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article imageLawsuit against medical pot producer, Organigram to go forward

By Karen Graham     Jan 22, 2019 in Business
Moncton - A class-action lawsuit against a Moncton-based medical cannabis producer has been given the green light to proceed to trial, according to Halifax-based law firm Wagners.
A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge released a decision on Jan. 18 to certify the action against OrganiGram Inc., located in Moncton, New Brunswick, and its parent company Organigram Holdings Inc., according to New Cannabis Ventures.
The class-action lawsuit stems from two different recalls of medical cannabis Organigram made, one in late 2016 and the other in early 2017. Both recalls covered cannabis produced between February 1 and December 16, 2016.
The recalled products are alleged to have tested positive for myclobutanil and/or bifenazate, which are both unauthorized pesticides. Myclobutanil is a triazole chemical used as a fungicide. Myclobutanil is banned in Canada, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon for the production of medical and recreational marijuana.
Despite the Canadian ban, myclobutanil was discovered in a medical marijuana product recalled by Mettrum Ltd., a Toronto-based medical marijuana company, in December 2016, according to the Globe and Mail.
A pesticide is being used on citrus fruits.
A pesticide is being used on citrus fruits.
Photo by USDA
The pesticide is not approved for use on plants that are combusted, such as tobacco or cannabis, and is known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated.
Bifenazate is an acaricide chemical that is used in the control of spider mites in greenhouses. This has led to its application by medical marijuana growers too, even though bifenazate is not registered for use on cannabis. Its use by medical marijuana users who already have health issues is not recommended. Therefore, analytical screening methods for bifenazate in marijuana are necessary to assure that patients are receiving a high-quality medicine.
According to The Growth Op, Organigram said in a statement today that it is reviewing the court’s decision to determine whether it will appeal, and it intends to vigorously defend itself against the class action.
Pesticides are being banned in some countries
Pesticides are being banned in some countries
File photo: Peter Organisciak
Organigram also pointed out that the lawsuit also deals with the reimbursement of funds paid for the pot purchased in 2016 - but it has already voluntarily refunded many customers money.
There are also allegations of adverse health effects caused by the allegedly contaminated cannabis products. The court is leaving it up to individuals to prove the alleged pesticides can cause illnesses. Health Canada issued the following clarification on myclobutanil and cannabis, on March 9, 2017: “Here are the facts. When the cannabis plant is combusted, a number of compounds are produced, including very low amounts of hydrogen cyanide. Health Canada’s analysis of the recalled cannabis products show that the trace levels of myclobutanil that were present would have produced a negligible amount of additional hydrogen cyanide upon combustion, in comparison to the levels already produced by marijuana alone. Specifically, the level of cyanide from the burning of myclobutanil found on the cannabis samples is more than 1000 times less than the cyanide in cannabis smoke alone, and is 500 times below the acceptable level established by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. As such, the risk of serious adverse health consequences resulting from the inhalation of combusted myclobutanil in the recalled cannabis products was determined by Health Canada to be low.”
More about organigram, Lawsuit, unauthorized pesticides, Medical cannabis, Nova Scotia
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