In a move that has completely taken the Washington cannabis industry by surprise, the Liquor and Cannabis Board announced in a presentation at their regular board meeting yesterday, October 3rd, 2018, a plan and timeline to ban the sale of all cannabis infused candies and severely restrict other available edibles.
The LCB admitted in their presentation that they had been approving products that could be considered appealing to children, which violates current law. The interpretation of just what appeals to children has been somewhat broad. To align with the letter of the law it appears the WSLCB will now be taking a very hard line approach to approving edible products.
All cannabis infused edible products must be resubmitted to the WSLCB for reapproval by January 1, 2019. Businesses then have until April 1, 2019 to sell through their remaining inventory of approved products, that are not reapproved. If you have remaining product after that
According to the presentation none of the following will be approved going forward.
- Candy – hard candy (of any style, shape or size) and tarts.
- Fruit chews, jellies and all gummy type products.
So, what does that leave?
- Baked Goods
- Chips and Crackers
- Sauces and Spices
- Chocolate in its original color and not coated, dipped, sprayed or painted with any type of color.
- Chocolate in the shape of a bar or ball. No shape or design that is especially appealing to children.
- Caramel and fruit caramels. No color, shape or design that is especially appealing to children.
- Cookies that do not contain sprinkles or frosting.
- Mints that have no color (white or white with small color fleck to represent the flavor only).
Prior to today’s presentation there had been no mention of this subject at any public board meetings. The impact of this decision will be felt by many in the industry. Small processors that have built brands around these previously approved products are facing an uncertain future if the LCB moves forward with its current implementation.
New packaging rules take effect on January 1, 2019 in addition to this surprise infused edible crack downs. These new rules add a universal 21+ cannabis symbol in addition to the Not for Kids symbol that was already required on marijuana infused edibles. Many in the industry felt this was enough responsible labeling to help protect kids and recently invested in new packaging to meet the requirements. Now some of those products may not be re-approved by the LCB at all.
What will consumers think when they can no longer get their favorite infused candies? Children are not purchasing these infused products. It is their parents. We should be educating them on responsible storage and use, not relying on the government to restrict access? The LCB will host a Webinar on October 16th to answer any questions about the infused edible rules at lcb.wa.gov.