Cannabis regulators in Massachusetts have quarantined medical marijuana vaping products one week after a state Supreme Court judge partially lifted the governor’s sweeping ban on vape products in the state. Last week, the judge ruled that medical marijuana vapes could return to market if the state’s pot regulators deemed them safe.
Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled that Governor Charlie Baker overstepped his bounds by banning medical marijuana vaping products. The judge said that only the Cannabis Control Commission, not the governor, holds authority over medical marijuana products.
Gov. Baker declared a public health emergency on Sept. 25. in response to the nationwide outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses, immediately banning the sale of all nicotine and cannabis vape products statewide.
Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title challenged the governor’s action, calling the ban “dangerous” and “short-sighted.”
This is a terrible decision. Purposely pushing people into the illicit market — precisely where the dangerous products are — goes against every principle of public health and harm reduction. It is dangerous, short-sighted, and undermines the benefits of legal regulation. https://t.co/57OaVYf5nY
— Shaleen Title (@shaleentitle) September 24, 2019
Judge Wilkins’ ruling allowed the ban on medical marijuana vape products to expire on Tuesday, Nov. 12, effectively handing authority back over to the Cannabis Control Commission.
The Commission then issued a quarantine on the products in response to what Commissioner Title called “credible evidence” by the CDC of a problem with vape ingredients, unlike the governor’s “ill-informed, unconstitutional ban.”
The Commissioner was referring to the CDC’s discovery that vitamin E acetate was discovered in each of the vaping illness patients whom it had tested. Most, but not all, of the affected patients reported using vapes containing THC.
The CDC has confirmed 2,172 cases of the pneumonia-like lung illness linked to vaping in the U.S. To date, the outbreak of vaping illnesses has claimed 42 lives in 24 states and the District of Columbia. The CDC calls the disease EVALI, short for “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury.”
“The Commission’s existing testing regulations and protocols do not require testing for vitamin E acetate,” the agency said in a statement last week. “Based on current manufacturing processes, it is possible that legal marijuana products sold in the state could contain vitamin E acetate or other potential ingredients of concern.”
The Commission said its quarantine order does not apply to medical-use marijuana vape devices designed exclusively for marijuana flower, which marijuana advocates say is not as effective as vaping oil, according to the Boston Business Journal.
The governor’s ban remains in place for all nicotine and recreational marijuana vaping products. The Baker administration is expected to hold a court-ordered hearing on the emergency ban later this month.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett are handling cases involving injuries related to vaping. We are looking at cases involving adolescent addiction and injuries including seizures, strokes, lung problems, and cardiovascular problems related to the use of JUUL vaping devices. If you have these type cases, we would like to work with you.