“...we attempt to clear up some of the myths that exist about vaping cannabis oil and offer explanations for other potential dangers and strategies for minimizing risk.”

INTRODUCTION AND NCIA’S SAFE VAPING TASK FORCE

As reports began to appear of a potential linkage between
lung injuries and use of nicotine and/or cannabis vaping
products, NCIA’s Policy Council established a Safe Vaping
Task Force to provide a consistent response on behalf of the
concerned members of the regulated cannabis industry. The
Task Force’s mission was to communicate clearly in response
to press reports and governmental actions, and articulate
the state-legal cannabis industry’s fulsome efforts to act with
integrity as responsible actors. The Task Force produced and
published weekly blogs summarizing recent developments
and the cannabis industry’s response; drafted Congressional
testimony for a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
(HELP) Committee hearing on November 13, 2019; drafted
op-eds; collaborated with other safe vaping efforts, including
in California; and started the planning for a summit in Boston
on February 19, 2020 to facilitate collaboration between law
enforcement and the private sector to tackle the illicit market
through public-private partnerships.
The Task Force’s efforts transitioned to a new phase in late
November when health experts confirmed that the proximate
cause of many of the injuries and deaths were attributable
to vitamin E acetate used as a thinning agent in illicit market
products. With a diminished need to provide rapid response to
the misleading data points appearing in reports of this crisis, our
work began to focus squarely on a long-term solution. Below
are recommendations from the Task Force regarding safe
vaping. By offering this industry subject matter expertise, it is
our hope that consumers, retailers and government agencies
will become better informed as a result of our collective efforts.
Today, it appears that public health experts have concluded that
additives from the illicit market appear to be the primary cause

of this crisis.1 While that work continues, we attempt to clear
up some of the myths that exist about vaping cannabis oil and
offer explanations for other potential dangers and strategies for
minimizing risk.
Ultimately, one thing is clear: we must stop the flow of
unregulated and untested products to consumers from the
illicit market. That is the best solution to the vaping crisis,
which is not likely to dissipate unless we take swift action to
put illegal and unscrupulous operators out of business. That
effort will take a collaborative approach, with law enforcement,
state-legal cannabis businesses, state cannabis taxing and
licensing agencies, providers of anti-counterfeiting technology
and others working in concert. Information sharing between
the public and private sectors here will be key. And while we
must disrupt the illicit market, we need to identify alternatives
to arrest and prosecution and we must create reasonable
paths to state licensure. It will take forward-looking elected
and appointed leaders to make sure that we displace the illicit
market, while remembering that the industry made 12 billion
dollars in 2018 while approximately 600,000 people were
arrested for marijuana-related arrests.2 Fundamental fairness
must play a role in any solution to the illicit market problem. We
need to evaluate and refine state regulations by encouraging
smart regulation at the state level, such as the banning of certain
additives as seen in Colorado. States must continue evaluating
what is necessary to keep consumers safe and implement
appropriate regulations. In the end, sensible regulation and
a clear path to licensure and compliance will be the utmost
compelling force in driving people from the illicit market to the
state-legal market.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION AND
NCIA’S SAFE VAPING TASK FORCE

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

DISPLACING THE ILLICIT MARKET

COUNTERFEIT CARTRIDGES
VAPORIZER LIQUID FORMULATIONS

VAPORIZER DELIVERY DEVICES

POSSIBLE CONTAMINANTS AND TESTING

RECALLS IN A REGULATED MARKET
MARKETING TO CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS

STATE GOVERNMENT ACTIONS
CONCLUSION

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