ALLENTOWN, LEHIGH COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Lehigh Valley District Attorney (DA) Jim Martin announced a warning on Wednesday to store owners and the public about items sold containing hemp or hemp derivative products.

The D.A. says, Lehigh County store owners received a memo warning that certain products containing more than 0.3 percent of a delta-9 THC, or any products with THC isomers including, but not limited to delta-8 or delta-10 THC are classified as Schedule I controlled substances according to the Pennsylvania Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act, and the possession or distribution of such products is illegal.

The Lehigh County Drug Task Force recently conducted consent searches at several businesses within Lehigh county and found a variety of delta-8, delta-10, and delta-9 products (containing more than 0.3 percent) that were seized. The products include vaping and liquid products, vegetable matter, and edibles.

The memo the businesses received says the owners and retailers selling the illegal products may choose to cooperate with law enforcement in lieu of facing criminal charges. Cooperation includes the immediate surrender to law enforcement of the illegal products from the establishment and ceasing any future sales of similar products.

If the store owners don’t cooperate and the sales continue, store owners and employees could face charges of possession of a controlled substance, punishable by up to 1 year in prison and or a fine of up to $5,000 or they can face possession with intent to distribute, a felony, punishable as a first offense by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Any additional penalties could be imposed for any other charges.

“The public should be aware that these types of products are illegal and potentially dangerous,” Martin said. “The mere fact that stores are carrying them in inventory and offering them for sale is no guarantee of either their safety or their legality.”

D.A. Martin said it is important for the public to know these products could put retailer shoppers at risk of arrest or injury and are against the law.

Both the FDA and CDC have issued warnings that these THC products are untested and the agencies have received reports of negative effects in people who consumed them.