12 Accused of Making Marijuana-Laced Candy, Soda
A dozen Bay Area residents appeared in federal court Friday on marijuana cultivation and distribution charges in connection with a large-scale operation to make pot-laced candy bars and sodas.
The products, bearing such slightly off-brand names as Keef Kat, Toka-Cola, Stoney Ranchers, Trippy peanut butter and Pot Tarts, are packaged to look like the legitimate brands they mimic.
According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court here, some of the products -- sold under the company name Beyond Bomb -- were seized this month at the Compassionate Caregivers medicinal marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles.
They also were being sold at other dispensaries throughout the state, including the Green Grocery Co-Op in Van Nuys, the warrant said.
Though the packaging evokes the irreverent Wacky Pack stickers of years past by mocking trademarked products, federal officials say the psychoactive goods are no joke.
“The packaging is so similar to that of the name brand, it has the potential to fall in the hands of children, with potentially tragic consequences,” DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry said.
Medicinal marijuana use, purchase and cultivation are permitted with limitations under state -- but not federal -- law.
Federal drug agents identified Kenneth Affolter, 39, of the upscale East Bay community of Lafayette as head of the manufacturing outfit.
Search warrants served on three East Bay warehouses and Affolter’s home turned up hundreds of the candy bars and sodas, as well as $100,000 in cash and more than 4,000 marijuana plants, McEnry said.
Affolter and 11 others identified by officials as Beyond Bomb employees are being held without bail.
Their attorneys could not be located Friday. Bruce Margolin, director of Los Angeles NORML -- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- called the arrests aggressive and “uncalled for.”
“There are a lot of people depending on [marijuana products] for their health and safety and welfare,” he said. “What do they want, for them to be buying off the street?”
Despite the large number of plants seized, Margolin said the suspects could have a defense if they operated as a caregivers’ cooperative.