Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Washington state regulators ordered local edibles makers to cease production of cannabis-infused gummies and hard candies, warning they might appeal to children.

The unexpected decision dealt a major blow to the state’s infused-product businesses.

Companies were “completely blindsided,” said Oliver Stannard, director of business development for Washington’s Green Labs, the maker of Swifts Edibles, a brand that manufactures chocolate truffles, mints and hard candies. “Losing an entire product line is devastating to small businesses.”

During a Wednesday meeting, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) announced “all production of hard candy, tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, jellies and any gummy type products should cease” because they would not qualify to be sold under new regulations that take effect Jan. 1.

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Regulators said such edibles would fall under the state’s definition of marijuana-infused products that are “appealing to children,” which are prohibited.

Chocolate, cookies, caramels and mints will still be allowed – with limitations on their appearance. Products in those categories that won’t be allowed include:

  • Chocolate that is coated, dipped, sprayed or painted with any type of color.
  • Chocolate, caramel and fruit caramels in colors, shapes or designs that are “especially appealing to children.”
  • Cookies with sprinkles or frosting.
  • Mints that are colored; white mints or white mints with small color flecks to represent flavor will be allowed.

All products and labels must be resubmitted to LCB to ensure they meet the new criteria, and licensees must sell out their existing inventory by April 3, 2019.

The LCB is hosting a webinar on Oct. 16 to answer questions about the regulations. The agency did not immediately respond to a request for more information.