As the cannabis market matures, we see more lawsuits based on fraud, including claims made on packaging and marketing materials. A recent class-action complaint filed in San Francisco County Superior Court alleges that Raw Garden™ products packaged as “refined Live Resin vape pens” do not contain Live Resin. Instead they are allegedly made with distillate and reintroduced terpenes.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with this complaint. It is important to watch as many industry terms have been loosely defined while others are well known and settled. When packaging your cannabis product, it’s crucial that you accurately describe your product. Adding a disclaimer like “refined” is tricky. Your packaging may still be considered misleading.
Quotes from the complaint are posted in italics.
Raw Garden, a DBA for Central Coast Agriculture LLC, has well-loved cannabis vape pens and a strong following. The following included the plaintiff in the complaint. The plaintiff claims that he purchased the Raw Garden vape cartridge and paid a premium price for the products because he believed them to contain Live Resin. The complaint states the plaintiff would not have purchased the product if he knew it was made with distillates and reintroduced terpenes.
The complaint alleges that Raw Garden creates the vape pen cartridges by making Live Resin, distilling it, and adding terpenes back into this distillate. The company then packages and sells the resulting liquid as a “refined” Live Resin vape cartridge according to the complaint. The complaint continues to allege that the liquid used in Raw Garden’s “Live Resin” cartridge is not Live Resin because it has been distilled and despite the re-addition of terpenes, it does not contain all the organic compounds that are in a true Live Resin.
Distillates vs. Live Resin: What’s the difference?
Dabconnection.com explains, distillates focus on retaining the strength and purity of cannabis concentrate. Taste and flavor are not a priority. The distillation extraction process requires a solvent such as CO2, butane or ethanol, pressure, steam, and heat.
Cannabis is harvested, dried, and cured. A very cold solvent is run through room temperature cannabis. The cannabis is soaked in the solvent, then broken up while keeping the solvent extremely cold. The mixture is then filtered to remove the plant, heated to remove the solvent and distilled to create a pure oil. Terpenes, phytonutrients, and other chemicals are destroyed or burned off by the process.
Live Resin focuses on retaining all flavors of the original plant, creating a more potent product. It requires heat before it will have any medicinal or psychoactive effect.
It’s a relatively new technique, developed in 2013. Freshly harvested cannabis is cryogenically frozen, retaining its terpene profile, original flavor, and fragrance throughout the extraction process and into the final product. It is extracted with butane, and then the butane is purged with warm water (45°F max). The remainder of the butane is then purged using a vacuum chamber. This process results in a preserved terpene profile.
If the complaint is correct and the company creates a Live Resin and distills it, do you think “refined Live Resin” is an accurate product description? With July’s cannabis sales in California’s regulated market hitting $348 million, it’s clear the industry has matured. Business owners need to be extremely careful with packaging, ensuring they can back up all claims in a court of law.
“Packaging Scrutiny - Class Action Complaint Filed against Live Resin Vape Cartridge Manufacturer.” Inkbrite, 12 Aug. 2020, inkbrite.com/packaging-gone-wrong-class-action-complaint-filed-against-raw-garden-refined-live-resin/.
I was wondering when this would happen. It seems too shady to label distillate as live resin. The whole appeal of live resin is that it is full-spectrum and just as flavorful as the original flower (or even more depending how you look at it.) Distillate and added or reintroduced terpenes is not Live Resin. It's not refined live resin either. It's just a tricky money grab on Raw Garden's part.
The sleazy plaintiff’s attorneys who go around suing cannabis companies for loopholes in the law are the worst. This is a money grab, pure and simple. Raw Garden Is the latest victim of “packaging extortion.” It costs so much money to defend yourself, they know they’ll get paid to go away. You all make a point about distillate called live resin but the merits of that argument are weak. I just think we are too “easy money” sue happy in this country. Who is posting about the attorneys and plaintiffs making their living off bs lawsuits? Schadenfreude wins the day unfortunately! I hate stories like this and feel bad for the company being sued.
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