If a bill that’s currently in the California Senate passes, the cannabis industry will have to add more warning labels to its products. The warnings, according to those in the industry, will take up so much room on the packaging that retailers will have room for fewer products.
The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) has come out in “strong opposition” to Senate Bill (SB) 1097. The Cannabis Right to Know Act, introduced by a state senator who’s also a pediatrician, would require labels that include multiple warnings rotated equally among all product packaging by Jan. 2025. The warnings must cover “1/3 of the front or principal face of a product … in the largest type possible for the area.”
What are the proposed warnings?
The warnings primarily cover the potential risks of cannabis to mental health, pregnant and breastfeeding women, those with respiratory conditions and children and teens. Other warnings address the potential safety concerns around illegal cannabis and the dangers of driving under the influence of it.
Those in the cannabis industry argue that state law already requires warning labels and child-proof packaging. The CCIA notes, “The bill would add duplicative labeling requirements to cannabis products that will do very little to protect public health…[and would] unfairly penalize legal operators who already comply with stringent labeling and childproof packaging requirements.”
The effect on small retailers
One cannabis executive asserts that the bill is “that kind of knee-jerk Reefer Madness, where [the legislators] are not thinking it through because those biases are getting in the way.” She also points out the negative effect on small businesses, saying, “Leaving aside the environmental issues, imagine you’re a small mom-and-pop retailer or a social equity retailer, where you have a small shop…. you’re supposed to carry one-third the inventory because all of your products have, like, three times as big a box?”
Even if proposed legislation that would have a negative effect on the cannabis industry might seem unlikely to make it through California’s legislature – let alone be signed into law by the governor — it’s crucial for California’s cannabis business owners to keep an eye on potential changes to the law that could seriously affect their company.