The $100,000 mistake

2 mins read

After a two-year legal battle, an Oregon cannabis entrepreneur has been given a proposed fine of $100,000 over a labelling error regulators argued was a public health hazard, reports Willamette Week.

Sticky situation

Oregon’s Liquor and Cannabis Commission didn’t take issue with what was on the labels, but rather how they were attached to the tonic bottles: ”…The cardstock labels were attached in a way that consumers would likely take them off before or after use, the OLCC argued — rendering the vials a danger to new consumers, especially those who were unfamiliar with proper dosing,” writes WW.

Harsh toke

Still, $100,000 sounds like a harsh consequence for what entrepreneur Sally Alworth said was an “honest mistake,” arguing that label rules had been updated without her knowledge.

“Imposing a six-figure penalty for what amounts to an unintentional mistake only serves to discourage people in the illegal industry from going legal,” argued her lawyer, Kevin Jacoby. “If you can be ruined by an honest mistake, why go legal at all?”

By the numbers

The fine amount was calculated based on the number of days the improperly labelled products were sold and the number of bottles that were distributed during that time, which amounted to $400 per day. 
The Commission agreed the fine is “…hefty, but argues that it is a ‘measured and reasoned application of the authorizing legislation and applicable rule,’ which takes into account matters of deterrence and the ‘significant but largely unmeasurable risk’ posed by improperly labeled (and potentially completely unlabeled) marijuana products to consumers, children, and the public at large.”

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