The Michigan House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to pass mandated consumer warnings about marijuana use by women and minors.
“Contrary to popular opinion, marijuana is not a harmless drug, especially in pregnancy,” Dr. Federico Mariona stated at the hearing. The Wayne County physician has cared for women with high-risk pregnancies for 30 years, and is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Ten-year studies show that marijuana has adverse effects on fetal development when used before conception, during pregnancy, and potentially during lactation, he said.
“Especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) increased incidence of brain anencephaly,” he said. “Deficits in cognitive functions starting at ages 6, more pronounced at age 10, hyperactivity, impulsivity, depression, and diminished short-term memory.”
He testified to seeing a 12-27 percent increase in use by pregnant women, accompanied by increased rates of C-section, pre-term birth, and infants needing the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit since last December, when recreational marijuana became legal in Michigan.
ACOG advises that THC is distributed rapidly to the brain and fat, and crosses the placenta in animal models.
Michigan’s proposed labeling would state:
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.
The American Medical Society advocated warnings in a May statement, and noted Colorado’s experience that “unintentional marijuana consumption among children under age 9 continues a slow upward trend, as do emergency visits due to marijuana.”
Other proposed actions include:
… to make available to every customer at the time of sale a pamphlet measuring 3.5 inches by 5 inches that includes safety information related to marijuana use by minors and the poison control hotline number.
Representing the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, Robin Schneider did not object to the added regulations. She did suggest revising the format to coordinate with other warnings on small packages.
“There’s just not a lot of room left for warning labels,” she said, and noted that purchasers tend to throw away leaflets without reading them.
Rep. Thomas Albert (R–Lowell) sponsored House Bill 4126 to make these revisions to current recreational marijuana law. Rep. Daire Rendon (R–Lake City) proposed the same changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana law.
The bills were reported with recommendation for passage to the Michigan House. If passed, they would proceed to the Senate and governor before becoming law.
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Abigail Nobel is a reporter for The Michigan Star.