Cannabis Is Unsafe For Pregnant Women, Says Panel Of California Scientists

A patron lights up at the Original Cannabis Cafe (formerly Lowell Cafe) in West Hollywood. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

By Peter Jon Schuler of The California Report and Jessica P. Ogilvie

Beginning late next year, cannabis and THC products sold legally in California will be required to carry a warning label stating that they're not safe for pregnant women and their developing fetuses.

A panel of state scientists with California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment voted on the issue this week in Sacramento after reviewing what one panel member described as "several hundred studies."

Their decision placed cannabis smoke and THC on the state's list of reproductive toxicants under Proposition 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1989.

State law already requires pot packaging to carry a warning that marijuana use during pregnancy or breastfeeding "may be harmful."

The vote, carried out by OEHHA's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee, faced pushback from cannabis industry officials, who argued that sufficient research is not available to support the classification, and that existing science is inconclusive.

Businesses have a one-year grace period before warning labels will be required.

This decision "shouldn't necessarily affect usage for other purposes by other people," said Sam Delson, deputy director of OEHHA.

Cannabis smoke has already been on the Proposition 65 list for a decade as a known cause of cancer.