What's Happening in the World of Cannabis Vaping
Vaping continues it's push with these recent events.
Since its explosion during the Trump Era, vaping has taken a few hard hits, most notably the FDA’s recent decision to pull all products by the once high-flying JUUL off the market. While the ban has been delayed momentarily by the DC Appeals Court, its fate remains uncertain. JUUL’s onetime sister company, PAX, symbolized high-end vaping equipment, of course, but public health officials have worked hard to tie vaping to child use. Last year, for instance, a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that cannabis vaping usage doubled between 2013 to 2020, with one out of three high school seniors vaping cannabis. And then, of course, there was EVALI, the mysterious vaping disease that claimed the lives of 68 people.
However, this has not stopped the industry nor its advocates, which argue for its convenience, its relative safety to smoking flower and its utility in weaning people off of smoking tobacco. And it continues to persist and make headway throughout the country, even as it recedes elsewhere. Following are some important developments in the vaping world that have popped up over the past month:
Pennsylvania Re-Allows Vaping in Medical Dispensaries
Back in February, the Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly recalled 670 cannabis concentrates, worth about $12 million, from dispensary shelves. It was the first-ever recall of its kind since the state began its program in 2018, and it took the entire medical cannabis industry in the Keystone State by storm. The products, which had previously been available for years, contained added terpenes, such as limonene and pinene, which added to the flavor of the vape, but the Department of Health’s explanations for its activity was vague. In June, Commonwealth Court Judge Michael J. Wojcik agreed with the plaintiffs, a consortium of dispensaries and manufacturers united under the name Medical Marijuana Access & Patient Safety Inc. He found that the regulators “failed to present any evidence to the court of potential harm to medical marijuana patients due to the recalled products, or more specifically due to the addition of terpenes to these products,” and granted a preliminary injunction that allowed the products to go back on the shelves immediately. Undeterred, the Department of Health pledged to take the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Mexico Officially Bans Vaping and Vaping Devices on World Tobacco Day
While the Mexican government continues to debate the details and parameters of eventual cannabis legalization, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) outlawed e-cigarettes. AMLO finalized this decree on the World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day. While the Mexican Supreme Court declared vaping bans unconstitutional in 2015, AMLO has declared no less than five bans, including the most recent one, during that time. Whether or not this means that the Mexican government will carve out an exception for cannabis.
The legal status of vaping in Mexico is, to put it mildly, complicated. Despite the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 and an additional ruling in 2018, commercialization and importation are otherwise prevented. Both AMLO and his health minister Dr. Hugo López Gatell have emphasized the marketing appeal in legal states to young people (during the decree signing, AMLO highlighted the design of a pink vaping pen to illustrate his point.). Alongside AMLO’s distrust of foreign countries meddling in Mexican affairs, it appears likely that he will continue to push against cannabis vaping as well.
PAX Labs Creates Zero-Solvent Live Rosin Pods
In the meantime, PAX Labs has created a new product called Fresh Pressed Rosin Pods, which use a proprietary cold-pressed concentration process which the company compares to “raw food” in its whole plant approach to vaping. In keeping with their Single Origin Pods, which focus exclusively on strain-specific concentrates, the new live rosin pods are an attempt to eliminate the chemical solvents found in vape cartridges. The pods themselves also do not make contact with the heating coil in the pen, which prevents heavy metals from leaching into the vapor.
For now, the pods can only be purchased in California. However, their process is scalable and transferable to other cannabis states, which Pax intends to do, according to Pax COO Stephen Jung.
More about Vaping: The USPS Vaping Ban: What It Means Going Forward