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WIRE: Washington Poison Center unveils “Not For Kids” cannabis warning labels

OLYMPIA – The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) today unveiled its chosen warning symbol for identifying products that are not for children at a Liquor and Cannabis Board meeting. The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) developed the warning symbol as a deterrent for children who may access adult-only products, such as edible marijuana products, purchased by adults in their home.

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“For over 60 years the Washington Poison Center has been a vital community resource providing free medical help and tools for parents to protect their families,” said Carrie Ulvestad, WAPC’s executive director. “We are excited to present the new Not for Kids warning label which was created with input from cannabis industry leaders and prevention professionals across the state.”

“The number of calls to the Washington Poison Center related to marijuana exposures reached a single-year high in 2015 with 272 calls,” said WAPC’s clinical managing director, Dr. Alexander Garrard. “With more than 150 calls already this year, it is our hope that the Not for Kids label and our increased education efforts will equip parents and caregivers with the tools to have a conversation with their loved ones ages 1 to 21. Most importantly the label includes our 1-800-222-1222 emergency helpline number, a free, confidential resource for all ages.”

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The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (Board) will include the warning symbol on all edible products in its draft rules. The Board is expected to file draft rules Aug. 10, 2016.

“This is a perfect example of the public and private sector working together toward a common goal of public safety,” said WSLCB Chair Jane Rushford. “While this is the Poison Center’s warning symbol, they have collaborated with the agency and solicited our input throughout the process. We think their design is excellent and their process impressive. Should the symbol become part of our permanent rules, this will be another important tool in preventing child access to marijuana.”

Earlier this year, the WSLCB included a provision in draft marijuana rules that required the Mr. Yuk® symbol to be affixed to all edible marijuana products. The requirement was based on input at public hearings that a warning symbol was necessary to deter child access to marijuana edibles. The Board later dropped the requirement of using Mr. Yuk® while the Washington Poison Center developed its own symbol. With the new symbol finalized, the Board will move forward with the rule-making process which includes soliciting public comment.

Should the rules follow an expected timeline, the symbol will be required on the rules effective January 17, 2017. The Board would allow 90 days after adoption to give the industry time to comply.

For more information on the Not for Kids campaign, visit www.wapc.org/notforkids.

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