During the eighties and early nineties it was the threat of needles and razorblades embedded within children’s candies that terrified parents on Halloween. This year it was the idea that their young ones could be handed pot candy and overdose unaware. While these fears were more concentrated in Colorado where recreational marijuana is legal, they found their way to most every state, as a marijuana attorney in Las Vegas could attest to. As a cultural fear of our children unknowingly coming into harm’s way it’s one thing; as legit marijuana companies facing the threat of a product liability lawsuit that could bankrupt their whole operation, it’s another. This brief article in CannaLawBlog reviews potential pitfalls for cannabis business owners where edibles are concerned.
Part of the attention comes from the proposed legislation in Colorado. Sure, weed is legal, but figuring out how to adequately regulate it for public safety is a task that’s still in the works—a situation any marijuana attorney in Las Vegas is familiar with since Nevada legalized medical marijuana some time ago before getting around to hammering out the details that would allow dispensaries to go into operation. So Colorado is considering banning edible marijuana products, partly out of this cultural fear that they will end up in kids’ hands. Whether they’ll be pre-emptively “limited to lozenges and tinctures,” as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommended, or whether the laws will wait for at least one big product liability lawsuit to hit the courts before the rules on edibles change remains to be seen.
Already the state has regulations that will take effect in a few months (2015) that “will limit the dose of THC in edibles to 10 milligrams per serving and require child-resistant packaging for many products,” which is probably wise, a marijuana attorney in Las Vegas observing the situation might say. Nevada business lawyer Karl A. Shelton knows how much vulnerability to a product liability lawsuit cannabis manufacturers are exposed to, especially right now. Even when companies follow all the manufacturing, production, packaging, and labeling stipulations in place, settlements in a product liability lawsuit could bankrupt marijuana companies—remember the $3 million the jury awarded the woman burned by hot McDonald’s coffee?
Shelton and other lawyers in Nevada know that it’s only a matter of time before canna-businesses come under fire from the public through liability lawsuits. Even as “there will be an overall tightening of regulations regarding cannabis candies,” some manufacturers will be hit and probably hit hard. Dispensaries in Nevada should consider working with a marijuana attorney in Las Vegas to decrease the likelihood of being targeted with a lawsuit. Compliance with regulations and clarity in labeling, ingredients and serving sizes are crucial.
Some of these liability lawsuits may be inevitable as America decides one state at a time what, exactly, it wants to do with marijuana, but Nevada marijuana business owners may be able to avoid being blindsided by one by paying attention to what happens in Colorado, and taking precautions here in the Silver State.