Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Trudy White, who is set to step down from the bench April 1, issued a broad temporary injunction barring ATC from conducting its crackdown until a hearing on April 6. It’s unclear which judge will take the case over from White when she steps down; the court is still coordinating with the state Supreme Court on an interim replacement.
Forrest Town, co-owner of the Fresh Farms E-Liquid, said in an interview that the Department of Health approved its products, one of which is a vape cartridge that tells users not to inhale the product, but instead put the liquid under their tongue. Then, he said, the company invested substantial money to package and sell them in Louisiana.
He said while some people may abuse the products and get high, that’s not his company’s intent. Moreover, he argued, the same is true of an array of over-the-counter products sold at pharmacies. He said the products his company sells has medicinal value.
“They’re killing the small businesses, the wholesalers, and the manufacturers,” Town said. “It’s not a harmful product. Even under the abuse of the product, it’s still not as dangerous as other ‘vices’ out there.”
Two other hemp companies – manufacturer 318 LABZ and distributor STR8W8 Cannabis – filed a lawsuit against ATC this month as well. The suit said the companies won state approval for their products and got all the required licenses and permits needed to sell their “air bars” and “mini mixables.”
Nonetheless, the suit says, the ATC earlier this year started seizing the products “without warning, notification or legal justification.” The firms asked for an injunction and for the ATC to return its products. A hearing in that case, before Judge Ronald Johnson, is slated for March 29.
Ernest Legier, head of the ATC, said in an interview that it’s “100% false” that the agency had seized any products. He said the agency’s enforcement has been limited to educating retailers and distributors about the rules. He said that would be followed by another round of visits that could involve removal of products or citations.
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