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Insufficient warning on pot leads to lawsuit

Marijuana legalization has been a hot-button topic for several years. Advocates suggest that commercializing it would help remove the stigma and danger associated with the drug. However, a recent lawsuit against one of the largest marijuana growers in the nation may show consumers that making pot legal doesn't necessarily make it safe.

Two marijuana users have filed a class-action lawsuit against a company called LivWell for a product they say contained potentially harmful chemicals. The individuals claim that the marijuana they purchased was treated with the toxic pesticide Eagle 20. According to lawsuit documents, the pesticide used on LivWell products releases hydrogen cyanide gas when heated. This gas is considered extremely dangerous and should not be inhaled.

Federal law does not allow pesticides to be used on commercially grown marijuana since under federal law it is an illegal crop. However, the state's agricultural officials have drafted a list of approved chemicals for commercial marijuana, and Eagle 20 is not on it. While LivWell's use of an unapproved pesticide may be enough to show liability, the lawsuit is claiming LivWell did not sufficiently warn consumers of the potential risk smoking Eagle 20-treated marijuana carried.

This is the first lawsuit filed against a marijuana grower. However, with many states considering its legalization, this lawsuit will likely not be the last. Although this case is playing out in Denver where marijuana has been legal for recreational use since 2012, other states considering it like New York, may see similar problems.

Marijuana growers are not held to the same scrutiny and quality control as other agricultural entities. For this reason, consumers of pot products may not have the same protection awarded to them as consumers of legal products. However, any time a product is potentially harmful there may be grounds for a products liability case. Speaking to an attorney may help individuals that have been injured.

Source: Denver Post, "Colorado's largest pot grower sued by two consumers over pesticide use," David Migoya & Ricardo Baca, Oct. 5, 2015

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