On October 3rd in the middle of the afternoon the cannabis community received a very disturbing email sent from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). They announced that they’d recently reviewed edibles and came to the conclusion that fruit chews, hard candies and color coded chocolates were too attractive to children. In turn they announced that it was time to stop producing these items immediately. It would be ok to keep selling what you have available now, but everything needs to be gone by April 3rd 2019 and be discarded because that’s when the ban would officially be in effect.
When the news broke you better believe people were filled with all different types of emotions from being frustrated, sad, angry, and confused. They just blindsided the cannabis industry with the news out of nowhere. This possible ban will impact so many people in such a negative way. It will hurt so many people on so many different levels from the business side to the consumers who use edibles for multiple reasons.
Trying to Make Sense Out of the Decision
My first thought was their reasoning behind the ban was as whack as I don’t know what. Are you telling me that kids don’t like cookies, chocolates and brownies too? If you ever had the pleasure of visiting a pot shop in Washington you know how hard the bags are to open and notice the stop sign that says not for kids. I do understand that since recreational marijuana became legal poison control has seen an increase in calls because of kids getting into edibles. I totally get the concern however as a ganja mom I always take the necessary precautions to make sure it is out of sight and out of mind for my son. It seems like the industry is paying for the mistakes of people who weren’t careful with their recreational treats. That to me doesn’t seem fair to the industry or consumers. Let’s be real here I’m sure a lot of people had taken their first drink before 21, but I never heard of a ban because a teen got into a car accident because they were under the influence of alcohol.
My second thought was what about the producers. Imagine handling your day to day operations and out of nowhere you get an email that you have to go to back to the drawing board or may not have a business in a few months because your product is banned. I can imagine how much weight that would put on anyone’s shoulder. You have invested into something for almost 6 years, buying license after license, finding a facility, buying equipment, hiring fit employees, trying to find stores that want to sell your product, and hoping your product is a hit. That’s a lot of work put in, just for someone to pull the plug out of nowhere after they already approved your products and you paid your dues. One producer literally had just upgraded their packaging and was on their way with a new flavor of gummy to their popular edibles when the email hit. Very heart breaking and not fair.
Thirdly I thought of consumers. I am super picky about chocolate as I am not a big fan. I have always preferred fruit chews over chocolate, so now it seems choices are going to be limited on the edibles side. Most shops will lose most of their edible walls. It kind of takes the fun right out of it. However, what if this is someone’s preferred method of medicine because they can’t swallow pills. It’s cute to me when I see elders come in and share how much wonders these edibles do for them. Makes me feel good to sell it to them! It makes them feel great or helps them get a good rest at night. It doesn’t feel good to tell people what gets them through the day may not be available after April.
Organizations Rallying to Save Edibles
I’m going to take a wild guess and say the WSLCB must have got hit up a lot because on October 12th a 30 day pause on the review came into effect. They agreed to listen to alternative solutions from a coalition of industry organizations. Luckily LemonHaze is teaming up with the Cannabis Organization of Retail Establishments (CORE), Cannabis Alliance and Washington Cannabusiness Association (WCBA) and they are going to have a round table discussion at an upcoming cannabis convention on October 25th with people in the cannabis community. At least we know we have chance to save our edibles and I hope we do. The last thing I want is for the ban to take place and people revert to doing it black market style, which wouldn’t be safe for anyone. At this point only time will tell, but the ban is whack on so many levels.