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State Regulates Edible Marijuana Products

October 2, 2014

When Washington legalized recreational use of marijuana, most thought about the smoking of it—joints, bongs and pipes. Few imagined the culinary and market potential of cannabis-infused food and drink, except the makers of such who had been confined to the medical market. But along with this enticing market comes a whole new level of regulation and concern with normalization to teens. And it so easy to simply eat too much and get too high.

Seattle, Washington - Since the passage of Washington State’s I-502, one sees and smells marijuana everywhere. But not all that pot is going up in smoke. Cannabis-infused foods, commonly referred to as edibles, are joining giant jars of bud on the shelves of licensed recreational stores. Although the medical marijuana dispensaries have been serving up amazing varieties of edibles for years, the recreational market is just getting started.

Marijuana infused tea, a product of Evergreen Herbal.

In Seattle’s Sodo district, Evergreen Herbal owner Marco Hoffman is renovating a manufacturing space to make and bake a range of cannabis edibles and drinkables for the recreational market. Evergreen Herbal’s wares include fruit flavored drinks, chocolate bars, and teas—yes, even chai−with honey sticks to go with them.  His research team is crazy with new ideas.

“We can basically put cannabis in just about any product. The possibilities are endless,” says Hoffman.

It’s not like eating pot is anything new. The magic brownie is as legendary as The Grateful Dead and the summer of love.

Mary White, a medical cannabis user and cook, inspects her personal plants with producer Stephen Hegg.

But Mary White, a chef and owner of The Pantry Raid, a school that teaches others how to cook deliciously with cannabis, warns people to watch out. Eating pot is a completely different experience than smoking it, she says.

“You’ve got to know, actually, more about edibles than you need to know just about pot.”

White uses pot for medical reasons and prefers to eat it. She grows her own plants - her West Seattle deck is lined with thick plants flourishing in the direct West Seattle sun.   

Her advice to people looking to try edibles? Start slow.

“You have to wait at least a half an hour or forty-five minutes [after consuming], and if you don’t, that’s when people eat too much.”

With the growing popularity of edibles, many questions arise. What is inside each edible? How much should you eat?

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) is addressing some of those questions with regulations for producers. The two basic concerns, says LCB director Rick Garza, is for “an adult user to understand the product that they’re consuming…and keeping it out of the hands of children.”

The LCB has standards for dosage and labeling, with a big focus on how much THC, marijuana’s chief psychoactive ingredient, should be in a single product or serving size. A lot of mandatory testing happens in a facility like Evergreen Herbal—all of it reported to the state.   

Entrepreneur Tim Moxey moved to Seattle from England to get into the cannabis baking business, and says the LCB aren’t the only ones concerned about dosage.

4:20 Chocolate bars, a product of Evergreen Herbal, with labels that show 65mg of THC in each bar.

“I think there’s a degree of responsibility that the consumer has to take on about having some awareness as to what would be too much, “says Moxey. “And passing that onto the consumer is helpful advice. And if you know what 10mg [of THC] is, 10mg should be okay for a lot of people.”

Moxey’s bakery, Botanica Seattle, will target users who want a subtle experience with a single, low dose serving.

In North Seattle, mother and school volunteer Cherylynne Crowther says Seattle schools are already confiscating pot edibles from students. She works with a group concerned with teen substance abuse, and sees edibles as another confusing message to youth.

“We have to be really careful and recognize that this is a drug packaged in a sweet. “ Adding, “The more access adults have, the more access kids have.”

As cannabis treats hit store shelves, almost everyone agrees there’s a huge potential market in them from both experienced and first time users who look for a different kind of high.



Made possible in part by

Stephen Hegg

Stephen is a 25-year veteran of KCTS, producing a wide range of cultural and public affairs series, documentaries and arts programming.  His credits include PIE, Something in the Water  (PBS feature on Seattle’s indie music scene), the gala opening of Benaroya Hall, and documentaries on Asahel and Edward Curtis, Dan Sullivan and Doris Chase.  Seattle-born, Hegg is a graduate of Whitworth University and is also an accomplished violinist and avid cyclist.

More stories by Stephen Hegg

There are 2 comments

Read Comments Hide Comments the video it is said that having a candy bar with 100mg of THC in you hand is like having a fifth of whiskey in you hand......sorry, but my ***B*S*** meter just blew up...100mg of THC would not have near the detrimental effects that the alcohol has...where do they dig up their “facts”?...

His point was that you shouldn't consume 100 mg of THC all at once, just like you wouldn't drink a fifth of whiskey all at once- he wasn't saying they had the same effects.

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