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64,000 Lb. Michigan Marijuana Recall: ‘Bureaucratic Abuse’?

Viridis, the largest Cannabis testing lab in Michigan, is accusing state regulators of a politically motivated attack

FOX 17

The largest Cannabis testing lab in Michigan is accusing state licensers of tarnishing their name. Viridis Laboratories described it as a politically motivated attack to “level the playing field,” according to a lawsuit filed Nov. 22. Viridis has operations in Lansing and in Bay City.

The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) issued a recall on about $229 million of marijuana tested by Viridis, reports MLive. MRA recalled the weed, tested between August 10 and November 16, on claims that lab results were inaccurate or unreliable.

The 64,000 pounds of marijuana in question is roughly 60 to 70% of the Cannabis flower in Michigan’s commercial market.

Viridis Says Recall Is ‘Unjustified’

Viridis said the “unjustified” recall caused an estimated $229 million disruption, reports Click On Detroit. The recall affected a majority of Michigan’s in-stock cannabis products at hundreds of dispensaries.

“There is no public health or safety risk justifying the recall at all, and we respectfully request the court to provide relief to Viridis and bring accountability and oversight to an agency that has far exceeded its authority,” attorney Kevin Blair said.

“By instituting the recall, the (MRA) achieved its desired goal,” states the lawsuit, filed in the state Court of Claims. “Among other things, the recall cast (Viridis) in a false, negative light with its customers, put significant financial strain on (Viridis) due to the enormous fiscal size, placed (Viridis) in the precarious position of potentially having to shutter their doors depending upon what occurs within the upcoming days, not even weeks or months.

“To make matters worse, the (MRA) has continued its improper vendetta against (Viridis) business operations by summarily restricting and effectively suspending their license to test cannabis products for microbial contamination, meaning Viridis cannot even retest the samples that are subject to the recall to mitigate the devastating economic effects the recall will have on its customers,” according to the lawsuit.

Marijuana Regulatory Agency Declines To Comment On Lawsuit

The MRA declined comment on the lawsuit. It also would not clarify if Viridis is barred from testing at this time. The agency has released few details about its investigation into Viridis or the recall.

The state last week told dealers to destroy the product, have it retested or send it back. They advise consumers should also return it if they have still have some. The test dates by Viridis were Aug. 10 to Nov. 16.

The recall doesn’t include inhalable Cannabis concentrates. Excluded are vape cartridges, live resin, distillates, and other concentrates created through residual solvent extractions, reports Fox 2 Detroit. According to the MRA, all other Cannabis products tested by Viridis are part of the recall. 

“Consumers with weakened immune systems or lung disease are at the highest risk for health-related incidents such as aspergillosis, which can impact lung function, if these potentially harmful products are consumed,” the MRA said.

Lab Says MRA Has ‘Weaponized Its Own Rules’

“Several competitors have openly indicated to (Viridis) and the MRA during open, public calls that they wanted to see (Viridis) shut down and put out of business to open more market opportunities for themselves,” the lawsuit states.

The company alleges that the MRA doesn’t like the large market share it wields. It also says the MRA has “weaponized its own administrative rules and processes to reach its desired goals.”

According to Viridis, the MRA, based in part on anonymous complaints, accused them of boosting THC potency results. The anonymous source also alleges that Viridis was guaranteeing businesses their product would pass safety testing.