The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) adopted emergency rules banning the use of vitamin E acetate in cannabis vapor products and requiring more in-depth reporting from licensed cannabis processors.
“[Processors must] submit under oath a complete list of all constituent substances and the amount and sources thereof in each marijuana vapor product, including all additives, thickening agents, preservatives, compounds, and any other substance used in the production and processing of each marijuana vapor product.” — LCB memorandum excerpt
Vitamin E acetate
Following investigations last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other government agencies, vitamin E acetate was determined to be the source of lung injury related to “e-cigarettes” and “vaping” that resulted in 68 deaths in 29 states and Washington D.C., including two deaths in Washington state, according to a State Board of Health report.
Unable to pass an outright ban on vitamin E acetate, as was recommended by the State Board of Health and Governor Jay Insley, the Washington State legislature instead passed HB 2826, which gave the LCB authority to ban any substance the Department of Health — “or any other authority the Board deems appropriate” — that “may pose a risk to public health.”
Vitamin E acetate is the first “additive” banned by the LCB under its new regulatory authority.
Pesticides and heavy metal testing
The Board also took action concerning cannabis testing, having resumed the rulemaking process for improving the state’s “Marijuana Quality Assurance testing and Product Requirements.” To be phased in by September 2021, the new regulations will require all cannabis produced in the state to be tested for pesticides and heavy metals.
“This is an impressive body of rule-making,” said Jim MacRae, a Washington state cannabis activist.
“I applaud the Board working to protect cannabis consumers in the state, but they’ve known about the pesticide problem for years and even now with Leaf Data systems not working, test results are ‘faith-based,’ meaning they don’t have a way to reliably attach test results to actual cannabis batches,” said MacRae. “I’m also wondering why it will take a year to implement the new testing rules when they acted on vitamin E acetate so quickly.”
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