Are Oklahoma Cannabis Companies Misleading Patients by Mislabeling on Purpose?

By Therin Miller | Top Shelf News | Sept. 28, 2020

A class-action lawsuit in Canada highlights this trend.

The lawsuit claims that 15 major cannabis players allege that their THC and CBD levels in their products do not match their labels. Here is the bad part - in some cases this is intentional.

If the lawsuit is successful then these big companies would have to pay more than $500 million in damages and payback consumers dating all the way back to 2016.

This is not the first time this has happened and seems to be a constant topic especially here in Oklahoma lately. In 2017 a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly 70% of all CBD products sold via the internet in the United States were mislabeled. In fact, the accuracy of within 1 to 2 percent was hard to find.

With this news, there have been shockwaves through the industry and leaves us to ask who has correct labels and can we actually trust what is on the products.

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Industry has been in the news more recently with labs falsifying results. Growers and Processors are getting caught up in the mix as well. This leads everyone to wonder how can people trust what they are buying off dispensary shelves in Oklahoma.

Sarai Garcia with 405 Budz who has multiple locations around Oklahoma said "With OMMA having their own third-party testing lab for Q&A should help put consumers minds at ease when they are shopping for what to buy"

In August OMMA announced they had contracted with a third-party lab to conduct Q&A testing across Oklahoma. To many, this was a welcomed step.

"Legislation has been passed that required that the state set up a third-party lab as the lab of all labs. Every dispensary is required to keep on hand the lab Certificate of Analysis when the product is sold to the dispensary from either a processor or grower and any consumer can ask to see that so they know who the lab was and what it tests at." - Communication Manager Terri Watkins with OMMA

Why does mislabeling matter and what is being done?

Mislabeling has real ramifications. People can get sick and actually prevent them from getting better. This type of outcome can lead potential patients in Oklahoma to choose a different route to cure their ailments.

CBD and THC is powerful medicine and can be used to help treat a lot of different medical conditions. As such, no one should take it accidentally or without the appropriate labeling. Mislabeling cannabis products deprives consumers of their chance to make that choice.

The good thing is that the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority is taking big steps to ensure that all patients get good quality medicine that won't make patients sick and actually help treat their medical ailments.

Carl Wheeler with Highgrade Labs in Oklahoma City "We would like Oklahoma cannabis industry to have a continued and good reputation. The Q&A lab is a good step in the right direction, though we don't know how long it will take to get it up and going we are very optimistic that it will be up and going quickly. There has been some serious talk about a Secret Shopper Program that would be good because they will go into a dispensary buy a bunch of products and then have them tested at different licensed labs across the state. This would really help build confidence because they are helping check the dispensary and the labs. This would help while we are waiting for the Q&A lab to get up and going."

The Secret Shopper Program would establish a lot of trust with Oklahoma cannabis patients now and would be a good program to put in place and use while the third-party lab is getting set-up.

It is important to mention that Oklahoma does have legislation that talks about labeling and what cannabis companies can and can not say on their labels.

Oklahoma is leaps and bounds ahead of other states with the steps that have been taken to ensure that we maintain a good and healthy cannabis reputation.