Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Emergency Changes to Liquor Control Board Rules

The Washington State Liquor Control Board ("WSLCB") adopted emergency rules on June 25, 2104, which changed and added requirements regarding marijuana infused products and security measures for marijuana licensed premises.

Because these rules were enacted on an emergency basis, there is no opportunity for public input and feedback.  In other words, the rules become effective immediately.  Under permanent rule changes (non-emergency), the public is given the opportunity to comment, based on which, the WSLCB may revise the proposed changes.  Emergency rules, however, expire 120 days after filing, at which point a permanent (non-emergency) rule is usually adopted.  You will be given the opportunity to comment during the permanent rule-making process, which the WSLCB should initiate shortly.


Rule Changes for Processors

1.      The WSLCB must pre-approve all infused products, labels, and packaging.
This rule change presents a number of questions.  For example, how long will it take for the WSLCB to approve products…a week, month, or more?  What efforts will the WSLCB take to ensure this delay will not negatively impact licensed businesses?  Going forward, as products and packaging are revised and tweaked, what changes will require additional approval?  This will be important for limited edition products, or holiday packaging, etc.

2.      Solid infused edibles must be scored to indicate individual servings.
It is unclear how you would “score” snack mix, pretzels, popcorn and similar products.  Presumably these products would not apply to this rule, but more clarification would be helpful.
Remember, a single serving of a solid infused product is limited to 10 milligrams of THC; one package of such product cannot be more than 100 milligrams of THC (or 10 servings); and a single consumer transaction is limited to 16 ounces of such product (which may include multiple packages or just one package, depending on the product size).
This rule does not address liquid infused products or concentrates.  Concentrates are defined as “products consisting wholly or in part of the resin extracted from any part of the plant Cannabis and having a THC concentration greater than sixty percent.”  ESHB 2304, Sec. 1 (2014).

3.      All infused products must be homogenized.
It is unclear, at this time, what specific technology must be employed to ensure homogenization and the uniform disbursement of cannabinoids in certain products.  For example, is a thorough blending of ingredients prior to baking sufficient to satisfy the homogenization requirement?

 4.      In addition to the other warnings, infused products must also contain the warning: “This product contains marijuana.
For the list of other warnings, go to WAC 314-55-105(15)

5.      Infused edibles “designed to be especially appealing to children” are PROHIBITED.
The decision on what snacks and products are appealing to children is subjective.
The WSLCB’s issue paper on this emergency rule states that “lollipops, gummy bears, and cotton candy are very appealing to children.”  Presumably those items are prohibited.  But what about other popular infused products like jolly ranchers, gummies/chews, chocolate bars, cookies, popcorn—where will the WSLCB draw the line, and will this rule become a prohibition on all infused candy?

6.      Infused edibles which contain certain food items are PROHIBITED.
Food items prohibited under this rule change include:
Any food that has to be acidified to make it shelf stable,
Food items made shelf stable by canning or retorting,
Fruit or vegetable juices,
Fruit or vegetable butters,
Pumpkin pies, custard pies, and any pies containing egg,
All dairy products, including butter, cheese, ice cream, or milk, and
Dried or cured meats.
Many of these food items were already prohibited under the prior rule change that prohibited “potentially hazardous foods” as defined in WAC 246-215-01115.

7.      Certain infused vinegars and oils are permitted.
Vinegar and oil derived from natural sources may be infused with dried marijuana if the plant material is removed from the final product and the vinegar and oil is not infused with any other substance, including herbs and garlic.

8.      Infused jams and gellies made from scratch must utilize a standardized recipe in accordance with 21 C.F.R. Part 150.

9.      A processor may infuse dairy butter or fats for use in the preparation of other infused edibles, but the butter and fats may not be sold to consumers as stand-alone products.

10.  All processors producing infused edibles must pass a processing facility inspection and ongoing annual compliance inspections.
This rule change already went into effect under the WSLCB’s earlier policy decision.  For more information on the requirements of a commercial kitchen, visit the Department of Agriculture’s website.


Rule Changes for All Licensees

1.      All visitors must display an identification badge while on the licensed premises.

2.      Licensees must maintain a visitor’s log.

3.      Finally, the emergency rule made slight adjustments to camera surveillance requirements.
In what appears to be an effort to streamline and clarify the camera surveillance requirements, the WSLCB revised the language regarding video surveillance system requirements.  These revisions do not appear to be material.

No comments: