By Joe Tilton
Selling marijuana or cannabis is not a “get out of jail card” as some have thought. Michigan’s Legislature adopted a Law, called the Drug Dealer Liability Act, Mich. Comp. Laws Ann 691.1601-1619. As seen in court every week, what happens under the influence of mind-altering drugs does not excuse the action of those under the drug, nor does it excuse liability of someone selling the drug to another when an adverse reaction happens. And a plaintiff can sue under Federal and State Law. As it was with tobacco, the suits over pot are about to happen.
A well-known attorney in New Jersey, Dave Evans, recently sent information to many people with dead or injured children from marijuana use, outlining how weed can result in serious liability issues, holding dealers liable for catastrophic results.
“But it never killed anybody,” the promoters boast. What local small-time drug dealer is willing to take the risk of believing that lie? Apparently, plenty of them!
Last week the tenth death from vape devices was announced. The system of vaping was initiated for marijuana/THC consumption through Pax Labs in 2017. If this new get-high system is so benign, why the deaths and why have sellers gone to additional measures to hook users? Could a $13-billion investment be a reason? Marlboro maker Altria, dropped those billions on Juul, along with Cronos, a major marihuana supplier in Canada. The market is in now jeopardy. Walmart took e-cigs off their shelves and Philip Morris stopped negotiations to join with Altria because of deaths and severe repertory illnesses. Here’s one case to consider.
Jay Jenkins had wrapped up his freshman year at The Citadel, a South Carolina military college, when boredom led him to what he thought was CBD.
It was May 2018 and he said his friend bought a cartridge of blueberry flavored CBD vape oil called “Yolo.” For us older folks, that stands for “you only live once.” The purchase was at a 7-11 in Lexington, S. Carolina.
In the car, Jenkins tried it. Things “got hazy then terrifying.” He said the nerves in his mouth felt like they were “multiplied by 10.” Vivid images including a circle engulfed by darkness and filled with colorful triangles filled his mind. Before he drifted out of consciousness, he realized he couldn’t move. “I thought I actually was already dead,” he said.
His friend rushed him to a hospital where Jenkins suffered acute respiratory failure and drifted into a coma, according to medical records. Lab testing showed the Yolo had synthetic marijuana that has been blamed for 11 deaths in Europe. Thirty-three others suffered similar results.
Twenty nine vape products sold as CBD were tested by Associated Press. Ten were contaminated with insanely dangerous synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or spice, while others had no CBD at all. “Green Machine,” a pod compatible with Juul electronic cigarettes was bought in California, Florida and Maryland. Four of the seven pods contained illegal synthetic marijuana. The chemical varied by flavor and purchase location.
“It’s Russian roulette,” James Neak-Kababick, director of Flora Research Labs said. Flora is the Lab that tested the products. The investigation focused on another set of cases in which psychoactive chemicals are added to products presented as CBD.
Lab results of 128 samples out of more than 350 tested by government labs in nine states, nearly all in the South, had synthetic marijuana in products marketed as CBD. Gummy bears and other edibles accounted for 36 of the hits, while nearly all others were vape products. Mississippi authorities found fentanyl, the powerful opioid involved in about 30,000 deaths last year. All fentanyl comes from China in packaging with words, “This will kill you.” Users think it must be good if it will kill, so they buy it, while some products labeled as marijuana is laced, or spiked, with fentanyl.
Even industry leaders, such as Marielle Weintraub, president of the U.S. Hemp Authority, an industry group that certifies CBD cosmetics and dietary supplements, is sounding a warning. Weintraub recently said, “People have started to see the market grow and there are some fly-by-night companies trying to make a quick buck. When products turn up spiked, the people behind them often blame counterfeiting or contamination in the supply and distribution chain.
Sales of CBD have been driven in part by unproven claims. See our previous article on CBD oils and how a significant portion tested found only olive oil. It is the job of the Drug Enforcement Administration to stop the madness, but their agents are focused on opioids and other narcotics, leaving the public at risk from money-grubbing sellers behaving as snake-oil barkers.
What’s so frightening about local marijuana issues is the three-minute argument about a mind-changing, brain-altering drug with permanent results. Local governments have not attended conferences or received professional level information on the drug, but they’re making decisions based on supposedly “tons” of money for government activities and “control.” Of all the states legalizing weed, neither the money nor control has happened.