NBC News study tested regulated and illicit market vape cartridges, finding potentially dangerous contaminants only in illegal products
National Cannabis Industry Association warns that banning regulated & tested products could make problems worse
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following increasing reports of illnesses and deaths primarily related to illicit market cannabis and nicotine products, the National Cannabis Industry Association is urging state and local governments to use caution when instituting policies that could drive consumers to the illicit market. Most reports that have become public show that these cases are almost entirely associated with unregulated products, and no definitive links between regulated products and vaping illnesses have been confirmed.
On Friday, NBC News released a report based on testing of regulated and illicit market products. The report showed that almost all of the illicit market products contained potentially dangerous contaminants, including Vitamin E acetate, which has been linked to a number of illness cases, and a fungicide that produces hydrogen cyanide. None of the regulated products tested contained these chemicals. While not conclusive, this study adds to the evidence distancing the legal cannabis market from this outbreak.
Nevertheless, state and local governments are considering bans on all vape products, including those that are produced and sold under strict state regulatory controls. Massachusetts recently enacted a 4 month ban on all vape cartridges.
“This unfortunate situation continues to highlight the need to support state regulatory systems, as well as to deschedule and regulate cannabis products at the federal level,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). “It is increasingly clear that the root causes of these illnesses most likely lie in the illicit market. Banning regulated and quality-controlled vape products could very easily exacerbate this problem. Instead of stamping out the illicit market, preventing consumers from accessing reliable, tested products will drive many of them to purchase unregulated and potentially dangerous products instead, and the lack of competition from legal sources will only incentivize underground producers to increase production and cut more corners, possibly making their products even more deadly. Banning regulated products literally hands the vape market to the people most responsible for this widespread health problem on a silver platter.”
“We hope states and localities think twice before repeating the mistakes of prohibition, and we strongly urge consumers to avoid illicit market products and only purchase regulated cannabis products at licensed retail establishments,” continued Smith. “Furthermore, we ask Congress to immediately begin the process of descheduling cannabis and to work with public health officials, medical experts, and other stakeholders to sensibly regulate this substance at the federal level.”