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“Special” Brownies Pulled From Local Shelves

Friday, February 17, 2012
Meghan Ottolini, GoLocalWorcester Contributor

Locals believe Kush Cakes are marketed to young people

All-natural Kush Cakes brownies are meant to “give you complete relaxation,” but they are causing unrest in Athol. State Senator Stephen Brewer joined forces with the North Quabbin Patch Grandparent Support Group and got the brownies removed from shelves at a local convenience store.

FDA warnings

According to their website, Kush Cakes are “baked with love,” as well as melatonin and Valerian root. Melatonin is a hormone often used as a supplement to regulate sleep cycles, and Valerian root has been shown to possess sedative effects.

Both ingredients are legal, and the brownies do not contain any THC or Marijuana. However, the FDA has advised against the use of melatonin and Valerian root in similar baked goods. Last summer the agency warned Lazy Larry’s parent company, HBB LLC, that the product “contained an unsafe food additive.” The FDA has not warned Kush Cakes’ distributors, despite having the same ingredients in their product.

Despite the warning, Lazy Larrys are still available in most states.

When local convenience store Mr. Mike’s Market featured Kush Cakes next to their register, it sparked controversy. The store is located near Ayer Middle School.

“Kush” is a slang term for high-grade Marijuana, and Kush Cakes’ are packaged in psychadelic tie-dye.

“The way it was presented in its labeling, it was very suggestive. Why would a Marijuana leaf be on a brownie package? It was suggestive to young adults, it hinted that it would be a pot brownie,” said Francis Glagraziano, of the North Quabbin Patch Group.

Senator Brewer takes charge

The North Quabbin Patch Grandparent Support Group brought the issue to the attention of State Senator Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) last November. Senator Brewer had 2 of his staffers go out and buy a few of the cakes, and the Senator contacted the owners of Mr. Mike’s Market, Alliance Energy.

Initially, the Senator just requested the cakes be moved behind the counter and away from eye-level, but Alliance Energy insisted on pulling the product out of 122 of their stores, across 4 states.

“What initiated the discussion was a concern for young people,” Senator Brewer exclusively told GoLocalWorcester. “Quite honestly, I’m 60 years old, and I didn’t even know these things were out there.”

Now, the Senator is working with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on legislation to “restrict access by children of products which imitate legal or illegal candy or dessert products and are marketed as having a real or perceived physiological affect on the individual once consumed.”

“We need to continue to take great strides to monitor what is accessible to our children. Although this product is currently legal, there are real health risks here,” said Senator Brewer.

Glagraziano is happy with her group’s victory. “I’m extremely proud and impressed with the grandparents group. This is a group of regular citizens who believe in something and followed through. We’re always assuming that the regular citizen has very little power,” she said.

Senator Brewer said he still has the Kush Cakes in his office, and has never tried them.

“Nor will I,” he said.

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All-natural Kush Cakes brownies are meant to “give you complete relaxation,” but they are causing unrest in Athol.