Nov 13

Liquor Control Board seeking comments about marijuana edibles

The Liquor Control Board (LCB) recently proposed new rules to govern what types of marijuana-infused foods they will allow to be made (processed) and sold as part of Washington’s recreational marijuana system.  The LCB does not regulate the medical marijuana market so these rules only apply to the recreational (I-502) market.

The LCB is now seeking public comments about their proposed rules.  Comments are due by December 3 and a public hearing will be held that day.

Following is an overview of the proposed rules.

  • Marijuana processors must get infused products approved by LCB.  What the proposed rule says: A marijuana processor licensee must obtain approval from the liquor control board for all marijuana-infused products, labeling, and packaging prior to offering these items for sale to a marijuana retailer. The marijuana processor licensee must submit a picture of the product, labeling, and packaging to the liquor control board for approval.
  • Denials may be appealed.  What the proposed rule says: If the liquor control board denies a marijuana-infused product for sale in marijuana retail outlets, the marijuana processor licensee may request an administrative hearing per chapter 34.05 RCW, Administrative Procedure Act.
  • Products must be scored to show serving sizes.  What the proposed rule says: Marijuana-infused products in solid form that contain more than one serving must be scored to indicate individual serving sizes, and labeled so that the serving size is prominently displayed on the packaging.
  • Packages containing multiple servings must be re-sealable.  What the proposed rule says: Products containing more than one serving must be packaged in a package that remains child resistant after the package is opened.
  • Servings must contain equal amounts of THC.  What the proposed rule says:  Marijuana-infused products must be homogenized to ensure uniform disbursement of cannabinoids throughout the product.
  • Packages must say that the product contains marijuana.  What the proposed rule says: All marijuana-infused products must state on the label, “This product contains marijuana.”
  • Products cannot be appealing to children.  What the proposed rule says:  A marijuana processor is limited in the types of food or drinks they may infuse with marijuana to create (an infused edible product) marijuana-infused solid or liquor products meant to be ingested orally, that may be sold by a marijuana retailer. Marijuana-infused products that are made to be especially appealing to children are prohibited. Marijuana-infused products such as, but not limited to, gummy candies, lollipops, cotton candy, or brightly colored products, are prohibited.

The LCB regularly updates the list of marijuana-infused products that they approved.  Here are a few of the marijuana-infused products approved as of 11/6/2014:

  • Legal Rainier Cherry Soda
  • Zoots Premium Cannabis Infused Lemongrass Nuggets
  • Zoots Premium Cannabis Infused Chili Cinnamon Fire Nuggets
  • Baked Botanicals Assorted Cookies
  • Baked Botanicals Green Chief Granola
  • Baked Botanicals Twisted Trail Mix
  • Baked Botanicals Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Baked Botanicals Cinnamon & Sugar Pita Chips
  • Baked Botanicals Chocolate Covered Pretzels
  • Baked Botanicals Cocoa Ripped Shortbread Cookie
  • Baked Botanicals Black Magic Bar
  • Nana’s Crispy Gingersnaps
  • Botanica Seattle Brownie Bites Hybrid
  • Nana’s Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Raisins
  • Nana’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
  • Nana’s Gluten-Free Raspberry-Almond Bars

Nov 10

October saw spike in WA pediatric marijuana poisonings

The month of October saw a large spike in marijuana poisonings called into the Washington Poison Center (WPC).  Thirty-three cases were reported, up from 14 in September.

With only a handful of recreational marijuana stores open in the state, the majority of exposures likely resulted from marijuana obtained at medical marijuana dispensaries, according to the WPC report.   Unlike recreational (I-502) marijuana, medical marijuana is unregulated.

The largest number of reported pediatric marijuana poisonings has been reported in King County followed by Pierce and Snohomish Counties.

mj_poison_Oct2014

So far this year, slightly more than half of the poisonings were among adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 years old.

mj_poison_teens_Oct2014

Oct 31

Governor urges adults to know the facts about marijuana

On October 27, Governor Inslee sent a message to all state employees urging them to know the facts about marijuana.

Dear fellow state employee, 

As our state continues implementation of Initiative 502, it is important, as parents and grandparents, that we understand the facts about marijuana so we can have productive conversations with the children and young adults in our lives about avoiding drug use.

Below are key facts and resources to aid you as you talk to your children and teens about making healthy life choices.

Facts:

  • In 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502 to allow the recreational use and purchase of marijuana for adults who are 21 years of age and older.
  • While it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use or purchase marijuana, the reality is that legalizing the drug for adults makes it more accessible to youth. Youth are also exposed to marijuana advertising. These factors increase the likelihood that youth will use marijuana.
  • Marijuana is addictive. About 9 percent of users become addicted; this number increases for those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and those who use marijuana daily (to 25-50 percent).
  • Students who use marijuana are more likely to have lower grades and drop out of school compared to students who don’t use marijuana. In addition, many students who use marijuana also use other substances, including alcohol and tobacco (2012 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey).
  • The good news is that most students do not use marijuana, alcohol or other drugs, and they are less likely to use them when they know their parents disapprove of this.

 Resources:

  • Marijuana: Know the Facts: What Parents Need to Know. Developed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, this guide for parents has facts about the impacts of marijuana and I-502.
  • A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use. The guide contains helpful information about the unique risks of marijuana to the developing brain, proven strategies to help keep youth drug-free, signs and symptoms of marijuana use, and what to do if you suspect a child or teen may already be using marijuana.
  • For tips on how to talk with your kids at different ages, and other ways to keep them healthy and drug-free, visit www.StartTalkingNow.org.

 We know that parental involvement makes a difference in keeping children, teens and young adults healthy, safe and in school. I encourage you to make use of these resources and to share them with others. Together, we can make our communities a safer and healthier place now and for future generations.

 Additionally, for more information about marijuana research and minimizing risks for adult consumers, visit www.LearnAboutMarijuanaWA.org.

 Very truly yours,

 Jay Inslee

Jul 22

Poison Center: Pediatric marijuana exposures up this year

Today, the Washington Poison Center released the following information:

The selling of cannabis for recreational purposes became legalized in the state of Washington on July 7th, 2014. As a direct result, the Washington Poison Center (WAPC) has encountered an increase in the number of human exposures related to accidental or excessive consumption/inhalation of marijuana and marijuana edibles, particularly among pediatrics.

As shown in the charts below, in all of 2013 58 cases of pediatric exposures to marijuana were reported.  As of July 17 of this year, 54 cases of pediatric exposures to marijuana were reported.

July 24, 2014

 

All 2013

Reporting of exposures to the poison center is voluntary and not mandated by law. As such, WAPC data describes the number of calls called into the poison center and most likely is an underrepresentation of the true occurence of any one substance.

 

Jun 23

Marijuana ad campaign launched

Now that marijuana is legal for adults in our state, the Washington State Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery recently launched an Underage Marijuana Use Prevention Toolkit to help educate people about the new law and the risks associated with teenage use of the drug.  The toolkit is available online and includes several posters, including these two.

marijuana education ad

The toolkit was developed through partnerships with non-profit, education, and other government organizations and not tax revenue from the sale of marijuana.  Funds earmarked for prevention are not expected to reach prevention programs for at least one year and will only be available if the state legislature does not divert the money for other uses.  Since state agencies that are to receive prevention funding from marijuana sales revenue do not have sufficient money to conduct a full scale campaign, they are relying heavily on community-based organizations, especially local coalitions with limited budgets, to distribute messages.

May 30

Liquor privatization is proving harmful to minors

Earlier this week, researchers funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided the Liquor Control Board with preliminary findings about the impact of I-1183, the initiative that privatized the sale of hard alcohol/spirits.  Following are a few slides from the presentation.

Since the adoption of I-1183, the number of spirits retailers increased from 328 to more than 1400 and potential maximum hours of sale also increased.  Increases in retail density and hours of sale are connected with increases in problem and underage drinking.  A Centers for Disease Control & Prevention-appointed task force recommends limiting the number of alcohol retailers and limiting hours of sale as proven methods for reducing problem drinking.

1183report1

Researchers estimate that new spirits sales brought in about $24 million in additional state revenue.  At the same time, health-related costs of alcohol consumption increased.

Costs & Benefits

As predicted by WASAVP and others who were against I-1183, minors are particularly harmed by a less-regulated alcohol market.

1183report2

An unintended cost associated with privatization, that nobody predicted, is the increase in alcohol thefts since the adoption of I-1183.  Again, this cost is mostly borne by minors.

1183report3

Jan 23

The Specter of 24/7 Alcohol Sales

On March 30, 2012, the Washington State Liquor Control Board voted 2-1 to deny Seattle’s request to create an opportunity for local governments to petition the WSLCB for an extension of legal alcohol serving times. That is good news. However, each of the three Liquor Control Board members, also suggested that this conversation started by Seattle’s Mayor and City Council could reasonably continue between Seattle and the Washington State Legislature. That is of genuine concern to me.

In 2011 the City of Seattle had asked the WSLCB for the opportunity to develop local regulation to extend the hours of legal alcohol consumption in bars and clubs to twenty-four hours, essentially removing the prohibition of sales from 2:00 am to 6:00 am. The stated reasons for wanting 24/7 alcohol sales were: 1.) Public safety – eliminating a closure time for all on-premise establishments would lessen the negative impact of intoxicated patrons leaving establishments at the same time and 2.) Economic opportunity and growth- Seattle would become a destination city for nighttime recreation, which would generate tax revenues, drive tourism and support local business.

In brief, the rationale offered by the two board members, who voted to deny Seattle’s request, was as follows:

Common Theme: A common theme in hearing testimonies by citizens, law enforcement and city officials outside of the city of Seattle was that a city’s ability to control public safety ends at its borders. The concern: “what happens when people migrate from neighboring cities to drive in and out of a city with extended hours or 24-hour alcohol service?”

Contrary to WSLCB Mission: The primary responsibility of the Liquor Control Board is public safety. Research reviewed by the Board showed that extending sales hours can have a negative impact on public safety. In fact, of the nineteen most reliable studies in the international literature, sixteen out of nineteen (84%) indicate adverse effects on public safety. In addition to DUI crashes, adverse effects include public inebriation, vandalism, robbery, and violence.

Additional Availability: Due to the recent implementation of I-1183 (privatized liquor sales), the availability of liquor has increased approximately five fold across Washington State. The research is clear that increasing alcohol outlets negatively affects public safety. At this point, on- and off-premises licensees have the same hours. If 24/7 access is granted for on-premise sales, it stands to reason, that off-premise locations, such as retailers, would soon ask for the same 24/7 privilege. As availability increases, public safety is compromised and more law enforcement is required.

Over-Service: The WSLCB Enforcement Division does not have the resources to deal with extended hours. The ratio of liquor enforcement officers to licensees statewide is 1:300. In Seattle, it is 1:400. Seattle did not indicate that they had additional money to fund necessary local law enforcement efforts. Additionally, if 2:00 a.m. is a dangerous “push-out time,” sending intoxicated people out into the streets, perhaps over-service, not the closing time, is the real problem.

Based on the concerns previously articulated by two of the three WSLCB members, the possibility of 24/7 sales of alcohol being revisited by the City of Seattle through proposed legislation raises the following concerns for me:

The municipalities in my own small, densely populated county would also have the option to develop regulations to sell alcohol 24/7 at on-premise establishments. As suggested by one of the WSLCB members, that would most likely eventually include off-premise sales venues as well. As availability increases, public safety is compromised and more law enforcement is required.

It has not been determined whether the business profits and increased tax revenues associated with extension of alcohol sales hours will, in fact, fiscally exceed the costs associated with increased crime, law enforcement activity and other support services.

There is no data that supports the notion that a city with a 24/7 alcohol sales policy will be safer because there will be fewer drunk drivers hitting the streets at the same time. On the contrary, it can be argued that a greater number of people will be drinking more alcohol in public and will be heading home when work day traffic is heavier.

As a taxpayer, the costs associated with increased crime and supporting adequate law enforcement to provide for public safety will ultimately be mine.

The increase in municipal economic activity will not outweigh the incalculable damage to my sense of public safety.

Nov 18

Liquor theft stories survey

On June 1, 2012, Washington State’s “state-controlled” liquor stores closed, and hard liquor (such as vodka, whisky, rum) became available for sale in large stores that obtained a spirits sales license. Since that time, many community members and store personnel have shared stories about experiences with theft of hard liquor from stores. State and local agencies working in substance abuse prevention are seeking to collect these stories more systematically, as they provide important information that can help Washington and other states in moving forward and continuing to prevent youth alcohol use and alcohol abuse.

If you have such a story, please take a few moments to fill out this form. You can fill it out multiple times if you wish. Please also feel free to share this survey link with anyone you know who may have a story to tell.

Additionally, if you have questions or would like to share a story over the phone, you can leave your phone number or email in the last box on this survey, and a member of the research team will contact you.

 The information collected will be compiled into a summary report available in January 2014. No individuals will be named. We will name cities or counties, OR chain store names as shared in stories, but we will work to NOT identify individual stores in specific communities.

 Thank you for your support.  

1. Which of the following best describes your role in the community? (mark all that apply)

  • Law enforcement
  • Business/store
  • Substance abuse prevention/treatment
  • Education system
  • Community member
  • Youth/Student
  • Healthcare system
  • Community leader/elected official
  • Other (please specify): _____________________________________________________________

 

2. What Washington State city or county did this story about alcohol theft occur it?

3. Please share your story/stories about thefts of alcohol/hard liquor that have happened since June 2012. (if possible, please include approximate dates, whether youth were involved, and what happened as a result of the incident/s)

4. Please estimate the value or cost of the theft. (this means the value of alcohol that was stolen or destroyed)

5. Please describe any other consequences of the event, such as injuries, changes in store personnel or staffing patterns, changes in store operations, or how the stolen liquor was distributed.

 6. Is there anything else you would like to say?

You are welcome to provide your name and contact information if you are willing to talk more about this story. Your name and information will not be included in any summaries or reports, unless you give your specific permission.

Please enter the information from this survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WA_alcohol_theft_stories or return hard copies to:

Dr. Linda Becker

DBHR-DSHS

PO Box 45330 – Olympia WA 98504-5330

Jul 18

Honor Ramona Leber

Mayor photo
For twenty two years Ramona Leber faithfully served the Washington State Community Mobilization program; first as the Cowlitz county coordinator, then as a statewide contract manager and lastly as the sole program manager. Ramona is not only extremely knowledgeable about the Art and Science of Community Organizing, she lived it each and every day! Ramona knew first hand the importance of forming relationships and listening to the voices in the  community as well as looking at data to solve problems. Ramona empowered all of us to dream of and realize a better future for our communities, our families and most importantly our youth and children. Washington state is a better place because of Ramona.  With the closing of the Community Mobilization program Ramona is moving on into the next chapter of her life of service.
Please join the prevention field in acknowledging her many years of service with a gift to WASAVP in her honor (this is her wish in lieu of gifts). Please also make a comment below to honor Ramona, your comments will be shared with her.




 

 

Jul 16

Preventing youth marijuana use: What works?

Last week, WASAVP hosted “What Works!”, a symposium for Washington prevention advocates and providers about what can be done to prevent youth marijuana use.  Presentations from the symposium are now available on the Athena Forum website.

Risk and Protective Factors for Youth Marijuana Use: Preliminary Findings

Predicting the Uncertain Future of Legal Marijuana

Environmental Prevention Strategies Discussion: Lessons Learned from the Field

Initiative 502 Implementation: Creating Washington’s system of legalized marijuana 

Making comments about proposed rules

Tobacco Lessons for Marijuana Policies and Environmental Systems Interventions

High School Traffic Safety Programs

What Works? Program Review

 

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