After previously proposing a ban on all cannabis-infused hard candies and gummies in October, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) will allow the edibles to remain on shelves, as long as they adhere to new regulations aimed at lessening their appeal to children.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, all new edibles products—that is, those that are newly created and have not yet been approved by the WSLCB—must be manufactured, packaged and labeled in compliance with the new rules, which include updated warning statements and the inclusion of the universal marijuana symbol on all packaging.
As of June 1, 2019, the new packaging and labeling requirements must be implemented on all edibles products—including those that have already been approved by the WSLCB—although this deadline may be extended to Jan. 1, 2020, in the event the board approves the proposed extension. All edibles makers would then have to resubmit their products for approval by January 2020.
In the WSLCB’s Dec. 18 “Marijuana Infused Edibles and Packaging and Labeling Updates” webinar, regulators outlined the rule changes and laid out what the state’s cannabis businesses should know in order to remain compliant. Here are the key takeaways.
1. Edibles and their packaging cannot be potentially appealing to children.
The WSLCB is not cracking down on particular candy types, but will instead evaluate individual edibles products to determine whether they are potentially appealing to children and, ultimately, whether they should be approved for sale in the state.
When evaluating a product, the WSLCB will look at its appearance, similarity to other commercially available products that are marketed to children and color. The use of cartoons, bubble-type fonts, bright colors, a design or brand name that resembles a non-cannabis product that is marketed to children, symbols and celebrities that are commonly used to market to minors, and images of minors are prohibited.
2. The WSLCB has an approved list of colors and shapes for edibles and their packaging.
There state has outlined 16 approved colors for edibles and their packaging, which will be available on the WSLCB’s website in January. Acceptable colors include shades of white, cream, grey, black, tan and brown. Brightly colored edibles, packages and labels will not be permitted, and there are also approved shapes for products and their packaging.
There is an option to request changes to the state’s approved colors and shapes, and the board will review these requests on a quarterly basis, beginning in March 2019. If a new color or shape is approved, it will be added to the approved list.
In addition, the board has an approved appearance for marijuana leaves that can be used on edibles’ packaging and labeling—these cannot be cartoon-like, and they cannot include bubble fonts, which could be appealing to children. Examples of acceptable leaves will be available on the WSLCB’s website, and leaves approved for use on packaging can be exact replicas of the examples, or can incorporate similar elements to the examples.
Although packaging will now have to be muted and dull in nature, company logos are permitted, and companies can also include a color photo in a chosen accent color of the packaging, if desired. Packaging with a clear window is also allowed under the new regulations.
3. All edibles packages sold must include universal marijuana and Not for Kids symbols.
Edibles packaging must include the universal marijuana symbol and the “Not for Kids” symbol as of Jan. 1, 2019, in addition to being enclosed in child-resistant packaging.