While infused edibles aren’t a huge part of the state’s legal recreational cannabis market – they make up about 9 percent of marijuana sold – it sometimes seems like you can buy almost anything infused with pot.
From champagne to potato chips, sweet treats to coffee, soft drinks to ramen, there’s a huge variety of sweet, savory, smooth or crunchy treats infused with flower available.
But there are a few edibles you can’t purchase in Washington, and a few reasons why.
Brian Smith, communications director, and Kathi Hoffman, cannabis laws and rules coordinator, for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, recently provided guidelines for what is OK to sell and what is not.
“The following criteria will be used when determining approval of marijuana infused edibles,” they wrote in an email.
A marijuana processor may infuse food or drinks with marijuana provided that:
(a) The product or products do not require cooking or baking by the consumer;
(b) Coatings (frostings, sprinkles, etc.) applied to the product or products are compliant with the requirements of WAC chapter 314-55; and
(c) The product and package design is not similar to commercially available products marketed for consumption by persons under twenty-one years of age, as defined by WAC 314.55.105 (1)(c).
For the last item above, the referenced WAC specifically lists gummy candies, lollipops, cotton candy, or brightly colored products as prohibited.
It goes on to include fruit or vegetable juices (not including shelf-stable concentrates); fruit or vegetable butters; pumpkin or custard pies, or any pies that contain egg; dairy products of any kind such as butter, cheese, ice cream, or milk; and dried or cured meats as also being prohibited for sale.
Marijuana-infused vinegars or oils for cooking also have restrictions. They aren’t allowed to be infused with any other product, like herbs or garlic, so you will have to add those separately to whatever you are cooking.
“Infused vinegars or oils can pose food safety risks,” wrote Smith. “The primary concern is the extremely dangerous and sometimes deadly microorganism, Clostridium botulinum (C. bot), which can cause botulism.”
There are also guidelines regarding edible packaging. Any product in a package that may be “too appealing” to children won’t be allowed on store shelves.
Calls to poison centers about kids accidently ingesting edibles have increased in states where recreational marijuana is legal. Smith says multiple factors may have contributed to that growth in calls.
“The presence of the Poison Center “Not for Kids” logo on edible products with the phone number was designed to generate phone calls,” he said. “Also, because it’s now legal for adult use, more people likely feel comfortable reporting it.”
In 2018, the WSLCB announced banning the sale of many hard candies, chewy candies, tarts and chocolates, later modifying the restrictions. Edibles can’t be sprayed with colors, molded into shapes other than balls or bars, or have frosting or sprinkles.
For those who don’t want to get high, but are seeking the potential benefits of CBD (cannabidiol), take note that CBD edibles can only be sold at cannabis retailers.
CBD derived from hemp – which does not have the psychoactive effects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) found in marijuana – is often used in lotions and supplements for relaxation and pain relief, and is sold just about everywhere. But the state Department of Agriculture does not allow CBD as an ingredient in traditional foods, and recently cracked down on sales at non-cannabis retailers.
“Advertising and claims about CBD and its potential benefits are everywhere these days,” wrote Smith.
“The truth is that very little still is known about CBD. It may have been a misconception of the public that CBD was allowed in food products. Cannabinoid extracts like CBD are not allowed as a food ingredient under federal and state law. Marijuana processors licensed by the state can produce CBD-infused edibles for sale in state licensed marijuana retail stores only.”
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