The state just released a new update on their proposed ban on pot-infused candies and this latest bit of news looks promising for pot candy fans. The state appears to be walking back from their earlier announcement that they would enforce a strict ban on infusing pot into things like gummies or hard candies.
Friday’s announcement did not include the actual regulation proposal, it was only an update on the proposal and a notice that the agency will formally announce the policy “in the coming weeks.” The letter seemed to imply that the state won’t be banning candies. In a “highlights” section it said the regulations will clarify color, shape, and packaging on edibles, but not specifically the type of edible. This would seem to imply that the state is backtracking on banning all hard candy, tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, jellies, and gummies, as they had earlier intended to.
I asked LCB Spokesperson Brian Smith if the state was still going to ban certain types of candies. He said “I don’t think it’s going to be written that way, we are bringing a new process to it.”
Smith declined to provide any further details about the plan, saying the LCB will be making announcements to the public and pot businesses in the coming weeks.
“They [the LCB board] have not finalized the document but I expect them to do that soon,” Smith said.
Three cannabis industry groups—the Washington Cannabusiness Alliance (WACA), The Cannabis Alliance, and the Cannabis Organization Of Retail Establishments—have been lobbying the LCB to rescind their ban. I spoke with Aaron Pickus, a spokesperson for WACA, and he said the organization had been briefed by LCB staff this morning about the new proposed rules. Pickus declined to offer any details but said the updated policy moved in “a good direction.”
“LCB staff briefed us this morning with their current thinking for an interim policy decision. Their next step will be bringing that to the board for their review and consideration,” Pickus said. “Following our briefing from staff, we think things are going in a very positive direction. We expect to hear formally from the LCB either today or Monday.”
The cannabis industry has been fighting against the LCB’s proposed ban on all infused candies since the state unexpectedly announced the plan in early October. Industry groups called the LCB’s ban “arbitrary and sudden” and called the state to “immediately rescind” the proposed ban. The industry groups gained the support of four influential state legislators and then the LCB caved and said they would pause for thirty days while they reevaluated the ban.
Friday’s announcement said that the LCB’s staff presented a proposal to the LCB Board earlier this week. The board then directed the agency’s staff to include more of the comments from the public health community in the proposed rules.
“The Board requested that additional language be added to the recommendation, specifically input provided by the prevention and public health community. Staff are currently working to include this information in the recommendation,” Friday’s letter stated.
A second letter sent Friday clarified that pot companies with edibles that are pending approval have a “January 1, 2020 cutoff date,” which seems to imply that any new regulations would have a full year before they go into effect.
We’ll update this story if we are able to confirm any more details about the candy ban.