In a surprise move, Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board made the decision to reverse the approval of cannabis infused gummies and candies. Because they are “especially appealing to children,” the sweets will be taken off the market, leaving a giant dent in Washington state’s edibles market.
In Washington, edibles make up about 9 percent of the cannabis market and were expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of over 25 percent by 2022. In order to keep that momentum, it might be time to get even more creative with delectable doozies.
At a regular board meeting, the LACB told cannabis companies that “all production of hard candy, tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, jellies and any gummy type products should cease” because they won’t be approved for sale any longer under the new regulations, going into effect January 1, 2019. Retail shops will still be able to sell such candies through April 3, 2019 or until their inventory has run dry.
What this could mean for other legalized states is yet to be seen. It could set a precedent that could impact dispensaries across the nation or it could be yet another experiment in ethics cropping up with this rather new marketplace. Cannabis has been legal in Washington for six years, but that’s still not a long time to have straightened out all the kinks.
The move is bound to devastate edible makers across the state. Because of the nature of cannabis’ federal scheduling, it’s not as if small business owners can get a bank loan to float through this shakedown. Countless dollars in equipment, molds, ingredients and time are to be lost and if there was never a plan B, perhaps businesses will be forced to fold.
It’s a sad moment, especially seeing as it seems logical that any cannabis user would keep medicated candies out of reach of children, but unfortunately, accidents do happen. This action by the LACB may seem drastic and unfair, but they are riding on the fact that there is child appeal to candies and that that appeal must be taken away from the cannabis realm.
Cannabis is a versatile plant that can be infused into many different things, so candies aren’t the be all end all, but they do have long shelf lives, popularity and effectiveness to tout and now the era of munching a couple gummies to elevate your headspace in Washington is coming to an end.