Pot industry caught off guard by new ban on some edibles

Leaders in Washington's legal marijuana industry say they were caught off guard by new rules banning certain pot edibles.  The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board released its new ruling on Oct. 4 after admitting it had been approving products considered especially appealing to children.

The LCB listed gummy products and hard candies of any style, shape or size as especially appealing to children.

“Getting the news this week is very scary,” Craft Elixirs owner Jamie Hoffman told KIRO 7.  “It's very scary for our future.”

Craft Elixirs, in Seattle, has been making marijuana-infused hard candies and gummies for four years and employs 14 people.

It just got approval from the LCB for a new product two months ago.

All labels and products for marijuana edibles must be resubmitted.

Uncle Ike's Pot Shop owner Ian Eisenberg told KIRO 7 the new rules caught him and others in the industry completely off guard.  He says edible pot products are about 20% of their sales.

“And the edibles that will be banned are probably 60% to 70% of the entire edibles market,” Eisenberg said.

Marijuana edibles like chips, beverages, baked goods and spices will still be allowed. Chocolates, caramel, cookies and mints will have restrictions.

They must be in original color, in the shape of a bar or a ball and can’t have frosting or sprinkles.

Read the full review here: https://lcb.wa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Marijuana/infused_products/Marijuana-Infused-Edible-Presentation-10-3-2018.pdf

The Washington Poison Center says in 2017, 43% of marijuana poison calls were for edible products, but they don't specify which type.  See states on marijuana poison calls here: https://www.wapc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017-Cannabis-TTRU.pdf

Hoffman fully supports cracking down on products appealing to kids, but she says hers aren't, including the ones the board just approved.

“I'm hopeful they didn't make a grievous error and approve something that I went and purchased $35K in packaging for,” Hoffman said.  “That they're going to say, ‘Oh, changed our mind' in a couple weeks."

The rule change goes into effect Jan. 1, and stores have until April 3 to sell the remaining inventory of banned items.

“If we lose the ability to make these candies, we'll be out of business,” Hoffman said.  “There's no question about it.”

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