Massachusetts Patients Challenge Health Officials’ Right to Regulate Cannabis Vapes

A group of Massachusetts medical cannabis patients is challenging the Department of Public Health’s right to regulate cannabis vaping products after officials issued a four-month ban in September; patients argue that the regulations should come from the Cannabis Control Commission.

Full story after the jump.

The Massachusetts group representing medical cannabis patients in the legal fight against the state’s vaping ban is arguing that the Department of Public Health has no right to regulate cannabis vaping products, the State House News Service reports. In a memo filed in state Superior Court, the patients’ attorney Will Luzier argues that the 2017 cannabis legalization law transfers “authority to regulate all legal” cannabis from the Health Department to the Cannabis Control Commission.

The patients joined the lawsuit against the state brought by the Vapor Technology Association last month. They argue that the four-month ban – implemented in September by Gov. Charlie Baker (R) – leaves them without a good alternative to ingest their medicine.

“DPH now purports to have the authority to ban the vaporization of all marijuana products based on an alleged public health emergency. With the stroke of its pen, DPH purports to abrogate the Legislative mandate that marijuana vaping oils be legal and regulated by the CCC. This it cannot do.” – Memo to Massachusetts Superior Court

In the initial filing, Luzier, a former state assistant attorney general and advocate who led the 2016 legalization campaign, called the ban “overly broad,” contending that there is “no credible scientific evidence that licensed, regulated medical marijuana has caused vaping problems.”

Prior to the state-wide ban, the CCC announced that the agency would require vape products to include every additive used in the product, including thickening agent and terpenes.

When enacting the ban, Baker declared a public health emergency which gave the DPH commissioner the legal authority to “take such action and incur such liabilities as he may deem necessary to assure the maintenance of public health and the prevention of disease.”

Last week state health officials linked a second death in the state to the vape-related pulmonary illness, according to a Boston Globe report. Public Health Officials have received more than 200 reports of vaping-related illnesses and have reported 61 of them to the Centers for Disease Control.

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