food labeling, alcohol industry, edible industry, edible manufacturers, appealing to childrenregulations, definitions

Document Type



In the children’s book "Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There", Alice interacts with Humpty Dumpty. During their conversation, Humpty notes that he, alone, can decide the meaning of words. Even Alice, at the young age of seven, casts doubt on this idea. Definitions of words and phrases play an important role in human interactions and even more so when the words and phrases defined are within a statute. In the United States, Congress and state legislatures play the role of Humpty Dumpty by coming up with meanings of important words and phrases found in the laws they write. This is an important role of the legislatures to ensure the clarity of the law. While sometimes it is necessary to give different meanings to the same word, when the legislature uses unique phrases such as “appealing to children,” one would expect the legislature to use the same meaning, given the limited applicability of the phrase. However, this phrase appears to have two different meanings when it comes to states that prohibit labels on marijuana edibles (“edibles”) and alcohol that appeal to children. Regulations in the states that regulate such labels on both alcohol and edibles have been shown to have stricter standards for edible labels, even when the language of the regulations is nearly identical. This note is not advocating for edible manufacturers to target children through advertising. Such advertising would likely lead to more small children accidentally ingesting edibles, which should be avoided. Rather, this note is arguing for state governments to cease violating the constitutional rights of edible manufacturers, given the labeling practices of the alcohol industry.