us with kids, we want to make sure we don’t have that in our neighborhoods.”
Colorado’s New Public Use Law in Detail
With a bustling legal cannabis industry, Colorado businesses and local authorities have so far had to find their own workarounds for public cannabis consumption. Denver City Council, for example, passed a public consumption resolution in 2016. But that ordinance still banned indoor smoking, leaving vaping and edible consumption the only technically approved consumption methods.
Private cannabis clubs, tour companies and private cannabis events also provided a safe haven for those looking for a social venue to enjoy weed. But even though, as private establishments, these venues were allowed, they still faced routine problems with law enforcement.
Colorado House Bill 1230, then, represents the state’s first comprehensive legislation regulating public and social consumption. Businesses interested in applying for a social consumption license will do so through Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. Importantly, the licenses exempt businesses from the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, a law that pans public indoor smoking. The Clean Indoor Air Act has historically been the primary legal obstacle to public cannabis consumption.
But like any industry’s regulatory requirements, businesses will still have to clear a few hurdles before they can let customers light up. First, business owners and cannabis advocates will have to convince local governments to opt in to the new law. Otherwise, the state won’t award a public consumption license. House Bill 1230 also gives local governments the authority to tweak the rules for public consumption. Towns could, for example, only approve certain forms of consumption.
Businesses or events that receive public consumption licenses will also have to train employees to monitor marijuana intoxication. The new law also places responsibility for impaired drivers on businesses and events, just as liquor licenses hold bars accountable for the same.
Governor of Colorado Signs Public Cannabis Consumption Bill was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: Drugs washing ashore is a fairly common occurrence. However, this large of a drug shipment is much less common. Authorities may be able to trace their source by studying the currents.]
Beach-goers in Orange Beach, Alabama can’t believe 21 pounds of cannabis and 86 pounds of cocaine worth more than $1 million washed up on shore.
They weren’t treasure chests filled with gold bullion. But a pair of packages that washed up on an Alabama beach are worth at least as much. Police say the barnacle-covered bundles beach-goers discovered contained 86 pounds of cocaine and 21 pounds of marijuana. Law enforcement says the cannabis and cocaine have a combined street value of more than one million dollars. Now, federal agents and local law enforcement investigators are trying to trace the source of the drugs that washed ashore.
Alabama Beach-Goers Find Barnacle-Covered Drug Packages
Orange Beach Police in Alabama suspect the more than one million dollars worth of drugs that washed up on the beach had been in the water a long while. Pictures of the bundles show them covered in fraying cargo nets and plastic bags and teeming with sea life.
And so far, investigators have no leads as to who or how the drugs ended up on the shore. It’s not unheard of for drug smugglers to drop packages if they think Coast Guard or other authorities have the drop on them. Then again, rough waters could have simply tossed the valuable drug packages overboard. It’s all speculation at this point, however, with the Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection and the US Coast Guard all teaming up to track down the packages’ provenance. For now, all they have are data about the historical direction of the currents in the Gulf of Mexico to guide them.
Orange Beach Residents Shocked and Concerned Over Washed Up Cocaine and Marijuana
Over the Memorial Day weekend, news of the more than one million dollars worth of weed and cocaine discovered on Orange Beach began to circulate among residents and visitors. The marijuana package, which also contained a kilogram of cocaine, was found in front of the Lei Lani Condominium. The massive bundle of cocaine washed up in front of the Phoenix 10 condos. And speaking with reporters, several people expressed shock and concern about the discoveries.
“It’s surprising for this area,” said Chris Yancey, who was visiting from Pensacola, Florida over the weekend. “You never really see that around here.”
“I mean, it’s such a family-friendly beach, you wouldn’t hear of that or think that would happen out here,” said Nick Rodriguez.
But it’s hard to say for certain whether Orange Beach was the intended destination of the cocaine and marijuana packages. It’s more likely the currents simply took them in that direction, judging by how long the bundles were in the water.
But for Billy Tharpe, who brings his children to Orange Beach, the real concern is the potential hazard the drug packages posed. “There’s a lot of kids out on the beach right now, brother. You don’t want them getting into any of that mess. One of them opens up and you got kids in the water,” Tharpe told reporters.
Police say the packages were wrapped in plastic to keep the water out. But accidental exposure to cocaine, which a child could swallow or get on their skin, posed a real danger. There are no reports about the cocaine getting into the water or of anyone harmed by the incident.
One Million Dollars Worth of Marijuana, Cocaine Washes Up on Alabama Beach was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: THC testing needs to improve to show the actual amount of THC in a product or a human. It’s absolutely not good enough to say there is THC in the product. We need to know if there .02% or 18%. .02% will never, ever get anyone high, but still trigger a positive test result. We need more nuanced testing equipment!]
CBD hemp oil is legal if it contains less than 0.03 percent THC. But that’s apparently still enough to trigger most police drug tests.
Police in Alabama say a bottle of CBD-enhanced water on sale at gas stations tested positive for THC. The company that makes that water, CBD Cure, says that’s next to impossible. But a Facebook post the Summerdale Police Department put up May 15 shows THC field tests turning red due to the presence of the psychoactive cannabinoid. So either the test is faulty, or CBD Cure needs to find a new lab to better test their products. Then again, federal law states CBD products can contain up to 0.03 percent THC without violating the Controlled Substances Act. And if CBD Cure uses whole-hemp extract to source the cannabidiol for its water, that could be exactly what happened.
How Does THC-Free CBD Water Tests Positive for THC?
“Just an FYI,” Summerdale Police wrote on a May 15 Facebook post, “we tested random CBD water from a local gas station that claims there is no THC in it, only CBD oil, and it failed 2 field tests.”
But police admitted the tests don’t tell them how much THC is in the CBD water. It only alerts them to the presence of THC. But in a photograph, police compared a test of “real marijuana” to the test of the CBD water, and they look identical.
The label on CBD Cure’s bottled water advertises 10 mg of CBD and “No THC.” “You’re more likely to win the lottery than find THC in our water,” said CBD Cure spokesperson Sid Robinson. Robinson also said that every batch of its CBD Cure water undergoes rigorous testing at an FDA-approved lab before the company distributes it.
If that’s true, the Summerdale Police department has won the lottery twice, showing two tests that came up positive. And while the laboratory CBD Cure contracts with to tests its products may have an FDA license, CBD products are still largely unregulated.
That’s starting to change, now that the federal government has legalized hemp and hemp products containing less than 0.03 percent THC. But for now, companies can more-or-less put whatever claims they want to on CBD packaging.
So either CBD Cure’s third-party lab is not providing accurate results. Or, the marijuana field test kits police use are sensitive enough to give a positive reading from less than a .03% THC content.
Law Enforcement Struggles to Differentiate Hemp and Weed
When law enforcement tests for THC, they use testing kits that are extremely sensitive to its presence. On average, most tests trigger positive when a sample contains more than 50 nanograms per milliliter. But tests can be even more sensitive than that.
And on CBD Cure’s website, the company says it uses “full spectrum hemp extract.” Full-spectrum extracts are going to contain hemp cannabinoids and phytonutrients that pure CBD isolates don’t. And that includes THC. Sure enough, CBD Cure’s website states that the company uses hemp-derived CBD which contains less than 0.03 percent THC.
That percentage, nowhere near enough to get any human being high, is still plenty to trigger a positive on a 50 ng/ml THC test.
And that connects to a much wider problem facing law enforcement in the rapidly shifting legal terrain of cannabis. Police really don’t have the training, knowhow, tests or equipment needed to differentiate hemp and marijuana. For that matter, neither do most employers. And in that regard, Summerdale Police did the folks of Alabama a solid. Employees could think they’re drinking completely THC-free CBD water, but end up failing a workplace drug screening.
Police Test CBD Water Purchased at Gas Station and Find THC was posted on High Times.
[Canniseur: Unfortunately, until the U.S. gets its shit together, this kind of thing will happen time and time again. We a group, we need to make sure we are loud and clear that it’s unacceptable. CBD is legal and States should not arrest peaceful, law-abiding citizens with ‘trumped’ up charges.]
Travis DeYoung sold hemp-derived CBD, or in the eyes of Louisiana law, a “controlled dangerous substance.”
Less than a week after the 4/20 grand opening of Louisiana’s newest CBD store and cafe, Cajun Cannabis, owner Travis DeYoung is facing multiple felony drug charges. Late Wednesday night, police stopped DeYoung in his vehicle for an alleged traffic violation. After searching DeYoung’s car and finding a gun and various forms of cannabidiol products, police obtained a warrant to raid his Cajun Cannabis storefront. The raid early Thursday morning turned up another firearm and a number of different CBD and CBD-THC products, according to police. DeYoung now faces multiple felony and misdemeanor drug charges, chief among them possession with intent of a “controlled dangerous substance:” completely non-psychoactive, medicinal, therapeutic, and widely legal cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD Retailer Charged With Multiple Felonies for “Controlled Dangerous Substance”
In Lafayette, Louisiana, Travis DeYoung wanted to change the perception around cannabis. So he founded Cajun Cannabis, a cafe and retail shop specializing in hemp CBD oils, edibles, topicals, and other products, from drinks to bath products and even candles. The coffee at Cajun Cannabis doesn’t have CBD in it; DeYoung just wanted to give the establishment a cafe vibe.
None of the CBD in the products on offer at Cajun Cannabis came from hemp’s psychoactive cousin, and none of the products contained THC. Under Louisiana law, retailers like DeYoung can only sell two types of CBD, either full-spectrum oils with the THC removed, or pure CBD isolates.
DeYoung told reporters he wanted “something Lafayette can be proud of.” He was planning to offer educational events at Cajun Cannabis to teach residents of the “family-oriented town” about the differences between marijuana and hemp. In hindsight, DeYoung probably should have started with the police.
Officers arrested DeYoung and raided his store because of hemp-derived CBD. These are products that have nothing to do with marijuana or THC. But law enforcement officials commonly mistake hemp for marijuana. One company is even developing a handheld DNA tester to help cops identify cannabis plants.
Why Is Louisiana Going After CBD?
In January, Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, which among other things legalized hemp and hemp derivatives at the federal level. With the stroke of pen, hemp, and thus hemp CBD, became legal across the United States. But in the same way that legal-weed states contravene the federal prohibition on marijuana (THC), some states have prohibitions on CBD that now contradict federal law.
Case in point, Louisiana. Where despite the end of the federal ban regulatory authorities say the sale of CBD products is illegal. But in recent months, the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy as well as the state’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco control have distributed notices warning the public about the illegality of CBD. The Board of Pharmacy said it didn’t plan to take enforcement actions against retailers, but the Alcohol and Tobacco agency warned it would issue citations to liquor stores and smoke shops selling CBD.
Under Louisiana’s strict medical cannabis laws, only 10 dispensaries have the authority to sell CBD oils.
The confusion over CBD rules has chased most retailers online. But some shops, like Cajun Cannabis and Baton Rouge’s Cypress Hemp, kept on. But police have been watching. Lafayette Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. John Mowell said DeYoung’s arrest and the raid of his store were part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. Mowell said nearby residents and other businesses had complained about Cajun Cannabis.
Police Say Cajun Cannabis Raid Turned Up “Gigagrams” of Weed
Despite whatever was officially on sale at Cajun Cannabis, police say the raid turned up much more than CBD. When police pulled DeYoung over and searched his vehicle, they only found hemp CBD products. 17 bottles of CBD oil, 14 bottles of CBD gummies, 69 glass jars of CBD wax and some CBD mints. And a handgun.
But when police raided Cajun Cannabis, they say they found CBD products containing THC. Specifically, 1,800 capsules, honey oil, mints, and dog treats. If that sounds suspicious, you’re not alone. THC is toxic for pets; no one makes THC products for pets. CBD pet products sourced from hemp are quite common.
Then, there’s the amount of THC/CBD products police say they found. Officers claim the raid seized tens of thousands of gigagrams of CBD and THC products. “Giga-” means “billion.” So, according the reports, DeYoung was allegedly in possession of tens of thousands of billions of grams of weed. His store was allegedly hiding millions of pounds—millions—of THC products.
The information police have given out doesn’t make sense. The story is still developing, so the picture is admittedly blurry. But millions of pounds of illegal cannabis, including THC dog treats, sounds a little far fetched.
Travis DeYoung is currently behind bars, booked on seven felony charges, including “possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances” and “possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.”
If you want to help out DeYoung by chipping in toward his legal expenses, you can donate at his GoFundMe page.
Louisiana’s Cajun Cannabis CBD Store Raided, Owner Facing Felony Charges was posted on High Times.