Amid growing fears of Black Market THC, Michigan Gov promotes Black Market e-liquids by banning flavored vapes

Amid growing concerns of a mysterious lung ailment afflicting users of unregulated THC products, Michigan makes history by becoming the first state in the union to ban flavored vapes.  The ban will go into effect within the next 30 days and prohibits the sales of flavored e-liquids in online and conventional brick-and-mortar establishments for at least six months.  The move even bans mint and menthol flavors.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer insists the legislation is designed to protect middle and high school students from experimenting with vaping devices, e-cigs, and most especially, Juul products. In an article reported in The Washington Post, Whitmer takes issue with products marketed with kid-friendly descriptions such as bubble gum and “fruit loops” brands.  Says Whitmer, “My number one priority is keeping our kids safe and protecting the health of the people of Michigan.”

Governor pushes teenage Michiganders right into the welcoming arms of the Black Market

The timing of this announcement could not be more suspect.  Over the past several weeks, the American vapor industry has been battling a series of misleading news reports that either claim outright or strongly imply that this surge of strange respiratory disorders is “vaping-linked.”  This series of news reports is occurring despite the fact that over two weeks prior on August 20 The Heartland Institute had already linked the hospitalizations to Black Market THC products being the most likely culprit.

Related Article:  Illinois’ Heartland Institute: Mystery vaping illnesses ‘likely linked to Black Markets’

Fast-forwarding to September 3, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally felt the need to address the THC allegations but not after allowing the fearmongering to infiltrate the American public for almost an entire month.  However, the Tuesday FDA press release only poured more fuel on the fire by somehow managing to admit that illegal and unregulated THC products may be involved but that “e-cigarettes” are the real threat to public health.

 “At this time, there does not appear to be one product involved in all of the cases, although THC and cannabinoids use has been reported in many cases. At this time, the specific substances within the e-cigarette products that cause illness are not known and could involve a variety of substances.”

To be clear, the e-liquids used in e-cigarettes are already regulated by the FDA.  Since November of 2018, e-juice manufacturers have been legally required to submit detailed listings of all included ingredients.  Further in the FDA presser, Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless also warns consumers of purchasing unregulated vapor products – otherwise referred to as Black Market vapes.

“Anyone who does use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street (e.g., e-cigarette products with THC or other cannabinoids) and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances to these products that are not intended by the manufacturer.”

Related Article:  In new presser, FDA repeatedly and intentionally misuses the term ‘vaping’

So, what does the State of Michigan do next - just one day after the publication of the FDA announcement?  It immediately signs into law legislation that bans the sales of flavored e-liquids statewide.  Even menthol e-liquids are prohibited, but of course tobacco-flavors are conveniently spared.  Perhaps even more irresponsible, Big Tobacco combustible cigarettes are completely and utterly ignored yet again.

The viral news story about mysterious lung ailments and their likely linking to Black Market THC products seems to have fallen on deaf ears in the Great Lakes State.  Governor Whitmer’s bill will do absolutely nothing to curb teen vaping.  In fact, it is putting the state’s youth in even more danger by essentially opening the door - very wide - to Black Market e-liquid hawkers.

If decades of combustible tobacco use have taught Americans anything, it’s that teenagers are and always will be rebellious by their very nature. If they want to vape, they will find a way.  And Governor Gretchen is pushing teenage Michiganders right into the welcoming arms of the seedy, Black Market underbelly. 

Related Article:  Siegel: CDC ‘unnecessarily vague’ about THC role in vaping-linked lung ailments

(Image courtesy of Michiganradio.org)

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