Washington State Governor Jay Inslee this week announced rules designed to keep marijuana out of the hands of children, now that recreational use of the drug is legal for adults 21 and older.
The state will require approval of packaging for edible marijuana products. Cartoons, toy images and other labels that appeal to children will be banned, The New York Times reports.
Last month, lawmakers in Colorado, where retail marijuana stores have already opened, said they were considering stricter regulations for marijuana edibles, in the wake of two deaths connected with the products. Experts warn consuming the edibles can lead to bizarre behavior.
“This is an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure we keep kids safe,” Governor Inslee said in a news release. “We want every retailer to know that kids are off limits and every parent to know how to talk to kids about why marijuana isn’t safe.” He added, “The initiative legalized marijuana only for adults 21 and over and it is incumbent on everyone — retailers, parents, health professionals and public officials — to do everything possible to keep pot away from kids. If we fail in that, Washington’s regulated, retail market for marijuana may fail, too.”
The first group of marijuana retail stores in Washington is scheduled to open on July 8. The state plans to license 334 stores eventually. The state Department of Health has begun an advertising campaign that advises parents to discourage their children from using marijuana. “The goal is to get parents to talk to their kids now and not wait until retail sales start happening,” said department spokesman Donn Moyer.