LAS CRUCES - Public school officials and school resource officers are warning parents to keep an eye out after underage students have reportedly been found with cannabis products in schools that resemble popular snack foods, as well as vape pens laced with tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance in cannabis.
A Tuesday news release from the Las Cruces Police Department did not say how many students have been found in possession of cannabis products or at how many or which local schools incidents have occurred, LCPD said in the last few weeks "school officials and SROs from the Las Cruces Police Department have confiscated numerous packages that resemble popular snacks but are infused with THC."
The Luna County Sheriff's Office cited two juveniles at Red Mountain Middle School on Tuesday, May 10, who were in possession of a vape pen containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). the two males, ages 14 and 15, were cited for minors in possession of a vape pen, and/or tobacco products.
The RMMS School Resource Officer became aware of the students and alerted school administration who contacted the LCSO.
Over the past two months, the LCSO has issued 23 citations for minors in possession of nicotine and five minors in possession of marijuana at RMMS.
Some of the products reportedly confiscated resemble Frito-Lay snacks and popular candy brands, even using the same logos despite these companies not making THC products. Labels on the packaging make clear the product contains THC, according to photos of the products confiscated.
Law enforcement said the products appear to be aimed at children and teens.
Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported candy company Mars Wrigley had filed suit against cannabis retailers who were using the Skittles, Life Savers and Starburst brand names on products. They alleged those sellers were infringing on their trademarks.
Frito-Lay doesn't make edible cannabis products, the company said in a statement, adding that "the health and safety of consumers is our highest priority."
The company said it has formed a coalition through the Consumer Brands Association, partnered with states’ Attorneys General, worked with U.S. Customs and the Department of Homeland Security and is advocating for federal legislation "to criminalize the sale of packaging used for THC edibles that infringes on famous brands."
Frito-Lay said the products "create consumer confusion and potential health and safety risks by illegally infringing on our trademarks and copyrighted packaging designs."
Students have also been found with vape pens containing THC. LCPD did not say if instances of students with THC products have increased since sales of retail cannabis became legal in April.
LCPD said it's a felony to sell or provide THC products to anyone not of legal age, and the department is trying to figure out where the students got the products. Anyone with information is encouraged to call police at 575-526-0795.
Updated at 1:13 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2022, with comment from Frito-Lay.
Bill Armendariz contributed to this report. He can be reached at 575-546-2611 (leave a message) or email@example.com
This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Las Cruces police warn about weed-laced Cheetos imposters