Since the cannabis industry moved from being strictly medicinal to allowing adult consumers to legally buy and use the herb in some states, there has been more pressure than ever to ensure that it doesn’t fall into the hands of children and teenagers. Unfortunately, for many producers of edibles in legal states this is becoming a problem as many types of edibles are being banned.
Washington – which was one of the first states to legalize marijuana, alongside Colorado – has announced that they need to “re-evaluate” all edibles after several public complaints that such products were enticing to kids.
A presentation posted online by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board says that colorful gummy-style or hard candies are going to be the focus, stating that all production of hard candies, tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, jellies and any gummy-type products should cease immediately. Any companies making these products can continue to sell them either until they run out or until April 3rd; after that date, the products will no longer be legal to sell.
The agency also mentioned that other products – including drinks, baked goods and tinctures – will continue to be allowed and all products will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. When it comes to baked goods and chocolates, the approval will depend on factors like frosting, sprinkles and how colorful they are, among other things.
The state’s law already included language that stated that edibles and other cannabis products not be “especially appealing to children” – and this seems like a potentially excessive crackdown on an already extremely restricted industry. Potentially hundreds of products will have to cease production immediately, leaving producers will fewer products and sales for the time being. And now, new products will need to be reviewed before gaining approval for production and sale.
The deadline for new products to be submitted for review is January 1st – and even if producers can continue to sell what is left of their inventory, when they run dry they are left with much less to sell until new products gain the proper approvals.
While keeping cannabis products out of reach of children is certainly a priority, when does the responsibility shift from producer to parent? Not having iconic cartoon characters on packaging, having properly labeled and childproof packaging – all these things make sense. However, no longer allowing gummies, colored chocolates and imitations of popular candies is unfair to the consumers, who should be responsible enough to keep their cannabis just as far away from their children as they do their alcohol or prescription medications.
It’s a fine line being walked for those working in the edibles industry – especially as states continue to change their laws based on concerns that their edibles are too appealing to children.