With the vaping industry under scrutiny, hundreds of companies banded together and submitted a letter to congress. The letter was initiated by the National Cannabis Industry Association and delivered Thursday.
“Recent reports of vaping-related illnesses and deaths are alarming and demand an immediate, robust investigation by public health professionals. Make no mistake, the legal state-regulated cannabis industry knows that any death is one death too many,” the letter stated.
In many of the cases involving vape-related illness, products with THC have been involved which can only be purchased on the black market in states where cannabis is illegal. One common ingredient being Vitamin E acetate, which is used as a thickener in the illicit market.
“What we do know is that the role of adulterants is being seriously examined. Indeed, preliminary reports have linked nearly all reported illnesses to products purchased from the illicit market that contain potential adulterants and contaminants. An investigative report from NBC News on Sept. 27 that tested both regulated and illicit products indicates that additives and pesticides which are likely contributing factors in this recent outbreak were found exclusively in the illicit market products tested.”
The group wants the media's help in notifying the public.
“It is essential that regulators and the media accurately warn the public about these dangers. The public needs accurate and actionable information from the government, particularly about illegal, untested, and dangerous illicit market consumer products.”
The letter requests that marijuana be declassified as a scheduled substance, in order to limit purchases from the unregulated market.
“The current patchwork of state regulations highlights the need for uniformity. And uniformity comes with de-scheduling and federal regulation. De-scheduling is the only way to truly reform federal cannabis policy in a sensible manner so that state regulatory programs can most successfully ensure consumer safety and to pave the way for appropriate federal regulations,”
This would transfer quality control standards to the Food and Drug Administration instead of it sitting with the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The group suggests several pathways to improving the current situation.
• 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 preliminary 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
The industry feels like the voters have decided, the medical program is helping many, and that just like alcohol, bootleggers need to be stopped to avoid injury.
“Voters and legislators have approved medical programs in thirty-three states and those cannabis programs are working for patients. Patients and other consumers deserve a fact-driven regulatory response from Congress to prevent further harm. The public should have conﬁdence in the products that we market and sell, and the legal cannabis industry stands ready to inform and abide by reasonable regulations”
Aaron Smith, National Cannabis Industry Association executive director, according to an interview, feels like the vaping crisis is directly tied to failed prohibition and a lack of regulations. Just like alcohol, it is time for licensed producers to replace bootleggers.
One thing is for certain, the vaping crisis needs to be addressed quickly.
All quotes for this article have been taken directly from the letter which can be found here, https://thecannabisindustry.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/VapeCoalitionLetter-final-updated10.4-House.pdf