New Washington State Rules Rein In Packaging Of Marijuana Edibles

Washington state’s first bunch of licensed retail marijuana sellers are slated to open on July 8. But when they do, it looks like they might not be selling a wide variety of pot-infused edibles that don’t meet new packaging guidelines intended to make sure that the products A) aren’t marketed to kids, and B) won’t be confused with other snacks that don’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol.

SeattlePI.com reports that the state’s Liquor Control Board, which will oversee the new pot retailers, has approved a new slate of rules that give the LCB the authority to approve the packaging of all edible marijuana products.

“A marijuana processor licensee must obtain approval from the liquor control board for all marijuana-infused products, labeling, and packaging prior to offering these items for sale to a marijuana re­tailer,” reads the rule. “The marijuana processor licensee must submit a picture of the product, labeling, and packaging to the liquor control board for approval.”

The new rules also clarify that any pot-infused product must state on the label that “This product contains marijuana.”

This appears to be a preemptive attempt to make popular edible products — like lollipops, gummy bears, cake pops, and others — less potentially attractive to youngsters, along with avoiding any possible confusion that could lead someone who didn’t know better to chow down on what they think is a handful of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers only to soon find out they are something a little more exotic.

There are additional new rules aimed at preventing another Maureen Dowd-like incident, where a curious newcomer to marijuana edibles bites off more than should be chewed.

Thus, marijuana-infused edibles that are served in solid form — think chocolate bars or brownies — must be scored to indicate single serving sizes. And the manufacturers must make an effort to homogenize the distribution of the drug within these products so one serving doesn’t unexpectedly provide much more punch than the other.

Legalized marijuana for non-medical use is still in its infancy in the U.S., with retailers, producers and regulators all still sorting issues out as they come up.

For example, a number of edibles have product names that spoof or poke fun of existing food product names. This generally went unnoticed or unregarded when these items were just being sold at medical marijuana dispensaries, but they have recently caught the attention of manufacturers like Hershey’s, which recently sued one edibles company for making several products that Hershey’s claims are too similar in name and packaging to existing candy and chocolate products.