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Medical Cannabis Businesses In Arkansas Sued For Inflating THC Levels


By Joana Scopel

Three Arkansas residents have deposit a federal lawsuit against four licensed medical marijuana companies operating in the state, accusing them of altering THC levels on the labels of cannabis products they sell to medical cannabis users.

“Each plaintiff is filing this complaint to assert federal laws prohibiting the cultivation and sale of marijuana and their rights under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act. Each plaintiff suffers from “chronic pain and was prescribed medical marijuana by a physician,” reads the Plumlee et al. vs. Steep Hill Inc. et al. court case.

Photo by PhotoAlto/Katarina Sundelin/Getty Images

Among the companies being sued are Bold, Osage Cultivation, Natural State Medicinal and primarily Steep Hill Arkansas by Steep Hill Inc. lawsuit.

“We have noticed over time that some marijuana is more potent than others, despite being labeled with similar amounts of THC,” said Don Plumlee, Jakie Hanan and Pete Edwards, who are the plaintiffs. “RICO is working with Steep Hill Arkansas, to generate labels with higher THC results (…) Defendants used phone, email or other means of communication to take action in support of their efforts to illegally sell marijuana that had been mislabeled hundreds of times,” the plaintiffs alleged.

“The RICO defendants together formed an open-ended partnership business for the purpose of growing marijuana in Arkansas and selling it to dispensaries in Arkansas for purchase by plaintiff,” the lawsuit continued. “To this end, they have pooled their resources, knowledge, skills and labor to achieve, through enterprise, efficiencies in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana that none of them could not have achieved individually.”

Further, the plaintiffs’ argument added that “if higher THC levels equal higher sales, then a concerted effort to mark those THC levels on certificates of analysis will lead to consistently higher sales.”

The plaintiffs even argued that this type of activity in the state’s medical cannabis market would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) when the CSA declared that “the large-scale manufacture and distribution of marijuana is a serious crime”.

cannabis flower
Photo by Yarygin/Getty Images

What do scientists say about the effects of THC?

According to a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, CBD may minimize some of the negative effects of THC on the brain. “THC is the primary psychoactive, addictive, and psychotomimetic compound, while CBD may have opposite effects,” the study reads.

“Cannabis is a very popular recreational drug and is also beginning to be used medicinally for some purposes, but we still don’t know much about how the different cannabinoids affect the brain,” said Matt Wall, the study’s author, and senior imaging scientist at Invicro.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been republished with permission.



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