The Birth Of The Marijuana Product Liability Litigation

Last year, we here at Abnormal Use questioned when we would see our first meaningful piece of product liability litigation arising out of the legalization of marijuana. Well, apparently, that time is now.  According to a report from ABC News, two Coloradoans who like to partake in the use of marijuana filed a lawsuit against Denver-based pot company, LivWell, alleging that the company grows its weed using an unhealthy pesticide. LivWell allegedly has protected its crop with Eagle 20 EW, a fungicide that can become dangerous when heated. It is banned for use on tobacco.  Authorities previously quarantined marijuana grown at the facility due to the use of Eagle 20 EW; however, the plants were released after they tested at acceptable levels.

While this lawsuit is not exactly what we had in mind when we contemplated marijuana litigation, it is not unexpected. Due to the conflict between federal and state law regarding the legality of marijuana, there are no federal regulations for the safe growth of marijuana. As such, states which have legalized marijuana must ask themselves what standards they wish to adopt. Colorado has a list of “approved” pesticides, but the list is not all-inclusive, and the research is far from complete.

What is the purpose of this lawsuit other than to be the first marijuana product suit? LivWell no longer uses Eagle 20 EW. The plaintiffs do not allege to be injured by the marijuana (in fact, there are no known cases of marijuana pesticide illnesses to our knowledge). The plaintiffs allege only that they want LivWell to be punished for using Eagle 20 EW. Lack of federal guidance aside, are the Colorado courts really the venue to set the regulatory standards for pot growth? We imagine the plaintiffs’ real intention is to bring life back to a simpler time, when they could grow their own marijuana underneath the protection of a black light in the guest bathroom.