Vaping Crisis Triggers Change in States with Legal Marijuana
Legal marijuana retailers in the U.S. have made some changes due to the vaping crisis. According to NPR, the report of vaping illnesses continues to mount, with the CDC still desperately trying to find a cause.
Meanwhile, some states responded by cracking down on vaping, imposing emergency restrictions in hopes that doctors can eventually find some answers.
But while vaping advocates have been rather critical of the government’s “heavy-handed” approach, legal cannabis retailers tend to agree that there needs to be more oversight when it comes to THC products.
Legal states have regulations in place to test cannabis and cannabis products for safety. However, none of them test for other ingredients, which makes it easy for substandard THC vape products to end up on store shelves.
To their credit, none of the open market products tested by the CDC contained vitamin E acetate, which remains the prime suspect in what now amounts to over 1,600 cases of lung damage.
Still, the regulatory gap raised concerns, prompting many shops to contact their suppliers and verify the ingredients in the vape cartridges. Although retailers are taking action, they feel that more focus needs to be put on the black market.
Kevin Heiderich is the co-owner of House of Cannabis, located in Tacoma, Washington. He is one of many owners who believes the industry needs more oversight. NPR explains:
“Heidreich supports more rigorous testing so the regulated market is perceived as safer. This summer, his shops began contacting all their suppliers to verify what’s in their products.”
He is concerned about “bad actors” pushing dangerous products into the market, be it through legal or illegal means. He and others in the industry want to keep their products clean and safe, both for public health and their bottom lines.
“Hopefully, that is the exception to the rule, and any regulation that does come down puts an end to those sort of business practices. We don’t need those people in the market.”
The Need for Self-Regulation
Naturally, consumers have changed their buying habits when it comes to THC vapes. The recent illnesses bred a certain mistrust for a product that was rapidly growing in popularity.
But if Heidrich is any indication, businesses cannot wait for state governments extend their testing requirements for vape products. The onus is therefore on store owners to ensure that everything they receive is clean and safe.
However, this kind of initiative is not unheard of. In fact, the nicotine vape industry grew for years in the U.S. before the FDA regulated e-liquids in 2016. Prior to that, e-juice manufacturers relied on their reputation for success. As a result, they worked hard to provide high-quality liquids.
The e-cigarette industry had its own brief scare surrounding an ingredient called diacetyl, which health officials at the time (incorrectly) associated with lipoid pneumonia or “popcorn lung.” In response, manufacturers took it upon themselves to reduce diacetyl in their products or remove it entirely.
Ultimately, retailers need to take a strong initiative if they want to maintain public confidence and – hopefully – stem this growing epidemic.
WeedAdvisor’s Interest in Public Safety
During a time when information is sorely lacking, educating the public as much as possible is a critical step in preventing harm. This is why WeedAdvisor has been keeping track on the vaping epidemic’s developments.
We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and provide some answers as they become available.