WVDA Issues Consumer Warning Regarding Illegal Hemp and Marijuana Products

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) has issued a consumer protection warning regarding illegal hemp products being sold in West Virginia retail stores. Recently, the WVDA has become aware of illegal products containing non-naturally occurring cannabinoids, as well as counterfeit recreational marijuana. The Department is urging consumers not to purchase these products as the WVDA works with law enforcement to immediately remove all illicit and counterfeit products.

“Other states have issued similar warnings about these illegal cannabis-infused edibles packaged as popular food and candy products. The actors we have seen in West Virginia are hiding marijuana labeling with stickers or claiming their products are Delta-8,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt. “The products are unsafe and present a risk to public health and safety. We hope to tackle this issue with the assistance of law enforcement.”

The WVDA regulates all hemp products and/or hemp derived cannabinoids entering West Virginia’s retail supply chain. Under West Virginia law, contaminant/potency testing, product registration and retail cooperation has been designed to ensure hemp products are safe for human consumption.

Children who may ingest these products could experience a variety of delayed symptoms upon ingesting cannabis edibles, including, but not limited to difficulty breathing, lethargy, dizziness, nausea and loss of coordination. Products found in West Virginia retail locations have affixed legal Delta-8-THC stickers over both the California recreational marijuana symbol and the controlled substance government warning.

“The WVDA issued a non-naturally occurring cannabinoid product notice in October 2021. The WVDA has great concern that the contents pose great risk to the consumer and urge the public to not purchase them,” said Amie Minor, the WVDA Director of Regulatory and Environmental Affairs.

The WVDA’s notice stated the Department had become aware of non-naturally occurring cannabinoid products entering the West Virginia retail supply chain. Products that contain non-naturally occurring cannabinoids, such as “Tetrahydrocannabinol acetate (THC-O, ATHC, THC-X, Delta 8-O)” are not under the regulatory authority of the WVDA and cannot be registered for sale with the WVDA. Any non-naturally occurring cannabinoid products must be removed from retail sale immediately and are considered a controlled substance.

For examples of illegal hemp products click: https://flic.kr/ps/3XN9px

For more information, contact Crescent Gallagher at cgallagher@wvda.us or 304-380-3922.

The West Virginia Department of Agriculture protects plant, animal and human health through a variety of scientific, regulatory and consumer protection programs. The Commissioner of Agriculture is one of six statewide elected officials who sits on the Board of Public Works.