Emergency regulations passed June 26 have changed edible marijuana products expected to go on sale July 1 around Reno. These are some products that had been expected to be available but many will now require packaging changes or will be discontinued.
Nevada marijuana dispensaries are going to have to get rid of or hastily sell any leftover edible marijuana products that become illegal starting this weekend.
On Monday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval endorsed a Department of Taxation statement of emergency that will allow the department to more strictly regulate marijuana edible products starting the same day as the state’s first recreational marijuana sales.
“The Governor wants to see the state realize the revenues from its sales, and most importantly, wants a regulatory structure that is restricted, responsible and respected,” said Mari St. Martin, spokeswoman for the governor’s office.
The new regulations, approved by the Nevada Tax Commission on Monday, prohibit marijuana dispensaries from selling the following for recreational use in Nevada:
- Any products that contain any more than 10 milligrams of THC per dose or more than 100 milligrams of THC per package.
- Any products that appear to be lollipops, ice cream or are modeled after a brand of products marketed to children.
- Any products that look like real or fictional characters or cartoons.
- Any products that apply THC to candy or snack foods other dried fruit, nuts or granola.
- Any cookie or brownie products that are not in a sealed, opaque bag.
- Any products that have images of cartoon characters, action figures, toys, balloons or mascots on the labeling.
Existing packaging that has such images must be covered by a sticker, label, or permanent marker so the image is completely obscured, according to a Department of Taxation email sent out to dispensaries on Wednesday.
Products being stored outside of consumer view do not need to have the images covered until they are placed on display or immediately prior to sale.
“From day one, we want to make sure that potency, packaging and labeling are strict from the start,” said Stephanie Klapstein, spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Taxation.
The last-minute regulations also require packaging to have “THIS IS A MARIJUANA PRODUCT” in bold type, as well as the words “Keep out of reach of children” and a list of all ingredients.
The restrictions overlap with many of those detailed in legislation sponsored by Sen. Patricia Farley, Nonpartisan-Las Vegas, and passed by lawmakers earlier this month, but only some sections of the law go into effect July 1. Other portions go into effect on Oct. 1 and others go into effect in 2020.
Edibles, which come in the form of everything from gummy snacks to chocolate bars, often have potent doses of THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Consumers usually have significantly delayed reactions.
Dispensaries will still be able to sell some of the items to medical marijuana cardholders, but others will be illegal after July 1. Those that fall in the latter category are being steeply discounted during the next few days.
“If we don’t sell them now, we have to destroy them,” said Mikel Alvarez, spokesman for Blüm, a dispensary with one dispensary in Reno and three in Las Vegas.
Blüm, for instance, will have to say sayonara to the lollipops that they currently sell and the prepackaged 28.5-gram containers since dispensaries can no longer sell more than an ounce of marijuana at a time, even to medical marijuana cardholders who are allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Others are allowed only an ounce.
While the emergency regulations are a costly inconvenience for many dispensaries, they are aimed at keeping pot out of the hands of Nevada’s youth. Though the law is written so that only adults 21 and over are allowed to purchase recreational marijuana, states such as Colorado have reported a post-legalization increase in minors’ visits to the emergency room as a result of edibles intake.
The Department of Taxation is hiring four compliance and audit officers, as well as four inspectors, to uphold regulations. The department has not yet disclosed which dispensaries will receive recreational marijuana dispensary licenses, which allow them to begin sales as early as July 1.
Sales through December will qualify as part of the state’s six-month early start program, which ends in December. Permanent regulations will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
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