Trail Blazin’ Productions
Well, it took 15 months to bring it to market, but we finally did it: Trail Blazin’ strain-specific capsules!
Capsules have always been a SKU that I wanted. As a working mother, I craved a cannabis product that I didn’t have to combust, was discreet, didn’t have any sugar and that I could easily regulate to make sure I didn’t get “too high.” Now, I don’t have any judgement of being too high, and I spent many a year in my 20s being REALLY high, but I just don’t have time for that in my life right now. I want to be able to be very specific in my dosing, so I know what to expect every time.
Ironically, the easiest part was the recipe. We’ve got a great team, with amazing brains and innovation, and they dialed in the process in no time, making sure to maintain the stain-specific terpene profiles of each well-known Trail Blazin’ strain.
Then we needed approval by the Washington State Department of Agriculture, which approves the kitchen as well as the products and ingredient list. There was some red tape, but nothing that took too long or surprising.
And then there was approval of the packaging through the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. [Insert palm to forehead emoji.]
This was hands down one of the most painful processes I’ve been through with a state agency. To be clear, we are Trail Blazin’, and we know that we are always pushing the envelope: we set the trends. Regardless, I was not prepared for the pushback.
Basically in 2019, the Washington Legislature passed Senate Bill 5298, which allows medical-grade cannabis products to have structure/function claims (such as “calcium builds strong bones” or “fiber maintains bowel regularity”) on their packaging. You know, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows structure/function claims for over-the-counter medication and nutraceuticals, so it made sense to replicate that on a state level. The problem is that deciding what is and is not a structure/function claim is something that is still highly debated.
Furthermore, the FDA doesn’t approve packaging; it just reviews it if there is a complaint. In Washington, the WSLCB has to review and approve all packaging for edibles (even though companies have to put on the package that “These statements have not been evaluated by the State of Washington,” but that’s a whole other grievance). On top of all that, there are only two companies in Washington — one of which is Trail Blazin’ — that produce medical-grade edibles, which means defining structure/function claims for packaging has not been a priority. It took seven months (SEVEN MONTHS!!!), 14 bibliographies, bazillions of emails and phone calls and more emotional frustration than I care to recollect to get our packaging approved.
Believe me, I sent the state agency a rubric when I was done so they had some metrics on what was and was not allowed for future packaging approval!
All that frustration and work, however, paid off as we now have the only strain-specific edible on the Washington market. And more importantly, other soccer moms and I can find that SKU that meets our needs.