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Washington Releases Emergency Medical Cannabis Rules

October 5, 2015

The Washington Department of Health just released emergency rules in preparation for the merging of medical marijuana into the state's existing recreational regulatory system. When Senate Bill 5052, or the Medical Cannabis Patient Protection Act, passed, there was not enough time for officials to draft a full set of rules, particularly concerning marijuana edible products, concentrates, and testing.

The rules that may affect you or your business are as follows:



  • “High THC compliant products” refer to a cannabis product that contains more than 10 milligrams, but no more than 50 milligrams per serving.
  • High THC compliant products may be packaged in servings of up to 50 milligrams of THC; each unit must not contain more than 10 servings, or 500 total milligrams of THC.
  • “High CBD compliant products” refer to any marijuana product that meets the following ratios:
    • Cannabis concentrates may contain no more than two percent THC and 25 times more CBD concentration by weight
    • Edible products may contain no more than two milligrams of THC and at least five times as much CBD per serving by weight for solids or volume for liquids
    • Topicals must contain at least five times more CBD than THC concentration



  • Pesticide and heavy metal testing is required for all cannabis flower.
  • The minimum sample size is three grams per three pounds.
  • Terpene analysis is not required, and the addition of synthetic or artificial terpenes to a product is prohibited.



  • Labels may not use any symbols or images commonly used in the medical or pharmaceutical professions; may not use the word “prescription” or “RX”
  • Labels must contain the statement “This product is not approved by the FDA to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”


Safe Handling

  • All processing facilities must maintain a clean and sanitary condition:
    • Personal cleanliness
    • Washing hands thoroughly
    • Refraining from having direct contact with cannabis flower and products during an illness, or with an open wound, sore, or lesion, until the condition has improved.


Employee Training

  • Employees must be trained to identify valid medical marijuana authorizations and state IDs.
  • Employees must adhere to confidentiality requirements.



The Washington State Department of Health released a clarification of the emergency rules:

  • The standards in these rules are voluntary.
  • Until July 1, 2016, both medical and non-medical consumers will be able to purchase any available products that meet their particular needs.
  • There is no expectation that compliant products will be widely available before July 1, 2016.