Pushback… Viridis Laboratories files suit against Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency over cannabis recall

WLUC Michigan reports

Viridis Laboratories has filed a lawsuit against the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency over last week’s cannabis recall.

The complaint filed in the Michigan Court of Claims on Monday claimed that the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s recent recall of cannabis products tested by Viridis Laboratories was unjustified, prejudiced, and retaliatory.

“The recall is the latest and most egregious action by the MRA in a prolonged campaign of harassment aimed at Viridis,” said David Russell, an attorney with Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith, P.C. “Unfortunately, this latest effort by the MRA has caused huge disruption and chaos in the industry, harming small businesses and besmirching Viridis’ reputation with no basis in science.”

Kevin Blair, an attorney with Honigman, LLP, said that the recall was issued without a public health or safety risk.

“The MRA has disregarded industry experts, widely accepted scientific practices, caused disruption through its reckless and arbitrary decision-making, and ultimately put the patients and consumers it is charged with protecting at risk,” Blair said. “There is no public health or safety risk justifying the recall at all, and we respectfully request the Court to provide relief to Viridis and bring accountability and oversight to an agency that has far exceeded its authority.”

Key aspects of the filed complaint include:

  • The MRA violated state law and its own administrative rules by effectively shutting down both of Viridis’ labs (Viridis Lansing and Viridis Bay City) without following — and even repeatedly refusing to follow — well-established procedures that mandate licensees must have an opportunity to present their case to an administrative law judge. It appears the MRA has deliberately circumvented those well-established procedures in hopes of avoiding any oversight at all.
  • The MRA problematically involved Viridis’ competitors in its investigation, and refused calls that an independent third-party should be deployed.
  • The MRA knew the results of the competitors’ audit tests three weeks before it actually issued a recall raising real questions about the validity and urgency of the alleged public health risk.
  • Multiple respected national experts contacted the MRA and informed them that a recall was unwarranted and the MRA’s rationale was flawed, but the MRA insisted on issuing the recall anyway.
  • The MRA has continually moved the goalposts when Viridis has tried to rectify the situation.
  • The MRA’s recall is overbroad by including products tested by the Viridis Bay City laboratory, even though all products that allegedly failed retesting were tested at the separate Viridis Lansing facility.
  • The products that allegedly failed to retest concerned aspergillus, yet the MRA recall included all products tested by Viridis, even those that Viridis did not test for aspergillus.

The recall announced on Nov. 17 is the largest in state history and represents an estimated $229 million in cannabis products.

 

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