Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) has ordered a four-month ban on the sale of both cannabis and nicotine vaping products in the state, the Associated Press reports. The order was approved by the state Public Health Council and comes after 61 reports of lung illness in the state linked to vaping products.
“The use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products is exploding, and we are seeing reports of serious lung illnesses, particularly in our young people.” – Baker at a press conference, via the AP
Baker said that during the ban officials will work with medical experts and state and federal health officials to work on additional steps – including legislation and regulations – to address the crisis. Earlier this month the Cannabis Control Commission said they would require more detailed labeling of all cannabis vape cartridges.
Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, told the AP that there are “clearly” issues with some vaping products but questions whether the products that are potentially making people sick are from legitimate retailers.
“Is it the product being sold on the shelves by companies like Juul, or is it the off-brand stuff coming from other countries and sold on the internet?” he said.
The House is considering a bill to ban the sale and distribution of any flavored tobacco or vape customer. The bill would include an exemption for establishments that allow smoking – and state cannabis regulators just approved plans for social cannabis use in the state, which includes vaping where approved.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not link the pulmonary illness to cannabis cartridges as 60 percent of the affected patients used both THC and nicotine vape devices. Health officials in New York have linked cases in the state to vape products containing Vitamin E acetate, including knockoff cannabis cartridges.
In all, there have been nine deaths throughout the U.S. related to the illness.