Should the cannabis industry have seen an edible ban coming?

Oct 10, 2018, 3:39 PM

The local pot industry was rocked by a recent announcement from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, stating an intent to ban certain marijuana-infused edibles because they appeal to children.

RELATED: Bainbridge Island chef gears up for fight over cannabis coffee

The Liquor and Cannabis board released its ruling on Oct. 4, with the goal to “reevaluate” edibles, citing a need to “ensure the products align with current and new rules prohibiting products that are especially appealing to children.”

As the news came down, vendors and shops across the state were stunned.

“Needless to say, it was a shock to those licensees who had products that had been approved and on the market,” Washington Canna-Business Association’s Vicki Christophersen told KIRO Radio.

Christophersen argued further in a news release that “youth use of pot and cannabis-abuse treatment admissions have not increased in Washington since marijuana was legalized, according to a new analysis by the state Legislature’s think tank.”

She estimated that a potential blanket ban on certain edibles would cost “millions of dollars invested,” and affect “thousands of employees across the state.”

Everyone should have seen this coming

All that being said, the laws currently on the books have always been pretty specific when it comes to what is and isn’t allowed concerning edibles. From WAC 314-55-077 (emphasis ours):

A marijuana processor is limited in the types of food or drinks they may infuse with marijuana. Marijuana-infused products that require cooking or baking by the consumer are prohibited. Marijuana-infused products that are especially appealing to children are prohibited. Marijuana-infused edible products such as, but not limited to, gummy candies, lollipops, cotton candy, or brightly colored products, are prohibited.

Obviously there’s plenty of blame to go around, as a variety of products that violate the current laws were subject to approval from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, and still made it to market anyway.

But to say that a proposed ban came as a complete surprise seems dubious, given that all that’s being proposed here is a stricter enforcement of the state’s current laws.

What exactly will be restricted?

While the idea of an “edibles ban” seems extreme, what’s really being considered is far more nuanced. According to the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s recent presentation, “allowable infused products with limitations on appearance” will still include chocolate, cookies, caramels, and mints, in addition to beverages, baked goods, capsules, chips, crackers, sauces, spices, and tinctures.

The board will be looking to evaluate edibles moving forward based on factors like appearance, color, and “similarity to commercially available products that are marketed towards children.”

Licensees will still be allowed to sell through their current inventory of edibles in violation until they’re depleted, or until April 3, 2019 (whichever comes first).

Plenty of things had to go wrong for us to get to this point. When it’s all said and done, the state Liquor and Cannabis board did a poor job enforcing its own laws, and licensees got comfortable investing millions in products they knew violated those laws in the first place.

Regardless, be prepared to say goodbye to your weed-infused gummy bears should the state move forward with its proposal.

MyNorthwest Blog

Seahawks Broncos...

Bill Kaczaraba

How ’bout those Seahawks!?!

The Seahawks season that began with plenty of doubt started with a win over our former quarterback and ended with a playoff appearance.

5 months ago

Tulalip Christmas Lights 1...

Bill Kaczaraba

2023 – The light has just begun, Seattle days are getting longer

We send you into the new year with the winter lights from the Tulalip Casino in Marysville. We wish you a very successful 2023.

5 months ago

happy holidays...

MyNorthwest Staff

Happy Holidays from KIRO Newsradio, Seattle Sports, and AM 770 KTTH!

To close out 2022, everyone at KIRO Newsradio, Seattle Sports, and AM 770 KTTH want to wish you happy holidays!

5 months ago

Mariners Playoffs...

Michael Simeona

Relive Cal Raleigh’s magical home run that sent Mariners to playoffs

Relive Cal Raleigh's game-winning home run that sent the Mariners to the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

8 months ago

Building Black Wealth Graphic_900x506...

MyNorthwest Staff

Watch: Celebrate Juneteenth with Draze’s third annual ‘Building Black Wealth’

Seattle rapper Draze is hosting a live virtual marketplace on Juneteenth for the third annual 'Building Black Wealth' this Sunday at 9:00 a.m.

12 months ago

WWII Veterans...

Bill Kaczaraba

Dad is just one hero on this Memorial Day

On this Veterans Day, MyNorthwest editor Bill Kaczaraba remembers his dad who served in the Army during World War II.

1 year ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Should the cannabis industry have seen an edible ban coming?