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MARIJUANA REGULATORY AGENCY ADOPTS EMERGENCY RULES IN RESPONSE TO VAPING CRISIS

John W. Fraser

On November 22, 2019, Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency adopted 2 new sets of emergency regulations in response to a number of reported illnesses in Michigan and nationwide as part of the “vaping crisis.” The first set of emergency rules provides guidance and new standards for manufacture of marijuana products intended for consumption by vaping. The second set concerns new testing standards for marijuana vape products.

The new regulations were passed in response to a wave of vaping-related illnesses and several deaths that have been widely reported in the media. After a CDC investigation, it appears that the culprit behind these unfortunate injuries was the inclusion of Vitamin E Acetate in vaping cartridges. Vitamin E Acetate is a thickening agent or filler that is used by unsophisticated or black-market producers to “cut” their products. Vitamin E Acetate was found in all of the samples that were tested by the CDC in products associated with vaping illness. Vitamin E Acetate in commonly found in skin care products and dietary supplements and does not usually cause harm when used topically or ingested. However, Vitamin E Acetate is extremely dangerous when vaporized and inhaled.

In response to this discovery, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency has passed new rules designed to help protect consumers. The new rules prohibit the inclusion of Vitamin E Acetate or any other inactive ingredients to marijuana vape cartridges unless they have been approved by the FDA for human inhalation.  While there haven’t been any reports in Michigan of illnesses as a result of products sold from a Michigan licensed provisioning center or retailer, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency should be praised for its proactive approach in taking steps to protect the general public. The new regulations also require manufacturers to label all products with a complete list of all of the inactive ingredients.

Products sold at licensed marijuana facilities are required to go undergo significant laboratory testing to ensure that products are free from impurities, mold, contaminants, and heavy metals. In other words, to ensure that they are as safe as possible for their intended use. These new regulations continue that approach and should help to rebuild consumer confidence in the market.

Consumers interested in marijuana-infused vape products should ONLY purchase products from licensed medical marijuana provisioning centers or licensed adult-use marijuana retailers. Before making a purchase, check the labeling to ensure that the product does not contain Vitamin E Acetate and ask the sales associate to confirm that fact.

These rules help demonstrate why having a regulated market is important, and why consumers should avoid using black market product. By repealing prohibition, Michigan is able to implement and execute regulations to ensure safe access to marijuana products.

If you are an entrepreneur or investor interested in pursuing licensure for a Michigan cannabis business, contact John Fraser and the Cannabis Law Attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC for a free consultation.

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