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MIRS: Suit Against Cannabis Regulators Allowed To Continue
A lawsuit alleging the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency violated a marijuana testing facility's rights when issuing a recall in November will move forward.
U.S. District Judge Paul MALONEY on Thursday ruled Virdis North's claim for a violation of substantive due process can move forward, but its other claims, including violation of the equal protection act and tortious interference with business relationships, cannot.
David RUSSELL, an attorney with Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith who represents the plaintiffs, said in a statement the decision allows Viridis to receive documents, discovery evidence and to conduct depositions to determine individual liability, if any, against CRA leadership and staff for their roles in the recall against cannabis tested by Virdis in Bay City.
"We applaud the Court for allowing this case to move forward so Viridis North can seek justice," he said. "This was clearly an ill-conceived recall based on politics, not science, and we intend to pursue all remedies in court.
"It’s high time for the state to admit responsibility for its actions and work in a collaborative way with Michigan’s leading cannabis testing lab to move forward," he added.
A CRA spokesperson declined to comment.
Virdis alleged the CRA, formerly the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, recalled its products to dilute its market share and in retaliation for Virdis' use of the grievance procedures following investigations.
Viridis says it has uncovered mounting evidence that CRA officials were "motivated by a clear intent to harm the company’s growing and successful testing business, rather than the health and safety of Michigan consumers."
"Our focus is on ensuring the safety of patients and adult-use cannabis consumers, and our experienced scientists and staff at Viridis have continued to provide the most reliable, consistent and accurate regulatory testing to the Michigan market," said Viridis CEO Greg MICHAUD. "We're hopeful this case will lead to necessary reforms to bring additional oversight, accountability and transparency to the CRA."
The facility initially sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in the Court of Claims, suing the CRA staff, Julie KLUYTMAN, Desmond MITCHELL, Claire PATTERSON, and Andrew BRISBO, who has since left the agency, in their individual capacities (See "Marijuana Safety Lab Wants Injunction Stopping Recall," 12/2/21).
The Court of Claims declined the request, but in December it stopped the recall as to Viridis North (See "Viridis Labs Gets Partial Victory In Challenge Against Marijuana Recall," 12/3/21).
In February, Viridis filed a suit in Ingham County Circuit Court, which was moved to federal court in March. The suit named the same individuals except Allyson CHIRIO was substituted for Brisbo.
Viridis alleged the recall impacted an estimated $229 million in cannabis products and created significant harm and disruption to the state’s cannabis industry. (See "State's Largest Marijuana Recall Dubbed 'Huge Issue,'" 11/19/21).
Ensuring Health and Safety Within The Cannabis Industry
Viridis Laboratories is the leading provider of cannabis testing in Michigan and uses the latest technology and scientific methods to help promote the health and safety of patients and adult-use consumers