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Washington State Adopts New Warning Label for Edibles

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board this week finalized a new warning label to identify cannabis-infused edibles, a step aimed at curbing instances of children accidentally consuming legal cannabis products.

The new label, which features a bright red hand held in a “STOP” gesture, the words “Not For Kids,” and the 24-hour emergency phone hotline for Poison Control, will be required on cannabis edibles beginning Feb. 14. The symbol was selected by the Washington Poison Center over an alternative option that featured Mr. Yuk and the phrase “Poison help!”—a design that garnered pushback from the cannabis community due to the fact the plant is not, in fact, poison.

warning-labels
Washington regulators will require the “Not for Kids” label (left) on all infused edible products. The design on the right was scrapped due to public pushback that cannabis is not poison.

“The WSLCB is adopting a warning symbol with the goal of deterring accidental consumption of marijuana products by children,” the WSLCB said in a statement accompanying the rule change, “and to provide emergency services contact information for cases of accidental exposure or over consumption.”

The board filed the change Nov. 16. It’s subject to a 90-day implementation process, meaning the rule will take effect Feb. 14, 2017.

Lawmakers and regulators in legal states throughout the country have mulled restrictions and warning labels on infused edibles in the face of reports of sharp increases in the number children accidentally consuming cannabis products. While calls to Poison Control and hospital visits involving cannabis are far lower than similar numbers for other household products—such as crayons—they’ve nevertheless gone up significantly since legalization.

In an effort to change that trend, states have adopted labeling requirements and set THC limits on edible products. Advocates of the logo hope the simple label will dissuade children from consuming infused edibles that might otherwise appear to be normal, kid-friendly food.