April 11, 2023
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Three more CBD shops allegedly selling THC-laden delta-8 products illegally were recently raided, bringing the total number of smoke shops targeted to eight statewide, the attorney general’s office announced Tuesday.
“This is incredibly dangerous stuff, and it's totally unregulated. These are all bootleg products, illegal products. We don't have any real information about how they're made, what's in them, whether they're safe for anyone's consumption,” said Attorney General William Tong during a news conference Tuesday. “It's extraordinarily dangerous for these to be sold here in Connecticut, and that's why we took action against these three shops.”
The three Stamford CBD shops, which Tong identified as Zaza Smoke Shop II, Breeze Smoke Shop and World's Exotic Smoke Shop, will be charged in civil court for alleged violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, Tong said. “If you live in Stamford, you know where these stores are. They're not hidden in some back alley somewhere in our city; they're in major shopping centers and on major thoroughfares,” he said. “They got big, flashy signs.”
That brings the total number of CBD shops targeted by the state to eight, Tong announcing in February that five shops elsewhere in the state had been charged. Those cases are proceeding, he said.
“This is harmful to our youth and we're going to do everything we can to continue to partner with the Attorney General's office with the Stamford PD to crack down on the illegal sale of illicit drugs in our city,” said Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons. “We know how harmful this is to our youth.”
While CBD is legal to sell, state law stipulates that no products may be sold containing more than .3 percent THC outside state licensed cannabis retailers. Delta-8 and delta-9 are derived from legal CBD using a solvent-based process to “juice the THC content,” Tong said.
Cannabis products sold at legal recreational dispensaries may contain no more than 5 milligrams of THC, 100 milligrams per bag, according to state law. Synthetically produced delta-8 THC sold in CBD shops often contain 10 milligrams of THC or more.
“We see edibles that are many times the legal allowable amount of THC, sometimes as high as 600 milligrams in a bag,” Tong said. “There have been instances of kids mistaking a bag of fake Fritos or fake Doritos or ‘Stony Os’ or what they call ‘warheads’ and ingesting the whole bag. That's way too much for an adult; and then think about a young child ingesting more than six times the legal amount of a whole bag of cannabis edibles.”
Many raided products were on display during the news conference Tuesday at the Stamford Police Station, many with colorful packaging that Tong said could be attractive to children. In all, more than 6,000 products were seized in the three raids.
“That number is probably still going up as we speak as we inventory and count all of these products,” Tong said. “These products were also stashed in ceiling tiles, in a fake electrical panel, and then, importantly, they also found flower marijuana.”
In addition to the delta-8 products, Tong said investigators also uncovered “other illicit drugs, wads of cash” and a hidden ledger. “There's no ambiguity about what they're doing,” he said “If they thought it was legal, they wouldn't hide it in ceiling tiles.”
When asked how widespread the illegal sale of delta-8 products might be, Tong said “very widespread.”
“In fact, when when we walk into shops just randomly, we see it more often than we don't,” he said.