Along with high taxes, a lack of retail, competition with California’s illicit cannabis market and a slew of various issues, cannabis businesses in the state have another thing to protest: Senate Bill 1097, the Cannabis Right to Know Act.
According to the legislative language, the bill would require a new warning label on all cannabis products starting in January 2025. The warning label would need to cover “1/3 of the front or principal face of a product … in the largest type possible for the area.” A series of warnings would be provided by the state and rotated among batches of products.
Introduced by Sen. Richard Pan in February, the bill states that cannabis business must rotate the following messages equally between product batches:
The bill is facing opposition from members of the California cannabis industry, including the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA). The CCIA issued a call to action May 25, stating its “strong opposition” to the bill.
According to the CCIA’s call to action, “The bill would add duplicative labeling requirements to cannabis products that will do very little to protect public health or undercut the illicit market, but will instead unfairly penalize legal operators who already comply with stringent labeling and childproof packaging requirements.”
Tiffany Devitt, chief of regulatory affairs at CannaCraft and vice president of the CCIA's board of directors, told CBT that industry members are concerned about how the bill, if passed, would contribute to the waste stream. She said plant-tagging requirements and packaging regulations for products such as vape cartridges already pose a negative environmental impact.
There’s another issue, too, she said.
“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,” Devitt said. “So, what, you're supposed to carry one-third the inventory because all of your products have, like, three times as big a box?
“There are all sorts of implications of this kind of legislation—the Pan bill—which are just not thought out. It's just that kind of knee-jerk Reefer Madness, where [the legislators] are not thinking it through because those biases are getting in the way.”
Marie Montmarquet, co-founder of MD Numbers, said cannabis businesses in California already havestringent packaging regulations.
“All I can say is, we have so much child-proofing that an adult cannot open our packaging,” she said. “Like, if you ask the average adult, can they open their edible packaging or can they open their flower, they will tell you absolutely not. It is way too hard to get into.
“Then, my argument, as always, has been, like, is a liter of vodka child-proof? What direction are we going in? We should be going toward sustainability, especially in California—we've set the tone for … environmental sustainability in America. We should be trying to figure out how to have less packaging, not more packaging. And the packaging that we have, considering what we're selling, is way too extreme."