Cannabis MSO Curaleaf is slammed with more Oregon lawsuits over THC-CBD discrepancies

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Cannabis multistate operator (MSO) Curaleaf has been slammed with four federal lawsuits related to a product-labeling mixup in Oregon, which is one of 23 U.S. states where the business maintains a presence. 

Based on details of the lawsuit, the company falsely labeled hundreds of CBD wellness drops featured in its Select range. Consequently, this resulted in consumers unknowingly loading up on the psychoactive cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) instead of the non-psychoactive compound CBD (cannabidiol).

It was on February 20 of this year that the cannabis MSO finalized the acquisition of Portland-headquartered Cura Cannabis, which previously claimed ownership of the Select brand. Considering the importance of robust quality assurance in the cannabis industry, the seriousness of Curaleaf’s product potency mix-up cannot be ignored.

According to a spokeswoman for Curaleaf, the mix-up occurred due to “an unintentional human error at our facility that resulted in the production of a batch of CBD drops, which is actually THC -Drops and vice versa ”. 

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission  (OLCC) declared an expanded product recall on September 24. Members of the commission announced that a total of 13 people had reportedly consumed the mislabeled drops. Litigation has not been commented on by the Massachusetts-based company.

Lawsuits suggest that three people were hospitalized after consuming Curaleaf’s products

Between September 29 and October 6, a number of lawsuits were filed by customers who had unintentionally consumed THC from Curaleaf’s Select product range. Alarmingly, three people were admitted to hospital emergency rooms after experiencing unwanted side effects from the THC-tainted CBD drops.

One such example was an incident involving an elderly male Curaleaf product consumer who suffered a stroke after ingesting the potent cannabinoid drops. Post-consumption, the elderly man was forced to receive unexpected surgery to get rid of a hematoma in his leg; doctors attributed the unnecessary removal of his hematoma to the fact that it may have been infected.

A number of the customers who claimed to have consumed drops from Curaleaf’s mislabeled bottles could have dosed up on more than 30 milligrams of THC.  Curaleaf swiftly issued an apology to the affected, before company officials told regulators and consumers who “brought this serious matter” to their attention that they were “grateful”.

“In response to this event, we are reviewing production practices and controls as a first step to improve quality assurance processes, and we are now conducting additional training courses with our production team that will continue on a regular basis,” said Curaleaf in his statement.

Curaleaf recalled THC and CBD-labeled products after potency mix-up

In response to the lawsuit, Curaleaf claimed that it had collaborated with Oregon regulators to retract the two batches under discussion. According to the company, both batches had been produced in May.

The lawsuit specifies that as many as 500 bottles of CBD-labeled drops consisting of heavy levels of the psychotropic cannabinoid THC were sold before the recall took place. In addition to this, 630 bottles of THC-labeled drops were enriched with CBD, but contained minimal traces of or no THC.

Oregon state law stipulates that cannabis products must first be tested. However, it’s important to note that the tests are always carried out before the packaging phase begins.

Moving forwards, state regulators are still investigating the issue. Fortunately for Curaleaf, the leading medical and wellness cannabis operator has been given the green light to continue carrying out business duties as normal across Oregon; according to a report by the Oregonian.

All of the four lawsuits filed against Curaleaf were submitted by the same attorney in Portland’s U.S. District Court. The plaintiffs are pursuing punitive damages amounting to one percent of the company’s net worth  Curaleaf’s market cap is estimated to be around $10 billion.