Marijuana retailing giant Curaleaf has agreed to a $130,000 fine and a 23-day suspension to resolve state regulators’ investigation into the company’s manufacturing blunder last summer.
A Curaleaf bottling plant in Portland mixed up drops of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, with CBD wellness drops. Made from hemp, CBD is widely available in grocery stores and doesn’t usually include the ingredient that gives users a high.
The Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission says Massachusetts-based Curaleaf shipped 1,500 mislabeled drops under the brand name Select, many of which it recalled at the state’s direction. But many of the bottles reached consumers, and several customers reported alarming symptoms after consuming what they believed were benign CBD drops.
The drops actually contained a jumbo dose of THC, several times what recreational marijuana users typically consume. At least five people reported going to the hospital with serious health issues.
Oregon regulators originally proposed slapping Curaleaf with a 70-day suspension and record $200,000 fine. Curaleaf challenged the penalty and the regulatory ultimately agreed to reduce the penalty to $130,000 with a 23-day suspension.
Regulatory staff credited Curaleaf with “extraordinary cooperation” and said the company demonstrated its violations weren’t intentional or persistent. Curaleaf can reduce its suspension by 11 days if it pays an additional $2,750 civil penalty
“This is pocket change” to Curaleaf, Portland attorney Michael Fuller wrote in an email Tuesday. Fuller brought 11 lawsuits against the company on behalf of people who bought the mislabeled CBD drops. Ten have settled.