The process has been lengthy, but the Washington state Liquor and Cannabis Board has approved new regulations for packaging of edibles, particularly focused on labels, design, and even fonts.

The intent is to protect children by mandating the various aspects of packaging for edibles that might garner the attention of the younger state residents. This has been a vocalized concern for state officials since marijuana was legalized in 2012. However, the focus on edibles and their visual appeal to children has been a bigger concern throughout 2018.

In October, an announcement was made directing the halt of all production of edibles that might appeal to children. That edict specifically focused on gummies and other products like hard candies. At the time it was announced a webinar would be available to help clarify the upcoming changes.

The industry response to this directive was swift and fierce. As a result, the board opted to allow continued production until industry input could be heard and weighed. Various debates and meetings were held in the name of clarifying and creating regulations that protect children without completely eliminating the product from state markets.

The current regulations were developed with input from those involved in the industry. These rules may be received more favourably as a result.

Certain products will only be permitted to be sold in specific shapes and colours, packages will have specific permitted fonts and background colours and the packaging will be required to have clear windows and specific product photos.

Also under these regulations, vendors would be permitted to continue selling current inventory until Jan. 1, 2020, at which point all products would have to meet the regulations and only those with the proper packaging could be sold moving forward from that date.

The state website is currently receiving updates regarding these rules and regulations. A webinar is also set for Dec. 18 that will help answer questions and clarify expectations for the vendors that will be impacted by these changes.

Edibles account for roughly 9% of the marijuana market for the state of Washington. The products are available as gummies and hard candies, as well as mints and chocolate.