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'Reckless and arbitrary decision-making': Suit filed against regulators by marijuana testing lab wrapped up in massive recall

Viridis labs say the recall, issued on Wednesday by the MRA, affected about $290 million worth of cannabis product
Viridis Labs Lawsuit
Posted at 5:17 PM, Nov 23, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — The testing lab wrapped up in a massive state-issued marijuana recall is fighting back, filing a lawsuit against Michigan's Marijuana Regulatory Agency, saying the recall should not have been issued and was not based on appropriate science.

On Wednesday, the MRA issued the recall, saying it affected most cannabis products tested by Viridis Laboratories or Viridis North between August 10 and November 16.

The recall does not include vape cartridges, live resin, distillate, or any other concentrate created via residual solvent extractions. Products like cannabis flower, pre-rolled joints, and edibles are part of the recall.

Viridis filed a lawsuit against the MRA Tuesday in Michigan's Court of Claims.

They said in a statement to FOX 17 that the recall affected nearly $229 million worth of cannabis products.

“The MRA has disregarded industry experts, widely accepted scientific practices, caused disruption through its reckless and arbitrary decision-making, and ultimately put the patients and consumers it is charged with protecting at risk,” Kevin Blair, an attorney with Honigman, LLP, said in a statement Tuesday.

“There is no public health or safety risk justifying the recall at all, and we respectfully request the Court to provide relief to Viridis and bring accountability and oversight to an agency that has far exceeded its authority.”

Viridis said in their statement Tuesday that the products that allegedly failed retesting, according to the MRA, were for aspergillus.

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Aspergillosis is an infection caused by a type of mold (fungus). The illnesses resulting from aspergillosis infection usually affect the respiratory system, but their signs and severity vary greatly."

Viridis said that the MRA recall even included products that they did not test for aspergillus.

FOX 17 reached out to Viridis on Monday for a report on the initial marijuana recall. Their CEO Greg Michaud said in a statement that they "strongly disagree" with the decision to issue the recall, and "firmly stand by" their test results being called into question.

FOX 17 reached out to the MRA Tuesday for any response to the lawsuit being filed. A spokesperson for the agency said they cannot comment regarding pending litigation.

Michigan Senator Aric Nesbitt sent a letter to Marijuana Regulatory Agency Executive Director Andrew Brisbo on Tuesday seeking more information about the statewide recall.

“The Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s recent recall of nearly 65,000 pounds of cannabis has caused a great deal of concern across the industry. While I appreciate and share your interest in protecting the health and safety of all consumers, I am concerned by some of the things I have heard about how this recall was conducted,” wrote Nesbitt, R-Lawton. “Given the importance of this issue, I am requesting more information from you regarding this recall.”

You can read a copy of the letter below.

Nesbitt to Brisbo 11-23-21 by WXMI on Scribd

The MRA released a list of every dispensary in the state that may be affected by the recall, which includes most dispensaries currently operating in Michigan.

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