DRUGS

Rules to protect children issued to marijuana stores in Washington, US

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 12:19am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2014, 12:19am

Stores in Washington state can sell marijuana in cookies, brownies and other approved baked goods, but cannot put the drug in confectionery, lollipops or food items that might appeal to children, say new guidelines.

Washington became the second US state to allow recreational sales of marijuana to adults on July 8 when its first retail stores opened under a heavily regulated and taxed system approved by voters in 2012.

The state's Liquor Control Board, which regulates the fledgling sector, published the new guidelines on Wednesday for the packaging and labelling of edible marijuana products.

It prohibited any products, labels or packaging designed to be appealing to children, including lollipops, gummy sweets and jelly beans.

To gain approval to market a pot-laced food item, such as brownies or bottled drinks, a processor must submit a photo of the product along with its labels and packaging.

The product also has to pass a processing facility inspection and must be clearly labelled as containing marijuana. Edibles also must be tested for potency and to ensure that the marijuana derivatives are spread evenly throughout the products.

Washington's move to allow recreational sales comes amid a broader trend of liberalisation which is taking hold in many parts of the US.

Recreational sales began in Colorado on January. 1.

Things have started slowly in the Pacific Northwest, where Washington state regulators have issued just 25 licences to retailers and are still processing more than 300 others.

That has led to concerns about shortages. The first and only recreational marijuana shop to open in Seattle ran out of stock after only three days.

In Colorado, authorities ordered a recall of products made by a Denver-based company, At Home Baked, which was using a regular clothes washing machine to generate the cold water and centrifugal force needed to make "bubble hash", a marijuana concentrate.

The Public Health Inspections division of the Denver Department of Public Health said it ordered the business to stop using the washing machine because it did not meet minimum sanitation standards.