Senator Henry Stern’s Bill to Protect Children from Edible Cannabis Poisoning Passes Senate

The bipartisan measure to childproof edible cannabis products heads to Assembly

May 16, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, State Senator Henry Stern’s SB 794, which would require each single serving of an edible marijuana product to be marked with a universal symbol and sold in child-resistant packaging, was approved on the Senate floor with no “no” votes. The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.

SB 794 would specify the required size and visibility of the universal symbol. The symbol would be designed and decided by the Bureau of Marijuana Control. For children too young to identify the symbol, SB 794 would require packaging that is tamperproof and child resistant for recreational edible marijuana products.

“California cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of Colorado with the pending proliferation of recreational cannabis. Our kids’ safety is on the line, and this bill would ensure the cannabis industry is held accountable for child-proofing their products,” remarked State Senator Henry Stern.

In 2016, California voters approved statewide legalization of recreational marijuana through Proposition 64, which has since raised public health concerns from doctors, parents, and law-makers and calls to protect consumers from accidental consumption. Colorado passed a similar initiative in 2014, and a 2016 study by the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that US poison centers in Colorado have seen a 34 percent annual increase on average in pediatric poisonings from marijuana, significantly higher than the 19 percent average increase found in other states.

“Requiring the use of a universal symbol to indicate that an edible product contains marijuana is an important step in educating the public at large,” states Gardena Police Chief Edward Medrano, President of the California Police Chiefs Association. “Recent reports of unintentional cannabis consumption not only by children but by adults working in Colorado’s tourism industry are cause for significant concern, as this can lead unintentional exposure to cannabis products causing severe illness, hospitalization, and impaired driving. SB 794 will create an additional safeguard against these potentially serious consequences.”

“This bill would go a long way towards protecting children and teens from accidental marijuana ingestion, which can easily happen when marijuana edibles are mistaken for conventional baked goods or candies,” said Paula Whiteman, MD, FAAP, FACEP, pediatric emergency physician and representative from the American Academy of Pediatrics, California.

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Henry Stern is Chair of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, and the first millennial elected to the California State Senate. Senator Stern also serves on four additional key committees: Energy, Utilities and Communications, Environmental Quality, Judiciary, and Natural Resources and Water. He represents nearly 1 million residents of the 27th Senate District, which includes Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Malibu, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, part of Santa Clarita and the following Los Angeles communities: Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Encino, Porter Ranch, Reseda, Tarzana, West Hills, Winnetka, and Woodland Hills. http://sd27.senate.ca.gov.