Marijuana Business Daily

“New California cannabis health-warning label requirement could trigger swell of industry lawsuits”

By: John Schroyer

“Legal experts said such a mandate often is enforced not by state regulators but by private plaintiffs and attorneys. That practice has morphed into a cottage industry in California targeting cannabis manufacturers and some retailers.

“The bounty hunters will be able to start regulating and enforcing those come Jan. 3, 2021,” Anne Marie Ellis, an Orange County attorney who specializes in product liability, said during a webinar in early December.

“We will definitely see the same people, over and over again, represented by the same lawyers.”

The mandate

The labels in question can come in two formats: a standard warning or a short-form version.

The former is wordier and more explicit, while the latter is shorter and intended for smaller products that don’t necessarily have space on their exterior for lengthy disclaimers.

The short-form warning reads, “WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm – www.P65Warnings.ca.gov.”

If a product doesn’t have the warning on its actual packaging, then the alert must be placed somewhere obvious so consumers can see it, Ellis said, such as on the store shelf where the product is displayed for shoppers.

And because both marijuana smoke and THC are about to be triggers for Prop 65 requirements, she said, literally every company that does business in California needs to comply with the law – not just companies that produce smokable products.

“With respect to this industry, we have so many different products that are potentially implicated. We have the noncombustible products, like edibles, topicals and vapor products,” Ellis said.

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