California cannabis vape cartridges will soon carry explicit labeling on its packages. The state announced a new rule in March that all vapor packaging for marijuana products will need to display the state-designed version of the industry-wide symbol, an action causing manufacturers to switch gears – and spend considerable money to do so.
As Los Angeles cannabis lawyers can explain, the cost of non-compliance is likely to be considerably more. Those producing marijuana products need to get a move on fast – by the end of this month. Retailers will have a bit longer.
The symbol in question is a triangle that borders a bud leaf with a bold exclamation point and the letters “CA” (the widely-recognized abbreviation for California) below.
New Regulation Supersedes “Emergency” Cannabis Labeling Rules
The new regulation was set by the California Department of Public Health, which notes that product labeling compliant under the previous “emergency” rules but not with newer rules needs to be shipped to a distributor who is licensed by June 30th. Those retailers are required to clear those items from store shelves no later than Dec. 31, 2019. By Jan. 1, 2020, it will be unlawful in California to sell any product with packaging absent this labeling.
Per health department recommendations, marijuana manufacturers may consider using a sticker as an easy fix to existing packages, or else they can repackage the products they have with materials that are compliant.
As cannabis attorneys in Los Angeles, we’re aware of correspondence with others on the legal front taking the DOH to task for requiring that vape cartridges be flagged when the actual cannabis concentrate that is sold already notes that it contains the drug. Mandating that the containers be labeled in such a manner – without stipulating that it’s only the container – is non sequitur.
The state’s only response was to refer to the new rule.
Cannabis Product Labeling Liability
Cannabis product labeling cannot be overlooked by California product manufacturers and dispensaries. It’s not uncommon that these retailers will rely on multiple providers of cannabis. Both they and product manufacturers need to be sure their providers are vetted and state-legal, or else risk a potential product liability claim stemming from improper labeling or inadequate warning.
Although some marijuana businesses have been successful in securing numerous risks to individuals, it doesn’t necessarily cover them all. It will be difficult to mount a successful defense against the state for selling cannabis vapor cartridges without the mandated labels beyond the prescribed dates.
It’s not just vape cartridges. Most consumer product liability claims pertaining to packaging and labeling deal with inadequate warnings about the potency and individual serving size.
Beyond this, California marijuana is subject to the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which requires the publication of listed chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and other types of listed harm (via the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. That list currently contains more than 1,000 chemicals -including marijuana smoke per an amendment in 2009 (specifically for the risk of cancer).
Although this pertain specifically to the cannabis flower which potentially produces the “smoke,” it’s also relevant for those who sell oil and wax – and especially vapes. Thus far, the warning has not been required beyond anything beyond the cannabis flower sold in California, but there is talk that this could expand. Some suggest elements of cannabis could even cause reproductive harm.
Whether this comes to fruition or not, all those in the cannabis distribution chain should make themselves aware of local, state and federal labeling compliance. A Los Angeles cannabis lawyer can help.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
California cannabis vape cartridges required to include universal symbol, June 25, 2019, By Bart Schaneman, Marijuana Business Daily