PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - Reports that a chemical insecticide was found in legal, organically grown marijuana in Oregon have led to a class action lawsuit - not against growers, but against the insecticide maker.
Guardian mite spray, advertised as an "all natural" product, contains ivermectin - a conventional pesticide in the avermectin family, Benjamin Efran claims in a July 14 lawsuit in Multnomah County Court.
He sued All In Enterprises, and its officers Michael Delamater, both of Illinois, and Thomas McCathron, of Michigan.
According to the lawsuit, the company listed the ingredients as "cinnamon oil, lemon grass oil, citric acid, yeast extract, sunflower lecithin, and water." Guardian was primarily used to kill mites.
But the Oregonian newspaper reported on Jan. 15 that "a chemist with OG Analytical discovered the presence of abamectin (a type of avermectin) in cannabis samples submitted by growers who claimed they used organic growing methods. When one grower stated that he used only Guardian, the chemist tested Guardian and detected abamectin," according to the complaint. (Parentheses in complaint.)
The Oregon Department of Agriculture then removed Guardian from its list of chemicals that marijuana growers can use, The Oregonian reported.
Avermectins can irritate the skin and eyes, interfere with the central nervous system and cause vomiting, tremors and other problems at high doses, according to a pesticide database at www.pesticideinfo.org.
According to the Oregonian article, "A man identifying himself as an owner of the Illinois-based company that makes the product said it contains ivermectin, a chemical similar to abamectin. Ivermectin is not listed on the product label as required."
The man, whom the newspaper did not identify, "said he did not realize the product label had to include all active ingredients," The Oregonian reported.
"We weren't trying to pull anything," he told the newspaper. "We put it in there, and it wasn't on the label and that's our fault."
Efran seeks class certification and damages for fraud, breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and unfair business practices.
A phone number could not be found for Thomas McCathron.
Efran is represented by Andrew DeWeese, who did not respond to a voicemail message requesting comment.
Visit Courthouse News for complaint.