The Foundation of Food Revisiting Washington’s cannabis edibles regulations

Given this month’s focus on cannabis-infused food, it’s an apt time to revisit the basics of Washington’s laws and regulations governing cannabis-infused edibles. As consumers, adults over the age of 21 can purchase up to 16 ounces of cannabis-infused edibles in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form and seven grams of cannabis concentrates from state-licensed retail stores. It is illegal to drive with 5ng/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or more in your blood if you are 21 years or older, and if you are under 21, it is illegal to drive with any amount of THC in your blood.

In tandem with the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, cannabis-infused edibles are regulated by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). Each licensed processor must apply to the WSDA for a special endorsement in order to manufacture cannabis-infused edibles. The role of the WSDA is to regulate, inspect and provide technical assistance to cannabis processors regarding product safety issues applicable to cannabis-infused edibles, and to assess facility construction, equipment, cleaning and sanitizing practices, allowable products, labeling and product recalls for defective or harmful products.

All cannabis purchased from a licensed retailer must meet stringent packaging and labeling requirements, including packaging that protects the product from contamination and does not impart toxic or deleterious substances to the product. In addition, upon the request of a retail customer, all retailers must disclose the name of the third-party testing lab that tested the product and provide the results of the requisite quality assurance test for any product the customer is considering purchasing. It is every consumer’s right to have access to this information upon request.

“Each licensed processor must apply to the WSDA for a special endorsement in order to manufacture cannabis-infused edibles.”

 

Any cannabis-infused products or cannabis concentrates that are meant to be eaten, swallowed or inhaled must be packaged in child-resistant packaging in accordance with the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, and cannabis-infused products that are in solid or liquid form may be packaged in plastic that is four millimeters or greater in thickness and heat-sealed with no easy-open tab, dimple, corner, or flap so as to make it difficult for a child to open. Cannabis-infused solid edible products that consist of more than one serving must come with each serving individually packaged in childproof packaging and then placed within the outer package.

Each cannabis product purchased must include warnings specified by the state, including but not limited to, “Warning: This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Smoking is hazardous to your health.” The names of the producer(s) and processor(s) involved in the manufacture of the cannabis product must be identified on the label of the product, and all pesticides applied to the cannabis plants and growing medium during production of the base cannabis used to create the extract added to infused products must be disclosed. If solvents were used, the type of extraction method, including any solvents, gases or other chemicals or compounds used to produce or that are added to the extract must also be disclosed. And finally, cannabis-infused products must not be labeled as organic unless permitted by the United States Department of Agriculture in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act, which, given the federal illegality of cannabis, is not possible.

These are some of the basic regulations pertaining to cannabis-infused edibles, but as a consumer, it’s important to remain informed of your rights and vigilant about the products you’re purchasing.

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