California is often viewed as one of the most liberal states in the union, except when it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping. With the November 8 election just 42 days away, voters in The Golden State will be passing judgment on two very controversial ballot initiatives. The first is Prop 64, which would legalize the cultivation, use, sale, and possession of recreational marijuana. The second is Prop 56, which would place a $2 per-pack tax increase on tobacco cigarettes and a nearly 70% tax increase on e-cigs and vaping products.
Prop 64: TV commercials for weed
Several legal experts have taken a deeper look into the wording of Prop 64 and discovered that the guidelines for legalized recreational marijuana are extremely slack. Unlike the FDA deeming regulations which the federal government markets as public health legislation to target teen smoking, Prop 64 provides very little provisions that allow for public education efforts of smoking weed. In fact, if Prop 64 passes, Californians might be witnessing TV commercials and magazine advertisements for their favorite cannabis products within days after the election.
The marijuana industry: How did they do that?
The last TV commercial for a tobacco cigarette took place on December 31, 1970 at 11:59 p.m. during The Tonight Show. This is all thanks to the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1970. And because e-cigs are deemed as “tobacco products” by the FDA, it is currently illegal to air a television advertisement for a vaping product, as well. But marijuana is not tobacco. So weed gets a pass, at least in California.
(Related Article: LEGALIZED MARIJUANA: AN UNLIKELY MENTOR IN THE WAR ON VAPING?)
The vaping industry may have made one very crucial mistake in its early infancy. By naming their products “electronic cigarettes,” manufacturers have accidentally lumped themselves into the same group as Big Tobacco’s R.J Reynolds and Phillip Morris. The vaping industry’s reasoning, at first, was to boost the public visibility of their products as a smoking cessation tool. But in the long term, it seems to be backfiring.
Prop 56: Paying for the sins of Big Tobacco
Unfortunately, every time that new legislation is passed targeting tobacco cigarettes, e-cigs and vaping products also pay the price. This is the case with Prop 56. If passed, California retailers get a double-whammy of government regulation – a new 70% e-cig tax and the recently announced FDA deeming regulations announced last May.
Meanwhile, legalized marijuana is shooting straight to the top of public acceptance with seemingly very few obstacles in its path, compared to vaping. As e-cigs continue to be viewed by the American People as a dirty, nasty, ‘uncool’ extension of conventional tobacco, many in the vaping community are looking at the growing public support for legalized weed and wondering, “How’d they do that?”