What Should I Know If I Am Injured By A Cannabis Product In California?

On November 8th of this year, over 56% of Californians voted in favor of Proposition 64, legalizing marijuana for recreational cultivation and use in California. On January 1st, 2018, products containing marijuana and cannabis will also be legally sold and taxed throughout the state.

Proponents of Prop 64 are excited about the fact that marijuana and cannabis products will be sold and taxed just like any other product. Substantial tax will be generated from this new booming market in California. However, just like any other product, marijuana and cannabis products will be subject to California laws regarding Products Liability.

So what does Products Liability refer to? In simple terms, it is the legal theory on which a plaintiff will bring a lawsuit if they are injured by a product.

As described by California case law:

A manufacturer, distributor, or retailer is liable in tort if a defect in the manufacture or design of its product causes injury while the product is being used in a reasonably foreseeable way.Soule v. GM Corp. (1994) 8 Cal.4th 548, 560.

In order to prevail on a products liability claim, a plaintiff must prove the following:

  1. The product had an unreasonably dangerous defect;
  2. The plaintiff was injured; and
  3. The injury was caused by the defect in the product.

A “defect” typically falls under one of the following categories:

  1. Manufacturing defect- This means that this particular product that caused the injury was different than others just like it.
  2. Design defect- This means that there was a dangerous defect in the design of the product, in both the exact one that caused the injury and the others produced like it.
  3. Failure to warn- This means that the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the product failed to provide an adequate warning of known risks of the product to the plaintiff.

Understanding the law is helpful, but if you have been injured by a defective product, it is always best to have an experienced attorney on your side.

With the recent legislation in California legalizing the sale of marijuana and cannabis-containing products in January of 2018, there are sure to be many injuries caused by these relatively new products. For example, the equipment used for ingesting marijuana and cannabis concentrates such as “oil” and “wax”, known as “vaporizers”, use a variety of different battery-powered products to heat marijuana and concentrates enough to ingest the active ingredients (THC and/or CBD) without burning the actual product and producing smoke. These vaporizers, ranging in size from handheld models the size of a pen to stationary models the size of a coffee table, have caused injuries to the user in the form of burns, electrocution, and more.

Another potential for injury lies in the form of the “edibles” that have grown in popularity in the years since the introduction of medical marijuana collectives who sell the products, especially in places like Los Angeles. “Edibles” are cannabis-containing delicacies such as chocolate, cookies, brownies, candy, soda, and just about every other food one could imagine, are required to display the THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) content in milligrams on the packaging of these products. Failure to do so may cause the consumer to overdose on the THC, and although such an overdose has never been found to be lethal, may cause psychosis and other injuries.

Although the new laws under Prop 64 regarding sale and taxation of marijuana will not go into effect until January 1st, 2018, companies have been manufacturing, distributing, and retailing these products in medical marijuana collectives for years.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a marijuana vaporizing device or a retailed cannabis-containing product, the Law Offices of Vann H. Slatter are here to help you.

For over 30 years The Law Offices of Vann H. Slatter have been helping the victims of defective product injuries get the compensation they deserve. We know the steps to take, and will fight for you every step of the way.  Call us today for your free consultation at  (310) 444-3010 or toll-free at (888) 293-0404.

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