Platte Hemp Company: THC That Looks Like Candy Isn’t Illegal, But Is Irresponsible
On Friday morning, the Casper Police Department posted to their social media account that they had, during a traffic stop, seized THC products that resemble children's candy.
"During a recent traffic stop, our officers came across these products," the CPD wrote on their Facebook page. "Both the outside packaging and items inside are made to look like highly recognizable candy brands. Even at a close glance, the distinguishing factors of the packaging can be easily missed."
The department stated that these products are not consumable candies. Rather, they are "marijuana products with high levels of THC, some containing Delta-8 THC."
CPD stated that they were sharing photos and information about this product "to alert the community, specifically parents and child caretakers. The FDA has issued warnings on this subject, specifically to help protect children who may unknowingly consume THC-laced candies. The CDC has also issued warnings regarding children mistakenly ingesting marijuana through these disguised candies and the harmful side effects that can take place."
What they did not state was that fact that Delta-8 THC is legal in Wyoming.
Sam Watt, the owner of Platte Hemp Company in Casper, acknowledges that putting THC products in bags resembling candy is irresponsible. But, he also believes that the Casper Police Department was irresponsible in how they put their message across.
"It's 100 percent irresponsible to make these products look like candy," Watt said. "When you come into my shop, I don't have any packaging that looks likes it's for kids, or that it's encouraging kids to take the product. Why would you go that route? These manufacturers who are doing this have no business ethic. They're just trying to make money."
Watt said marketing packaging that looks like candy is irresponsible (not to mention, possibly illegal due to copyright infringement), but what's also irresponsible is the Casper Police Department using children as a fear tactic to demonize Delta-8 THC.
"Stop using that tactic, because any good parents knows to look at the product that they're giving children," Watt said. "But stop using it as a scapegoat."
Watt said that while he knows the police department wants to keep everyone safe, they didn't message in their post that Delta-8 THC is legal in Wyoming.
"What I don't agree with is how the Casper PD states that it is THC," Watt said. "Delta 9 compounds are legal in the state of Wyoming, but it has to be tested and come under under the 0.3% law. The Delta 8 is a compound next to the 9 and, the Delta 10 compound is the same thing. They both put off as psychoactive, but it still comes under the legal limit of the 0.3% law."
Delta 8, 9, and 10 are legal in Wyoming as long as the THC extract remains under the 0.3% threshold.
A website dedicated to hemp flower states that "Both hemp and marijuana contain different concentrations of naturally occurring delta 9 THC. Hemp-derived delta 9 THC is derived from hemp’s mature buds and flowers. Unlike marijuana, hemp is legal Cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% delta 9 THC by weight. So, when extracted from hemp with low THC levels, delta 9 is a legal compound federally. The new THC gummies are infused with 10mg THC, but their THC concentration does not exceed 0.3%."
The legalization of hemp and derivatives of cannabinoids was made possible because of the 2018 Farm Bill, signed into legislation by Donald Trump.
According to the FDA, "In December of 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law. It removed hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis), from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)."
Watt said that his sale of Delta compounds did not come lightly.
"When we came across it in 2018, I spent about a year researching it, partnering with my attorney, partnering with other industry leaders and getting the facts. It took over a year and my attorney reached back out to me, saying 'You're a greenlight to go until legislators come up with a way to stop it."
None of that is to say, however, that the way certain products are marketed can't be harmful, both to individuals and to the hemp companies doing things the right way.
"I knew that, eventually, this was going to come down the pipe," Watt revealed. "Those products [the police] are finding; I was looking at pictures. They're not labeled correctly, per our industry. Nothing states in the Wyoming law on how I'm supposed to label products, but I go above and beyond to label my product to the 'T,' and we do not encourage children to come in and buy the product 'because it's candy.'"
In fact, Watt said, the majority of his customers are between the ages of 50 and 60 years old. Out of the 2500 people who come into Plate Hemp Company, the majority of them are over the age of 50.
Watt said that he wants to have a good, working relationship with the Casper Police Department, as well as any other agency that wants to take the time to educate themselves about the products that are offered at his store.
"We've had Casper PD step into the shop recently, asking about [our products]," he said. "One of our sales associates spent a good 15, 25 minutes educating the police officer and telling him about our process and how we do things. We put a COA scan code on all of our products. Again, Wyoming law says I don't have to do that, but I do it regardless because I want my customers to know what they are consuming. We have all of our products tested at an ACS laboratory, which is a DEA-certified laboratory."
So, while the Casper Police Department weren't wrong in bringing attention to the packaging of these products, Watt believes the products themselves were unfairly demonized. His point is that the manufacturer should have been more responsible in how they market their products, and the CPD should have been more responsible in relaying all of the facts about the products.
"I'm all about entrepreneurship," Watt said. "But I'm just saying, do it right. Do not hurt this industry. Because we all know it can go south quick."