A man in Lexington is suing a vape manufacturer based in North Carolina claiming that he was sold a vape unknowingly containing the psychoactive cannabinoid Delta-8 THC.

Roy Howard filed the suit specifically against a Lexington store branded under the company Hemp XR in Fayette Circuit Court on August 31st. This suit was a result of him driving into a LexTran bus while intoxicated in July 2022.

Cannabis Confusion

In the lawsuit, Howard states that he had entered the store with the intent to purchase CBD, a cannabinoid he uses regularly to help his anxiety. He had allegedly told the employees that he was not looking for anything that would get him high, and was unknowingly sold a vape containing Delta 8, which caused him to be intoxicated during the crash.

In a legal response by Hemp XR, the company had denied all of Howard’s legal claims, stating that Howard had picked his own product off the shelf which clearly labeled “Delta 8.”

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD), is the second most common cannabinoid found in cannabis plants following tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoacive cannabinoid exclusive to marijuana. CBD has become popular in the hemp market as a result of its federally legal status. With the little research that exists, CBD is suggested to provide several medical benefits like pain relief and anti-anxiety.

What is Delta 8?

Delta 8 or Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the intoxicating cannabinoid Howard claimed he unknowingly purchased from Hemp XR. Delta 8 is a form of THC like delta 9 THC which is found in marijuana. Unlike delta 9, delta 8 is not found in large amounts. Delta 8 must be chemically converted from CBD extracted from hemp in order to scale commercially. Since delta 8 is created ultimately from hemp, it is deemed federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Howard and Hemp XR’s Claims

Howard was adamant that a Hemp XR employee assured him that the product he bought would not get him high, and that he had disposed of the packaging from the product containing any warnings before leaving the store.

Hemp XR’s legal response denied his Howard’s claims, and added that video footage showed Howard had left their store with the product packaging fully in tact. On their packaging, there are several warnings explicitly stating to not operate heavy machinery.

“This packaging was retained by (Howard) when he left (Hemp XR) with the box in hand,” court documents state. “Video evidence of (Howard) packing the product back in the original box container, and leaving the store, is in possession of (Hemp XR),” stated the company’s legal reply.

Howard remains sure that he had let employees know he was going to use the product as soon as he left the store. Hemp XR’s response seems to tell the opposite, and is willing to back it up with video evidence.

Despite the accident, Howard was not charged any crimes

Howard’s attorney, James Yoder, had mentioned that Howard “told officers on the scene what happened, and I think the officers realized that he didn’t know at the time what was happening. Mr. Howard is not an active drug user. He had no idea this was going to happen to him and in my conversations with him he felt terrible that it did happen. But he did not know he was putting anyone at risk.”

Police reports state that Howard was completely unaware that he had ran through a red light, colliding with the bus and injured two people onboard.

Howard is suing Hemp XR for negligence, that he was not warned about the product, and violating the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act. Hemp XR is asking for the claim to be dismissed by court and is not commenting any further.

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