On May 29, 2020, CBD company Just Brands USA Inc., known more commonly as JustCBD, was served with putative class claims in federal court in the Central District of California by a group of dissatisfied customers who allege that the company has been selling CBD products that contain less of the active ingredient than stated on its packaging.
In the complaint, plaintiff Miguel Rodriguez described how in recent years cannabidiol (“CBD”) has become a highly sought-after additive that purports to treat a myriad of medical issues like anxiety, insomnia, depression, diabetes, PTSD and chronic pain. CBD is a naturally occurring phytocannabinoid found in certain strains of hemp and can be taken into the body in multiple ways, including by inhalation of smoke or vapor, as an aerosol spray into the cheek, and by mouth or infused in food.
The plaintiff outlines not only the growing popularity of CBD products but also their increased accessibility to American consumers, as CBD products are now able to be found on the shelves at most large pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens. The CBD industry has become so popular that the plaintiff points out a Forbes Magazine projection which conjectures that the industry will surpass $23 billion in annual U.S. sales by 2023.
However, despite CBD products’ rampant popularity, the plaintiff alleges that the CBD industry is subject to minimal regulation, which the suit argues has led to negative impacts for consumers. The plaintiff points to an NBC investigation which found that 20 of 35 samples tested had less than half of the amount of the CBD than advertised on the packaging. Similar to the false advertising uncovered by the NBC study, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant’s products do not contain the amount of CBD listed on product labels.
Specifically, the complaint points to defendant’s Liquid Honey Tincture—the label states the product contains 100mg of CBD—however it was found to contain 48.92mg of CBD, 51.08% less than advertised. In addition, defendant’s “Apple Rings” gummies are reported to contain 250mg of CBD per jar, but were actually found to contain 0mg of CBD. The plaintiff argues that had he and class members been aware of the true amount of CBD in the defendant’s products, they would not have purchased the products or would not have paid as much for the products.
The plaintiff is seeking to represent a class made up of all persons in the U.S. who purchased CBD products from defendant. The suit brings causes of action for breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, fraud, violation of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, violation of the California Unfair Competition Law, violation of the California False Advertising Law and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act.
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