Washington cannabis gummy purveyors and fans were dealt an unwelcome blow last week when the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board banned certain kinds of marijuana infused sweets including hard candies, fruit chews, lollipops, and all brightly colored candy products. Their reasoning was to save the kids. “We found that we have approved some products that would meet the definition of especially appealing to children,” cited a mea culpa within the report issued by the agency on October 3.
No one wants to see a classroom full of dosed fifth graders. But not all those whose livelihoods will be affected by the restrictions see such a commonsense connection between child safety and the products now on the no-go list. Logan Bowers, who sells a variety of cannabis infused candies at the Fremont and Redmond locations of his company Hashtag Cannabis, questioned the seemingly arbitrary nature of the ruling. “I’m concerned that whole categories of products are being tossed out categorically,” he told the Seattle Times. “I don’t see how a chew is inherently more enticing to a child than a cookie. Children love cookies.”
Of course, the report also placed strict limitations on other forms of marijuana edibles, essentially cracking down on any product with a visual flair in favor of more utilitarian snacks. Specifications include infused chocolates only being sold with their original color, and restricted to “bar or ball” shapes. Cookies may indeed no longer feature sprinkles or frosting, and mints will only be permissible in white, or with “small flecks of color to represent flavor only.” Offending products were found to be in violation of Washington administrative code 314-55-077, a body of cannabis regulation which has been in effect since June of 2016 and does indeed ban specific forms of marijuana edibles that could hold a special appeal for youngsters.
The new ruling has thrown infused candy producers into a tailspin, a particularly galling setback after already having submitted their wares to the state’s product evaluation process. Many are struggling to understand how they will make back equipment investments that came out of their own pockets if they are no longer able to sell their products. “We don’t get business loans in the marijuana industry,” said Diana Isaiou, owner of the Seattle-based American Baked Co., to the Times. “These are people’s personal bank rolls.” Isaiou told the paper that 60 percent of her sales come from fruit chews.
Candy makers will have until January 1 of next year to redesign and resubmit their treats to Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board and retail operations will have until April 3 to sell through their current, child-appealing stock. Any remaining, offending candy will at that point need to be destroyed. Washington residents who simply can’t do without their chewy, sour, or sprinkled marijuana sweets are advised to stock up well before next year’s cut-off dates — and as always, to keep them far out of reach of little ones with a sweet tooth.