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Michigan legislature debates warning labels for pregnant women on marijuana packages


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Last week the state legislature debated putting a warning label for pregnant women on marijuana packages. The Republican legislative package called for the words "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" to be included on marijuana product labels.

Something like this was likely to come up. Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, said, "There are so many things that we do not yet know about the long-term effects of marijuana for a woman who is pregnant or nursing; and I suggest that we take extreme caution when selling products that we don’t know the long-term effects about, and include this significant and definitely needed warning."

Legislators plan to continue the discussion this week. This is not a hard one to parse. Rendon depends on the fear of marijuana in saying "so many things we don't know" in her approach. I'll submit that her fear and motivation are genuine. Still the "may" in the wording of the bill does not project a lot of certainty about those effects.

For the record, the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association was officially neutral on this issue. Other states with legal marijuana require similar warnings, and this wasn't an issue the industry was going to fight about. At this point businesses lucky enough to have a license are all about complying with regulations.

As for the danger to the unborn. There is evidence on both sides of that argument. Whatever possible effects may happen are more part of a complex set of variables that marijuana may be a factor in. Hopefully the new research going into cannabis will give us some solid answers.

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