The stories about vaping injuries have been a source of mass panic in recent months, leading to the imminent destruction of a legal industry. Meanwhile, the real culprits – black market cannabis vapes – saw no immediate action.
As authorities investigated, they zeroed in on vitamin E acetate, a cutting agent found in many of the illegal market vapes. More recently, however, a fungicide was discovered, which becomes hydrogen cyanide (a deadly gas) when heated, this time in 100% of the tested samples.
While we covered both of these stories extensively, one thing that deserves more attention is that, universally, legal products did not contain any of the above toxins – or any toxins, for that matter.
Naturally, regulation keeps products safe. This is why, according to Marijuana Moment, over 800 companies associated with the marijuana industry wrote a letter to Congress, pleading with them to legalize and regulate cannabis.
Need “Robust Federal Regulations”
The letter, dated October 3rd 2019, addressed both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) led the initiative, along with its over 800 supporters.
Marijuana Moment explains:
“…the letter being delivered to House and Senate leadership on Thursday argues that the recent spate of vaping-related lung injuries and deaths demonstrates the need for robust federal regulations that aren’t available because marijuana remains a federally controlled substance. It notes that a majority of these medical issues appear to be the result of using adulterated, unregulated products.”
This is something that both health officials and the public knew for quite some time, but the issue was derailed, with government focus shifting to nicotine products and youth vaping.
The letter goes on to argue that:
“Fortunately, we have policy tools that can be employed to help limit the illicit market, implement uniform good manufacturing practices and prevent future harms.”
However, the U.S. is not at a point where they are willing to legalize marijuana for this, especially since they have regular vaping as a scapegoat. But this does not make the argument any less valid.
Despite their duty to make decisions based on what is objectively best for their constituents, lawmakers often push legislation based on personal bias or beliefs, with little to no research.
The letter hopes to address this issue and at least enlighten those who are willing to listen.
Aaron Smith, executive director of NCIA, tells Marijuana Moment:
“It is absolutely vital for members of Congress to understand that this vaping illness outbreak is directly tied to failed prohibition policies that support the unregulated underground market. Descheduling cannabis products and regulating them effectively is essential to improving on successful state regulatory systems, allowing more comprehensive research, and displacing the illicit market.”
Smith supports his argument by drawing a comparison to alcohol, which he points out has not been responsible for health issues due to tainted products. This, he says, is because the industry is heavily regulated and free of underground producers.
The letter includes five policy reform suggestions to address the vaping crisis.
First, Congress needs to deschedule marijuana out of the Controlled Substances Act and give medical researchers the funding to investigate vaping illnesses.
Second, legal vape producers should stop using thickening agents (if any) until medical professionals know more about their impact.
Third, they suggest putting out a message to licensed producers using vitamin E acetate, inviting them to “issue a voluntary recall of these products.”
Fourth, licensed retailers should investigate their sources to ensure that vitamin E acetate and other additives are not present.
inally, advise consumers to stop purchasing illegal vape products and instead move toward the legal market.
WeedAdvisor’s Commitment to Education
The legalization effort has plenty of valid supporting arguments, but this recent vape crisis makes for a strong – and urgent – case.
Although the government is unlikely to be swayed by the letter, it might just plant the seed for broader reform.
Another benefit is that consumers may harm the illicit market by voluntarily avoiding illegal vape products.
Regardless, this issue is a major concern for public safety. Aside from offering critical business solutions, WeedAdvisor makes a strong effort to provide relevant, accurate information to keep the legal cannabis industry successful and – more importantly – safe.
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