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Arizona AG warns cannabis company to cease COVID-19 treatment claims

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office shows phony coronavirus cures that a British man tried to smuggle into the United States. Frank Richard Ludlow, 59, of West Sussex in the U.K., was charged Wednesday, April 1, 2020 in Los Angeles federal court with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and could face up to three years in federal prison if convicted, according to the U.S. attorney's office. (U.S. Attorney's Office via AP)

PHOENIX – Arizona’s top legal official told a Phoenix-based cannabis business to stop touting products as potential treatments for COVID-19.

YiLo Superstore Dispensary was pushing an item called Coronav Immunization Stabilizer Tincture with text messages and posted instructions online for using the product if you “come down with a life threatening virus,” according to a press release from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

State Attorney General Mark Brnovich said such claims without scientific evidence to back them up constitute consumer fraud. There are no products approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat or prevent COVID-19, the release said.

Brnovich sent a cease-and-desist letter to YiLo on Friday telling the company it appeared to be violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. Violators of the act are subject to fines of up to $10,000 per incident plus loss of related profits.

The web information implying the company’s products could treat the disease caused by the novel coronavirus has since been taken down, according to the release.

“Exploiting vulnerable patients’ health concerns by selling fake cures or treatments for a serious disease is wrong,” Brnovich said in the release.

“We will not tolerate companies that attempt to deceive or exploit consumers during this public health crisis.”

On Tuesday, Brnovich said he issued a cease-and-desist to Prepper’s Discount, Inc. The Chandler-based company was accused of advertising “instant immunity tablets” in conjunction with coronavirus masks, implying the pills would help prevent or treat COVID-19.

In the early days of the outbreak that has infected more than 2,400 Arizonans and killed at least 65, Brnovich’s office warned consumers about websites advertising miracle products as well as phishing emails from scammers pretending to be with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or World Health Organization.

Arizonans who believe they’ve been the victim of consumer fraud are encouraged to file a complaint online or call 602-542-5763 for metro Phoenix cases, 520-628-6648 for metro Tucson or 800-352-8431 for other parts of the state.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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