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We Blew the Whistle on Amazon: Hemp Scams Exposed

Amazon Boots Forge Hemp & Reputable Sellers; Fails to Address Obvious Hemp Scams

Click here to read CBD Oracle’s report:  Liars Ruling the Roost: Lab Testing Reveals the Reality Behind Amazon’s Hemp Market

Remember back in October when we announced that select Forge Hemp topicals were available on Amazon? That feels like a lifetime ago, colored by youthful naiveté and starry-eyed hope that our small-but-mighty company could reach a national audience with authentic and effective hemp products. That is exactly what happened…for about a month.

You can still see our Muscle Gel and Body Balm on Amazon and all the great reviews, but they’re not searchable because our Seller Account was deactivated. Why? Because we asked permission to sell our nighttime CBN tablets and non-intoxicating THCV weight loss support tablets on Amazon. Why would we try to do that? Because Amazon has carried a variety of CBN and CBG (eg. minor cannabinoid) products for as long as we’ve been paying attention. Sure seemed like our non-CBD, non-THC, non-intoxicating hemp products would be a good fit, given the options already available on Amazon. They disagreed.

No amount of back-and-forth with Amazon representatives reinstated our account. Amazon didn’t have an issue with our topicals, and similar products from other sellers containing minor cannabinoids continued to be available – as well as a lot of obviously sketchy hemp gummies and tinctures.

We got frustrated. Really frustrated. So we approached CBD Oracle, a reputable hemp industry publication. We recapped our situation as an Amazon seller and highlighted several hemp products on Amazon that were both questionable and appeared to be selling like hotcakes. CBD Oracle started poking around, then went deep. After months of research and third-party tests of 56 Amazon “hemp” products, they just published their report:  Liars Ruling the Roost: Lab Testing Reveals the Reality Behind Amazon’s Hemp Market

The results are shocking, but probably not surprising: Amazon is raking in tens of millions of dollars each year on their cut of fake and misleading hemp products. To rephrase that: consumers are shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars each year on fake and misleading hemp products through Amazon.

Let’s pause to say that we believe it is still possible to buy quality supplements of all kinds (vitamins, creams, herbs, etc.) on Amazon – if you know what to look for. We wrote a blog on it, check out 3 Quick Tips: How to Safely Purchase Supplements & Wellness Products on Amazon

If you care about the hemp industry, consumer safety, or Amazon’s massive influence (or you just enjoy a good scandal), please take a few minutes to read through the CBD Oracle article.

Here is the brief summary with disturbing statistics uncovered by CBD Oracle. Note: Forge Hemp products were not available on Amazon at the time and not included in the study.

  • Amazon policy explicitly forbids CBD, unless it’s a topical CBD product specifically approved by Amazon.

  • We purchased 56 of the most popular hemp products on Amazon and sent them to InfiniteCAL Labs for testing.

  • 30% of products tested were confirmed to contain CBD by lab testing.

  • 11% of products tested positive for THC, including three containing delta-8 THC at potencies of up to 76 mg per gummy.

  • 62.5% of products tested had no cannabinoids at all, and gas chromatography testing shows that 43% don’t contain any hemp at all.

  • 96% of products did not provide an accurate dosage.

  • Safety testing of 5 products for pesticides, solvents, mycotoxins, microbials, heavy metals and foreign matter revealed no issues.

  • Products regularly advertised absurd dosages that ranged from simply inaccurate to physically impossible. For example, advertising 7.7 pounds of “hemp” in a 0.8 pound container.

  • 52% of product pages made an unapproved medical claim about their products.

  • 95% of products do not include a certificate of lab analysis (COA), and none of the ones we found were available via Amazon.

  • 89% of products came from manufacturers that did not respond to inquiries via phone or email.

  • About half of the products did not have reliable customer reviews, had suspicious spikes or declines in the number of reviews, or were rated untrustworthy by Mozilla’s FakeSpot.

  • Sellers with experience working with Amazon report that enforcement is inconsistent and complain about less honest companies benefiting from the current system.

  • CBD Oracle reported several cases of flagrant false advertising to Amazon but the products still remain on the storefront.

  • We identified 28 products whose listings appear to violate the INFORM Consumers Act.

  • CBD Oracle reported all products making medical claims to the FDA, and all breaches of the INFORM Consumers Act to the FTC.

  • Amazon could get over $1.3 million in fines from INFORM Consumers Act violations.

  • We estimate the value of Amazon’s hemp market at $64 million per year, although it could be even higher than this.

Why does any of this matter? Amazon sells cheap knock-offs, is that news? Yes. Here’s what bothers us most: Many thousands of people spent money on these “hemp” products expecting something, and they were likely disappointed. How many of those people now believe hemp products are bogus? Consumers are being defrauded and the legitimate hemp industry is being defrauded. It’s sad and can be corrected by Amazon: either allow verified hemp products on the platform, or shut it all down. This is now a personal crusade, and CBD Oracle’s report isn’t the end.

Questions? Please contact us any time at info@forgehemp.com or 1-877-33-HEMP9 during business hours (Denver/Mountain Time).

Thanks again to the whole Forge Fam, you’re why we do this. And our deep gratitude to CBD Oracle for their exceptional in-depth reporting on this, and other very important topics.
Kelly + Team Forge

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