Commission’s order supports ban on marijuana vaping products
BOSTON (AP) — The state’s four-month ban on marijuana oil vaping products will remain in place after the state’s Cannabis Control Commission issued a quarantine order Tuesday.
The order targets vape pens, vape cartridges, aerosol products, and inhalers that use oil-based vaping materials. It doesn’t apply to medical marijuana vaping devices designed for marijuana flower, which don’t use oil-based materials.
The commission is also asking testing labs if they can check for vitamin E acetate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified vitamin E as a culprit in vaping-associated lung injuries. The labs currently test for contaminants like heavy metals.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins had ruled last week that marijuana cultivated for medical use, including oil-based vaping materials, must be exempted from Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-month ban on vaping materials starting Tuesday — unless the cannabis commission took action since the commission is the single state entity authorized to regulate marijuana.
Tuesday’s action by the commission continues the ban for oil-based vaping materials for medical use.
The vaping industry is also challenging the broader ban in court.
Shops caught selling vaping materials during the ban face fines of up to $1,000 per offense. There is no prohibition against individuals owning or using vaping products.
The industry has argued the ban will destroy the state’s $331 million nicotine vapor products industry and irreparably harm local businesses.
Baker issued the emergency ban in September in response to lung illnesses attributed to use of e-cigarette products.
State health officials last week announced that a third state resident died from a vaping-related lung illness.
The state Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that a man in his 50s from Worcester County died, after telling officials he vaped both nicotine and the marijuana compound THC.
Officials say more than 200 suspected cases of vaping-associated lung injury have been reported to the health department since September.
The action by the cannabis commission comes as state lawmakers prepare to debate a bill that would ban flavored vaping and tobacco products, including menthol and mint flavors. Lawmakers argue that the flavored products are meant to entice young teens into smoking.
Anti-smoking activists praised the Massachusetts House for taking up the measure.
“Ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol, is smart public health policy and will prevent thousands of kids in Massachusetts from becoming enticed into a lifetime of addiction,” said Kevin O’Flaherty from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
Some convenience store owners oppose the ban on menthol cigarettes and have pressed lawmakers to eliminate that portion of the bill.
House lawmakers plan to debate the measure on Wednesday.