Not for Kids Safety Campaign Sets Deadline

Not for kids safety campaign in Washington

By: Cecil King

Not for Kids Safety Campaign Sets Deadline

The state of Washington has once again proved that managing and regulating their cannabis industry is a collaborative affair where all cannabis industry stakeholders can contribute to the common good.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) has finalized rules to include a warning symbol on all edible products to protect underage juveniles from consuming edible cannabis products.

A bright red “Not For Kids” sticker will be required on packaging of edible products by February 14, 2017. The sticker was developed by the Washington Poison Center (WPC) in collaboration with the WSLCB, cannabis industry stakeholders and the public.

Washington’s Poison Center statistics show that calls about exposure to cannabis for children 5 years to 12 years of age dropped from 2014 to 2015. That age group only amounts to about a dozen calls per year. The majority of human poison calls for children are related to ingestion of colorful clothes washing detergent pods, kitchen cleaning products and legal pharmaceutical products obtained from unlocked medicine cabinets.

The WPC received 54,715 calls. More than 56% of those calls were about children under six years of age exposed to a poison, not cannabis related, according to the agency’s latest public data.

The greatest poison threat to children under 6 years is e-cigarettes. These juvenile poison cases accounted for roughly 31.5% of all poison exposures. E-cigarette exposure made up more than 59% of all nicotine-related exposure calls to the WPC in 2014.

While the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board failed earlier this year to implement cannabis packaging rules by adding the “Mr. Yuk®” symbol, a standard poison control graphic familiar to parents and children, Board Chair Jane Rushford was quick to embrace WPC’s new warning label. “While this is the Poison Center’s warning symbol, they have collaborated with the agency and solicited our input throughout the process.”

“This is a perfect example of the public and private sector working together toward a common goal of public safety,” offered Rushford.

Public concern about underage exposure to legal cannabis is legitimate, but other legal substances pose a greater, more widespread threat to children.

Washington’s legal cannabis industry subjects all cannabis products to strict lab analysis before any retail or medical cannabis product is sold to the public.

For other states, without a legal cannabis market, no safeguards exist. When the Show-Me state votes in its own cannabis industry in 2018, Missouri retailers will benefit from the pioneering efforts of 28 states with established and mature legal cannabis markets.