A Potential Rise in Toxic Tort Litigation: Pesticide Use on Cannabis

As more states enact medicinal and adult recreational cannabis laws each year, we are likely to see growing litigation in the toxic torts arena. Health officials have warned about the potential hazards to consumers’ health from cannabis that has been treated with chemical pesticides. The risks may vary depending on how the product is consumed, whether eaten, smoked, vaped, or dermally applied. So far, given the federal ban on marijuana, there are no pesticide products that have been approved on the federal level specific to…
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Cannabis Advocates Grow Hopeful as Congressional Committee Approves Marijuana Banking Bill

In a vote that congressional advocates hope could pave the way towards federal legalization of marijuana by the end of 2019, the House Financial Services Committee recently voted to advance a bill that would prevent federal banking regulators from punishing financial institutions for working with marijuana businesses that operate legally under state, local, or tribal law. In a rare bipartisan committee vote, passage of this legislation by the full House would allow marijuana businesses more access to banks and lenders and permit them to store…
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I’m Back in a New York State of Mind

In a shocking bit of news, on Monday, March 25, 2019, New Jersey lawmakers called off a vote to legalize adult use cannabis. The news was particularly shocking given that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ran on a platform that partly emphasized the need and desire to legalize adult use cannabis. So what now? Specifically, what now for New York? If this decision is any indication, New York must get their proposed legislation correct. New York will need to decide if it sticks with six…
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California Bill Aims to Ban Cosmetics That Includes Certain Ingredients

After banning sales of animal-tested cosmetics, California is now considering a law that bans cosmetic products with ingredients that the State of California determines are “poisonous” or are “deleterious substance[s] that may render it injurious to users when used as directed.” According to proposed Section 111673 of the Health and Safety Code, a cosmetic would be deemed “adulterated” if any of the listed ingredients were “intentionally added” to the cosmetic. The ingredients in the proposed bill include asbestos, lead, dibutyl phthalate, diethylhexyl phthalate, formaldehyde,…
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Federal Court in New Jersey Rules on Reasonable Accommodation of Medical Marijuana

Many employers have longstanding zero tolerance drug use policies. With the growing number of states passing laws that decriminalize medical and/or recreational marijuana use, the application of these policies become murky. In the realm of medical marijuana, there is a growing body of case law interpreting whether or not employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees that a hold a valid medical marijuana certification. A federal court in New Jersey recently ruled on a case that involved a forklift operator who was injured at work…
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FDA’s Opinion: CBD You in April…Maybe.

On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, testified before Congress. He testified that the agency planned a public meeting in April to begin a rule making procedure on CBD. The goal is to create “an appropriately efficient and predictable regulatory framework for regulating CBD products,” he said. This is good news for those in the hemp and cannabis market. Unfortunately, the statement also means that CBD infused products are still illegal in the U.S. Dr. Gottlieb’s testimony is further evidence of the…
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Florida Seeks to End Ban on Smoking Medical Marijuana

On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, the Florida House’s Health and Human Services Committee considered a new bill that would allow medical marijuana patients to receive their prescription in smokable form.  The Committee voted in favor of the bill, with only two votes in opposition, and it will now head to the appropriations committee as it moves closer to a vote. After Florida voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2016, then Governor Rick Scott signed the bill into law while putting into place a ban on…
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California Federal Court Permits Class Action Pet Food Lawsuit to Go Forward

A California Federal Court recently denied a motion filed by a pet food manufacturer (Defendant) to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit centered around the alleged presence of heavy metals within the defendant’s pet food. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant made actionable false, misleading, or otherwise deceptive statements regarding the nature and qualify of their pet food. The defendant is facing similar lawsuits in other jurisdictions, which focus on the presence of heavy metals within these pet food products. In these other lawsuits, cases…
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Medical Cannabis and the Potential for Criminal Charges

This past Monday, February 4, 2019, a medical cannabis patient in Utah plead guilty to a Class B misdemeanor for possession of a controlled substance. The patient had a quantity of CBD oil in his trunk. He used that oil as medicine to treat epilepsy. However, the patient purchased the oil in Oregon and it contained small amounts of THC, though not an intoxicating amount. Oregon allows its CBD oil to contain small amounts of THC. Utah does not allow the presence of THC in…
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Hydroponic Operations Fight for Organic Certification Amidst Disapproval from Traditionalists

Hydroponic agriculture is a cutting edge method of growing plants and produce in nutrients which have been dissolved into flowing water. Hydroponic operations have historically fought an uphill battle in their quest to achieve organic certification. In most other developed nations, hydroponic crops cannot be certified as organic, as they are not grown in soil. Between 2001 and 2010, this issue was repeatedly raised to the National Organic Standards Board, which continually held that soil-less systems were inconsistent with organic status, even if they use…
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