We’ve anticipated this for a while, but a recent lawsuit indicates that certain marijuana company mislabeling antics are getting called out, regarding false advertising. One recent lawsuit heralds a potential new wave of litigation.
The plaintiffs are two California consumers who sued a California marijuana company, DreamFields Brands, Inc. and Med for America for false advertising. Specifically, the Complaint states the plaintiffs purchase DreamFields’ “Jeeter” pre-rolled joints, which was advertised as one “that will get you to Mars quicker than Elon Musk.” The Complaint further goes on to indicate cannabis consumers generally prefer and are willing to pay more for high-THC cannabis products, so “declaring that [DreamFields’] products have a very high THC content allows Defendants to charge premium rates for their cannabis products.”
However, Plaintiffs allege that the product was mislabeled by indicating a higher THC content than it actually had in order to sell them at a higher price:
“Testing by independent labs reveals that the true THC content of Defendants’ products is materially less than the amount listed on the label. Moreover, the difference is far greater than the 10% margin of error that DCC regulations permit.”
Plaintiffs have alleged causes of action for unfair competition, false advertising, and negligent representation. They seek damages and restitution (essentially, reimbursement) for their losses.
Christin Cho, one of the lawyers representing Centeno and Wilson, told CNN that the plaintiffs claim DreamFields Brands is “overcharging consumers.” However, Jeeter’s statement to CNN wholly denies the allegations and states:
“We take pride in our compliance and commitment to state-mandated testing procedures, including independent, third-party testing. The product and our integrity (are) something we truly value as a company, and take all the proper and legal steps before our product hits the shelves.”
Reminder of the calculus
Stepping back, the Complaint is correct in indicating what the acceptable margin of error is prescribed by the DCC. For example, if the label states that a product is 30% THC, the product must have a THC content of 27%-33% THC. Anything below 27% is a violation of CA regulations and is considered to be mislabeled and runs the risk of a false advertising claim.
This is a good reminder to all those in the industry that regulatory bodies and consumers will continue to be watchdogs of these products (as they should). We’ll continue to monitor this highly contested case and report back on any developments.