Editor's Note: This article provides an overview of notices of violation (NOVs) filed against cannabis dispensaries for alleged violations under California Proposition 65. Watchdog groups have filed NOVs for pesticides in cannabis edible products and for marijuana smoke. One plaintiff that had waited the prescribed 60 days after filing NOVs has taken the next step under Proposition 65 and began filing lawsuits claiming that paraphernalia, including smoking pipes and rolling papers trigger obligations under Proposition 65 because their consumption and use result in marijuana smoke. More recently, similar lawsuits have been filed against medicinal cannabis dispensaries.

March 27, 2018

The widening net cast by plaintiff consumer groups pursuing cannabis dispensaries under Proposition 65 should not come as a surprise. Over the years, Proposition 65 plaintiffs have continued to expand their reach into additional markets and consumer products. The financial incentive for issuing Proposition 65 NOVs and filing such lawsuits can be significant. As we explained in previous alerts, companies that violate Proposition 65 can be liable for civil penalties up to $2,500 per day per violation, injunctive relief, and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the plaintiff's counsel in pursuing the matter. As NOVs continue to surpass the 60-day waiting period, we expect to see an increasing number of cannabis businesses cited as defendants in California court proceedings.

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