Mike D'Agostino gummy
Rep. Mike D’Agostino displays a THC gummy during a press briefing on May 9, 2023. Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection warned in a Monday press release that THC and synthetic cannabinoid products purchased outside of the state’s regulated cannabis marketplace could be potentially harmful to consume.

The DCP oversees regulation of Connecticut’s new adult-use cannabis market, which came online in January following a 2021 law which legalized the substance. 

In a release, Commissioner Bryan Cafferelli said the regulation was designed to ensure a safe marketplace through testing and labeling requirements as well as restrictions on serving sizes and packaging.

“Products sold illegally at unauthorized retailers are not subject to these regulations designed to protect public health and safety, and are often sold to minors under 21 years old,” Cafferelli said. “We are working with law enforcement to protect public health and safety, particularly for young people who may be targeted by these illegal products.”

A list of licensed cannabis retailers can be found on the Department of Consumer Protection’s website

Monday’s warning comes more than a month after the implementation of a new law, designed to crack down on the sale of high potency hemp-derived products and synthetic cannabinoid products, which have recently been sold at gas stations and CBD shops. 

Sale of some products containing THC, a psychoactive substance contained in cannabis, had previously been legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, which allowed for the cultivation and sale of hemp. 

As a result, high-potency products, sometimes packaged to resemble common snack food, was available for sale without age restrictions. 

Earlier this year, Attorney General William Tong announced litigation against retailers found to be selling the products. 

However, state lawmakers attempted to address the widespread availability of the products back in May, when the legislature voted to reclassify high-THC products as cannabis, effectively limiting its sale to licensed retailers. 

The change was an unwelcome hit for businesses that had grown accustomed to legally selling hemp-based products in Connecticut. 

Asked Monday what prompted the warning from the Consumer Protection Department, Kaitlyn Krasselt, an agency spokesperson, said it was standard practice to warn residents about issues that could impact their health and safety. 

“We’ve let businesses know it is illegal to sell these products without a license, and wanted to remind consumers as well that products sold without a license are illegal and not subject to regulatory oversight,” she said.