A letter to the Congress of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and more than 800 members of the cannabis industry called on legislators to regulate cannabis legally to prevent more health problems caused by weed products on the black market. According to Marijuana Moment, the letter was delivered to the House and Senate leadership today.
The plea was prompted by the national outbreak of lung injuries apparently caused by counterfeit THC oil in black market cartridges. Vitamin E acetate – used by some THC oil producers to dilute cannabis oil – is the target of many state investigations. Up to 17 people died in the outbreak and more than 800 were hospitalised.
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. Cannabis industry stakeholders are asking Congress to “dump” the drug (remove it from the Controlled Substances Act) and shift supervision from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the FDA or another agency concerned with public health and safety.
The cannabis industry has been honest and forthright from the beginning about the fact that THC oil on the black market is the most likely cause of the outbreak of lung injury.
“Shutdown is the only way to meaningfully reform federal cannabis policy so that government regulation programs can successfully ensure consumer safety and pave the way for appropriate federal regulation,” the letter said.
The illegal black market for cannabis is estimated at $41 billion, and cannabis oil samples account for a large proportion of this. Federal legalization and market regulation would make the production and sale of unregulated, untested products more difficult and less attractive, as well as making regulated products cheaper and more widely available.
Add NCIA recommendations:
Congress should remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it in a manner similar to alcohol.
Consumers must stop using oil cartridges bought on the black market.
Encourage manufacturers of approved vape cartridges to stop using “diluents” until tested.
Legal producers are “urged” to voluntarily recall products containing vitamin E acetate.
Licensed retailers (pharmacies) should “take steps to ensure that none of their available stocks of vape cartridges come from a manufacturer who uses vitamin E acetate”.
The NCIA, along with the Cannabis Trade Federation, issued similar recommendations last month, according to Marijuana Moment. Members of the legal cannabis industry were the first to point to black market offenders as a likely source of lung injury.
The illegal black market for cannabis is estimated at 41 billion dollars.
Cannabis oil cartridges make up a large part of this.
“These unfortunate diseases and deaths are another horrible and largely preventable consequence of a failed ban policy,” said NCIA Director Aaron Smith. “Current federal laws interfere with research, prevent regulators from setting safety guidelines, discourage states from regulating cannabis, and make it difficult for legal cannabis companies to crowd out the illegal market.
The cannabis industry has been honest and forthright from the beginning about the fact that THC oil is the most likely cause of outbreaks of lung injury on the black market. The first report of the outbreak, which was not targeted at nicotine products, came from media such as Leafly, Merry Jane and Marijuana Times. Leafly’s David Downs was a month ahead of the regular press when it reported on the probable cause of lung injury and has maintained a page with the latest updates.
But until recently, the regular press channels focused exclusively on nicotine vaporized products – a reflection of the CDC’s alleged concerns – which have led to a misguided national panic that has resulted in a wave of varmint product bans by governors using emergency responders.