The other day, I had a chance to talk with a member of the Fraser town board about their concern regarding the vaping crisis. So far, the CDC has reported 2,602 confirmed and probable cases nationwide of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome associated with recently inhaled aerosol products.
This has been a setback for the cannabis industry, but not in the way you might think. If you only pay attention to major news outlets, you may have been led to believe that the cartridges your local dispensary sells are the cause of all the problems. That’s simply not the case, and even the CDC has said more research is needed to pinpoint the culprit.
It is believed that one of the potential causes of the vaping illnesses is a compound known as tocopheryl-acetate, or vitamin E acetate, which is found in illicit THC diluents. They key word here is “illicit” — a.k.a., the black market.
The legal cannabis industry is one of the most tightly regulated industries in the U.S. Not only do manufacturers and dispensaries have to attain many licenses in order to operate, they also have to abide by strict product testing protocols before they’re allowed to release them to the public. The same cannot be said for the illegal production of vape cartridges.
Black market production does not nearly have the same oversight — or care — for the safety of consumers. The California lab, Cannasafe, reported that 10 out of 10 vape carts from illicit stores tested positive for tocopheryl-acetate, some as high as 40%. As I mentioned this is a setback for the legal industry, as we continue to strive for access to safe cannabis products.
I urge the town board of Fraser to keep this in mind when considering what actions to take regarding vape cartridges. Raising taxes, setting harsh limitations, or banning vapes will only push consumers to continue to seek out black market products, undoing a lot of the progress the legal cannabis industry has been making. Thank you!
— Alejandro Perez, Fraser