AG James Orders CBD Company to Stop Marketing Products as Effective Coronavirus Treatments
Finest Herbalist Falsely Claims Product Successfully Cures/Treats COVID-19
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General James today ordered Finest Herbalist, a company specializing in the sale of Cannabidiol (CBD), to immediately cease and desist the marketing of their product Pure Herbal Total Defense Immunity Blend as a means of curing or treating coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The World Health Organization (WHO) has not identified any specific medicine which prevents or treats this disease, making any claim of Finest Herbalist products being effective at combatting and/or treating COVID-19 a violation of New York state law.
“By misrepresenting the effectiveness of products against COVID-19, companies like Finest Herbalist are giving consumers a false sense of security, putting their very lives at risk,” said Attorney General James. “Deceptive marketing is never acceptable, especially during a time of crisis; this is a matter of public health and safety. My office will continue to root out companies that attempt to illegally profit from this pandemic.”
Finest Herbalist targeted consumers through email campaigns, text messages, and bogus news websites consisting of phrases like “Protection From Corona Virus With Immunity Oil” and “Fight back against the coronavirus outbreak! Pure Herbal Total Defense Immunity Blend.” In addition to the immediate cease and desist of their deceptive marketing practices, the company is advised to provide a disclaimer on all webpages displaying the product indicating that the product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, including COVID-19. Attorney General James has sent multiple cease and desist letters to individuals and companies selling and marketing certain products as treatments or cures for the coronavirus, including TV host Wayne Allyn Root, Alex Jones, The Silver Edge company, Dr. Sherill Sellman, and televangelist Jim Bakker.
Attorney General James has also issued cease and desist notifications to hundreds of businesses
in New York for charging excessive prices for hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays, and rubbing alcohol — a violation of New York’s price gouging statute. That statute prohibits the sale of goods and services necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers at unconscionably excessive prices during any abnormal disruption of the market.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) continues to surveil and monitor businesses across the state for potential scams and price gouging schemes designed to exploit public concern related to the spread of the coronavirus. Scammers commonly exploit real public health concerns and use heightened public fear to prey on consumers and profit from frauds related to those health fears. If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or have witnessed potential price gouging, please report these incidents to the OAG.