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California Health Officials Issue Safety Warning About Mary Jones Weed Sodas

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a notice warning consumers not to drink Mary Jones hemp-infused sodas, saying the products are illegal in the state and potentially dangerous. The health agency urged consumers who have purchased the sodas not to drink them and encouraged those who may have experienced ill effects from the products to seek the advice of their healthcare provider.

The CDPH said that the Mary Jones hemp-infused sodas are mislabeled and contain ingredients that are prohibited by state law. Specifically, the agency maintains that eight varieties of hemp-infused sodas contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) isolate, an ingredient that the health department says is banned by California law.

“Industrial hemp products are legal in California but are prohibited under state law from containing THC isolates,” the CDPH wrote in its May 30 warning notice. “The state confirmed through laboratory testing that Mary Jones sodas are mislabeled and violate state law by containing Delta-9 THC isolate.”

The health department said that the mislabeled sodas put consumers at risk of unintended cannabis intoxication, which can potentially lead to illness or injury. The warning covers Mary Jones hemp-infused sodas manufactured in Michigan and distributed to retailers across California. The products were sold in 12-ounce cans in four flavors, with each flavor sold in two THC potencies– 5 and 10 milligrams delta-9 THC per serving.

“California simply will not tolerate the distribution and sale of unsafe, mislabeled and illegal products that put the health of the public at risk,” CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón said last week in a statement from the agency. “We continue to work with partners across the state to help protect our communities, especially our youth, from illegal hemp products.”

Company Denies Health Department’s Claims

When contacted, a representative of Mary Jones maintained that the company’s products comply with California state law.

“Mary Jones hemp delta 9 (HD9) sodas in California are in compliance with California regulatory requirements. Our products are created with licensed, experienced third-party industry partners following the protocol required by the state,” the company wrote in a statement emailed to High Times. “We are also an active member of the Hemp Beverage Alliance with other hemp-based beverages, helping to build a safe, thriving and ethical hemp beverage industry. There have been no safety issues with our products despite multiple millions of beverages sold. We are eager to work with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to rectify the recent advisory about our HD9 sodas and help support the state in advancing hemp beverages.”

Mary Jones cannabis-infused sodas were launched in California in 2022 by Jones Soda Co., a Seattle-based beverage brand known for its premium craft sodas and unique flavors. Originally available only at licensed cannabis dispensaries, the new line of products blended Jones Soda Co.’s most popular flavors with cannabis extracts. 

Last year, the company announced it was expanding the Mary Jones line to include hemp-derived delta-9 THC, making the infused drinks available to consumers outside of the licensed dispensary setting. At the same time, the company launched an e-commerce store for the new hemp-derived delta-9 (HD9) sodas in a move that allowed consumers to buy the beverages from the comfort of their homes and have them shipped to all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Idaho and Oregon, due to state regulations.

“There’s a great evolution happening among today’s consumers and retailers. They are adapting to legal cannabis and THC products, whether low dose Hemp Derived Delta-9 or traditional higher dosed THC options via state regulated markets,” David Knight, CEO of Jones Soda, said in a January 2023 statement from the company. “Jones Soda always delivers the best tasting products, and our Mary Jones range of beverages and edibles don’t disappoint. Mary Jones now sits squarely in this trajectory, with low dose HD9 and traditional cannabis products that meet the demand.”

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