The Pacific Northwest’s marijuana market turned a bit less sweet last week, as the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) announced it will impose new restrictions on cannabis edibles, banning a slew of products that state officials claim inappropriately appeal to children.
According to reports from the Seattle Times and other area news outlets, Washington regulators announced the decision during a meeting on Wednesday, reporting that the LCB had recently reviewed every single one of the state’s edible production licenses, and found them to be negligent in following state mandated standards, which ban products that are particularly enticing to kids.
“We found that we have approved some products that would meet the definition of especially appealing to children,” LCB officials stated in Wednesday’s presentation.
In an attempt to correct the board’s licensing oversight, LCB regulators said that they would now ban all edibles that they perceive to cross the line of attracting youth, including both denying new license applications and rescinding licenses that officials already approved.
“All production of hard candy (of any style, shape or size), tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, jellies and any gummy type products should cease as they will not qualify,” the LCB presentation detailed.
Outside of the specified products, officials said that infused baked goods, sauces, spices, chips, and crackers would still be allowed in dispensaries, alongside chocolate bars without icing, sprinkles, food coloring or any other kid-friendly decoration. LCB leaders said that they would evaluate individual products over the coming months to determine if products comply with the new rules.
Across the legal marijuana landscape, states like Colorado and California have imposed similar cannabis edible regulations to deter consumption by kids, but they were implemented as part of long public debates over regulatory processes. In Washington, last week’s announcement came as a surprise to both consumers and ganjapreneurs.
Edibles make up only 9% of Washington’s total cannabis marketplace, with newly restricted gummies, lollipops, and more representing an even smaller share, but for a number of local infused candy makers — many of whom invested in large, expensive equipment after receiving initial LCB approval — the new regulation presents a major challenge for their businesses.
“I'm hopeful they didn't make a grievous error and approve something that I went and purchased $35K in packaging for, that they're going to say, ‘Oh, changed our mind' in a couple weeks,” Jamie Hoffman, owner of pot candy producer Craft Elixirs, told Washington news station KIRO 7. “If we lose the ability to make these candies, we'll be out of business. There's no question about it.”
However if you’re in Washington and looking to restock your stash of infused sour belts or suckers, LCB officials have announced a six-month cut-off date of April 3rd, 2019, at which point all remaining inventories of pot candies must be entirely removed from the Evergreen State’s dispensaries. May the shopping sprees begin...