Cannabis regulators in Massachusetts have modified a ban on marijuana vape products that will allow businesses to begin selling newly manufactured goods as soon as retailers can get them on the shelf. However, vape products manufactured before December 12 will remain under a quarantine imposed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) on November 12.
Under the amended quarantine order, medical marijuana treatment centers and adult-use dispensaries will be permitted to sell devices that vaporize cannabis flower or concentrates provided that they comply with new regulations.
November’s quarantine order was issued in response to the outbreak of lung illnesses that has been dubbed e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) by health officials. In its ongoing investigation of the lung injuries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified vitamin E acetate as a toxin of concern.
Shawn Collins, the executive director of the CCC, emphasized that the new regulations, which were put in place in the interest of consumer safety, only apply to products purchased from licensed retailers.
“These protections exist in the legal market,” he said. “They do not exist in the illicit market.”
New Rules Push Transparency
Dispensaries that carry cannabis vaping products will be required to post a warning and disclaimer to consumers that reads “This product has been tested for contaminants, including Vitamin E Acetate, with no adverse findings. WARNING: Vaporizer Products may contain ingredients harmful to health when inhaled.” The warning must also be contained on an insert provided with vaping products.
Amanda Rose, the president of cannabis retailer New England Treatment Access, said that the new regulations will help advance consumer safety and confidence in licensed cannabis businesses.
“[The commission’s decision] is really a win for our customers and our patients who can now have access to a product that has been tested, that’s well regulated, that comes with accurate information about what’s inside those products, and that really drives them back into the regulated market and away from the illicit market,” she said.
Businesses selling cannabis vaping products “will be required to list their active or inactive additives, including the amount infused or incorporated during the manufacturing process, including thickening agents, thinning agents, and specific terpenes,” according to Thursday’s announcement from the CCC. Regulators are also requiring transparency on the parts used in vape pens and other devices, which “will be required to include a written insert that identifies their manufacturer, battery, and other known components, and discloses the materials used in their atomizer coil. This information will be required to be included in product lists posted on the licensee’s website and other third-party applications as well.”
David Torrisi, the executive director of industry group the Commonwealth Dispensary Association, applauded state regulators in a statement.
“Today’s ‘lifting’ of the quarantine order on cannabis vaping products by the CCC’s Executive Director Shawn Collins is reflective of the thorough, thoughtful, collaborative, and evidence-based approach he has led the CCC through,” he said.
Cannabis companies in Massachusetts can begin producing vape products that comply with the new regulations. But before they can be sold they’ll have to be lab tested, a process that usually takes three to five days, according to Michael Kahn, the CEO of licensed cannabis analytic laboratory MCR Labs.
“If we have a huge onslaught, of course it’ll take longer,” he said. “We’re doing our best.”