Following HNN investigation, lawmakers call on DOH to remove dangerously potent THC edibles from store shelves

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Lawmakers are slamming the state Department of Health for allowing the sale of dangerously potent THC edibles at a Honolulu business nearly a week after being alerted to the issue by Hawaii News Now .

State law prohibits the sale of the product to the general public.

An investigation by HNN found that some of the granola bars for sale were up to 12 times stronger than what is allowed in licensed marijuana dispensaries.

Leaders are now demanding action, saying they are not disparaging the use of THC edibles, but are calling for regulation.

Signs outside Pinky’s Hempire in Waikiki advertise the health benefits of a cannabinoid called Delta-8 THC – a derivative of hemp that can cause mild psychoactive effects.

But tests commissioned June 1 by HNN at a state-certified lab found that gummies and granola bars purchased from two Pinky’s Hempire stores also contained significantly elevated levels of Delta-9 THC.

It is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. In other words, it’s what gets you high.

“I think it’s definitely an issue from a public health and safety perspective,” board-certified cannabinoid medicine specialist Dr. Clifton Otto said of the findings.

Testing revealed that a regular “Rice Krispyz Treat” and a strawberry-flavored “Rice Krispyz Treat” purchased from the company contained well over 100 milligrams of Delta-9 THC.

“That much THC at a time, especially in a naïve user, could be disastrous,” Otto said. “It could be a trip to the ER.”

State Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, chairman of the state’s Senate Health Committee, was shocked after hearing about the test results.

“To see products like this just opening for sale that could potentially fall into the hands of children and make people sick is disturbing,” he said, adding that he was doubly alarmed that the Ministry of Health Health did not act on the findings.

HNN shared the test results with the Department of Health six days ago.

Keohokalole even contacted the agency to express his concern.

His message, “You better take care of that. If the products that are being sold right now are at levels that pose a danger to the public, we need to act immediately. »

The state Department of Health has authority over all hemp products sold in Hawaii. This includes the ability to remove items from store shelves. Officials have confirmed that these edibles are not allowed to be sold in hemp stores.

State Senator Chris Lee said enforcement of the rules was key.

“It is important to have regular inspections and that there be accountability when something is caught or discovered that it is immediately removed to ensure the public is safe,” he said.

Keohokalole added, “This casts a shadow over much of the work done in the medical marijuana industry by organizations trying to follow the rules. Many patients use marijuana products safely and effectively. It helps and it colors this whole conversation.

HNN again asked the Department of Health on Thursday whether its investigators had visited any of the commercial sites.

Late Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson said in an email, “We are referring the matter to the Department of Public Safety’s Counter-Narcotics Division for further investigation.”

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