Federal crackdown on e-cigarette vaping could have broader ramifications for marijuana industry

cannabis vaporizer, Federal crackdown on e-cigarette vaping could have broader ramifications for marijuana industry

President Donald Trump and Congress are taking aim at the nation’s vaporizer industry, raising questions over whether a possible crackdown could produce fallout for the legal cannabis space.

Marijuana industry officials are concerned that any federal action targeting e-cigarettes ultimately could result in regulations curbing the sale of cannabis vaporizers.

Those concerns come as the Trump administration is preparing to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, according to media reports.cannabis vaporizer, Federal crackdown on e-cigarette vaping could have broader ramifications for marijuana industry

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, lawmakers plan to conduct a hearing later this month to look into the rash of vaping-related illnesses that have occurred nationwide.

Federal health officials are scrambling to contain an outbreak of more than 450 possible illnesses – including at least six deaths – related to the use of e-cigarette and cannabis vaporizers.

The illnesses are scattered across 33 states. The exact cause of the outbreak is not yet known.

CNBC reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finalizing guidance to pull all nontobacco flavors of e-cigarettes from the market within 30 days.

In Congress, Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, announced the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations panel will conduct a hearing Sept. 25 into the outbreak of vaping-related illnesses.

Asked by Marijuana Business Daily whether the hearing would address cannabis vaping, a spokesman for the congresswoman would only say:

“Rep. DeGette is focused on one thing right now, and that’s protecting our kids from the dangers associated with vaping.

“She wants to know what is causing hundreds of people across this country to become severely ill and what needs to be done to stop it.”

Potential impact on marijuana industry

The expected ban on flavored e-cigarettes appears directed primarily at keeping these products out of the hands of children, though it could have broader ramifications for the marijuana industry down the road – particularly if the federal government legalizes the drug in some form, according to Morgan Fox, spokesman for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA).

“There’s a lot of preliminary concern that this could be used to negatively impact cannabis-related regulations at the federal level when that process begins,” Fox said. 

“We look forward to working with the FDA to develop sensible regulations for (vaporizer products) once Congress has ended prohibition.”

State-legal marijuana stores have not yet reported a serious downturn in vaporizer cartridge sales.

According to Seattle-based data analytics firm Headset, from Sept. 1, 2018, to Aug. 31, 2019, 35.9 million units were sold in the vapor category (vape pens and cartridges) in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington state through recreational marijuana retailers.

Vapor is the No. 2 product category in each of those markets, second only to marijuana flower.

According to Neal Levine, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF), the industry would welcome federal legalization.

He downplayed concerns that congressional action could negatively impact the vaporizer market, saying such worries amount to “speculation and conjecture.”

“We’re concerned about the health and safety of our consumers,” Levine said.

Educating cannabis consumers

His organization is urging cannabis consumers to avoid purchasing vape pens and marijuana oil from the illicit market.

“Although investigations and data collection are ongoing, it appears that most, if not all, of the reported cannabis-related cases so far stem from products sourced from the unregulated criminal market,” the CTF said in a statement.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the NCIA, said in a statement the illnesses and deaths are another avoidable consequence of “failed prohibition policies.” 

“Current federal laws interfere with research, prevent federal regulatory agencies from establishing safety guidelines, discourage states from regulating cannabis and make it more difficult for state-legal cannabis businesses to displace the illicit market,” he added.

“These policies are directly bolstering the markets for untested and potentially dangerous illicit products.”

The National Cannabis Roundtable, a marijuana industry group chaired by former U.S. House speaker John A. Boehner, said in a statement “a well-regulated cannabis marketplace is the most effective way to police bad actors and to get counterfeit and tainted products off the market to ensure and protect public health.”

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the vaping crisis, click here.

Bart Schaneman can be reached at [email protected]

8 comments on “Federal crackdown on e-cigarette vaping could have broader ramifications for marijuana industry
  1. Maxcatski on

    The only way to protect public health is to legalize and regulate cannabis.

    I feel sorry for all nicotine addicts. Vaping is not the answer, however. Quit.

  2. Bart man on

    Well now if it was legal, everything that is out into the thc vape carts would be fda approved. It’s not like they purposely are getting us sick, come on we are adults you chose to smoke it not knowing what is all in it, you know the risks like I did when I started smoking cigarettes at 12 I knew the dangers and health risk and still choose to smoke. Everyone needs to nut up claim responsibility for their actions and stop being such snowflakes. Too much money for state and fed govenments to acquire in taxes to not make it legal across the board. Too many gov employees that have been in office 60 plus years. Look you all work for the people not the other way around. In my opinion most of you need fired forced to retire or get of a minimum wage like the rest of us.remember we put you in office for the people, so be for the people not your bank accounts.

  3. Jeff l on

    This is all BS. Not the article. Great journalism. The BS is the story itself.
    Some flunky down in his basement is making the scrap and people are getting sick…..
    I’ve been vaping for 3 years and I get my vape from a state regulated dispensary.
    And I’ve never had an issue or know of anyone getting sick from the dispensary near me.
    Its almost 100% certainty it’s the black

    • James Young on

      I would agree, I went to You Tube, to look and see if there were any videos on how to extract THC, making your own. You can buy brand spanking new vape cartridges for $1.50 for a really good ones, hell you can even buy or lease the machine that will fill them.

      And what about the news report yesterday, where the two brothers were doing just that, making their own extract, and filling the cartridges at home, and selling them online, they had some 30,000 cartridges ready and in the process of being used to fill orders.

      Rest assured, those two aren’t the only ones doing that. Part of the problem is the governments unwillingness to take Marijuana off the drug schedule it’s on, and regulate it via what’s left of the FDA.

      The Marijuana business needs to get ahead of this and make sure that they are educating consumers regarding their products, and to recall any products that have any “fillers”. There is really no need to flavor vape cartridges with flavorings other than the natural turpines present in Marijuana, that give it, its flavor.

    • Jeff l on

      It would not surprise me if it was done with intent….I’m sure there are people that would like nothing more then to hurt the cannabis industry. People stop buying from the underground and go to your nearest dispensary to get top quality unadulterated cannabis grown without chemicals and metals and anything else you can think of…y would I not want to buy from a drug dealer….hmmm for the very reason I just mentioned.

  4. Seth Tyrssen on

    Well then, we shouldn’t have had idiots putting vitamin E based stuff, and more, in the damn vapes then, eh? It was a bad idea. Throw the vapes away and go natural.

  5. JJ on

    I am a producer of Vape products for the regulated marijuana market in WA state. We use 100% cannabis and cannabis terpenes. Flavoring and fillers that are not cannabis based are the problem, that our industry copied from the tobacco industry. The other thing that is not being talked about are pesticides and heavy metals. Black market products are not tested, and unfortunately they aren’t required by our state. I hope this will help make testing mandatory.

  6. Steve Lach on

    Has anyone considered lead poisoning from the capping of the glass vape cylinders ? Rome disappeared in A.D. 500 due to widespread use of lead goblets and water delivery pipes ..acidic reaction of various Eli quids with small lead caps should be examined….just thinking folks

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