Back in October, the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board announced that they would be “re-evaluating” cannabis-infused edibles to ensure that none of the products were especially appealing to children. Initially, it appeared that gummy-style and hard candies were likely to be banned under the change in policy. However, after careful review the board determined that it might be better to simply increase restrictions on the coloration and shape of the candies themselves.
“We applaud the Liquor and Cannabis Board for their careful re-evaluation of their announcement earlier this year regarding cannabis-infused edibles,” Vicki Christophersen, executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, said in a statement earlier this month.
Under the new regulations, cannabis companies will be expected to avoid bright colors. They will be allowed to work with a “standard pantone color book” and naturally-occurring colors. These color requirements will be applied to both the products themselves and the packaging. There will also be a full list of shapes for gummies and other candies – with exceptions for things like non-profit collaborations. The full list of allowable colors and shapes will become available in January.
The Liquor and Cannabis Board released a memo that provided a review of the last few months, including a draft of policy changes and proposed regulations. The document also provided a timeline for implementation of these new laws – with 10 months before new requirements must be met. During those 10 months retailers will have the opportunity to sell off existing inventory, however, anything that doesn’t sell must be re-labeled to be sold.
“The agency’s new interim policy decision, informed by the input of bipartisan elected leaders and regulated industry representatives, provides a transparent review and approval process going forward for safe, quality-controlled products for adult and medicinal use. Our shared goal is to support the long-term viability of our state’s cannabis marketplace while also keeping cannabis out of the hands of minors.”
Once the new policies are put in place, producers of cannabis edibles will need to resubmit their products for approval by January 2020. While the state has always had a heavy focus on keeping edibles away from children, these new regulations are certainly going to make some significant changes for the industry. Brightly colored candies and familiar shapes (like fruits and cartoon characters) are likely a thing of the past – but luckily, after some re-evaluation on the part of officials, gummies and other candies will continue to be available.