The state of Washington will not ban pot-infused candies, instead requiring pot companies to dull any bright colors on cannabis confections, as well as instituting other regulations, according to the director of one of the state's largest trade groups.
"There will be more clarity on what is allowed in terms of shapes and colors, but no particular product or type of product will be banned, as it was previously stated," said Vicki Christophersen, the executive director of the Washington CannaBusiness Association (WACA).
This comes two months after the state's Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) unexpectedly announced that they would move to quickly ban pot-infused hard candy, tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, jellies, and gummies. WACA joined with the state's two other major trade groups to oppose the state's action, calling the unanticipated ban on products the state had previously approved as "arbitrary and sudden."
Christophersen, speaking on a conference call with reporters, said the state's attempt to ban pot-infused candy wreaked havoc on the industry.
"The announcement that was made at the beginning of October threw the industry into chaos. We do have licensees that have lost tens of thousands of dollars in sales because of the confusion about what could and couldn’t have been done," Christophersen said. "And it was done in a way that was really unfortunate."
The state has yet to make the announcement, although they hinted that they would be rolling back on their ban in a letter sent to pot businesses last Friday. LCB Spokesperson Brian Smith told me today that the agency is waiting till its board approves the new regulations to make an announcement.
Christophersen said she had discussed the new rules directly with LCB Director Rick Garza.
"So the way Rick [Garza] described it to me, which I think is a good description: We’re not going to look at what your product is, we are going to look at what your product looks like," Christophersen said.
The LCB will also update regulations on what packages can look like, limiting packages to only have three different colors with their different shades, according to Christophersen. A document prepared by the LCB and shared by WACA confirmed much of what Christophersen said on the conference call.
"All infused products must remain dull in color and not especially appealing to children. Examples of product colors will be published on our website as a guide for licensees," the LCB document said.
The real question here is going to be what the LCB defines as "dull" and "bright." Christophersen said she is telling WACA's members to take their products directly to the state to have them check on whether it's dull or bright.
Christophersen said pot businesses would have a full year to comply with the new rules and sell any edibles that don't comply with the updated regulations. The state had previously said pot companies would only have until April of 2019 to sell any infused candies.
"[That's] giving folks a chance to exhaust existing inventory of products that were already approved by the Liquor and Cannabis Board," Christophersen said.
The LCB document shared by WACA gave a few examples of what kind of labels and colors would not be allowed, including this hilarious depiction below.
If anyone was thinking about trying to sell pot with a label that combines a cannabis leaf, the word "addicted," and a vague reference to Adidas... don't.