California judge waives need for FDA guidelines to rule on CBD chocolate lawsuit

A judge in California has dismissed a lawsuit against a CBD candy manufacturer, saying it was not necessary to wait for U.S. guidelines on CBD in edibles to issue a ruling on the case.

Charles Ballard filed suit against Toronto-based Bhang Corp. in 2019, alleging that he purchased Bhang Medicinal Chocolate with “a specific quantity of THC and CBD” between 2016 and 2018 across Southern California. Ballard later said he had an independent lab test the chocolate, and the results allegedly revealed that Bhang chocolate did not contain the amount of CBD advertised.

U.S. District Judge Jesus G. Bernal said in a ruling last week that Charles Ballard’s case centers on alleged violations of California consumer-protection law and not on the FDA’s long-awaited rules on CBD, making it unnecessary to issue an indefinite stay to the case to wait for the agency’s regulations.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet issued regulations on how manufacturers can market cannabis-derived cannabidiol in food and supplements, and several judges have put CBD lawsuits on hold while the industry waits for the FDA guidelines. The agency has said it needs more data on the safety of CBD before it can issue the regulations.

“Plaintiff’s claims are simple: there is less THC and CBD in Bhang chocolates than advertised, and this discrepancy violates various California consumer protection laws,” Bernal wrote.

“While the record shows that the FDA is investigating CBD, ‘uncertainty’ over if or when the FDA might promulgate labeling regulations that would alter this Court’s analysis of state-law consumer protection claims counsels against an indefinite stay,” Bernal wrote.

According to Friday’s ruling, Ballard did not provide enough information on:

  • which chocolates he bought.
  • when he bought them.
  • how they were advertised.
  • how they fell short of expectations.

Ballard has until Oct. 9 to amend his complaint with those details.