California Litigators Discuss Edible Marijuana legalities

As the January 2018 date for legal recreational marijuana sales approaches, California lawmakers are considering various regulations to help manage the anticipated multi-billion-dollar legal cannabis market within the state. One primary concern relates to regulations for edible marijuana products. Among the areas of concern, two jump out immediately: labeling requirements and “eye appeal” (i.e., Will children view the edibles as candy?).

Labeling Edibles

While medical marijuana suppliers contend that labeling accuracy has improved, California lawmakers are concerned with potential problems that can arise through the mislabeling of edible cannabis products. For example, according to a 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association study, fewer than one in five edible marijuana products analyzed were accurately labeled with the proper THC level. Particularly alarming was the fact that of the 75 medical marijuana products purchased and tested in the study, JAMA researchers found that the greatest likelihood of obtaining “under-labeled” product was in Los Angeles.

Not only must THC levels be appropriately labeled, other labeling information must advise as to proper dosage. Many will recall New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd’s less than wonderful experience with a cannabis-laced food bar that she purchased legally at a Denver medical marijuana dispensary in 2014. The item came with no dosing directions. As she later related in her Times column, at first she experienced no effects at all, but after an hour, because she consumed far more than a “single serving,” she was “panting and paranoid.”

Inadvertent Appeal to Children

Marijuana edibles come in many forms and sometimes mimic the look and texture of regular sweets. Dosage issues in adults are, of course, compounded when the edibles are inadvertently ingested by children. Accordingly, California lawmakers have introduced Assembly Bill 350, which would prohibit marijuana products that are designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods. The proposal specifies that a marijuana product is deemed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy if it is in the shape of a person, animal, insect, fruit, or in another shape normally associated with candy. A similar bill has also been introduced in the state Senate. It remains to be seen what exact form the regulations will take.

Edible Cannabis Preferred for Many Patients

Many medical professionals say edible cannabis is the preferred method of delivery for patients who suffer from chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other long-term illnesses. While it takes longer to feel the effects of the marijuana when it is ingested, instead of smoked, the sensation generally lasts much longer. Ingested marijuana also does not damage the lungs. If sales data in states such as Washington and Colorado are any indication, the sale of edibles is likely to skyrocket after January 1, 2018, when recreational marijuana becomes truly legal in California.

CKB Vienna LLP—Experienced Commercial Law Attorneys and Advisors

Numbers of business owners are currently trying to determine if they can take legitimate advantage of California’s legalization of recreational marijuana. The regulatory framework for any cannabis business is tricky and it is in flux. Navigating through a sea of regulations can be difficult. Prudent business owners turn to experienced commercial attorneys like CKB VIENNA LLP for assistance. For years now, we have represented all sorts of businesses in many types of legal and regulatory environments. We have researched the technical requirements of Prop 64 and the myriad of other regulations that will have an impact on the sale of recreational marijuana in California. Our team understands the complexity of the issues and stands ready to represent you aggressively. We have offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. Contact us by telephone—909.980.1040—or complete our online form.