Cali Cannabis Health & Safety Warning Laws Changed

california proposition 65

On January 3, a new California Proposition 65 mandate went into effect, demanding health warning labels on all cannabis products being distributed in the state. Cannabis producers and sellers who don’t comply with this mandate’s requirements will result in costly infractions. Here’s everything you should know about Proposition 65:

What is Proposition 65?

Cali’s Proposition 65, or the “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986,” demands operations throughout the supply chain have warnings on the products they’re selling in the state, mainly if the exposure of specific chemicals in the products are known to raise one’s risk of cancer or reproductive harm. The proposition applies to all companies selling products in the state, and it doesn’t matter if the business is headquartered or manufacturing products in the state itself.

In 2009, Cannabis (Marijuana) Smoke was added to the list because it has ingredients or emits chemicals known to increase one’s risk of developing cancer. The chemicals include toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, lead, nickel, and arsenic. But in January 2020, Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was also added because THC has the potential to result in reproductive damage.

How This Could Impact Your Cannacompany

Companies in the cannabis space need to comply with Proposition 65. We’ve seen many companies operating in Cali already begin complying with Proposition 65 by providing warnings on each product that produces marijuana smoke. But now that the update for THC has been made, these warnings must outline the risk of cancer and reproductive damage. Furthermore, smokeless cannabis products containing THC are now subject to Proposition 65 due to THC exposure.

The update to include THC now affects more cannabis products because it impacts any product containing detectable levels of the cannabinoid, even if the product contains less than 0.3% THC in compliance with 2018’s Farm Bill. This includes CBD edibles, topics, and other concentrates – unless they’re using CBD isolate that contains no THC.

Many listed chemicals up to a certain threshold have been given provisions under Proposition 65 by the agency overseeing it. However, no provisions have been made for cannabis smoke or THC. With this being the case, businesses are burdened with determining if the levels of THC significantly put consumers at risk. To come to this conclusion, cannabusinesses must perform extensive and costly testing that, in some cases, isn’t feasible. With this being the case, parties throughout the cannabis supply chain should ensure they’re correctly labeling all cannabis-related products at this point to ensure compliance. Enforcers of Proposition 65 are working to regulate through Proposition 65, sending notice of violation letters and, in some cases, filing lawsuits against any business they think is violating the statute. Unfortunately, many times, these demands and lawsuits settle because of the costly litigation involved. However, settling is also expensive.

Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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