Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

On July 8, California’s Department of Cannabis Control (“DCC”) issued draft regulations looking to standardize cannabis testing across the state. According to a statement, the DCC issued the proposed regulations in reaction to concerns about cannabis potency inflation and “laboratory shopping,” by cannabis businesses looking to secure THC levels that may be higher than what is actually contained in the cannabis flower or product. These new regulations would standardize the ways in which licensed cannabis labs in California can conduct their cannabinoid testing.

Continue Reading California Proposes New Cannabis Lab Testing Regulations

More than 20 state attorneys general (AGs) authored an open letter to congressional leaders calling for legislation that would regulate tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) edibles that mimic the packaging and names of popular product. In their June 22 letter, the state AGs voiced their concern, particularly for children, writing that “copycat THC edibles pose a grave risk to the health, safety, and welfare of our children.” Specifically, the state AGs asked Congress to “immediately enact legislation authorizing trademark holders of well-known and trusted consumer packaged goods to hold accountable those malicious actors who are using those marks to market illicit copycat THC edibles to children.”

Continue Reading State AGs Call for Congressional Action on Copycat THC Edibles

As the cannabis industry and its associated sectors have gained increasing social and legal acceptance, these businesses have started to face an issue that has been plaguing traditional Consumer Packaged Goods companies in the state of California for decades—Proposition 65 claims.

Proposition 65 is a California initiative approved by voters in 1986 and enacted into law as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. The law requires California to publish a list of substances that are known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm. The law prohibits “knowingly and intentionally” causing exposure to one of the substances on the list without first providing a “clear and reasonable” warning. To comply with Proposition 65, businesses must provide consumers with a Proposition 65 compliant warning unless they can ensure that their product does not expose consumers to a listed substance at levels that may cause cancer or reproductive harm.

Continue Reading Prop 65 Plaintiffs Set Their Sights on Cannabis Industry

On May 19, 2022, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an opinion holding that Delta-8 THC products are legal at the federal level and eligible for intellectual property protection. The Ninth Circuit held that the “2018 Farm Bill was silent with regard to Delta-8 THC,” writing that “regardless of the wisdom of legalizing delta-8 THC products, this Court will not substitute its own policy judgment for that of Congress.” According to the Court, if the bill “inadvertently created a loophole legalizing vaping products containing delta-8 THC, then it is for Congress to fix its mistake.”

 The case involved two companies selling products both labeled under “Cake” branding. Manufacturer AK Futures argued that a competitor was selling counterfeit “Cake” Delta-8 THC products. The competitor did not contest that it was selling counterfeit “Cake” products, but instead it argued that AK Futures could not hold a valid trademark because Delta-8 THC was illegal under federal law.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules on Legality of Delta-8 THC Products

Most Americans are familiar with the term “THC” at this point. What they might not yet appreciate is that common nomenclature is actually referring to Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or “Delta-9” THC. That’s the scientific terminology for the molecule in marijuana that’s well-known for its psychoactive properties—i.e., what causes a “high.” Delta-9 is a cannabinoid and there are hundreds of different cannabinoids within any given cannabis plant.
Continue Reading Delta-8: A New Low in Highs

California regulators have proposed new tailored Proposition 65 warnings for cannabis products. These proposals would create new warning requirements for such products sold to California consumers containing THC or exposing consumers to cannabis smoke and—taken together with other proposed regulations—indicate that the Proposition 65 landscape may see some significant changes in the coming months.

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Two recent actions from the Biden Administration may have immediate consequences for the cannabis industry. First, a new Executive Order signed by President Biden reversed prior policy requiring federal agencies to submit guidance documents to the White House for review. Second, the Biden Administration distributed a memorandum to federal agencies asking them to postpone any rules published in the Federal Register for 60 days.
Continue Reading Looking Ahead: Cannabis Policy Update January 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule today, building off the interim final rule it issued in October 2019 and incorporating both public comments and the agency’s takeaways from the 2020 growing season. In general, the final rule makes modest adjustments to the interim final rule in order to make it less onerous for producers to grow hemp while imposing stricter requirements on how crop must be tested.

Most importantly, the final rule recognizes that growers may accidentally produce crop that contains more than 0.3 percent THC and raises the limit for negligently doing so from 0.5 percent to 1 percent, but requires that producers test for total THC levels in crop, rather than for delta-9 THC levels. Testing for total THC levels makes it more likely a crop could exceed the legal limit for THC in hemp.
Continue Reading USDA’s Final Rule Makes Hemp Easier to Grow, Harder to Test