Klickitat County Commissioners pass resolution banning marijuana edibles

Any retail marijuana shops that open in Klickitat County outside of the city limits of Bingen, Goldendale, or White Salmon will not be able to sell marijuana-infused edibles under a resolution passed by the Klickitat County Board of Commissioners.

The resolution, which was passed at the July 22 meeting, bans the sale or distribution of marijuana-infused products in any shop that opens within the county’s jurisdiction, but those that open within incorporated cities may sell such products unless the city bans them.

“We have no jurisdiction within the municipalities, so anything that opens within Bingen, White Salmon, or Goldendale would not be covered by the resolution. Currently there are no retail sales in the county, but we are trying to send a message that in the future if one should open we want to discourage the sale of marijuana-infused products because we are concerned about the packaging and kids inappropriately getting ahold of those items,” said Klickitat County Commissioner David Sauter.

Though Initiative 502, which was passed by Washington voters in 2012, legalized the recreational sale of marijuana to those 21 years of age or older, commissioners were still concerned that minors would mistakenly consume a marijuana-infused product.

The resolution points to Colorado, which also legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and instances that have been reported of both adults and minors alike consuming too much marijuana-infused product in one sitting.

“Colorado state officials reported that since legalization of recreational marijuana, there has been an increase in reports of people over-consuming THC-infused edibles which can end with tragic events; there are also instances of marijuana products legally purchased by adults over 21 falling into the hands of teenagers and younger children…” the resolution reads.

Sauter said the commissioners have asked the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) to tighten up restrictions regarding how marijuana-infused edibles and oils are packaged and labeled, but that the changes the LCB made just didn’t go far enough.

“It’s our way of sending a message to future marijuana retailers in Klickitat County saying we take this really seriously,” Sauter said.

According to the LCB policy, all processors intending to sell marijuana-infused edibles must pass a food processing facility inspection prior to obtaining a license. The LCB’s policy also dictates that processors hand over photos of their products, packaging, and labels, which must read, “This product contains marijuana.”

Products must also specify how much marijuana they contain and everything must be homogenized before being sent to a lab to be tested for concentration.

The LCB also took steps to ensure no product appeals too much to minors and banned marijuana-infused juices, butters, and dairy products. Processors also cannot distribute products that have to be kept at a certain temperature.

Margie Lemberger, owner of Margie’s Pot Shop, isn’t too concerned by the commission’s decision to ban edibles because she is within Bingen’s city limits. Margie’s is the lone licensed retail marijuana shop currently open in Klickitat County and Lemberger hopes to eventually be able to sell marijuana-infused products as soon as they are available.

“All day I have customers asking for edibles and infused products. The state has required small amounts of marijuana in each serving. The package is designed to be child proof and not allowed to have pictures or designs that would attract children (to the) label. WA State Liquor Control Board has made regulations much stricter than Colorado,” Lemberger wrote in an email to The Enterprise.

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