A class-action suit for mislabeling of packaging filed in a Calgary court targets some of the biggest names in the Canadian cannabis market. Tilray, Aurora Cannabis, Aleafia Health, Hexo Corp., Cronos Group, Organigram Holdings, MediPharm Labs Corp. and its various subsidiaries and brands are named as defendants in documents filed in the Alberta Court of the Queen’s Bench.
In the claim statement dated June 16, 2020, plaintiff Lisa Marie Langevin of Calgary, Alberta alleged that the named companies sold cannabis products to consumers and patients “with THC or CBD levels that were drastically different from the amount stated on the label . “
Health Canada regulations allow cannabinoid levels to vary by 15% from the manufacturer’s information on product labels. In other words, the actual effectiveness of a product must be between 85% and 115% of the values stated on the label. In the lawsuit, Langevin’s attorney stated that an independent laboratory review of the defendants’ products should show efficacy between 52% and 119% of the advertised products.
(At the time of going to press, Organigram declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing current lawsuits, and the other named defendants did not respond to a request for comment.)
In the filing, Langevin claims to have purchased a 30ml bottle of cannabis tincture on February 13, 2020, made by a Tilray subsidiary. The product contained 10.4 milligrams of THC per milliliter (10.4 mg / ml) and included the packaging date (February 3, 2019) but did not include an expiration date. After Langevin followed the recommended dosage of the budtender to avoid “greening”, he said he had not experienced any psychotropic effects. After Langevin increased the dosage slightly five more times without success, he reportedly asked a friend, Dr. Darren Clark, a doctor of neuroscience familiar with cannabis, after the problem. After Clark had tried the product and felt no effect either, he tapped Dr. Shaun Mesher, a biochemist. Further laboratory analysis by Mesher showed that the product had only 46% of the labeled amount of THC.
A second bottle with the same batch number (although with a packaging date of March 2, 2019) was tested, which found the product contained only 79% of the labeled THC, prompting Langevin and the doctors to add a wider range of products testing. You can find the results in the submission:
- A tincture from Edison Cannabis Co. (a brand of Organigramm) with an advertised THC potency of 10.4 mg / ml had 71% of the labeled amount;
- A tincture from Lift & Co. (another brand from Organigram) with an advertised THC potency of 19.89 mg / ml had 64% of the labeled amount;
- A Cove product (a brand of Cronos) with an advertised THC potency of 18 mg / ml had 118% of the labeled amount;
- A MediPharm Labs product with an advertised THC potency of 24.5 mg / ml had 119% of the labeled amount;
- An AgMedica Bioscience product with an advertised THC potency of 20.64 mg / ml had 54% of the labeled amount. (AgMedican Bioscience announced four days prior to filing a recall alert for its vertical pomegranate-blueberry and vertical lemon-lime beverages, following internal testing, “the amount of THC in the product may decrease over time. Therefore, it can that products contain less than the stated amount of THC, ”says the recommendation from June 12th.
- Aurora Sativa drops with an advertised THC potency of 24.7 mg / ml had 54% of the labeled amount;
- An Edison product with an advertised CBD potency of 9.69 mg / ml had 52% of the labeled amount.
In the filing, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants misled consumers about the effectiveness of their products and failed to ensure that these products were properly packaged, citing a study of American cannabis products stored in plastic containers containing cannabinoids “leach” into the plastic. It is alleged that this mislabeling is dangerously misleading consumers and patients about their own tolerance to cannabis products, which could lead them to take a larger dose with harmful results and wrongly manufacturers selling a “diluted” product enrich.
In addition to accounting for all of Defendants’ revenues since June 9, 2018 (more than four months prior to the start of adult sales in Canada), Langevin is filing on behalf of the Class for $ 500 million in damages, including $ 5 million in punitive damages against each of the defendants.