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Compliance for Cannabis Dispensaries Under Prop 65 Amendments

In June 2009, marijuana smoke was added to the list of carcinogenic chemicals maintained by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). To avoid enforcement actions, cannabis companies, including dispensaries, should be sure to take appropriate steps to address their Proposition 65 risk, which may mean providing Proposition 65 warnings.

What Can Cannabis Dispensaries Do?

Cannabis dispensaries essentially act as retailers, and therefore should review the retailer-specific provisions in the new Proposition 65 warning regulations to understand their warning obligations. For example, dispensaries may wish to use contractual agreements to allocate the obligation to warn to their suppliers, per new Section 25600.2(i).

Cannabis dispensary owners should evaluate whether their vendors are already taking steps to address compliance, such as by providing Proposition 65 warnings on product labels. Dispensaries also should consider posting Proposition 65 warnings at points of display of cannabis products.

In addition to warnings for products that are sold, cannabis dispensaries that accommodate smoking on the premises should also consider posting warnings for environmental exposure to marijuana smoke. The new regulations establish requirements for environmental exposure warnings. However, it is not clear whether the specially tailored designated smoking area warnings should be used in these circumstances. Statements made by OEHHA in its Final Statement of Reasons suggest that such warnings should be used if tobacco smoking also is allowed at such locations.

Proposition 65 Claims Against Dispensaries

Hundreds of California cannabis dispensaries have been targeted for alleged failure to provide Proposition 65 warnings for marijuana smoke, collectively paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlement payments to private enforcers. Hundreds of dispensaries and cannabis manufacturers also have been targeted for alleged exposures to pesticide residues in their cannabis products. As this industry continues to evolve into a mainstream industry in California, cannabis businesses should take a close look at their potential Proposition 65 liability, and take appropriate steps to manage their risk.

Grimaldi Law Offices has been advising clients for over 20 years on chemical and product law. For knowledgeable advice and in-depth analysis on your Prop 65 compliance obligations, contact Grimaldi Law Offices at (415) 463-5186 or email us at [email protected].

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Ms. Grimaldi maintains a diverse environmental law practice focusing on chemical and product regulation and litigation defense. Her practice areas include Proposition 65, California's Safer Consumer Products Regulations, California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Act and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Ms. Grimaldi graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law magna cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bacteriology from University of California, Davis. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a research assistant in laboratories at the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Research Institute and at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.