Federal Racketeering Lawsuit Targets Leading Cannabis Brands for Alleged Mislabeling

Federal Racketeering Lawsuit Targets Leading Cannabis Brands for Alleged Mislabeling

A federal racketeering lawsuit has been filed in Georgia against prominent California cannabis brands STIIIZY and Cookies, along with 12 other co-conspirators. The lawsuit, reported by Green Market Report, seeks at least $150 million in damages and alleges the sale of marijuana products mislabeled as federally-legal delta-8 hemp goods.

The class action suit, filed by Georgia resident Hannah Ledbetter, accuses the defendants of deceiving consumers into purchasing marijuana products under the guise of legal hemp products containing 0.3% delta-9 THC or less. The lawsuit alleges a pattern of racketeering activity involving the importation, manufacturing, distribution, and possession of illegal THC vape pens labeled as hemp.

According to third-party testing, products purchased by Ledbetter from various retail chains in Georgia contained delta-9 THC levels far above the legal limit. The lawsuit implicates retail chains, hemp manufacturers, distributors, and testing labs accused of issuing falsified certificates of analysis to conceal the true THC content of the products.

STIIIZY, Cookies, and other defendants are accused of generating millions in fraudulent profit from the sale of these illegal products. A STIIIZY representative dismissed the lawsuit as baseless, while Cookies representatives declined to comment due to the pending litigation.

The lawsuit highlights the legal complexities and challenges in the cannabis industry, particularly regarding the distinction between legal hemp and illegal marijuana products following the federal legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Last August, California filed a similar lawsuit against brands selling intoxicating “inhalable hemp products” without a cannabis license within the state. Many states have moved to regulate hemp products under their respective cannabis enforcement bodies amid concerns about consumer deception and safety.

Licensed cannabis businesses and manufacturers of hemp products will be closely following the outcome of these lawsuits, which are set to test the legal boundaries of cannabis sales and marketing in the United States. 

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