Controlling Our Own Destiny: The Legal and Regulated Cannabis Industry Can’t Wait for Regulators and Politicians

The political fallout to this summer’s vaping frenzy has been fast and furious. From a four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products in Massachusetts to an emergency ban all flavored vaping products in Washington, the regulators and politicians have made it be known that all eyes are on the nascent legal and regulated cannabis industry. 

Let’s produce safe vaping products before regulators, bureaucrats and politicians interfere.

Do we wish it were otherwise? Yes. Do we agree with all the measures forced upon the industry? Not necessarily. Do we want more rounds and round of scrutiny and possibly even more draconian regulations forced down our collective throat? Definitely not.

So, what are we proposing we do about the situation we find ourselves? Here’s an idea: Let’s start cleaning up our own mess instead of waiting for the regulators, bureaucrats and politicians to interfere?  

Atlas Technology does not subscribe to the notion that regulation is the enemy. We all want enough freedom to grow the market and supply healthy, safe cannabis products to the marketplace. But the only way we can achieve that goal is to do the hard work and ensure product safety all along the supply chain. 

Why is lead found in vape cartridges?

We are not suggesting that the current health problem surrounding vape cartridges is about lead. So far, the data is pretty clear: By far the biggest problem is dealing with black-market bootlegged products that go untested. And even in the regulated market, thinning/flavoring agents, carrier oils, vitamin E acetate and an assortment of other additives are considered to be the chief hazards. 

But one thing is crystal clear to the scientific community:  No level of lead is acceptable in any product a consumer puts anywhere near his or her mouth. Period. Yet, state standards in legal regulated cannabis markets allow for the presence of lead in passing heavy-metals tests. 

If the industry fails to address this fundamental problem, there is the potential for a wider health crisis – this one potentially catastrophic. And this is why Atlas Technology is urging the industry to adopt a simple stance: No level of lead is acceptable

There is no safe level of exposure to lead.

A unanimous scientific consensus exists – supported by the World Health Organization, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control – that there is no safe level of exposure to lead. The harmful heavy metal is outlawed in other common consumer products.   

We are all concerned about the health and safety of our consumers. But why is mainstream media lumping us in with the tobacco industry? Are we putting profits before people? Certainly not. But if we do not demonstrate a desire to change this simple problem, what does that say about the industry?

We simply can’t wait for regulators or the media to educate consumers. The legal and regulated cannabis industry must adopt a lead-free standard as a simple and clear step to further distance ourselves from the un-regulated vaping industry that is at the root of the recent illnesses.

Kent Haehl, President of Atlas Group

A Snapshot of the Vaping Sector 

More than 35 million units of THC-containing vape products were sold between Sept. 1, 2018 and Aug. 31, 2019 in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington, according to a report from Headset, a Seattle-based data analytics firm. Vape cartridges have become No. 2 product category in cannabis; only flower sales are greater. 

According to a report by ArcView Market Research in conjunction with BDS Analytics, consumer spending on cannabis concentrates in the United States was estimated at $3 billion in 2018 – a 49 percent increase from the previous year’s sales. By 2022, ArcView forecasts that Americans will spend $8.4 billion on concentrate products. For comparison, ArcView estimates that flower sales will be $8.5 billion in 2022.

More and more consumers are moving away from smoking and toward vaping. Martin A. Lee, a prominent investigative journalist/writer and a subject matter on cannabis wrote this for Project CBD

Let’s be clear: inhaling additive-free, artisanal whole plant cannabis oil with a well-made vaping device is just as safe, if not more so, than smoking organically grown cannabis.

We agree with Martin. But the only way we will be able to ensure consumer confidence – and prevent regulations not based on science but on fear – is if we begin taking the steps to remove lead from vaping products.  Now. 

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