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

Seattle election...
Nick Bowman

How wealthy strongholds helped deliver Seattle’s 2021 election to moderate candidates

Seattle's moderate candidates prevailed in the 2021 election on the strength of wealthy neighborhoods along its eastern and western coastlines.
2 days ago
Capital gains tax advisory vote, Seattle vote swings...
Nick Bowman

Seattle’s 2021 election establishes large, late swings for progressive candidates as new normal

Massive swings of late votes for Seattle's progressive candidates appear to have become the new normal after 2021's general election.
22 days ago
Amazon Seattle, corporate HQ...
Nick Bowman

Corporate money wins Seattle in new form after sparking ire of voters in 2019

A slate of business-friendly candidates won all but one major Seattle race, with corporate money finding influence in more subtle ways.
23 days ago
Seattle election results...
Nick Bowman

Moderate Seattle candidates carry the night, as progressives face steep climb to close gap

The first round of Seattle and King County election results arrived Tuesday, with moderate and conservative candidates largely carrying the night. 
29 days ago
Seattle City Attorney candidates...
Nick Bowman

Contentious race for Seattle City Attorney winds to a close with decision now put to voters

Tuesday will close out what's been a contentious race between Seattle City Attorney candidates operating at opposite ends of the political spectrum. 
30 days ago
Compassion Seattle...
Nick Bowman

How Compassion Seattle became dividing line between candidates following defeat in court

The debate around homelessness during this election cycle has centered on the now-defunct Compassion Seattle ballot initiative.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Should the cannabis industry have seen an edible ban coming?