Federal cannabis prohibition hasn’t stopped some consumers of cannabis products from making their dissatisfaction known to the Federal Trade Commission.
The federal agency, which is in charge of regulating deceptive and unfair practices in business and promoting fair competition, has received hundreds of complaints from consumers related to cannabis, hemp, and CBD products since the start of 2018. And those complaints are rising: There were 116 complaints in all of 2018 versus 110 complaints as of October 29, 2019.
Cannabis Wire’s findings are the fruits of a public records request filed with the FTC for consumer complaints related to “cannabis,” “marijuana,” and “hemp” between January, 2018 through October 2019. Of the 228 matching complaints that FTC found, it only provided the comments written by consumers for 200 complaints as a sample, and withheld one complaint from a foreign source who had requested confidentiality, which is exempted from the under the FTC Act.
The most common complaint? Consumers were charged for multiple monthly product subscriptions when they only signed up for one, or for products they didn’t order.
“I was purchasing a $5.99 sample. I was charged the $5.99 and a $29.99 charge for another bottle that I did not order or want,” said one consumer, about a hemp oil product purchased from a Florida-based company named Cannabis Capsules CBD, in early 2018. “I have tried and tried to contact the seller but the phone rings and rings then turns to a busy signal. I have now been billed another $80 for a subscription that I don’t want and can’t reach the company to cancel.”
There were some less run-of-the-mill complaints, however. For example:
*A nurse claimed that the THC-free Respira hemp oil bought from Elixinol, a global hemp oil extracts company, in fact contained THC and led to testing positive for the substance during a drug test at work. As a result, the nurse was suspended and forced to take drug rehabilitation classes. Another nurse made a similar complaint against Meta Labs LLC, a Georgia based cannabis company. (FTC does not reveal the names and contact information for consumers. So there is no way to confirm if the Elixinol and Meta Labs products were indeed the cause of the nurses testing positive.)
*Two consumers complained against Medici Quest, a Maryland based hemp company, for sending unsolicited pamphlets with a front cover advertising hemp gummies—in nine different sexual positions. “My mother received your catalog and was very offended by the front cover, as was I, my husband, and my brother,” wrote one of them.
*One person filed a complaint against Marlboro and Philip Morris Group because he believed they want to commercialize cannabis. He even called the company to confirm if they had such intentions. Unsurprisingly, Philip Morris did not answer his question. The complainant said he felt the need to file a complaint because he wants to make sure cannabis is used for medical purposes alone. He also wanted to add that a pack of Marlboro cigarettes is “way too expensive.”