Pubdate: Thu, 07 Dec 2017
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Andrea Gunn
Page: A7


A New Brunswick-based medical marijuana producer in partnership with
both the provincial government and the Trailer Park Boys has had a
lawsuit against it expanded to include possible health effects.

A class action was filed on March 3 against Health Canada-certified
medical cannabis producer Organigram Inc. for containing unauthorized

Halifax-based injury lawyer Ray Wagner, who is representing the
plaintiffs, told The Chronicle Herald the suit was originally economic
in nature - essentially to return to clients the money they paid for
the recalled product - but last month it was expanded to take into
account the health impacts of using the tainted product.

Now, Organigram is being sued for punitive damages for falsely
advertising its product as organic, as well as for personal harm.

Wagner said several dozen people, including a number of Nova Scotians,
have contacted him about the case and he's expecting more to sign on
as time goes on. He said he doesn't know what the value of the claim
will be but said the damages could be quite significant.

"Certainly we're post seven figures, how much it's too early to tell
at this moment," he said.

Organigram is one of the region's major producers of medical cannabis
and is one of three producers that has signed on with the government
of New Brunswick to supply at least five million grams of recreational
marijuana per year.

Last November, the company announced it had partnered with the Trailer
Park Boys to develop a line of branded marijuana products in
preparation for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

There were large-scale recalls of Organigram's products produced
between Feb. 1 and Dec. 16, 2016 after they tested positive for
myclobutanil and/or bifenazate, both unauthorized pesticides under
medical cannabis regulations.

On Jan. 9 of this year, Organigram initiated a voluntary Type II
recall, after further testing that identified additional product
containing the pesticides and it expanded the recall to include all
products produced between Feb. 1 and Dec. 16, 2016.

A Type II recall refers to a situation in which the use of, or
exposure to a product may cause temporary adverse health consequences,
or where the probability of serious adverse health consequences is
remote. The previous recall was a Type III, which refers to a
situation in which the use of, or exposure to a product is not likely
to cause any adverse health consequences.

Health Canada has received at least one adverse reaction report
related to Organigram's products, according to Wagner, and the law
firm itself has received several reports from clients of negative
health effects such as vomiting, dizziness and nausea that began after
consuming the Organigram's products.

Bifenazate is considered toxic, and myclobutanil produces hydrogen
cyanide when combusted.

In March, Health Canada issued a release saying analysis of the
recalled cannabis products show that the trace levels of myclobutanil
that were present would have produced a negligible amount of
additional hydrogen cyanide upon combustion, in comparison to the
levels already produced by marijuana alone. Specifically, the level of
cyanide from the burning of myclobutanil found on the cannabis samples
was more than 1,000 times lower than the cyanide in cannabis smoke
alone, and is 500 times below the acceptable level established by the
U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

As such, the risk of serious adverse health consequences resulting
from the inhalation of combusted myclobutanil in the recalled cannabis
products was determined by Health Canada to be low.

At the time, Health Canada told the media that it was satisfied by the
measures taken by the company, which included strengthening
monitoring, enhancing internal operating procedures and expanding
their product testing regimes.

Organigram had their organic certification revoked earlier this year
but is in the process of recertification.

The case is going to court for a certification motion on June 18,
2018. If the case is certified, it will proceed to a trial.

On Wednesday, the company told other media it was not commenting on
ongoing litigation.
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MAP posted-by: Matt