The state of Minnesota said Monday that it is suing a trio of businesses for alleged violations of the state’s edible cannabinoid laws, saying that they are selling products that contain up to 50 times the permitted amount of THC.
The lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy targets three companies, one of which, Northland Vapor—a company with retail locations in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota—allegedly “sold edible cannabinoid products that contain THC far in excess of five milligrams per serving and far in excess of 50 milligrams per package.”
Under Minnesota state law, the Board of Pharmacy explained, “an edible cannabinoid product…must not contain more than five milligrams of any hemp-derived tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a single serving or more than a total of 50 milligrams per package.”
Investigators for the agency “found packages containing 2,500 milligrams of THC, 50 times the amount permitted under Minnesota law,” the Board said.
Perhaps the most notable contraband swept up in the investigation were thousands of packages of the Delta-8 THC products known as “Death by Gummy Bears.”
As the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy explained, the “U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received complaints about serious adverse events associated with Northland Vapor’s ‘Death by Gummy Bears’ delta-8 THC products, including a death.”
Minnesota Public Radio reports that the board’s lawsuit “says the owner of the companies, Brett Erpelding, acknowledged to investigators that they sold products that were not in compliance with Minnesota law but maintained the products were not sold in Minnesota.”
“The pharmacy board, in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has been investigating Erpelding’s companies after the FDA was notified in October that a healthy 23-year-old in West Virginia died shortly after consuming 10 Death by Gummy Bears brand items. The cause of death in the case was listed as undetermined,” Minnesota Public Radio reported.
Last month, on November 8, the Board of Pharmacy and the FDA “initiated an inspection at Northland Vapor’s manufacturing warehouse in Moorhead, Minnesota,” the Board said in its release, noting that investigators discovered “edible cannabinoid products that matched those for sale on the companies’ websites and at their retail location that were in violation of state law, including the following: Approximately 28,896 packages of Death by Gummy Bears, labeled as 25 individual gummy bears at 100 milligrams of THC per serving, totaling 2,500 milligrams per package; Approximately 112,710 packages of Death by Gummy Bears, labeled as 10 individual gummy bears at 100 milligrams of THC per serving, totaling 1,000 milligrams per package; Approximately 2,400 packages of Wonky Weeds Gummies, labeled as 10 individual gummies at 30 milligrams of THC per serving, totaling 300 milligrams per package; and Approximately 2,310 bottles of Wonky Weeds THC Syrup, containing 700 milligrams of THC per bottle.”
The state’s new edible law took effect last summer, catching some lawmakers and residents off guard, who weren’t aware that Minnesota had effectively legalized recreational cannabis. The law has come under criticism for its lack of regulations and safeguards.
The state’s Democratic governor, Tim Walz, has long expressed his support for legalization and now that he has secured re-election––and now that the Democrats have regained control of the state legislature––there is hope that an even more robust cannabis law may soon be arriving in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
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