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Legalized Marijuana: An unlikely mentor in the War on Vaping?

The legalized marijuana movement has traveled a long, tough road to gain public acceptance, and the vaping industry would do well to learn from their past experiences.  As of June 2016, an astounding 25 states along with the District of Columbia now have some sort of legislation in place for legalized medical marijuana.  And during the coming November elections, another four states will be voting on similar initiatives with another seven states hoping to legalize marijuana for recreational use as well, including the politically powerful State of California.

Meanwhile, cannabis revenues continue to exceed expectations, year after year.  Washington State has already generated $660 Million in 2016, and it’s only June.  307 retail licenses have been issued to date, and 229 medical marijuana shops are already up and running.  Nationwide, the legalized weed industry generated a whopping $5.7 Billion in 2015 (That's BILLION with a “B”), and according to ArcView Market Research, this figure is only expected to continue to soar at a rate of 32% annually for at least the next five years.

Legalized Marijuana vs. Vaping Industry

These are figures that sound all too familiar to diehard vapers who have witnessed firsthand the rapid rise in popularity of a vaping industry that is essentially less than ten years old. Another strange coincidence is that the legalized weed movement has had to overcome decades of anti-marijuana propaganda spread by multiple opposing organizations with names like Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM), the Drug Free America Foundation, and the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies.  And like the vaping industry, much of the misinformation spread by these groups focuses on the myth that legalized marijuana will only make it more attractive to teenagers.


But Colorado and Washington won this battle when they became the very first states to legalize marijuana used for purely recreational purposes.  And as pioneers, state newspapers like the Denver Post regularly conduct unbiased surveys and research studies to determine if legalized marijuana does indeed lead to an increase in teenage use.  In 2013, 19.7 percent of high school teens surveyed had used weed in the past. Two years later, the number was relatively unchanged at 21.2 percent.  Even the CDC says that 21.7 percent of teens nationwide use marijuana, whether weed is legal in their state or not.

Legalized Marijuana vs. FDA Deeming Regulations

As of 2016, half of all states in the Union now have some form of legislation on the books for legalized marijuana.  And the medical marijuana industry has even successfully avoided being included in the newly released FDA deeming regulations for the tobacco industry, of which e-cigs and vaping devices were somehow mysteriously re-identified as “tobacco products” even though they contain zero tobacco whatsoever.


How did the legalized cannabis movement get so lucky?  How did medical marijuana get a free pass from the FDA e-cig regulations?  For one thing, they are a highly organized movement. 

They share information from state to state and from advocacy group to advocacy group. And they pay very close attention to their public reputation every step of the way.  They rarely take advantage of legalized weed by engaging in reefer madness where it wasn’t appropriate.  And they avoid blowing huge plumes of ganja-smoke in public restaurants and city parks.  Can the vaping industry learn from our friends in the 420 Community? Only time will tell.


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