Cannabis is still a controversial topic in the United States. Although some states have deregulated marijuana and even allowed for recreational use, others have maintained criminal liability and punishments for the possession and distribution of marijuana. As the legal and regulatory landscape for cannabis continues to change, certain companies specializing in cannabis-based products are cropping up in states that allow medical or recreational consumption. Since this is such a new frontier, however, there are few safety measures in place to ensure that patients and patrons who purchase these products aren’t receiving a potentially dangerous product.
The federal government recently reaffirmed its long-standing position that federal prosecutors should not focus their resources on prosecuting cannabis-related crimes. In 2009, the Department of Justice issued a memo instructing federal prosecutors to forgo investigating criminal activity involving cannabis if the suspect’s conduct clearly conformed with the state’s medical marijuana laws. Five years later, Congress enacted an amendment that barred the Department of Justice from allocating federal funds to programs that would prevent states from passing legislation allowing medical marijuana.
Recently, the Department of Justice dismissed a lawsuit it filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging a federal judge’s ruling enjoining the agency from shutting down a marijuana dispensary in California that had demonstrated its compliance with state laws. This means that the amendment prohibiting the federal government from bringing criminal actions against marijuana businesses that comply with state laws is still in effect.
Although proponents of the burgeoning marijuana industry see the Department of Justice’s dismissal as a win, consumers of cannabis products still face health and safety risks associated with these products. Currently, there are no uniform laws or regulations governing the safety testing of cannabis products. Companies are free to choose whichever method they deem fit and can present the information in a variety of ways to the consumer. Some states like Colorado, which was the first state to allow recreational marijuana usage, have enacted some requirements regarding product limitations and packaging requirements, but they are scant compared to the myriad regulations and requirements that apply to other products.
If you have been injured as a result of using or ingesting a cannabis product, you may be entitled to compensation. Like any other type of product, cannabis products can pose an unreasonable risk of danger to the user. To hold the manufacturer liable, the victim can bring a number of claims, including a product liability and negligence claim. Under the negligence approach, the plaintiff must show that the defendant failed to use reasonable care and skill in the designing, manufacturing, production, assembly, or distribution of the product. The plaintiff can also allege that the defendant failed to use reasonable care in providing sufficient instructions and warnings with the product.
At Moll Law Group, our seasoned product liability lawyers have represented clients across the United States, including in Illinois, Florida, New York, and California, giving us valuable experience in navigating the unique legal system of each state. We provide a free consultation to help you learn about your legal options and do not recover any legal fees unless we obtain a settlement or a judgment in your favor. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us online to set up your appointment.