Links Corrected: Cannabis-Infused Products: Policy Statement on False or Misleading Statements

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October 5, 2021

Consistent with RCW 34.05.230, the Liquor and Cannabis Board published a policy statement addressing false or misleading statements for cannabis-infused products.

This policy statement is intended to define and scope the types of statements that may be false or misleading, to the extent possible, and establish a framework to guide the evaluation of false or misleading product label claims. Below is the policy statement. For more complete context and analysis of this topic, please read more here.

POLICY STATEMENT: The WSLCB sought to define “false and misleading” statements through policy (BIP 07-2018) which was narrowly designed to address cannabis products that may mimic, imply, represent or contain any statement, depiction, illustration, design, brand, or name of a product containing alcohol. However, ESSB 5298, subsequently codified as RCW 69.50.346 broadened cannabis labeling standards by providing that all cannabis product labels were not to be “false or misleading.” In doing so, this places the WSLCB in the position of the FDA to establish criteria for evaluation of cannabis product labels to determine whether labeling is false or misleading. False or misleading statements are two-pronged. The first prong is associated with structure or function claims concerning medically compliant cannabis products as described in WSLCB Policy Statement PS-21-04, where claims about the effect of a product on the structure or function of the body are discussed. The second concerns cannabis product labeling – both adult use and medically compliant products – and whether the product labeling is false or misleading through the depiction of another food, beverage, or flavor associated with a non-cannabis product such as alcohol. Thus, consistent with RCW 69.50.346, and in alignment with 21 U.S.C.A. § 343, cannabis product labeling will be considered false or misleading if any of the following apply:

  • Product labeling is false or misleading in any particular;
  • The product is offered for sale under the name, identity or characteristics of another food or beverage or mimics another food or beverage, or the characteristics of another food or beverage, such as an alcohol product;
  • The product is an imitation of another food or beverage, unless the label bears, in type of uniform size and prominence, the word “imitation” and, immediately thereafter, the name of the food or beverage imitated; or
  • If its container is so made, formed or filled as to be misleading (for example, shaped like a martini glass or champagne bottle); or
  • If the packaging, labeling, or both of a liquid or solid cannabis product contain an image or images of alcohol glasses or bottles.


Policy statements are agency-level documents declaring plans or intentions of an agency. Policies are different from procedures, standard operating procedures, or guidance because they apply to the entire organization and are primarily intended to set direction. In contrast, procedures or guidelines typically include specific instructions used to accomplish defined tasks that may be described in a policy. 

Notice of WLSCB Policy Statement #PS21-05 was filed with the Washington State Code Reviser on September 30, 2021 as WSR 21-20-077. The agency will provide a one-page “explainer,” including illustrations and examples in the coming weeks.

Additional information can be found on the WSLCB Policy Statements webpage.