Security and frosted windows greet customers at B.C.’s first government cannabis store in Kamloops. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. woman files lawsuit after high-THC cannabis product mislabelled

The spray she bought was labelled high CBD and low THC, but ingredients were the opposite, said Kimberly Webster.

  • Nov. 30, 2018 12:30 p.m.

–– Kamloops This Week

A Kamloops woman is suing BC Cannabis Stores, alleging a product she bought the day after legalization was mislabelled — a mix-up she claims left her “unable to perform her duties” as a student at Thompson Rivers University.

“It’s unfair,” Kimberly Webster told Kamloops This Week.

“When you buy something from someone like BC Cannabis Stores, you’re expecting one product and not another. It’s like going to buy cider and coming home with Everclear.”

The 27-year-old’s notice of civil claim was filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

In addition to BC Cannabis Stores, it lists the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch — the distributor of cannabis in the province — and Hexo Operations, the producer of the product.

According to the document, Webster purchased a product labelled as Hexo CBD Oral Spray — a product high in CBD and low in THC — from the government store in Columbia Square on Oct. 18.

What she unknowingly received, she said, was the opposite — a spray high in THC and low in CBD.

THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD offers many of the same effects as THC without those that are mind-altering.

“The defendants failed to warn the plaintiff of the dangers of this product, and … it was mislabelled at the time of purchase,” the notice of claim reads. “The defendants … were negligent in failing to warn the plaintiff.”

Webster, who describes herself as someone largely unfamiliar with the effects of cannabis use, said she and a classmate purchased the spray for academic reasons.

She said they were hoping to write an academic article about labelling on recreational cannabis products.

“We decided we would taste it and it just kind of went from there,” she said.

“We couldn’t stop laughing for anything. Everyone thought we were crazy. I started feeling anxious and, at one point, I was scared of a couch, which is strange.”

READ MORE: Mouldy marijuana recalled in B.C., Ontario

Webster said the incident took place during midterms, noting her grades suffered as a result.

When she received an email from BC Cannabis Stores on Nov. 20 advising her of the labelling mishap, she said, everything clicked.

“I knew there was something off, but I didn’t really know cannabis, so I just went with it,” she said. “But after I got the email, everything started to make a whole lot more sense.”

Neither Hexo, nor BC Cannabis Stores nor the Liquor Distribution Branch have replied to Webster’s claim.

Based in Quebec, Hexo is a company with ties to the Tournament Capital.

Terry Lake, former Kamloops mayor and former MLA and health minister, is the company’s vice-president of corporate social responsibility.

Hexo was co-founded by Adam Miron, now the company’s chief brand officer and a former TRU student who worked in 2005 as a volunteer on Lake’s mayoral campaign.

Contacted by KTW on Thursday, Lake said he could not comment on the lawsuit.

Webster’s claim does not set out a dollar amount. Each defendant has 21 days to reply once they have been served.

Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week

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