A marijuana test lab in Michigan is suing state regulators for a massive recall of cannabis that forced more than 400 pharmacies to remove thousands of pounds of pot from their shelves last week.
Viridis Laboratories claims in a lawsuit filed in the Michigan Court of Claims Monday that the revocation by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) was “unfair, prejudicial and retaliatory.”
The MRA said the laboratory results were inaccurate and unreliable for thousands of pounds of flowers and edible items tested between August 10 and November 16 and posed a potential health risk to consumers.
It was the largest recall in the history of the state, leaving some pharmacies with empty shelves.
“The MRA has disregarded industry experts, widely accepted scientific practice, caused disruption through its reckless and arbitrary decision-making, and ultimately endangered the patients and consumers it is required to protect,” said Kevin Blair, attorney at Honigman, LLP. in a statement Tuesday. “There is no public health or safety risk at all that justifies the recall, and we respectfully ask the court to provide emergency assistance to Viridis and bring accountability and oversight to an agency that has far exceeded its authority.”
Blair also represented Crystal Lowe, a Detroit resident who sued the city earlier this year over its social equity ordinance that gives license preference to longtime Detroiters. The case led to a judge stopping the city’s executive order on recreational marijuana, saying it “is probably unconstitutional.”
The Viridis case alleges that the MRA violated state law and its own administrative rules by effectively forcing Viridis’ two laboratories in Lansing and Bay City to shut down without allowing the company to defend itself.
The company also claims that MRA involved Viridis’ competitors in its investigation and refused to have a third party investigate the reasons for the recall. According to the case, the state waited three weeks to issue a recall, “which raised real questions about the validity and urgency of the alleged public health risk.”
The MRA did not respond immediately Metro Times‘request for comment.
Also on Tuesday, State Senator Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, sent a letter to MRA CEO Andrew Brisbo, requesting more information about the recall.
“The recent recall by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency of nearly 65,000 pounds of cannabis has caused great concern across the industry. Although I value and share your interest in protecting the health and safety of all consumers, I am concerned about some of the things I have heard about , how this recall was implemented, “Nesbitt wrote. “Given the importance of this issue, I request more information from you regarding this recall.”
Nesbitt wants a timeline for the recall, the data used to justify state action, and an explanation of what the agency is doing to help dispensaries affected by the recall.
“Every time a government agency takes action like this, it’s important for the public to understand the basis for those decisions and know how your agency came to the conclusions that it did,” Nesbitt said. “With a highly regulated industry like this, your agency has significant power to influence the operations of Michigan businesses and the choices available to consumers. I look forward to your prompt and thorough response.”
Viridis Laboratories and Viridis North were launched by three former officers in 2018. The company has previously told Metro Times that it tested about a quarter of a million pounds of cannabis a year for potency and pollutants.
Stay in touch with the Detroit Metro Times. Subscribe to our newsletters and follow us on Google News, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Reddit.