A mix-up involving CBD and THC products sold in Oregon has so far led to nine lawsuits filed against Curaleaf Holdings. A tenth lawsuit involving a wrongful death complaint tied to the confusion of the two cannabis compounds is on its way.
Portland attorney Michael Fuller — who is representing all claimants in these suits — says his clients experienced confusion, dizziness, fear of death, and psychosis after they consumed a product that was mislabeled as a CBD-only tincture. In actuality, they unknowingly consumed a significant amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Fuller said one of his clients, Earl Jacobe, 78, of Christmas Valley, exhibited symptoms that doctors thought were consistent with a stroke after he and his wife consumed the mislabeled products in August. In the following weeks, Jacobe had to be flown to a hospital on two separate occasions.
Jacobe’s family believes the episode weakened his mental and physical health “to the point where he was essentially comatose and then succumbed to an unrelated COVID-19 disease several weeks later,” Fuller said.
Similar to Jacobe, Michael Lopez, 79, of Aloha, Oregon, experienced stroke-like symptoms, according to court documents. They say Lopez was taken by ambulance to an emergency room, where he experienced “unnecessary surgery, fear of death” and psychosis.
“We’re going to have individual trials for each person because each person’s experience and injuries are a little bit different,” Fuller said. “We’re going to try to settle as many as we can. See, a lot of my clients are elderly, in their late 70s; they have no interest in prolonged litigation.”
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission in September recalled hundreds of Select-brand CBD tinctures produced by Cura Cannabis Solutions because they contained “undisclosed levels of THC.” Days later, the agency recalled hundreds of Select-brand THC drops for not having any THC in them.
Portland-based Cura Cannabis CS was acquired in 2020 by Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings, which ranks as the world’s largest cannabis company by revenue. It’s listed on the Canadian stock exchange and has a market capitalization of around $8.4 billion.
A representative with Curaleaf Holdings wouldn’t comment on the litigation but provided a statement about the mislabeled products
“A team member confused two containers during the filling and packaging process, one containing CBD and one containing THC,” it reads. “This resulted in a single batch of CDB tincture being labeled as THC Drops and vice versa. The amount of THC was within the regulatory limit for a normal batch for our THC drops, but we understand that some customers may have consumed multiple doses.”
It says the company has implemented new controls to ensure such a mix-up doesn’t happen again, including increased training and camera monitoring.
“We have also added a new Quality Technician position to Oregon, and have removed the individual responsible for the error during the filling and packaging process,” it says.