The licencing, sale and use of cannabis (both medically and recreationally) is likely to result in an increased risk of product liability claims on behalf of patients and consumers, including class action risk for the industry, both at the level of the producer and throughout the chain of distribution. Historically, product liability — particularly claims involving pharmaceutical medicines — has been a focus for the plaintiffs’ class action bar in Canada, and some specific focus on cannabis has already occurred and is expected to continue. In that regard, proposed class actions were recently commenced in both Ontario and Nova Scotia against a federally regulated producer in which allegations of “negligent design, development, testing, manufacturing, and distribution” have been made after alleged unapproved pesticides were found in the product and ingested. Like other products that have risks and benefits inherent to their use, producers and distributors of cannabis should carefully consider their quality and manufacturing control processes, product warnings and proactive strategies for dealing with consumer complaints, recalls and litigation risk generally.
Product Liability
Cannabis in Canada: A Changing Legal Landscape
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