Using Old Legislative Frameworks to Regulate Alternative Meat Product Labeling

aFor  variety of reasons–among them, economic efficiencies, environmental concerns, dietary health, and expanding access–the plant-based and cellular-grown foods industry is growing at a rapid rate. This fast expansion of a new kind of alternative food, however, has triggered concerns about how it is marketed and labeled for consumption. By the end of 2019, at least half of U.S. states introduced legislation addressing labeling of plant-based or cell-grown foods, with a particular focus on meat. Two states with the most recent legislative developments demonstrating the hesitation…
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The Shifting Landscape of Marijuana Law

Trial attorneys are somewhat like first responders, meaning that it is frequently only after a lawsuit has been filed and litigated that lawmakers step in to enact statutes and regulations governing the subject activity or conduct. This is apparent in the nascent cannabis industry. A prime example is the recent line of cases dealing with competing land use rights of marijuana growers and their neighbors. In Momtazi Family, LLC v. Wagner, Et Al.[i],  pending in the Eastern District of Oregon, the parties are…
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A Deep(er) Dive into Allegations Brought Against CBD Companies: Part II

In our last article, we discussed the potential for litigation faced by CBD companies and analyzed a court’s handling of claims regarding fraudulent inducement. Today, we turn to that scary claim of RICO, or the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. For most, this term conjures images of mafia prosecutions. The federal government trying to bring down organized crime with wiretaps and FBI agents raiding social clubs as depicted in various movies. However, the RICO statute is also applied in civil litigation. We will address…
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A Deep(er) Dive into Allegations Brought Against CBD Companies: Part I

With the continued growth of the cannabis industry, we have seen a growing prevalence of litigation across various venues and with varied claims. We previously discussed the potential for products liability class actions related to the vaping crisis as well as conducted a topical exam of potential litigation that could face the section of the industry focused on CBD. This is illustrated when taking a deeper dive into the claims being brought against those creating, manufacturing and distributing hemp-derived CBD products. If you are operating…
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CBD, THC, and the Hazy Boundaries of Product Labeling in the Cannabis Industry

Cannabis is a dynamic plant with tens of thousands of known applications, from clothing and paper to food and medicine. While cannabis has been cultivated for many purposes over thousands of years, much of the recent attention has been on the chemical compounds that are predominant within certain species of the genus, most notably Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Of course, THC is known for producing the high that users experience when they smoke cannabis. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce a high…
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Big Cannabis, Priority Applicants, and Social Equity in the Budding Marijuana Industry

The city of Cambridge, Massachusetts recently passed an ordinance prohibiting existing medical marijuana dispensaries from engaging in the sale of recreational marijuana for two years.[1] Specifically, the ordinance gives priority to economic empowerment applicants, defined under the state’s Cannabis Control Commission as businesses that are owned by, serve, or reside in areas disproportionately impacted by high amounts of drug-related arrests, including businesses owned by individuals of Black, African American, Hispanic, and Latino descent.[2] For the first two years after the Cambridge ordinance’s enactment,…
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Cannabis Litigation: Where Are We Headed and What Have We Seen to Date

The cannabis industry is booming, including CBD companies, vaping companies, THC products, oils, hemp producers, manufacturers and so on. By all estimates, overall sales within the legalized United States cannabis industry are expected to reach $13.6 billion by the end 2019. That’s a 32 percent increase over 2018 totals that reached $10.3 billion. Total sales are expected to reach approximately $30 billion by 2025. So what does that mean? In addition to helping the industry continue transitioning into “normal” commerce, the amount of money being…
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FDA and FTC Continue to Warn CBD Companies about Unlawful Marketing Claims

Last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), issued a warning letter to Rooted Apothecary, LLC in Florida for unlawfully marketing products containing cannabidiol (CBD). The warning letter specifically addresses unsubstantiated claims that the company’s products treat teething pain, ear aches in infants, autism, attention deficit disorders, and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the FDA’s promises to explore potential pathways for the lawful marketing of various CBD products, it has yet to publish any specific…
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Where There’s Smoke, There’s … a Bonfire? Update on E-Cigarette and THC Vaping Related Illnesses

Previously on Life Science Matters, we discussed what appeared to be the sudden outbreak of vaping-related hospitalizations and illnesses sweeping across the country. Since that article, cases involving injuries to lungs associated with vaping products have been reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and one United States territory. To date, 28 people have died across 21 states. More than 1,250 cases of vaping-related illnesses have been reported. Every patient involved reported a history of using…
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Kenney v. Helix TCS, Inc.: Leveling the Playing Field in the Marijuana Industry and Beyond

Are employers in the marijuana industry excused from complying with federal law because their business practices are federally prohibited? In the recent case of Robert Kenney v. Helix TCS, Inc.[i], the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit answered that question with an unequivocal “no.” The plaintiff in that case, Robert Kenney, was a former security guard for the defendant, Helix TCS, Inc., a private company that provides security services to businesses in Colorado’s state-sanctioned marijuana industry. Kenney alleged that he…
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