California cannabis warning labels may need a revision California announced that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment


California cannabis warning labels may need a revision.

California announced that the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is accepting public comments starting March 15, 2019, regarding the inclusion of Marijuana, Marijuana Smoke, Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)  and   Cannabis Extracts on the list of substances under Proposition 65 known to cause birth defects.

Should OEHHA’s assessment prove that the three substances can cause birth defects, manufacturers and retailers would have to change their warning labels that inform users of the possibility of birth defects.

Compliance with a state’s changing warning and labeling requirements is one of the various challenges in the cannabis industry.


Proposition 65 or the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 requires manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning on products or packaging that contain substances identified as reproductive toxicants (causing birth defects) or carcinogens (causing cancer). The products are not banned but warnings are required to people who would be exposed to the chemicals. Currently, there are 900 plus regulated chemicals under Prop 65.

Marijuana smoke was added to the Prop 65 substance list on June 19, 2009, after OEHHA found out that marijuana smoke was “clearly shown, through scientifically valid testing” to be a carcinogen. Also, some Prop 65 labeling changes effective August 31, 2018,  required many in the industry to revise their warnings and labels.

This new assessment by OEHHA could result in:

  • First, the expansion of the list of potentially covered products from marijuana smoke to marijuana and other products with cannabis extracts.
  • Second, the warning language for “cancer and reproductive toxicity” would require changes from the previous warning for cancer only.

The public comment period was initiated on March 15 and ended on April 29. the public to OEHHA was accepted until the close of business on April 29.  In the event that other products containing cannabis extracts are found by the DART-IC Committee to cause reproductive or developmental toxicity, those findings would change the existing warning requirements in the future.

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