When the state's Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) announced earlier this month that they were suddenly banning pot companies from making pot-infused candies, the pushback was intense and immediate.
A bipartisan group of state legislators asked the LCB to rescind their ban, the state's three largest cannabis trade groups united for the first time to call the new candy policy "arbitrary and sudden," and the entire staff of The Stranger immediately bought all the pot candy we could afford.
The LCB responded by announcing on Oct. 11 that they would delay their candy ban for 30 days while they ask for policy suggestions from the industry. Today, the industry's three largest trade groups responded by meeting with the LCB Board and sending them a detailed list of policy suggestions that would keep most pot candy legal while also banning certain characteristics that could be considered "appealing to children."
Their policy recommendation also asks for a lengthy delay on implementing any new candy rules, with a 10-month interim period for pot companies to comply with the new rules.
Many of the recommendations from the three industry groups—the Washington CannaBusiness Association, the Cannabis Alliance, and the Cannabis Organization of Retail Establishments—are centered around asking the state to clearly spell out what is and isn't allowed. They want the state to publish a list of what shapes, colors, and advertising words are allowed and not allowed on candy products.
The LCB has not been this clear in the past. Washington's pot laws have always prohibited "gummy candies, lollipops, cotton candy, or brightly colored products," but the LCB has a history of approving products that fit into those categories. Some industry members have theorized that the LCB's candy ban is a reaction to the LCB realizing that they incorrectly approved products they shouldn't have.
The industry groups addressed this in their Tuesday letter. "We are also requesting immediate and long-term corrective actions that will prevent future products from being incorrectly approved," they wrote.
They also want the LCB to clearly define what it means to be "especially appealing to children," which is how Washington state law describes prohibited candies. The industry groups also want the edible approval process to be made more clear, with images to show which candies and labels were banned and approved, and for what reasons.
“There is a need for more clearly defined rules as well as a clear and transparent approval process, in order to remove as much subjectivity in the process as possible," the letter states.
We'll see if their recommendations pull any weight with the state. The LCB's 30-day delay officially ends at the end of next week, on Sunday, Nov. 11.