The last week has been filled with media coverage regarding recent illnesses associated with vaping. As we previously blogged about, in recent weeks hundreds of illnesses and half a dozen deaths have been reported across the country, with e-cigarette device usage being pointed to as the likely cause.
Some of the cases involve consumers that have reported using cannabis vape pen cartridges and some involve consumers that reported having only used nicotine-based vaping products. Certain cases involve the dilutant additive vitamin E acetate and others do not. A lot of unknowns still exist, and regulators are still looking into the matter.
The deaths and illnesses are tragic, and that can’t be emphasized enough. Calls have been growing for many days for lawmakers and regulators to do something. Regardless of if new laws and/or regulations are passed, the cannabis industry needs to step up in this crucial moment.
Members of the legal cannabis space need to be as transparent as possible. It hasn’t been determined yet whether legal cannabis vaping products were to blame for any of the illnesses, and hopefully legal cannabis products truly had nothing to do any of the cases.
Makers of cannabis products need to always use quality inputs, and always make it extremely easy for consumers to know what goes into products. The burden is not solely on the consumer to know if something is harmful or not. The burden is also (and especially) on cannabis product makers.
The tobacco industry has been notorious for selling products that they knew were harmful. We are learning the same right now about the opioid industry. The cannabis industry has to be better and more responsible than those two industries. If not, the industry has clearly failed, regardless of how much money is ultimately made.
We will all have to wait and see what policymakers and regulators do regarding vaping products. But in the meantime, the cannabis industry needs to be proactive and strive to be good stewards of the cannabis plant and movement.