Marijuana advocates are seizing on the latest outbreak of vaping illnesses.
Federal health officials have pointed to the black market THC products as well as a mysterious vaping illness that is sickened more than 2,000 people across the country and caused at least 39 deaths.
Advocates argue federal marijuana regulation, including changing rules to allow more and better research, will make people safer.
Black The black market, addressed said Terry Holt, spokesman for the National Cannabis Roundtable.
According to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), products containing THC, especially from “informal sources” such as friends, family or in-person or online dealers, major role in the outbreak.
On Friday, CDC officials honed in an e-cigarette cutting agent called vitamin E acetate. According to experts, vitamin E has been used in unregulated, illegal vaping products to dilute THC oil in order to maximize profits.
The CDC said vitamin E acetate was a “very strong culprit” for potentially vaping-related injuries, but officials emphasized there.
Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said while most of the illnesses have been linked to illicit THC vapes, the agency can’t rule out any “infiltration” of tainted products into state-licensed marijuana dispensaries.
Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, so companies are left to navigate the state laws for their own marketplaces. There are 11 states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and 33 that allow medical marijuana.
“States that have dispensaries set their own regulatory measures,” Schuchat said, which makes it difficult for the federal government to track them.
At least one death has been reportedly linked to oil in Oregon, and while Schuchat said there is anecdotal evidence about patients who bought vaping products, there are still many unknown factors.
“Schuchat said, but added,” I don't think we know enough to completely take dispensaries out of the question. "
Colton Grace, the spokesman for the anti-legalization group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said the Oregon death shows it’s not just a black-and-white issue.
“By pushing the line, we'll put more people in danger,” Grace said. All vaping products should be banned until researchers figure out the main cause of the illnesses, he added.
Answer The answer is not regulate and test. States Grace said. "User [the Food and Drug Administration’s] authorization to get these products off the shelves. ”
Holt said the government needs to take action, whether that involves better oversight of state laws or stepping in to regulate cannabis at the federal level.
“It’s a growing conclusion that whatever inequities, unsafe practices there are in the illicit market, the sunshine of being out in the open would do wonders to clean up the industry,” Holt said.
Some states that have already legalized marijuana.
Massachusetts has recently begun to produce marijuana extracts and concentrates.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) also instituted a statewide ban on all vaping products – including marijuana. A state judge subsequently ruled the marijuana portion of the ban was not enforceable, but that relief.
In Colorado, officials are nearing a ban on certain additives, including vitamin E acetate. The state is also exploring labeling changes to give consumers more specific information.
At the federal level, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it is classified in the same category as heroin and LSD. Advocates argue that restrictions make it difficult to study the safety of cannabis clinically, and even more difficult to regulate it.
The National Cannabis Industry Association has been advocating for months.
Current The current patchwork of state regulations highlights the need for uniformity. And uniformity comes with descheduling and federal regulation, group the group wrote in an October letter to House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi Trump calls for Pelosi, Schiff, Biden and others to be witnesses in impeachment inquiry Is Pelosi saving Trump by shaping impeachment to fail in the Senate? GOP senator defends calling Pelosi 'dumb': 'What I said was accurate' MORE (D-Calif.) And Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthy House Republicans add Jordan to Intel panel for impeachment probe Bipartisan leadership will reduce emissions more quickly than Paris accord Ukraine whistleblower under fire – Where are the first responders? MORE (R-Calif.).
Americ If it is confirmed that Americans are being hurt because of unregulated, cannabis vape products, it is another reason for real, comprehensive federal cannabis reform that will allow the regulated, tested cannabis industry to displace illicit market actors, added it added .