Washington Cannabis History
Both medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Washington. Patients with qualifying medical conditions were granted access to medical marijuana in 1998 with the passage of Initiative 692, or the Medical Use of Marijuana Act. A 2010 amendment increased the types of healthcare professions allowed to authorize marijuana for medical use from just medical doctors and osteopathic physicians to also include physician assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, and naturopathic physicians.
2011 saw the passage of SB 5073, which was later partially vetoed. The law did provide:
- Guidance for healthcare practitioners authorizing medical marijuana,
- Patient protections, and
- Ability to form collective gardens.
The law didn't authorize:
- Commercial production or processing.
- Sales or other transactions for consideration.
- Regulation or any type of government oversight.
- The “right” to use medical marijuana.
- Legalization or arrest protection for patients.
In 2012, recreational marijuana was legalized with Initiative 502, allowing adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana obtained from a state-licensed and regulated marijuana store.
Washington Child-Resistant Packaging Rules
Washington’s cannabis labeling and packaging guidelines are established in Washington Administrative Code 314-55-105 for Packaging and Labeling Requirements and include the following:Packaging and labeling requirements.
- (1) All usable marijuana and marijuana-infused products must be stored behind a counter or other barrier to ensure a customer does not have direct access to the product.
- (2) Any container or packaging containing usable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, or marijuana-infused products must protect the product from contamination and must not impart any toxic or deleterious substance to the usable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, or marijuana-infused product.
- (3) Upon the request of a retail customer, a retailer must disclose the name of the certified third-party testing lab and results of the required quality assurance test for any usable marijuana, marijuana concentrate, or marijuana-infused product the customer is considering purchasing.
- (4) Usable marijuana, marijuana concentrates, and marijuana-infused products must not be labeled as organic unless permitted by the United States Department of Agriculture in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act.
- (5) The certified third-party testing lab and required results of the quality assurance test must be included with each lot and disclosed to the customer buying the lot.
- (6) A marijuana producer must make quality assurance test results available to any processor purchasing product. A marijuana producer must label each lot of marijuana with the following information:
- (a) Lot number;
- (b) UBI number of the producer; and
- (c) Weight of the product.
- (7) Marijuana-infused products and marijuana concentrates meant to be eaten, swallowed, or inhaled, must be packaged in child resistant packaging in accordance with Title 16 C.F.R. 1700 of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act or use standards specified in this subsection. Marijuana-infused product in solid or liquid form may be packaged in plastic four mil or greater in thickness and be heat sealed with no easy-open tab, dimple, corner, or flap as to make it difficult for a child to open and as a tamperproof measure. Marijuana-infused product in liquid form may also be sealed using a metal crown cork style bottle cap.
- Marijuana-infused solid edible products. If there is more than one serving in the package, each serving must be packaged individually in childproof packaging (see WAC 314-55-105(7)) and placed in the outer package.
- Marijuana-infused liquid edible products. If there is more than one serving in the package, a measuring device must be included in the package with the product. Hash marks on the bottle do not qualify as a measuring device. A measuring cap or dropper must be included in the package with the marijuana-infused liquid edible product.
- (9) A producer or processor may not treat or otherwise adulterate usable marijuana with any organic or nonorganic chemical or other compound whatsoever to alter the color, appearance, weight, or smell of the usable marijuana.
- (10) Labels must comply with the version of NIST Handbook 130, Uniform Packaging and Labeling Regulation adopted in chapter 16-662 WAC.
- (11) All marijuana and marijuana products when sold at retail must include accompanying material that is attached to the package or is given separately to the consumer containing the following warnings:
- (a) “Warning: This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Smoking is hazardous to your health”;
- (b) “There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product”;
- (c) “Should not be used by women that are pregnant or breast feeding”;
- (d) “For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of reach of children”;
- (e) “Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug”;
- (f) Statement that discloses all pesticides applied to the marijuana plants and growing medium during production and processing.
- (12) Labels affixed to the container or package containing marijuana or marijuana products sold at retail must include:
- (a) The business or trade name and the sixteen digit Washington state unified business identifier number of the licensees that produced, processed and sold the marijuana or marijuana products. The marijuana retail licensee trade name and Washington state unified business identifier number may be in the form of a sticker placed on the label;
- (b) Sixteen digit inventory ID number assigned by the WSLCB’s traceability system. This must be the same number that appears on the transport manifest;
- (c) Net weight in ounces and grams or volume as appropriate;
- (d) Statement that discloses all pesticides applied to the marijuana plants and growing medium during production of the base marijuana used to create the extract added to infused products; and
- (e) If solvents were used, statement that discloses the type of extraction method, including any solvents, gases, or other chemicals or compounds used to produce or that are added to the extract.
- (f) Warnings that state: “This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming”;
- (g) Statement that “This product may be unlawful outside of Washington state”;
- (h) The WSLCB may create a logo that must be placed on all usable marijuana and marijuana-infused products.
- (13) In addition to requirements in subsection (10) of this section, labels affixed to the container or package containing usable marijuana, or packaged marijuana mix sold at retail must include:
- (a) Concentration of THC (total THC and activated THC-A) and CBD (total CBD and activated CBD-A);
- (b) Date of harvest.
- (14) In addition to requirements in subsection (10) of this section, labels affixed to the container or package containing marijuana-infused products meant to be eaten or swallowed sold at retail must include:
- (a) Date manufactured;
- (b) Best by date;
- (c) Serving size and the number of servings contained within the unit;
- (d) Total milligrams of active THC, or Delta 9 and total milligrams of active CBD;
- (e) List of all ingredients and major food allergens as defined in the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004;
- (f) “Caution: When eaten or swallowed, the intoxicating effects of this drug may be delayed by two or more hours.”
- (15) In addition to requirements in subsection (10) of this section, labels affixed to the container or package containing marijuana-infused extract for inhalation, or infused marijuana mix sold at retail must include:
- (a) Date manufactured;
- (b) Best by date;
- (c) Concentration of THC (total Delta 9 and Delta 9 THC-A) and CBD (total CBD and activated CBD-A).
- (16) In addition to requirements in subsection (10) of this section, labels affixed to the container or package containing marijuana topicals sold at retail must include:
- (a) Date manufactured;
- (b) Best by date;
- (c) Total milligrams of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or Delta 9 and total milligrams of active CBD.
- (17) Other cannabinoids and terpenes may be included on the label if:
- (a) The producer or processor has test results from a certified third-party lab to support the claim; and
- (b) The lab results are made available to the consumer upon request.
Useful Links for Washington Cannabis RegulationsWashington DOH Patient FAQ's
Washington Cannabis Protection Act Rules
Washington Marijuana Product Compliance Rules
Washington Cannabis Licensing FAQ
Washington Cannabis Growers Application
Washington Cannabis Growers License Application
Editor's Note: Status as of 4/9/2021
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