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Too Much or Too Little

An Oregon cannabis company gets fined for allegedly mislabeling its products

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Oregon Cannabis and CBD products company Cura has been in the news recently, for allegedly recurring and escalating "truth in labeling" issues.

The OLCC has accused Cura of producing products which contained unlisted ingredients, of producing products not containing the listed amount of THC, of producing products containing THC which should not have any, and most recently, of producing a high-THC product which contained zero THC. 

ELSA OLOFSSON/UNSPLASH
  • Elsa Olofsson/Unsplash

Like a weed dealer who places a thumb on the scale, Cura was called out as early as February 2019, when they reportedly produced 186,152 vape cartridges sold without listing they contained "botanically derived terpenes and/or medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil as an ingredient." This information is at odds with Cura's Instagram posts which claimed "'flagship Select Elite uses only cannabis distillate and cannabis terpenes." 

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission hit Cura with a record fine of $110,000— $100,000 for misleading labeling, and $10,000 for "dishonest conduct," not an enviable distinction for Oregon's biggest cannabis company. 

In September, Cura agreed to a proposed settlement establishing a $500,000 fund, which would pay out up to $200 per individual who purchased one of the 186,000+ products. Those who purchased vaporizer cartridges from the Select brand may be eligible for some of that money. Details have not yet been released regarding how one applies, nor how one submits proof of purchase, as dispensary sales at the time were overwhelmingly cash-only.

The ongoing second class action lawsuit is for $10 million, filed in July 2020 by Brian Blackford, alleging that Select Elite cartridges were tested by an independent lab and contained 55% THC, not the 76.9% the label stated. That's 550 mg of THC delivered on a 769 mg promise. We will assume this error was made by men, who often exaggerate measurements. 

Last month, the OLCC issued a two-part recall for some of Cura's products.  

It started with a batch of 700 bottles of Select CBD Broad Spectrum tincture, each with a listed amount of 1000 mg of CBD sourced from hemp, and labeled as having "<LOQmg"of THC." A change in label laws by the OLCC in 2020 now requires producers to use this acronym for "Limits of Quantification" instead of zero. This recognizes there may be miniscule amounts of a substance, in this case THC. 

But when announcing the recall of the 500 bottles sold and 200 bottles remaining in stock, the OLCC said that the actual amount of THC in the product may "impair unsuspecting consumers," with a product inspector stating "For someone unfamiliar (with THC), it could be overwhelming."

It was extremely overwhelming for "Brady," a woman who spoke with the Portland Business Journal about using a bottle of the tincture.

"I woke up in a complete paranoid panic. I didn't know what was going on," she told the Journal. "I had never experienced anything like that before. I thought I was insane and was having a psychotic breakdown. I was up the entire night. I almost called 911. I honestly thought I'd gone crazy."

We've all been there, Brady. 

She told the Journal she's a "regular CBD user who...found (it) helps her relax and sleep" and that, "she avoided marijuana products specifically because THC had a tendency to make her anxious and paranoid."

For something without any THC, perhaps try a bottle of Cura's Select THC Drops, with a listed 1000 mg of THC. Wait, what? Well, about that 1000 mg...

The OLCC tested a batch produced in May and found it contained no detectable level of THC. Some 630 bottles were sold, leaving hundreds of+ very disappointed and unstoned buyers. The OLCC has expanded the initial recall to include the (THC free) THC drops, with label ID 1354 and Unique Identification number 1A401030002C0B1000002311.

No word if Cura has plans to compensate buyers who purchased either product, or hire staff who can discern which bottle gets the THC, and which bottle does not. Stay tuned.

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