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Washington pot stores get a step closer to edibles

Marijuana retailers soon may be able to stock their shelves with pot brownies, but they'll be less likely to offer things like gummy bears or cotton candy. While a handful of recreational marijuana stores opened across Washington earlier this month, none of them were able to sell edibles because the board hadn't yet licensed anyone to make them. Now the board has approved temporary rules for the products (they'll be finalized later this year) and outlined how they'll get to market.

To make any marijuana-infused product, processors will have to be licensed by the state, have their products tested by a third-party lab and then label them with warnings and clearly marked serving sizes. Things that require refrigeration, freezing or heat to keep them safe for consumption will not be allowed. Infused butter, for example, can be used in cooking baked goods to sell, but can;t be sold as a stand-alone item. The rules also ban "products, labels, or packaging that are designed to be especially appealing to children."

The thinking behind the extra-strict rules is that it can take longer to feel the effects of edibles and the recommended amount to consume can be just a small portion of the whole product. (It's easier to eat too much of a pot brownie than, say, smoke too many joints.) Edibles also can be easy to confuse with similar, non-pot-infused foods, which increases the chances that kids may accidentally get ahold of them. Determining what exactly appeals to children, though, will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

"While I think it's pretty safe to say that a product like THC-infused cotton candy would not be allowed," says Liquor Board spokesman Mikhail Carpenter in an email, "it would still have to be evaluated to see whether or not it was especially appealing to children." ♦

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