The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission barred marijuana-infused edibles from “resembling food” — no pot brownies, cookies, or candies. The CRC regulations specifically state: “Ingestible forms … shall only include syrups, pills, tablets, capsules, and chewable forms.”
CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said that some “gummies,” like the soft lozenges already available at some medical marijuana dispensaries, would be allowed under the regulations. Brown added that the commission faced a deadline that didn’t allow time to detail specific regulations for edibles manufactured in a “kitchen environment.” In many states, cannabis edibles cannot be placed in colorful edible bags that look appealing to children.
“That’s not to say we won’t in the future but, as of right now, we’re starting out with just the addition of some things like concentrates,” Brown said. “This is just the first cut.”
Many entrepreneurs, planning for edibles to become a big part of the New Jersey cannabis market, anticipated strict CRC rules on labeling and packaging of edible products to ensure they don’t attract children. A ban was unexpected and has been met with frustration.
“They’re certainly an important category for consumers, and they’re capable of making choices for themselves,” said Evan Nison, first vice chair of the board of directors for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Edibles are a popular category for consumers that may not want to smoke, vape, or put something in their lungs — or their landlords don’t allow them to smoke or vape.”
“You have to make it unattractive to children,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney.
“Other states have figured out ways to do that with child-resistant packaging and proper labeling,” said Nison.
Many states have instituted restrictions on edibles, passing laws or regulations ensuring that edible forms of marijuana aren’t given eye-catching shapes, such as fruit snacks. But it’s also common for states to have laws in place to ensure that edibles are sold in child-proof bags with an advertised THC potency embossed on the actual food product.
In states with recreational markets, edibles are so popular the market for them is often growing even faster than the cannabis industry itself.