New False Ad Suit: Chocolates Have Less THC, CBD Than Advertised

Advertising Law

Click here for COVID-19 guidance and information

A new false advertising lawsuit filed in California federal court accuses Bhang Corporation of duping consumers as its “Medicinal Chocolates” actually contain less cannabis than promised in its advertising.

California resident Charles Ballard alleges that he purchased Bhang’s Medicinal Chocolates—including CBD Caramel Dark Chocolate and Full Spectrum CBD Milk Chocolate—based on the claims on the products’ packaging about the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in the chocolates.

Ballard alleges, however, that the chocolates contained less THC and CBD than promised, that the defendant knew or should have known this, and that the defendant deliberately, or at least negligently, tricked consumers into paying a premium for the products by claiming higher amounts of cannabinoid content than were actually present. 

The THC and CBD content, Ballard alleges, is the very reason consumers buy the defendant’s products: “The amounts and/or levels of THC and/or CBD are not only material, but the primary reason consumers purchase THC and/or CBD products such as Bhang Products.”

Ballard’s complaint alleges six causes of action: violations of the state’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law; breach of express warranty; breach of the implied warranty of merchantability; and fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

Seeking to certify both a nationwide and a California class of purchasers of the defendant’s products dating back four years from December 31, 2018, Ballard seeks injunctive relief, monetary damages, labeling changes to the products and a corrective advertising campaign.

To read the complaint in Ballard v. Bhang Corporation, click here.

Why it matters: As the growing number of states with legalized marijuana yields a burgeoning industry of cannabis products, false advertising lawsuits will inevitably follow, as demonstrated by Ballard’s complaint. Advertisers should ensure that their claims about THC and/or CBD content are accurate, or they may face a similar action.