Market Date: 8 July, 2020

Washington State prohibits flavored vapor merchandise

Terpenes which comes in cannabis is enabled in marijuana vapor goods, but the existence of terpenes derived from another source is illegal under the ban.

On October 9, 2019, the Washington State Board of Health (“BOH”) voted to adopt emergency rules banning drinkable vapor merchandise, such as marijuana goods, at Washington State. The ban is effective as of October 10 and will operate for 120 days.

It is not like we did not see that coming. On Monday, Hilary Bricken composed on this site that cannabis companies should anticipate these kinds of vapor bans.  Formerly, on September 27, Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order asking the BOH adopt principles banning American vapor solutions. This executive activity is quite like what we saw at Oregon associated with flavored vaping products continue Friday.

The Washington crisis principles specify a “Flavored vapor product” as “any vapor product that imparts a characterizing flavor.” A characterizing taste is”a distinguishable flavor or odor, or equally, aside from the flavor or odor of tobacco or marijuana or a flavor or odor derived from derivatives or compounds like terpenes or terpenoids derived directly and entirely by marijuana[,] or berry plants which were grown and analyzed as required by state regulation, imparted by means of a vapor merchandise.”

This definition of a characterizing flavor doesn’t consist of cannabis-derived terpenes.  Terpenes are organic chemicals found in a diverse assortment of plants which produce scents and flavor. Terpenes which come from cannabis, either hemp or marijuana, are enabled in marijuana vapor merchandise but the existence of terpenes derived from another source is illegal under the ban.

The BOH’s definition of characterizing flavors contains several tangible examples such as, “tastes or aromas relating to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.” The definition also contains this incredibly vague catch-all provision:

A vapor merchandise doesn’t have a characterizing flavor solely due to using additives or flavorings or the supply of ingredient details. It’s the existence of a distinguishable flavor or odor, or possibly, that represents a characterizing flavor.

Quite simply, perhaps it doesn’t matter what’s added to your vapor merchandise if there’s the existence of flavor or odor. It remains to be seen just how BOH along with the LCB will decide what goods have the existence of a distinguishable flavor or odor.

Marijuana licensees should anticipate the LCB to quickly enforce this ban. Hours following the BOH issued the emergency rules, the LCB emailed licensees to affirm that retailers and processors would be to immediately stop selling flavored vapor solutions. The LCB also signaled that it might follow up with choices for destroying or returning goods. Additionally, the LCB suggested four action items it is taking while health officials research vaping disorders:

  1. Signage. Prominently place this warning signal in retail places. This required signal is co-branded together with the Washington State Department of Health. A Spanish edition, also available, might be submitted as an extra sign.
  2. Describe the principles regarding additives on tagging and packaging. There’s some confusion among business members that particular additives, such as terpenes, imported CBD, along with other cannabinoids don’t have to be revealed on packaging. Present-day rules require all product elements on packing (WAC 314 -55 -105).
  3. Disclose to LCB all chemicals (like components, solvents, additives, etc.) utilized in the creation and processing of merchandise which are vaped and vaping apparatus themselves. Public health officials have asked assistance in collecting additional information regarding components in vapor solutions.
  4.  Cooperate with all the continuing epidemiological investigation. Local, Federal and state health agencies are looking into which goods are involved with Washington instances of disorder. We request your cooperation if you’re contacted by someone from a country or Federal epidemiology group or a representative from the regional health authority.

It is fair to say there is a vaping catastrophe. Additionally, it is fair for authorities to act in reaction to stated catastrophe. But given that there’s actually no proof that flavored vapor compounds are inducing these prevalent illnesses, in addition, it is fair to state that this prohibit feels random and prone to cause great damage to an already struggling sector.  Processors who rely upon the selling of vapor products are probably not in a position to create this huge shift away from products that are flavored. Retailers, in turn, can attempt to reunite these flavored goods to chips to regain their losses or consume the price of those now useless products. Bear in mind, these companies can’t take loans out (not that banks might provide them) without going through a lengthy application process together with the LCB; for several companies, there are no funds available to get a quick change such as this.

A couple weeks ago I wrote seriously about Donald Trump’s decision to prohibit vapor merchandise in the Federal level, stating it would probably harm the controlled vapor marketplace and assist the illegal industry. I was amazed to see Jay Inslee kindly follow Trump’s thinking , particularly if he’s so often than this government.