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There’s a New Cannabis Warning Symbol in Washington State

The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) unveiled a new warning symbol to identify cannabis at a state Liquor and Cannabis Board meeting Wednesday. The WAPC developed the warning symbol as a deterrent for children who might accidentally come in contact with cannabis products intended for adults.

The new symbol, a red “stop” hand with the phrase “NOT FOR KIDS,” comes six months after the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) considered requiring the “Mr. Yuk” sticker on all edibles. The idea that Mr. Yuk, the well-known poison symbol, would be affixed to cannabis items — which are not poison — caused an uproar soon after the board floated the idea. Officials then went back to the drawing board and came up with the red hand. 

"Not for Kids" label proposed for Washington state cannabis edibles.

“We are excited to present the new Not for Kids warning label which was created with input from cannabis industry leaders and prevention professionals across the state,” Carrie Ulvestad, WAPC’s executive director, said in a statement. 

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“The number of calls to the Washington Poison Center related to marijuana exposures reached a single-year high in 2015 with 272 calls,” said WAPC’s clinical managing director, Dr. Alexander Garrard. “With more than 150 calls already this year, it is our hope that the Not for Kids label and our increased education efforts will equip parents and caregivers with the tools to have a conversation with their loved ones ages 1 to 21. Most importantly the label includes our 1-800-222-1222 emergency helpline number, a free, confidential resource for all ages.”

The Liquor and Cannabis Board will include the warning symbol on all infused edibles in its draft rules, expected to be filed on Aug. 10. Should the rules move ahead as expected, the symbol will be required effective Jan. 17, 2017. The board would allow 90 days after adoption to give the industry time to comply.

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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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