Enforcement and Education Bulletin No 21-01
To: Cannabis Industry Members
From: Matt McCallum, Enforcement Advertising Coordinator
Subject: Prohibited: branded or unbranded merchandise and conditional sales
As the cannabis industry continues to evolve and progress, the advertising produced and sold by cannabis licensees is becoming more and more creative. Although the LCB supports the creativity and promotion of cannabis businesses, it is important to remember that there are restrictions on what cannabis licensees can sell, and how it can be sold.
Please keep in mind that the distribution of branded or unbranded promotional items is prohibited under WAC 314-55-155(4), and conditional sales are prohibited under WAC 314-55-017.
What does this mean for licensees?
This means that a cannabis licensee in the state of Washington cannot brand, package with, or sell non-cannabis, or non-cannabis paraphernalia items, using their license. This includes but is not limited to t-shirts, stickers, drinking glasses, lanyards, and general swag items.
In addition, requiring the purchase of a non-cannabis item, such as paraphernalia or other non-cannabis products in order for the purchaser to obtain cannabis, is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to pipes, bongs, rolling papers, lighters, and branded merchandise.
Please note that licensees may sell paraphernalia together with cannabis either as separate items or in branded packaging, but the purchase of cannabis cannot be contingent upon the requirement to purchase the paraphernalia item. This means if a paraphernalia item is sold with or packaged with cannabis, the cannabis must also be available for sale separately and the cannabis cannot be available for a lesser amount when sold with the paraphernalia.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes, RCW 69.50.585, allows cannabis producers and processors to provide retailers and their employees with branded promotional items of nominal value. These items can only have the advertising matter of the producer or processor providing the items. The items may not be forwarded on to the retail customers, through purchase or giveaway.
If you have any questions, please contact your compliance consultant or officer. Thanks you. for your review.