Category Archives: Controversy

Consumer Lawsuit Filed Against Legal Marijuana Grower

LivWell, Inc. - Denver, Colorado - Eagle 20 LawsuitIn October of 2015, the cannabis industry had its first legal setback that was not relating to the question of legalization, as many previous marijuana lawsuits. The setback relates to the industry’s first cannabis product liability lawsuit filed in Colorado. The lawsuit challenges the production process of the cannabis industry, specifically regarding certain manufacturing procedures.

What’s the Issue?
In Flores v. LivWell, Inc., the plaintiffs allege that the fungicide Eagle 20 was “intentionally applied” to thousands of marijuana plants at a Denver facility. Brandon Flores and Brandie Larrabee, the two marijuana smokers who brought up the lawsuit, are seeking class-action status against LiveWell Inc, one of the largest legal cannabis growers in the state.

The plaintiffs argue that LivWell failed to adequately warm medicinal and recreational cannabis users about the dangers associated with a fungicide used in the manufacturing process. Neither plaintiff alleges they were sickened in any way from marijuana produced by LivWell.

Both plaintiffs are suing for damages, including economic damages because they feel the marketing of the product was misleading, and their health was endangered. They claim they would not have purchased the product if they had been warned it was sprayed with Eagle 20 and they claim to have overspent to buy marijuana.

What is Eagle 20?
Eagle 20 is a commonly used fungicide meant to kill mites and pests that flock to crops. It allegedly contains a chemical known as Myclobutanil, which when heated, breaks down into hydrogen cyanide, a dangerous poison.

Due to this reaction, Eagle 20 is approved for vegetation that is not inhaled, however it is not approved for plants like tobacco because of the toxic fumes created when it is burned. There is no federal law that specifically allows on pesticides on marijuana, since marijuana is still considered an illegal drug at the federal level.

Colorado Department of Health Steps In
After it was revealed in 2015 that LivWell might have allegedly used Eagle 20, the Colorado Department of Health placed a hold on thousands of marijuana plants. Some estimates claim that up to 60,000 plants were held. With the legal status of hold being murky at best, Livwell quickly claimed that there was no legitimate legal reason for the hold.

The hold was eventually lifted after the plants were tested and found to be well within the state’s acceptable limit for vegetation. However, the plaintiffs argue that the plants would not have tested within the limits for tobacco and other plants that are most likely to be inhaled.

What’s Next?
This lawsuit is currently pending and expected to go through court relatively fast. LivWell has denied all claims made by the plaintiffs and the company continues to see continued growth in many new markets.

The Cannabis industry is hoping to have this first setback cleared up as soon as possible; however, some companies and individuals in the industry are worried that this lawsuit could open the floodgates for future lawsuits, especially as more states legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. No other state lawsuits have been filed yet to this date, so it doesn’t appear like anything major is going to set the industry back for at least the near future.

**UPDATE**

Judge Tosses Lawsuit
Denver District Judge J. Eric Eliff dismissed the lawsuit stating that consumers behind the case were not actually harmed; they purchased the marijuana and used it without repercussion.

French Drug Trial Results: One Brain Dead, Five Critical

Volunteers stayed at Biotrial Clinic during the drug test trial.

Volunteers stayed at Biotrial Clinic during the drug test trial.

A total of 128 volunteers took part in a clinical drug trial to test a painkiller by Bial, a Portuguese pharmaceutical company. The drug was intended to treat anxiety and motor disorders by working on the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system, which deals with pain. The trial was carried out by the Biotrial clinic in Rennes, France, a 150-bed research unit. Reports early on said that the drug was related to cannabis, but French Health Minister Marisol Touraine stated it does not contain cannabis or cannabis extracts.

The drug in question, code named BIA 10-2474, is an inhibitor of an enzyme called fatty acid amide hydrolase, or FAAH. The theory is that a drug blocking FAAH would allow naturally occurring anandamide (an endocannabinoid) to accumulate and act on cannabinoid receptors in a manner that wouldn’t manifest the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

The drug test subjects were between the ages of 18 to 55 and considered healthy. Ninety people were given different level dosages of the drug and the rest received the placebo. The Phase 1 test began on January 7, 2016. A Phase 1 drug trial is the first time an experimental drug is given to humans after a series of exhaustive laboratory and animal studies.

It appears that important details on the drug in question, including in-vitro and animal studies, are lacking. At the time of this news release, PubMed lists no publications of any type from Bial on any FAAH inhibitor.

All trials have now been suspended and volunteers recalled after the French healthy ministry confirmed that six male patients aged 28 to 49 had been healthy until taking the oral medication. One fell ill and the other five followed soon after to the hospital.

Pierre-Gilles Edan, head of the neurology department of a hospital in Rennes, stated that, “one man is brain dead, three others are suffering a handicap that could be irreversible and another had neurological problems.” The sixth volunteer has no symptoms, but is being closely monitored to make sure there are no brain injury signs that arise.

Some have speculated there may have been a drug impurity issue. This drug calls for an additional purification step to remove the “N-acetylated aniline impurity.” If this is not done properly, aniline can change hemoglobin to methemoglobin and impair oxygen delivery to tissues – resulting in acute aniline poisoning.

The French health ministry stated they sent agents to the trial clinic immediately following the announcement to determine if all of the rules were adhered to during the testing and also if the facility was sanitary.

Indiana Governor Sparks Major Controversy Over New Law Allowing Businesses to Refuse Services to the LGBT Community

Indiana Governor, Mike Pence made his mark on the history books this past Thursday when he signed into law a controversial bill that would allow businesses and other professional entities to refuse service to gay and lesbians on the grounds of religious beliefs.  The new law makes Indiana the first state in the country to enact such a change and once signed, immediately seemed to draw a line down the middle of the nation pitting LGBT civil rights on one side and the right to religious freedom on the other side.

 

The issue has sparked extensive debates with people supporting both sides of the issue.  Comments have been flooding in from a number of different industries weighing in with their personal viewpoint on the controversy.  While the issue remains to be an Indiana one, people from all over the country are paying keen interest to the developments as they fully expect the issue to spread across the country like a wildfire.  In order for us to get a full grasp of the growing debate behind the heated arguments, it is necessary for us to get a full understanding of what’s involved with the new law and how it will impact everyone when it goes into effect.

 

Understanding the New Law

 

The new law, supported by the proponents of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, holds the position that the state government would not be permitted to compel its citizens to act in ways that would be contrary to their religious beliefs.  Many argue that the new law is no different than many other state laws already passed without controversy and that the language reflects the same argument as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law in 1993 by then Illinois Senator, Barack Obama.  However, there are others that point out that Indiana’s new law has some glaring differences that many are failing to recognize.

The most prominent difference they point out is in Section 9 where it defines a “person” as not just a single individual but could also be an organization, partnership, LLC, corporation, company, firm, church, religious society, or any other entity.  This “person” could claim his religious rights are violated if he or she is forced to conduct business or other interactions with the lesbian and gay community by simply claiming the action to be a burden; therefore giving them the right to refuse services.

They point out that every other act that supports religious freedom places the individual citizen against businesses and organizations.  By Section 9 including these professional entities as individuals, they claim that it changes the whole landscape of the law.  In addition, the new Indiana law is the only legislation to date that incorporates disputes that can also arise between private citizens.  Many feel that this will cause a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding.  As Indiana trial lawyer, Matt Anderson points out, the new law is…

“more broadly written than its federal and state predecessors” and opens up “the path of least resistance among its species to have a court adjudicate it in a manner that could ultimately be used to discriminate…”

In short, many legal professionals feel that the language is so broadly written it can apply to just about any individual or entity and leave the door open to a host of scenarios where the freedom to discriminate against the gay community is legally protected.

 

Those Weighing in on the Subject

 

Clearly, the issue is one that is not going to go away any time soon.  As the word continues to spread, more and more people are weighing in on the subject from celebrities, to landlords, small businesses, large corporations, and everything in between.  The fear is that those who plan to stand on their rights of religious freedom will find ways to refuse service to the Gay community.

LGBT advocate, George Takei commented and encouraged his followers to boycott the states gaming convention.

Adrian Swartout, owner of Gen Con LLC, along with other business owners are considering refusing to conduct any business in Indiana.

Cyd Zeiegler of Outsports.com, also pointed out that the National Football League is contemplating preventing the city from hosting any Super Bowls games in the future.

Even officials from other states are weighing in and giving their viewpoint about the potential impact of the new bill.  Some even calling it “legally sanctioned discrimination.” Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco commented that his city would no longer pay for employees to travel to Indiana for any business that is “not absolutely essential to health and safety.”

 

And Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook has taken a stand against the new Indiana legislation stating that the new laws are “very dangerous and contrary to America’s founding principles.”

 

The Challenges

It is obvious that the uprising of opposition against Indiana’s new law will be in debate for quite some time.  It basically pits two separate civil rights groups against each other and forces the law to determine which side’s rights should have precedence.  The issues raised on this particular topic will clearly be far reaching over the coming months as more issues come to the fore.

As of now, Pence is holding firm on his position, citing the controversy that arose of President Obama’s health care bill when it was first signed into law.  It immediately sparked a lawsuit from Hobby Lobby, which claimed that being forced to use employee health plans to cover birth control was also an infringement on their religious freedom.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Indiana and the other 18 states that have similar acts on their books waiting to be signed.  Obviously, the controversy over gay rights did not start with this new law nor will it be resolved here either.

For Pence, however, the issue could ring a death knell for his possible presidential bid he has been contemplating. As the nation continues to take sides on the issue, his position for the time, seems to be looking just a bit bleak as a result of his decision to enact this new law.