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Today at 11am, Washington Governor Jay Inslee held a news conference on Kiro7 to make an executive order banning all fruit-flavored nicotine vapes, and flavored cannabis cartridges. He’s asking the Department of Health to issue the emergency rule for the whole state at its next meeting on October 9th. Inslee said his decisions lie in the appeal of flavored products towards the youth. Within this announcement, he also highlighted the passing of his bill to change the legal age of consumption for vape products to 21 in January 2020.

With all the alarmist behavior surrounding this mysterious vaping illness, it leads the public to believe that firm action will take place. Governor Inslee was joined by Washington’s Department of Health secretary, Rick Garza, as well as the director of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. Earlier this week a Pierce County man was the first in the state to file a lawsuit against vape makers, per KOMO News. This brings the number of cases in Washington to seven.

All of this commotion over vaping begs the question—is this a knee-jerk reaction for publicity? Is this political grandstanding on behalf of Seattle to save face? Or is this necessary for the safety of the general public? People have been dying from tobacco products for forever, and have not seen nearly this much mass hysteria. If you go into any typical corner store smoke shop, you’re not going to see any information on what’s inside the e-cigarette juice you’re buying. With the social stigmas surrounding cannabis and the small businesses in Washington still trying to get on their feet, this may do more harm than good.

Governor Jay Inslee Passes Executive Order Banning All Flavored Vapes

What it comes down to is this—there’s no regulations on the “nicotine juice” that goes into e-cigarettes and nicotine vapes. The legal cannabis industry in Washington is completely regulated and traced from seed to sale. Drug dealers and those selling products on the black market have always cut drugs with something else. Remember the ecstasy pills kids used to sell at Westlake in downtown Seattle? 

There are small ma and pa cannabis brands out there that bring their products through multiple rounds of testing to ensure they’re pure, additive-free cannabis oil. Big brands like Phat Panda and Northwest Cannabis Solutions may not suffer as much from a new executive order on cartridges. But, anywhere from 25-45% of the brands you know and love from your local dispensaries will not be able to survive a hit like this. You could expect a lot of them to cease operations within several months of an executive order banning all flavored vape products. Not to mention recalling products on this scale is going to cost the state A LOT of money.

To reiterate a key point I made above—is this an appropriate decision by the governor, the state, the liquor and cannabis control board, and the Department of Health? What should they really do? Do you think this will increase or decrease the entry of more or less illegal and/or harmful products into Washington state? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share this story with your local government. Stay tuned for more updates as they are made public.

*Photo by Sarah Johnson

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