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Can 'Fake Pot' Makers Be Sued?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on March 09, 2012 5:56 AM

A fake pot lawsuit may be brewing in Wyoming, where at least three individuals are thought to have ingested a bad batch of synthetic marijuana. State health officials believe a small outbreak of kidney failure is linked to the legal substance, which is also known as "spice" and "K2."

The three were hospitalized after coming down with severe stomach and back pains, as well as vomiting. Two others reported similar symptoms earlier in the week, but officials have yet to track them down.

Fake pot use is on the rise in recent years, according to Agence France Presse. It's a plant-based material laced with chemicals that mimic the effects of THC. Though the Drug Enforcement Administration has banned five of the key chemicals, manufacturers have been able to find legal alternatives.

This is not the first time fake pot has caused dangerous side effects, but it may be the first time users have encountered a tainted batch. If investigators affirmatively tie the outbreak to the product, its manufacturer is likely to face a fake pot lawsuit.

Products liability law doesn't make it too difficult for consumers to recover for injuries clearly caused by a tainted product. The results of a state health investigation may also strengthen the case.

As for fake pot's other side effects -- paranoia, high blood pressure, convulsions, and a high heart rate -- there's not much users can do. If the products are labeled correctly, consumers are making an informed decision and have assumed any risks posed by use. There's no fake pot lawsuit to be had.

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