Washington Allows Store Credit for Return of Banned Vape Products

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board issued a policy to help retailers and processors manage the financial hit associated with the state’s recent ban of flavored marijuana vape products. Washington is allowing marijuana retailers to provide customers returning banned vape products with store credit until December 31, 2019. The new policy also allows marijuana processors to issue a refund, exchange or credit for the acquisition cost of vape products. The credit balances may be maintained until June 1, 2020.

Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order that required the state’s cannabis regulator to ban THC vaping products identified by the US CDC and FDA as the cause of the lung disease epidemic. The Governor also directed the State Board of Health issue emergency rules that ban flavored vaping products, including THC products, at its meeting on October 9, 2019.

Washington’s regulatory response to the vaping epidemic is broader than action taken by California, New York, and Michigan. Washington requires the cannabis industry to post signs warning consumers about the risks of vaping and to disclose all compounds used in the processing and production of vape products.

The state’s cannabis regulator, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, also informed licensees that they must take the following actions:

  • The posting of the vape products warning sign in each store;

  • The disclosure of all compounds contained in THC products including additives, CBD and other cannabinoids;

  • The disclosure to the LCB of all solvents, ingredients, and additives used in the processing and production of vape products;

  • Cooperating with investigators; and

  • Voluntarily educating consumers about issues related to vape products.

Washington’s response has been costly for the cannabis industry. Washington’s recent policy is a welcomed reprieve of the severe regulatory response to the vaping crises.

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