Certain cannabis-infused candies could start disappearing from store shelves across Washington early next year.
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced during a meeting Wednesday that it will “reevaluate” all edible marijuana products in an effort to cut back on products that may be appealing to children.
Washington state, which legalized recreational pot in 2012, has long had rules barring products that are “especially appealing to children.” Even so, the board has received public complaints that some candies currently sold in the state’s pot shops could be enticing to kids, said spokesman Brian Smith in an email.
When the board looked into the complaints, “they too had concerns,” Smith said. In response, the agency will now reevaluate all edible products and could strip approval from some candies already on store shelves.
In a presentation posted online, the agency identified colorful gummy-style and hard candies as ripe for a regulatory crackdown.
According to the presentation, “all production” of hard candies, tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, jellies and “gummy type products should cease as they will not qualify.” Companies making such products can sell them until they run out or until April 3, whichever comes first, the presentation said. Edibles producers must resubmit their products to the agency by Jan. 1.
Other products will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Drinks, baked goods and tinctures will continue to be allowed. Approval of chocolates, cookies, caramels and mints will depend on factors like frosting, sprinkles and whether they’re dipped in colorful coating.
The legal pot industry has grappled with concerns about kids and edibles since its inception. Obama-era guidance in place the year after Washington legalized recreational marijuana said the federal government would allow state legalization to go ahead so long as officials took certain protections, including making sure the drug stayed out of kids’ hands. Last year, a Colorado law took effect banning any edible marijuana product shaped like an animal or person.
Washington’s latest announcement has sent parts of the local cannabis industry into panic. Several edible makers and retail store owners told The Seattle Times on Thursday they did not receive advance warning that a potential change could be coming to the edibles market.
Bob Ramstad, owner of Fremont cannabis store Oz, called it “shocking” that the agency could ban products it had previously approved. “Their interpretation of ‘exceedingly attractive to children’ is ridiculous,” Ramstad said.