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Why Legal Recreational Marijuana in Washington is Good for Public Health

Regulation and compliance will help keep the substance out of the hands of children

SANTA ANA, Calif., Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Kush Bottles, North America's largest wholesale distributor of child-resistant packaging and Philips bottles for the marijuana industry, stated that a well-regulated recreational program in Washington can have positive impacts.

Dallas Imbimbo, CEO of Kush Bottles, Inc., recently stated, "As the state of Washington prepares for the implementation of legalized recreational marijuana, there are understandably, many concerns about the effects that widespread availability of the substance will have on public health. While I cannot speak to marijuana's impact on a normally healthy adult – although there are many studies that point to its medicinal value -  I can speak with some authority on perhaps the most important area of concern – and that is keeping the substance out of the hands of children.

"We all agree that marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, should be kept out of the hands of minors. According to JAMA Pediatrics, unintentional marijuana ingestion rose among kids in Colorado in the months after new federal guidelines were implemented that relaxed regulations," Imbimbo added.

Of the children admitted to a hospital emergency room for marijuana ingestion, 85 percent were under the age of 5, and the youngest was 8 months old. Two of the exposed children required intensive care.

"The finding reignites the debate over whether and how legalized marijuana impacts children and adolescents," wrote pediatrician Sharon Levy from Harvard University.

So how can legalizing recreational marijuana have a positive impact on public health – and specifically on lowering the incidence of accidental ingestion by children?

The answer is that a legal and regulated marijuana industry will require the use of child resistant packaging for the dispensing and storage of the substance. This will eliminate the "sandwich bag" type of dispensing that is currently utilized by many dispensaries, which provides virtually no child safety features. In its place, will be medical grade child resistant containers that have passed testing in accordance with the Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.

According to the Washington State Liquor Control Board regulations, "Marijuana-infused products meant to be eaten, swallowed, or inhaled, must be packaged in child resistant packaging in accordance with Title 16 C.F.R. 1700 of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act or use standards specified in this subsection. Marijuana-infused product in solid or liquid form may be packaged in plastic four mil or greater in thickness and be heat sealed with no easy-open tab, dimple, corner, or flap as to make it difficult for a child to open and as a tamper-proof measure."

"Mandating the use of child resistant packaging is the single easiest, most effective and lowest cost method of reducing accidental ingestion by minors," Imbimbo stated.

Enforcing this regulation is key to its success. There are dozens of inferior containers on the market that claim to be safe, but have not passed any independent laboratory testing for child resistance, and are typically made in China with inferior materials.

Regulators will soon have the task of identifying key differences in packaging, in order to be able to enforce the child safety provisions of the law.  They will look for containers that have been tested and approved by an independent accredited facility in accordance with ASTM standards, use FDA-approved materials,  and meet the requirements set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

This testing process is rigorous and not cheap, which is why many (if not most) distributors of marijuana packaging simply sidestep this issue.

The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division has faced similar issues, and has issued a stern warning to dispensary operators that failure to provide child-resistant packaging would be met with strict consequences. Their memo reads in part, "A violation of the packaging rules shall be considered a violation affecting public safety and can result in severe sanctions against your license." 

"I began this crusade to increase awareness and compliance with regulations regarding child resistant marijuana packaging in Colorado," Imbimbo commented. "The response I received from the media, state regulators, and even those in my industry was almost unanimously positive. However, there were a few who pointed out that I stood to gain if more dispensaries purchased their products from my company. While this is true - and I am motivated by growing my business and increasing market share - this issue goes far deeper.

"I would ask those critics to think about how much more we stand to lose, as an industry, if public sentiment turns against us due to our failure to protect children from accidental ingestion.

"My hope is that Washington's marijuana control officers will assure that the regulations that have already been passed, are enforced. Through careful regulation and scrupulous oversight, accidental ingestions of marijuana by children can be reduced though a well-run, legal recreational marijuana industry.

"In this new world of legalized marijuana, the eyes of the world are upon us. Especially at this juncture, we as an industry cannot afford to run our businesses with anything less than the highest levels of responsibility, compliance and transparency.

"It's the right thing to do."

For more information on Kush Bottles or the child-resistant approved Philips Rx bottle, call the company at (888)-920-5874, or visit the website at: www.kushbottles.com.

Connect with Kush on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KushBottles

Follow Kush Bottles on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kushbottles

Read the Kush Bottles blog: http://kushbottles.wordpress.com/

About Kush Bottles, Inc.: 

Kush Bottles is the nation's largest wholesale distributor of child resistant and medical grade containers for the marijuana industry.

Kush Bottles have been tested and meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission standards and all state requirements for child resistant packaging, and are made in the USA with FDA-approved materials.

Kush Bottles offers the Philips Rx (Phillips) bottles, which are listed as "Child-Resistant" on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Website.

The company sells a full line of packaging solutions, and a selection of the highest-quality vape (vapor) pens.

For more information on Kush Bottles, please contact the Customer Relations Department at (888)-920-5874 or go online at www.kushbottles.com

Media inquiries, contact:
The Innovation Agency, 

SOURCE Kush Bottles

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