FDA bans e-cigarette Juul; impact on cannabis vape market to be determined

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Image of a vape pen and marijuana buds

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered popular e-cigarette maker Juul’s products off the market, a move that likely won’t have an immediate impact on the marijuana vape industry but could down the road.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the FDA denied Juul’s applications to continue selling e-cigarette devices and pre-filled cartridges in menthol and tobacco flavors as part of ongoing efforts to crack down on youth vaping.

The FDA said Juul must stop selling and distributing its vapes and remove them from the U.S. market.

The federal illegality of marijuana should keep the industry safe from FDA interference for the time being, said Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, CEO and co-founder of The Blinc Group, a vape manufacturer based in New York.

“However, this doesn’t mean that will be the case forever,” he added.

The vape crisis that plagued the e-cigarette and marijuana vape markets a few years ago was proven to be the result of illicit products, Dumas de Rauly said.

In 2019, a health emergency broke out in which dozens of people died and 2,600-plus were admitted to hospitals.

It was found that an additive, vitamin E acetate – which officials found in some of the implicated THC vaping products – was mostly responsible for the illnesses.

The crisis shook up the marijuana vape industry, but the market has largely rebounded since.

“If the FDA truly wants to keep consumers safe then they should regulate and hold vaporizer companies to the highest scientific standards, instead of banning products that will send them straight back to the black market and only compound the problem,” Dumas de Rauly added.

In 2017, popular marijuana vape maker Pax Labs was spun out of Juul Labs as a separate entity.

According to a Pax spokesperson, the split allowed Juul to focus on the e-cigarette nicotine market and Pax to focus on vape products for cannabis and other plant-based materials.

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“The companies operate completely independently under separate management teams focused on their unique markets,” a spokesperson for Pax told MJBizDaily in a statement at the time.

Pax declined comment to MJBizDaily about the FDA order.

Bart Schaneman can be reached at bart.schaneman@mjbizdaily.com.