Lawmakers Consider Banning Concentrates In Washington

A Washington bill with bipartisan support would cap the state’s adult-use cannabis concentrate products at just 10 percent THC, which would effectively kill the state’s concentrates market.

Full story after the jump.

A bill proposed in Washington would effectively ban cannabis concentrates, including vape cartridges, for retail sale but would still allow the products to be sold to patients. According to a Leafly report, the concentrate segment represented nearly 40 percent of the state’s legal cannabis sales last year.

Lawmakers say the potent products – higher than 10 percent THC – are connected to “the occurrence of psychotic disorders” citing a study that found “participants who used high-potency cannabis daily had four-times higher odds of psychosis in the whole sample.” The bill would limit THC concentration in extracts at 10 percent.

Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and public health at Northwestern University, told Leafly that if the ban were enacted, it would push many consumers back into illicit markets.

“There may well be rationale for eliminating some portion of the riskiest products on the market if there’s evidence to support that but doing that with 40 percent of the products would make very little sense. If 40 percent of the market is toward these products and then you ban them, you’d definitely be creating a push towards the black market.” – Beletsky, to Leafly

Over the summer, and into fall, at least 57 deaths were attributed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to illegally-produced vape cartridges tainted by vitamin E acetate. The agency has confirmed more than 2,000 cases of the lung injury disease linked to vitamin E containing vape products.

According to the Leafly report, if the bill were passed, state operators would have to dilute their concentrate products or start with low-THC cannabis for extraction. Daniel Luebke, director of marketing and brand for Seattle-based extractor Heylo, suggested to Leafly that concentrate producers would need to dilute THC extracts with other cannabinoids, such as CBD, or with cutting agents.

The bill, which includes both Democrat and Republican sponsors, is currently in the Commerce and Gaming Committee.

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