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As a budtender you definitely get your fair share of questions: “What’s your cheapest flower on the menu?” or “What are your deals for the day”? That kind of thing. However, there’s one question that seems to come up quite a bit (almost once on every shift), “Do you guys carry edibles that are like gummies or gummi-bears”. For the most part my answer is “Unfortunately, we don’t carry any products or edibles that appeal to children or come in the shape of an animal or recognizable figure,”, which then follows with an understanding but a disappointed look.

A new study from the University of Washington School of Law displays the fear they have for the possibility of accidental consumption of marijuana infused edibles by children. The project is part of the school‘s marijuana law and policy project, and it distinguishes the most efficient practices when it comes to edibles and kids, like smell, taste, and shapes.

The results come before the anticipated alterations to the way marijuana-infused edibles are designed and manufactured in Colorado. The project was initiated by The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, the state regulatory agency in charge of Washington’s marijuana laws. The outcome stems from information collected from a survey of research on food and food marketing and as the executive summary explains, their attempts are made with the best interest of children in mind.

“Cannabis flower is typically smoked or vaporized and would appear to be not as attractive a food as an edible might be,” the report reads. A crucial thing to mention, is that the research was on foods in general, but that it’s “reasonable to expect similarities to children’s approaches to cannabis-infused edibles.” The study findings include:

Colors children prefer:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Green

Odors children prefer:

  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon
  • Licorice
  • Mint
  • Pineapple
  • Rose

Marketing and branding strategies definitely play a part in edibles appealing to children as well. The study found thatTelevision advertising influences the food and beverage preferences, purchase requests, and short-term consumption of children ages 2-11, but there is not sufficient evidence to draw the same conclusions with regard to teens aged 12-18.” Animal and cartoon characters were also found to influence a child‘s choice to eat a snack or food.

In full defense of the marijuana industry, one business alliance group in Colorado welcomed the research out of Washington, and continues to advocate keeping marijuana products out of the hands of children. Mark Slaugh, executive Director of the Cannabis Business Alliance said, “Once the Cannabis industry enacts regulation of shapes, we can safely claim that between child-resistance, prohibited advertising of cartoon characters, opaque packaging, and warning statements, that Colorado infused products manufacturers are doing more than any other industry to make edibles less appealing to kids while maintaining colors and flavors that do appeal to the adult markets we serve.”

The research project also mentions that directly banning edibles isn’t necessarily the best solution of nixing accidental consumption. Instead, researchers do acknowledge that it would cause distress to patients who cannot smoke or vaporize the flower due to weakened immune systems, and prohibiting infused foods altogether could drive the edibles market underground.

“It is remarkable that over 5 million infused product units are sold each year with very few and, indeed, diminishing cases of accidental ingestion. A strong indication that we are doing the right thing,” said Slaugh.

(Photos Courtesy of

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