Attorney General Tong Announces Crackdown on Illegal Sale of Delta-8 THC
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today sued five Connecticut retailers for alleged violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act over the sale of illegal delta-8 THC products mimicking popular youth-oriented snacks and candies.
Attorney General Tong is additionally in the process of sending warning letters to all Connecticut licensed retailers of electronic vaping products.
The letters advise that sale of delta-8 THC by unlicensed retailers may be illegal in Connecticut. Products that exceed .3 percent THC on a dry weight are considered cannabis products and may only be sold in the regulated market. Cannabis products sold outside of the regulated market continue to be illegal and may subject sellers to civil and criminal penalties.
“If you offer delta-8 THC products for sale in your establishment that exceed .3 percent THC on a dry weight basis and you do not hold such a license, you are in violation of Connecticut law. For your information, we have included below photographs of products that were recently purchased from retailers in Connecticut that purport to contain delta-8 THC. The sale of such products may expose you to criminal and civil liability. Please remove any such products from your shelves and dispose of them immediately,” the letters state.
“Cannabis products in Connecticut cannot be sold by unlicensed retailers and must meet rigorous testing and packaging requirements. Period. Any unlicensed Connecticut retailer selling delta-8 THC products that purport to contain high levels of THC is breaking the law and may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties. Lest there be any confusion, we are sending letters to thousands of vape shops who might sell these products in Connecticut outlining the laws and demanding that they remove any illegal products from their shelves immediately,” said Attorney General Tong. “Our undercover investigation revealed widespread sale of untested, unregulated, delta-8 edibles mimicking popular youth snacks. The five retailers we are suing today offered some of the most egregious look-alike edibles posing the worst risks for accidental youth poisoning. None of these edibles are tested or approved for sale in Connecticut, and packaging statements regarding THC content and safe serving sizes are not to be trusted. If you see delta-8 THC offered outside any licensed cannabis retailer, do not purchase it, and report it to my office immediately.”
Complaints may be filed online here: https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/
“For adults 21 years and older who choose to consume cannabis, there are many benefits to shopping in the regulated market,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “Products sold by licensed retailers are required to meet rigorous testing, packaging and labeling requirements to ensure consumers know what they are receiving and that they are getting exactly what they pay for. Unregulated products often are untested, come from unverified sources and can be easily mistaken for products that don’t contain cannabis, which can lead to accidental ingestion by adults and children who may not realize what they are consuming.”
Today’s action follows a series of unannounced visits by the Office of the Attorney General in late December to vape shops and gas stations. Illegal delta-8 products were found for sale at every vape shop visited, as well as one of the gas stations. In many instances, the products found mimicked popular youth-oriented snack foods, including Fritos, Skittles, Airheads, and more. These look-alike products are untested and illegal anywhere in Connecticut, including at licensed cannabis retailers.
Below are examples of illegal cannabis products purchased by the Office of the Attorney General as part of this investigation.
None of these illegal products are subject to the stringent testing requirements of cannabis sold in the regulated marketplace, and do not contain appropriate warnings regarding potential health risks.
Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in hemp and marijuana plants. In Connecticut, any product exceeding 0.3 percent THC is considered cannabis and is regulated under the Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis Act. Businesses without a cannabis license may not sell delta-8 THC that exceed .3 percent THC. Products containing cannabis must comply with stringent testing requirements, contain appropriate warnings, and may not be packaged in a way that appeals to youth or mimics existing non-cannabis products.
Illegal look-alike cannabis products pose a unique health threat to children, who may unknowingly ingest high doses of potent psychoactive chemicals. The safe serving size of these cannabis look-alike products is small. Children who accidentally eat an entire snack-sized bag of “chips” or “candy” may be exposed to more than 100 times the maximum adult serving.
According to the Connecticut Poison Control Center, one in five children nationally who eat edibles accidentally are admitted to the hospital. Between 2000 and 2022, the Connecticut Poison Control Center reported 189 cases of ingestion in children under age 19. The majority of those cases resulted in an emergency department visit, and about one-third resulted in the child being admitted to the hospital.
The following businesses were subject to today’s enforcement action:
• AZ Smoke Shop and Wireless, 695 Main Street, Manchester
• Reheem Mini Mart, 352 Main Street, Manchester
• Smokers Paradise, 320 Main Street, East Hartford
• 7 Puff, 700 Burnside Avenue, Enfield
• Anthony’s Service Station, 136 East Main Street, Plainville
Each of these businesses were found selling youth-oriented look-alike products.
Legal investigator Caylee Ribeiro, Assistant Attorney General Jon Blake, and Deputy Associate Attorney General Mike Wertheimer, Chief of the Consumer Protection Section, are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.