The state of Oregon is considering a ban on chemical additives in cannabis vaporizers. If lawmakers successfully pass the proposed legislation, the new ban would prevent manufacturers from using any additives that have not been thoroughly researched and shown to be safe for inhaling. Only cannabis-derived terpenes and cannabinoids will be allowed to be used as natural flavoring. In 2019, Oregon’s Governor Kate Brown enacted an executive order banning all flavored vape products. The Oregon Appeals Court later overturned the temporary ban for being too broad in its scope. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) has now drafted a more limited ban; primarily impacting tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) vaping products, as opposed to flavored tobacco. In the wake of a series of alleged THC vaping related deaths in the last several years, many are demanding that the cannabis vaping industry be put under stricter regulation to ensure the health of consumers. According to the OLCC, the intent of the ban is to remove potentially carcinogenic additives from cannabis vaping products. Further research is needed to establish whether such additives are safe to use. TJ Sheehy is the manager of the OLCC’s Marijuana Technical Unit. Said Sheehy, “We don’t believe that consumers should be guinea pigs. We can’t rely on a health investigation after someone has been harmed, to isolate the problem. We really need to take a closer look at the ingredients that are going into products before they hurt someone.” Added Sheehy, “They use things like essential oils that are for perfume. Or products for ingestion. There’s no research whatsoever about what happens when you ignite or vaporize these fatty oils and you put them into your lungs.” A statement made by the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA), a U.S. trade group, reads, “The manufacturers and marketers of vaping products and all other flavored tobacco products, and flavor manufacturers and marketers, should not represent or suggest that the flavor ingredients used in these products are safe because they have FEMA GRAS status for use in food because such statements are false and misleading.” In December of last year, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that the presence of vitamin E acetate was responsible for the majority of the cannabis vaping related deaths in the United States. Many manufacturers within the vaping industry are opposed to the proposed ban by the OLCC. A spokesperson for the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association Casey Houlihan told Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), “We don’t support any regulations that aren’t supported by science or evidence. Especially if those new regulations would increase the cost of cannabis products or limit the availability of certain types of products for consumers.” After vitamin E acetate was officially removed from vaping products, industry is asserting that vaping related deaths have decreased overall, prompting many manufacturers to question the motive behind the new ban. Said Houlihan, “On the whole we’re struggling to understand what the public safety argument is for these particular regulations.”

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