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AHPA-supported Legislation Signed by Washington State Governor.
Governor Gary Locke signed new legislation in April that clarifies that herbal supplements in the form of liquid extracts are exempt from the state definition of liquor. The legislation was proposed in response to concerns in late 1997 about the mislabeling of some extract products, primarily those sold in small vials and that the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) had determined to be fit for beverage use. Many of these products failed to disclose the presence of alcohol. Responding to these concerns from ATF in January 1998, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) began removing extracts from specialty, convenience, and health and natural food stores.

Passage of this legislation was due to a cooperative effort by government and industry representatives. This author, Chair of American Herbal Product Association's Liquid Extracts Committee, established communication with LCB staff and board members in Olympia in May 1998, working with the agency's legislative liaison, Rick Garza, to shepherd the ensuing bill through the State Congress. Their testimony to the commerce committees of the Senate and the House aided in unanimous passage by both bodies.

Effective July 15, 1999, the Revised Washington Code will classify dietary supplements that contain alcohol and are fit for beverage use as exempt from the state definition of "liquor," so long as they are appropriately labeled. Alcohol content in any amount greater than one-half percent is required to be disclosed on product labeling in conformity with federal labeling regulations.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Michael McGuffin