Michigan May Require Warning Labels For Cannabis Health Risks During Pregnancy

Some are critical of the warnings and believe they are excessive.
Michigan May Require Warning Labels for Cannabis Health Risks During Pregnancy

A Michigan legislative committee approved a bill on Tuesday that would require labels on cannabis products to warn consumers about the risks of marijuana use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The Michigan House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee voted 11-2 in favor of the measure, which will head next to the House floor for a vote by the full body.

Under the proposed legislation, all cannabis products would be required to be packaged with a label reading: “Warning: Use by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by women planning to become pregnant, may result in fetal injury, preterm birth, low birth weight, or developmental problems for the child.”

Republican Rep. Daire Rendon, one of the bill’s sponsors, said that Michigan’s regulations should help inform and protect consumers who may be new to cannabis.

“This is a brand new product that’s going out … and a lot of people automatically think ‘Wow it’s legal, it’s going to be safe,’” said Rendon. “So we felt it was very important that people understand there are health implications for using products like this.”

Citing research that shows that smoke from both cigarettes and marijuana can increase the chance of developmental problems in infants and difficulties with learning and paying attention in older children, Reardon said that legislators decided to address marijuana’s impact on fetal development after hearing testimony from pediatricians.

Too Many Warnings?

But fellow Republican Rep. Beau LaFave said that while he doesn’t condone cannabis use by pregnant women, he voted against the bill to preserve the impact of consumer warning labels.

“Just because something’s unhealthy doesn’t mean the government needs to tell everybody about it or require that label be on it,” LaFave said. “If you warn everyone about everything, the warnings themselves become less helpful.”

Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said the trade group has decided to not take a position on the bill. Hovey said in an email that the cannabis industry “supports warning labels when they are backed by thorough scientific data and we don’t believe there is enough research available at this point. Since some degree of caution is reasonable, we are neutral on the bill.”

Michigan’s House Judiciary Committee also approved another bill on Tuesday that would require both medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational cannabis retailers to offer pamphlets on safety, including the potential risks of use by minors.

Before becoming law, both bills must be approved by the full House of Representatives as well as the Michigan state Senate, and be signed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The two pieces of legislation are both supported by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency.

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