California court rejects libel claims over heavy-metals test reporting

A California CBD nonprofit has dodged a libel lawsuit after it was sued by two companies for saying a lab test showed that a CBD product they sold contained heavy metals.

A California appeals court ruled Friday that the companies filing the suit – Medical Marijuana, Inc., and HempMeds PX – failed to show that the reporting on Project CBD was demonstrably false.

Project CBD published a report in October 2014 in which author Aaron Miguel Cantu – also a defendant in the case – presented test results that said the plaintiffs’ product, Real Scientific Hemp Oil, was contaminated with heavy metals.

Medical Marijuana, Inc., and HempMeds filed a libel suit. Project CBD had asked a lower court to strike the libel claims and was appealing the denial of that request.

In its Friday ruling, the Fourth District Court of Appeal sided with the website and returned the case to the lower court.

The court ruled that Cantu’s story did not claim outright that Real Scientific Hemp Oil contained contaminants. Instead, it described preliminary and final test results.

The court also dismissed allegations that the story claimed that multiple people became ill after using the oil due to heavy metals and other toxins.

“The article does not state anything that can be understood as asserting as fact that (the oil), in fact, caused multiple people to become ill,” the court said. “Rather, the article is clear that it is merely reporting what others have claimed regarding their experiences” in using the oil.