Massachusetts governor bans sale of all vaping products, becoming first state to target marijuana and tobacco vaporizers

(This story has been updated to note that the projected 40% drop in retailer sales would represent overall sales.) 

Massachusetts has become the first state to ban the sale of cannabis and tobacco vaping products, dealing a financial blow to the state’s marijuana retailers and vaporizer businesses and setting an example that other states may follow.

At least one marijuana industry expert said Massachusetts MJ retailers could see a significant drop in overall sales soon – as much as 40% – because of Gov. Charlie Baker’s order Tuesday halting the sale of all vaping products in the state for four months.

The ban takes effect immediately and will last through Jan. 25.

“The use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products is exploding and we are seeing reports of serious lung illnesses, particularly in our young people,” Baker, a Republican, said in a statement.

“The purpose of this public health emergency is to temporarily pause all sales of vaping products so that we can work with our medical experts to identify what is making people sick and how to better regulate these products to protect the health of our residents.”

The health crisis tied to the use use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products has caused nine deaths and at least 530 people to become ill across the country.

In August 2019, sales of MJ vape products totaled $4.1 million in Massachusetts, according to the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

Vaporizer sales had been the fastest-growing segment of the recreational MJ industry nationwide until the recent health crisis.

Potential vape sales fallout

Kris Krane, president and co-founder of Boston-based consulting firm 4Front Advisors, said vape cartridges make up between 30% and 45% of most marijuana retailers’ sales.

And while the impact on the companies could be significant, Krane said the bigger concern is that people who use vaporizers will look to the black market to find product.

“If we’re eliminating access to licensed and regulated products, the state may be inadvertently driving these customers and patients to the illicit market that’s causing these problems in the first place.”

Avis Bulbulyan, CEO of Siva Enterprises, a California-based consultancy, has worked on procuring licenses in Massachusetts for a number of companies.

He said it’s unlikely that the ban would put any retailers out of business, but they could suffer a loss in sales ranging from 10%-40%, depending on where in the state they’re located.

“The person that would regularly come in to buy a vape will probably buy something else,” Bulbulyan noted.

“People aren’t going to go without marijuana just because they’re not allowed to buy vaporizers.”

Despite consumers continuing to purchase other cannabis products, Bulbulyan noted that vaporizers have a limited shelf life and that unsold products could deteriorate over time.

“Some might go bad and have to be destroyed,” he added.

“And the disposables only have a set charge. In four months, a lot of those batteries will go dead, and you’ll have to dispose of them.”

Bulbulyan called the governor’s order a knee-jerk reaction.

“They should have taken the opportunity to come out and given the consumer more of a reason to go to a licensed shop.”

Earlier this month, Massachusetts health officials began mandating the collection of data on potential cases of lung disease related to the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping.

As of Tuesday, 61 cases of suspected vaping-related illnesses in Massachusetts had been reported to the state Department of Public Health.

Three confirmed cases and two probable cases of vaping-related illnesses in Massachusetts were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rest are pending further clinical analysis.

For more information on this story, click here.

Margaret Jackson can be reached at [email protected]

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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

9 comments on “Massachusetts governor bans sale of all vaping products, becoming first state to target marijuana and tobacco vaporizers
  1. Jeff on

    The governor needs a checkup from the neckup….really. Guess I need to buy as many as I can afford in case Maryland decides the same dumbass crap.
    And yes your right people will find it on the black market…..pretty stupid to ban it considering that’s where it started. It
    says they need better regulation check points in Massachusetts. Never been an issue in Maryland.
    Maryland seems to have there act together. But who really knows Maryland might do the same idiotic thing

    Reply
  2. Jeff on

    Vaping is 95 % safer then traditional methods of smoking whether its tobacco or thc, or CBD. It’s been studied extensive ly in the UK. They sell it in hospitals and pharmacies.
    I guess the science behind it changes when you cross the pond. You would think considering the stupid ban. ALL BS

    Reply
  3. Maxcatski on

    Stupid people want to keep vaping even in the face of unexplained deaths and illness.

    That’s addiction for you. However, the cannabis consumers do not have the same excuse. Quit the nicotine and smoke your pot the old school way, in a joint.

    Reply
    • jeff l on

      I agree….The left wing socialist democrats are dumber then i thought.
      Can`t wait for it to backfire in their face. But that`s another issue and more waist of tax payers money.

      Reply
  4. Kate on

    In Massachusetts there are plenty of places to buy untested THC vape cartridges. People started to buy tested ones and pay taxes on those products because it seemed safer. Sadly, people will just go back to black market and they now don’t have that option to buy what has been tested by the state. These illnesses have been linked to black market, it just seems like pushing people in a corner to either quit or go with black market which as been confirmed as a cause in the recent epidemic of lung disease.

    Reply
    • jeff on

      I believe the state of Oregon is a free for all state. With not enough regulation to keep bad vape out of the dispensaries.
      (But you know your always going to have someone trying to make a buck from cannabis or booze or anything else that people want to use)
      You have everybody and there brother trying to make money and don`t care about human life. Which some how because of the lack of safe guards and the quest to make money aloud the vape into its dispensaries.

      Reply
  5. shelly on

    A total ban on vaping is unreasonable and unfair.The best thing to do is to tighten controls on oil and clamp down on the black market to normalise the industry. We are factory of cbd vape cartridge in China with many years . We pay high attention on quality and never do the low quality product because today’s quality , Tomorrow’s market !

    Reply

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