Retailers looking to sell a wide range of products and businesses seeking marijuana-processing licenses need to act now if they want to legally sell marijuana concentrates. The draft I-502 rules released by the Liquor Control Board last week allow retail outlets to sell “[m]arijuana extracts such as hash, hash oil, shatter, and wax,” but only if they are infused in other products. A marijuana extract alone does not fit the definition of a marijuana-infused product. According to LCB spokesperson Brian Smith, the LCB was inclined to allow the sale of concentrates but felt that their hands were tied by the initiative, which discussed only marijuana-infused products.
This is going to present problems to anyone who was planning to sell their extracts standing alone. If the rule stands, extracts will only be legal if infused in some type of edible good. This situation is also creating a legal uncertainty for many processors. Companies specializing in e-cigarette style vaporizers and mouth sprays, for instance, have no clarification on how much additive is necessary to mix with an extract in order to meet the definition of a “marijuana-infused product.” I-502 defined marijuana-infused products as those “that contain marijuana or marijuana extracts and are intended for human use.”
Processors looking to sell pure or close-to-pure marijuana extracts will be pushing the LCB to rethink its interpretation of the Initiative before the regulations are formally proposed next month. They will claim that the definition of infused products in the initiative — anything containing marijuana or marijuana extracts — is broad enough to include the extracts themselves. Because the LCB is already sympathetic to the processors’ position, there is a chance of expanding what is allowed for extracts.
If the rules on extracts do not change, they will do more than just hurt business; they also will subject those who possess pure hash, hash oil, or other extract to state law criminal prosecution. Because the possession rules in I-502 act as exceptions to the Washington Controlled Substances Act, deviations from those rules can land someone right back in the criminal system that I-502 sought to upend. According to Alison Holcomb of the ACLU, who led the I-502 campaign, the Legislature may need to step in to clarify the legality of possessing and selling marijuana extracts, which were not clearly defined in either I-502 or in the LCB’s draft rules. Otherwise, businesses and individuals may find themselves in a legal bind.