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Vape Victims Lungs: Like They Inhaled Mustard Gas

Mayo Clinic researchers who studied the lungs of Vaping Associated Pulmonary Illness (VAPI) patients found the tissue looked like the chemical burns seen in industrial workers exposed to toxic fumes, or World War I soldiers who inhaled mustard gas.
New England Journal of Medicine, New York Times

N.Y. Times:

"Medical investigators have been unable to identify exactly what is causing the lung damage, or even how many harmful substances are involved. They do not know whether the source is the liquids being vaped, or a toxin released from the materials used to make vaping devices. It is also unclear whether some devices used in vaping may be defective."

The Centers for Disease Control says more than 1,000 cases have been diagnosed and there have been 18 deaths.

With VAPI's exact cause still unknown -- the public health response continues to be muddled.

  • The FDA called on the public to stop using THC vapes as well as all street-bought vapes.
  • Oregon announced a six-month ban on sales of flavored vapes, including THC products, with the exact definition of "flavored" to be determined.
  • Nationwide lawmakers have long sought a crackdown on flavored nicotine vapes for their appeal to children. However, it's not clear the flavored vape bans which have taken effect in several states help address VAPI.
  • In Massachusetts, a four month ban on all THC and nicotine vapes is likely to survive a court challenge.

In Leafly, Bruce Barcott writes the flavored vape ban in Washington state will only make things worse.


Industry Responds: "Legalize Us!"

Chris Grafton

In an initiative led by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), 800 prominent industry figures signed a letter to Congress calling for descheduling cannabis as the only responsible solution to the vape crisis.
Marijuana Moment

  • The letter recommends immediately descheduling cannabis and regulating it like alcohol.
  • 2) The letter "encourages," "strongly encourages," and "encourages," (again) the cannabis industry to self-regulate vaping products.
  • NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith: “There is a reason there are no illness outbreaks related to tainted alcohol in this country: the substance is regulated at the federal and state levels, and licensed producers have almost entirely replaced bootleggers,”

Despite it all, licensed THC vape sales are stabilizing in key markets, "for now."
M.J. Biz

VAPI is also the backdrop of a bitter fight over REC product testing in Massachusetts.
Boston Globe

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SAFE Banking Bill Splits Republicans

bert sz
Brave Republicans are even more endangered

The SAFE Banking Act, which sailed through the U.S. House of Representatives in a bi-partisan vote, has triggered a conservative backlash.
NBC, Marijuana Moment

  • Fox News talker Tucker Carlson thinks he knows why the bill passed so easily: “When [lawmakers] mismanage the country this badly, you want the people to be so out of it they don’t respond. That is really true. They want you to be dumb.” (President Trump, a Carlson fan, supports the legislation.)
  • Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, wrote, " There are probably some conservatives out there who've fallen for the libertarian lie that the government can do a better job regulating marijuana and protecting people if it's legal."
  • In the Washington Examiner, Colorado Congressman Ken Buck has an editorial on why he voted no.

The conservative who matters to the cannabiz right now is Sen. Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Id.) who has expressed openness to banking legislation.

Last week, Politico's Zachary Warmbrodt explained how Republicans learned to love a pot bill.

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Report: Licensed CA Company Has An Unlicensed Factory

In another nice scoop from Leafly's David Downs, California licensed SoCal company Kushy Punch was busted by the state Department of Consumer Affairs for allegedly running an unlicensed cannabis factory as well as a licensed one.

  • A source told Downs the company used the unlicensed factory to process flower it believed would not pass California's pesticide standards. Products produced there, including vapes, are then sold on the illegal market.
  • Kushy Punch CEO Ruben Cross didn't respond to Leafly's requests for comment.

Quick Hits

  1. In California, quite a few former politicians are finding their way into the cannabis industry. ��WeedWeek California has more.
    L.A. Time
  2. Jorge Pupo, the top Nevada regulator who a lawsuit alleges was too cozy with some successful license applicants is out of a job. (Pupo didn't return Leafly's requests for comment.) ��WeedWeek California has more.
    Nevada Independen
    t, Leafly


Layoffs at Eaze

Courtesy of Eaze

California delivery app (and WeedWeek advertiser) Eaze cut 36 staffers, roughly 20% of its workforce.

The company also replaced CEO Jim Patterson with COO Rogelio Choy. Both have backgrounds in tech. Patterson will remain on the company's board.
San Francisco Chronicle

  • Eaze is enmeshed in a legal battle with DionyMed, a Canadian company competing for delivery market share in California.
  • This summer Eaze, which has raised $166M in funding, had to scale back predictions that its platform would move $1B in product in 2020.
  • Eaze also recently announced Momentum, a program to support equity cannabis entrepreneurs.


Square to Accept CBD Clients

Square, get it?

After a three-month invite only program, payment processing giant Square said it would start accepting CBD companies as clients.
Business Insider

  • The online retail platform Shopify works with CBD companies but outsources the payment processing to another vendor.
  • It's a big win for CBD companies since regulations and restrictions for merchants are arguably more confusing than for THC.


Cardiologist: Pot isn't Good for You

A prominent Canadian cardiologist said THC use might increase the risk of blood clots connected to strokes, heart disease and heart failure. 🍁WeedWeek Canada has more.

  • "The harm seems to greatly exceed any potential benefits," Dr. Chris Simpson said.

�Also in WeedWeek Canada: VAPI has complicated the imminent rollout of legal vapes in the great white north. And lot's of Canadian companies were depending on vape sales.


Leafly's New Look

Leafly has a new "cannabis visualization system," which attempts to take users past the debunked sativa/hybrid/indica spectrum and deliver a richer understanding of the plant. It's pretty to look at, but doesn't get past the basic problem that there's no standardization of strains.

Unlike with, say, wine grapes, cannabis brands remain free to name their product whatever strain they want. Thus it's hard to believe a strain called Gelato will have the effect Leafly says it will have.

  • My all time favorite Leafly review began, "Pretty hard to write this on Dream Beaver..." and just got better from there.


Bye 'Time

George Wylesol for the Guardian

For almost two years, it's been my great pleasure to write the Guardian's High Time column, which has now ended. Wonderfully illustrated by George Wylesol, it aimed to be a "grown-up's guide to the cannabis revolution."

The most popular pieces include: The Mature Stoner, You're Not Going to Die: How to survive an edible marijuana overdose, and Cannabis Capitalism: Who is making money in the marijuana industry?

Thanks, as always, for reading.🙏

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