Bhang Corp. oversold THC and CBD levels, says new class action

Holy Smokes!

Last summer we marveled over the mainstreaming of cannabis-derived products. The fact that Curaleaf, an online retailer of personal care products derived from cannabidiol (CBD), was locked in a branding and labeling dispute with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was a sign of the times: The cannabis industry had arrived, with its own quotidian regulatory concerns that might preoccupy any run-of-the-mill peddler of dietary supplements.

More confirmation has arrived, however. A new lawsuit against Nevada’s Bhang Corporation – a manufacturer of a wide variety of CBD-related products – drives the point home.

One of Bhang’s product lines comprises cannabis-infused chocolate bars that sound quite delicious (“rich dark chocolate studded with crunchy honey toffee and sprinkled with smoked sea salt”). The company also adds a contemporary artisanal flair: “The Dark Chocolate Bar was crafted by a master chocolatier with 25+ years of experience making gourmet dark chocolate for discriminating retail outlets…”

Totally mainstream.

But here’s the kicker: While Bhang got a warning letter from the FDA for making verboten advertising claims, the current suit is a class action that alleges that Bhang doesn’t contain enough tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or CBD in its products.

If, like many of us, you grew up in an age of illegal, stigmatized pot, this dispute is just a little bit mind-blowing.

The Takeaway

The suit, filed by Charles Ballard in the Central District of California in the waning days of 2019, alleges that Bhang peddled its chocolates based on “false statements, representations, and warranties.” “Defendants’ claims and representations regarding the Bhang Products’ supposed THC and/or CBD content are false and are likely to deceive the reasonable consumer,” the complaint reads, “in that the Bhang Products contain substantially less than the amount of THC and/or CBD represented by Defendants.”

Ballard and his proposed class seek redress for unfair, fraudulent business acts and false advertising under the California Business & Professions Code, along with breach of express and implied warranty, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.