The saga of Michigan’s moldy marijuana recall continues as the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s (MRA) request to reinstate a recall on contaminated products was denied by The Court of Claims on Monday, Dec. 20, MLive reported.
Attorneys for the Michigan regulatory body filed a court motion last week, urging the judge to reconsider his previous decision, disclosing that 26% of the retested marijuana, following the massive recall on Nov. 17, showed higher than allowable levels of yeast, mold, and aspergillus, potentially harmful to people suffering from lung diseases or with weakened immune systems.
Greg Michaud, CEO of Viridis Laboratories, said in a statement released following the MRA’s move that the motion is “yet another example of its lack of transparency and a clear attempt to harm our reputation without providing details or explanations to back them up.”
State-Wide Marijuana Recall
The regulatory body initially issued a recall of marijuana products last month that passed safety assessments at testing facilities over the last several months, nearly 70% of the state’s on-shelf cannabis products sold at more than 400 stores.
The MRA reported having detected “inaccurate and/or unreliable results” of all products — excluding inhalable concentrate products, such as live resin, distillate or vape carts — tested by Viridis Laboratories and Viridis North between Aug. 10 and Nov. 16.
According to the lawsuit filed against the MRA by the marijuana testing facility at the center of the debacle, the recall resulted in an estimated $229 million disruption in the industry.
The more than 200-page complaint filed in the Michigan Court of Claims argues that the MRA illegally shut down Viridis’s facilities and issued the recall despite experts stating that it was unwarranted to do so.
“The recall is the latest and most egregious action by the MRA in a prolonged campaign of harassment aimed at Viridis,” Viridis Laboratories’ attorney David Russell said back then.
Judge Partially Rules In Favor Of Viridis
However, in early December, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray partially ruled in favor of Viridis in a decision resulting in the testing laboratory winning half of its claim against state regulators.
Murray ruled that state marijuana regulators likely acted arbitrarily in ordering a recall against Viridis North in Bay City.
“Public safety concerns are one of the main purposes and duties of the MRA, and undoubtedly it believes the recall of both Viridis and Viridis North was necessary to protect the public,” the judge said in his 13-page opinion, adding that “when there is no evidence that Viridis North’s testing also fit into that category, the safety concerns are reduced.”
In the meantime, the regulatory agency’s scientific and legal section manager Claire Patterson testified on Dec. 2 that MRA had received 18 complaints from consumers or retail location reporting on behalf of customers claiming they experienced negative health effects after using the recalled product. The number of complaints which have been filed in the meantime climbed to 19.
“The email complaints that were provided to MLive via FOIA raise additional concerns,” Michaud said. “Interestingly, the MRA has delayed responding to our recent FOIA requests and continues to be unresponsive to many of our and others’ inquiries for additional information and further explanation, reinforcing our belief that this recall was motivated not by safety concerns but a retaliatory attack on a successful Michigan business.”