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Washington state focuses on labeling days before first marijuana stores open

The Washington State Liquor Control Board is now focusing on how to keep it out of the hands of children. (AP photo)

Less than a month before recreational marijuana hits store shelves, the Washington State Liquor Control Board is now focusing on how to keep it out of the hands of children.

The board plans to issue about 20 retail marijuana licenses on July 7 and stores can officially open 24-hours later (July 8) if they have product. The first growers license was issued March 5 and it takes about three to four months to grow marijuana plants.

Board Chair Sharon Foster said Tuesday all marijuana packaging will have to get approval before it can be sold to the public.

She said some products spotted in Colorado stores could be attractive to children.

“I don’t know that they reach the affect of Joe Camel, but some of them are close to what they name things. We’re just not going to let toys or cartoons be used on our labels,” Foster said.

The board plans to approve emergency labeling requirements for edibles Wednesday before they can be sold in retail stores.

Governor Inslee said a statewide campaign is aimed at keeping marijuana out of the hands of children. He’s calling for strict labeling guidelines that will include warnings about the effects.

“We need to make sure in our statewide efforts that parents, marijuana producers and retailers, health professionals, educators, and others work to keep pot out of the hands of our citizens under the age of 21,” Inslee said.

Not only does Inslee want to prevent children from getting their hands on marijuana, but he wants to make sure there is clear labeling to indicate the strength and serving size for all consumers.

“The marijuana of today is not the marijuana of the ’60s,” Foster said. She added that an emergency room doctor reported that most marijuana-related cases involve Baby Boomers.

Chief John Batiste said Tuesday the Washington State Patrol is ready to enforce DUI laws as it relates to marijuana, but added that troopers have been dealing with pot for a long time.

“We’ve been a strong enforcer of folks driving under the influence and we look at this no different. We just ask that with access, people are responsible and they not expose themselves and others to the dangers that can happen on our roadways.”

Batiste added there has been no major uptick in DUIs involving marijuana.

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