The federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires all drugs in the United States to be shown safe and effective before being marketed in the United States.
Now that the manufacture and sale of marijuana is legal in Colorado, California, and six other states, why hasn’t the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required warning labels on marijuana?
The FDA has plenary powers, including the outright prohibition of the marketing of unsafe drugs. It has similar statutory authority to issue an order recalling drugs, although recalls are normally done voluntarily by drug manufacturers.
The FDA has issued a public warning to consumers to avoid homeopathic products as treatments for asthma. The FDA has required warning and information labels on more than 95,000 drugs and medical devices for people and for animals.
The best known warning label, of course, is the one that the United States Surgeon General has required on cigarette packs since 1966. Also well known is the warning label on alcoholic beverage containers, which states that drinking alcohol during pregnancy may cause birth defects, that people should not drink and drive, and that alcohol may cause other health problems.
That marijuana is a drug there is no doubt. The FDA states that “marijuana and marijuana-derived products” are “drugs.”
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, marijuana is “the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.” According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), “marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug.”
The Surgeon General’s 1996 report entitled “Facing Addiction in America” describes marijuana as one of the “addictive drugs,”
Likewise, marijuana is not safe.
Despite all the recent changes in