May 4th, 2015 – Late last week, Project CBD filed a motion to strike down a $100 Million Lawsuit filed against it by Medical Marijuana Inc. last October over a report they published entitled “HEMP OIL HUSTLERS: A Project CBD Special Report on Medical Marijuana, Inc. HempMeds and Kannaway”. Project CBD says they began their investigation after they heard complaints from several sources that people were getting sick, in some cases “violently ill,” when they ingested “Real Scientific Hemp Oil,” Medical Marijuana Inc.’s flagship product.
Shortly after the Report’s publication, Medical Marijuana Inc. filed suit against Project CBD and others for Libel, Trade Libel, False Light, Negligence and Intentional Interference with Prospective Business Advantage. The suit alleges that Medical Marijuana Inc. suffered damages over what it says were false claims by the report’s authors. Project CBD’s attorney has now filed an anti-SLAPP motion, seeking dismissal of the lawsuit on First Amendment grounds.
Last Monday The Hemp News reported that Stewart Environmental, one of the labs that tested CBD oil samples discussed in the report and named in the $100 Million lawsuit, settled with Medical Marijuana Inc. David Stewart, CEO of Stewart Environmental provided a video statement wherein he describes how preliminary RHSO test results were released and apparently showed the presence of heavy metals, owing to the the complexities of a multi-step testing process and not to the presence of heavy metals in the samples themselves. Project CBD is contending that their report had already accurately addressed the heavy metal question in the preliminary sample.
In a statement on their web site, Project CBD writes:
“Let us state unequivocally: Project CBD stands 100 percent behind its Report. Medical Marijuana Inc. has been unable to refute a single statement. Unable to challenge the Report on its merits, MJNA has instead embarked on a campaign of harassment, intimidation and disinformation for the apparent purposes of avoiding scrutiny of their business practices and discussion on the health and safety of their products.”
Project CBD’s attorney Tyler R. Andrews stated in the motion: “This is precisely the type of lawsuit that California’s anti-SLAPP statue was enacted to prevent. Medical Marijuana, Inc. is trying to bury any public criticism of its business practices and quash any debate over the health and safety of its products. The claims [against Project CBD] represent an abuse of the legal process and must be stricken.”
In response to the anti-SLAPP motion, Stu Titus, the CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. said:
“An anti-SLAPP lawsuit is a typical defense for this type of action and it was completely expected. Anytime a publication faces a libel suit, this is the standard response. The motion completely fails to address several grossly false statements mentioned in the Project CBD article,” he stated. “We are going to keep pursuing legal action against Project CBD and proving the article wrong”
However this lawsuit ultimately gets settled, one thing is very clear – customers of CBD products need to feel assured that the products they are consuming are free from solvents, toxins, heavy metals, pesticides etc.
It’s important to remember that the cannabis plant, whether it be hemp or marijuana is considered a bioaccumulator, meaning that the plant will draw toxins from the soil as it grows. As a result of this fact, it becomes of critical importance that the growing and refining practices of manufacturers maintain the highest of standards if customers are to have trust in the final product.
In a recent article on consumer preferences for Organic cannabis we found that consumers have a very low level of education or appreciation of the implications for hemp/cannabis growing and refining practices. As one grower said ““We’re making medicine. There’s no better way to make medicine than organically – why would you bring chemicals into a sick person’s world?
In the absence of a government regulatory agency overseeing independent testing of CBD products, consumers are currently left to rely upon both educating themselves as well as trusting the test results provided by the product manufacturers themselves.
The Project CBD report can be found here