Trump Is Considering Banning Flavored Vapes. Here's The Cannabis Industry's Response
As information continues to surface about the unfortunate incidents related to e-cigarettes and vaping — with more than 500 people falling ill and six reported deaths — President Donald Trump stepped in to try and monitor the use of flavored e-cigarettes, announcing a proposal to ban thousands of flavors used in nicotine vaping products.
Addressing the media today, President Trump had this to say about the proposed ban:
“It’s very new and potentially very bad. There have been deaths and there have been a lot of other problems. People think it’s an easy solution to cigarettes, but turns out that it has its own difficulties. Not only is it a problem overall, but really specifically with respect to children.”
What this means for cannabis vapes
For the millions of legal cannabis users, the question is: Will the ban on flavored e-cigarettes carry over to CBD and THC vaporizers? That's still unclear, but as Marijuana Business Daily points out: "Any federal action targeting e-cigarettes ultimately could result in regulations curbing the sale of cannabis vaporizers."
Given the President’s announcement today, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) has taken a proactive stance, challenging Congress to regulate cannabis and pointing to prohibition as the main driver of dangerous e-cigarette products.
In a statement, Aaron Smith, the Executive Director of NCIA, blamed current federal laws, which "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."
Here's part of the statement from Smith in reaction to the Trump Administration's proposal:
"These unfortunate illnesses and deaths are yet another terrible, and largely avoidable, consequence of failed prohibition policies."
"These policies are directly bolstering the markets for untested and potentially dangerous illicit products. The fact that so few of these cases have so far reported any link whatsoever to the legal cannabis market is a testament to the effectiveness of state regulators and licensed businesses at ensuring product reliability. As an industry, however, we view it as our duty to make sure whatever is causing these illnesses is not replicated in legal products and to work toward enacting regulations that can prevent similar public health issues from occurring in the future. The legal cannabis industry is paying very close attention to any new information provided by medical authorities regarding these cases.
"It is now the responsibility of Congress to end prohibition and regulate cannabis without delay. By removing cannabis from the schedule of controlled substances and instituting a clear regulatory framework through existing agencies, the federal government can provide helpful guidance to states that have or wish to establish regulated cannabis control systems while helping put irresponsible illicit market producers out of business for good.
"We are deeply saddened by this situation and sincerely hope the specific causes are determined as soon as possible to help avoid further suffering. We stand ready to work with Congress and federal regulators on the long-term solution to this problem, which is replacing prohibition with sound regulations.”
How to stay safe
The NCIA made the following recommendations to Congress to prevent further illnesses and/or deaths from vaping.
- Congress is urged to immediately remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and begin to sensibly regulate this substance in a manner similar to alcohol and other consumables, and to make funds immediately available to state medical authorities to investigate these cases.
- Licensed vape cartridge producers are encouraged to halt the use, if any, of additive thickening agents until more data is available.
- Given the preliminarily reported association of some illness cases with Vitamin E acetate, any licensed producer that has included this additive in recent vape product batches is strongly encouraged to issue a voluntary recall of those products.
- Licensed cannabis retailers are encouraged to take steps to ensure none of their available vape cartridge inventories have been sourced from a producer that uses Vitamin E acetate.
- Cannabis vape cartridge consumers are urged to immediately cease the use of any product obtained from the illicit market and to limit any future purchases of vape cartridges and other cannabis products to state-licensed, regulated businesses.
Time will tell whether or not the possible federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes will carry over to the cannabis space, but one thing is clear—the industry puts the blame on Prohibition not passionfruit.