A Minnesota Weed Brand Allegedly Sold Gummies 50 Times Stronger Than the Legal Limit
The company’s owner falsely told authorities that the high dose products were not being sold in the notoriously strict-on-medical-weed state
Published on December 19, 2022

A Minnesota edibles company is being sued by the state’s pharmaceutical board in a civil lawsuit for allegedly selling products that had more than 50 times the legal limit of THC. The brand’s marketing language is helping matters any—one of its product lines is called “Death by Gummy Bears.”

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy claims that moniker is all too accurate, stating that Northland Vapor’s products may even be responsible for the death of one individual. (Take this with a grain of salt given that there are no documented deaths from cannabis usage on the books, worldwide.)

“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,” says a press statement from the Board of Pharmacy’s executive director Jill Phillips.

The suit cites a November police raid on Northland’s warehouse located on the Minnesota-North Dakota border. That day, government agents claim to have turned up nearly 150,000 products that exceeded the state’s THC limits in cannabis products. These include the unfortunately dubbed “Death by Gummy Bears” edibles that top out at 100mg of THC per serving and 1,000mg per package.

Current state regulations restrict the amount of THC that can be sold in a single dose in Minnesota to 5mg per serving or 50mg per package.

The company also operates two retail locations where the allegedly offending products were sold — even though the state’s lawsuit says that company owner Brett Erpelding told authorities the high THC products were not sold in Minnesota.

Minnesota is still settling into its legal edibles era. Though it regulated hemp sales in 2019 in the wake of the US Farm Bill, the state didn’t legalize hemp-based gummies until July of this year, a few months after legislators explicitly banned such products.

The passage of the expanded hemp edibles bill brought its share of controversy. At the time, legislators appeared to have signed off on a bill that they didn’t read thoroughly before approving it. That law made the sale of edibles infused with delta-8 and other psychoactive forms of THC available for sale.

However, the same legislation limited the amount of THC in edibles to 5mg per serving, topping out at 50mg per package.

The state legalized medical marijuana back in 2014, but at the time it was one of the more restrictive regulations in the country, given that smokable and edible forms of cannabis remained firmly on the banned list at first.

In addition to Northland’s dosage woes, the lawsuit states that the brand is also running afoul of the law by marketing products "resembling characteristics of a fictional bear, as well as products that are modeled after gummy bear candies that are primarily consumed or marketed to children.”  

Northland’s lawyer Tyler Leverington told CBS Minnesota that the civil lawsuit constituted an “aggressive tactic” that seeks to “smear” the company’s reputation.

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud. 

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Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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