A class action lawsuit against Organigram, Inc. that alleges pesticide-tainted cannabis made users sick has been limited in scope after the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal found no proof that people were made ill.
The case argued cannabis recalled by the Moncton-based producer in 2016, for containing trace amounts of unapproved pesticides, gave users “adverse health consequences.”
But in the Thursday ruling, Justice Peter Bryson found that phrasing to be too vague and that there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the pesticides made consumers sick.
“There is no evidence that there is a workable methodology to determine that the proposed adverse health effects claims have a common cause,” he wrote in his ruling.
The case will now determine if Organigram, and its parent company Organigram Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI and TSX: OGI), should reimburse customers for their purchase.
“Organigram will continue to defend what remains of the Class Action as it has already voluntarily reimbursed many of its customers for this recall via a comprehensive credit and refund program,” the company said in a statement Thursday.
The producer also said it does not anticipate the class action lawsuit, or its resolution, will affect its business or operations in any material way.
Organigram recalls 74 lots of cannabis
The class action lawsuit was filed after Organigram recalled medical cannabis produced in late 2016 and early 2017 because the weed was found to have “trace” amounts of the pesticides bifenazate, malathion, and myclobutanil. These pesticides are approved for agricultural use but are not allowed to be used to grow weed under the 2002 Pest Control Products Act.
No tests have been done to check if it’s dangerous to smoke weed with “trace” amounts of insecticide bifenazate, or insect repellant malathion, Bryson wrote.
But after new reports came out that myclobutanil contained hydrogen cyanide, Health Canada issued a March 2017 statement explaining how cannabis smoke contained 1,000 time more hydrogen cyanide than was found in Organigram’s recalled weed.
Dawn Rae Downton is the lead plaintiff in the case, and said while using Organigram’s recalled product she experienced nausea and vomiting. These symptoms only stopped when she discontinued using the product.
Downton’s lawyer, Ray Wagner, told CBC they are considering taking the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“It underlines the difficulty in these types of cases where you have a toxin that may have been ingested by an individual and the difficulty they have in establishing that their illness or harm they suffered is directly connected,” Wagner said.
Why Organigram was using unproved pesticides in the first place was not part of the court case.
Top image via Organigram