If you happened to be in Ann Arbor last Sunday for the first sales of recreational marijuana in the state, you may have noticed the sheer absence of vaping products.
Though unless you’ve been living in your parents’ basement with no internet access, this probably didn’t surprise you.
The scare this past year with vaping products was real.
So in anticipation of the big day on December 1st, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) made the move on November 22nd to halt the sale of any existing vaping products.
At least temporarily.
So the question is, when will there be a return of vaping in Michigan?
Existing Products Must Be Tested
Until it can be confirmed that there is no presence of vitamin E acetate in vaping products, you won’t be seeing them on the shelves.
Less reputable vaping cartridge manufacturers were using vitamin E acetate as a cutting agent to dilute extracted THC – enabling them to use less product and make more profit.
But it turns out that even though your digestion system can handle vitamin E, your respiratory system doesn’t have the chops to manage it. In fact, inhaling vitamin E can cause pneumonia.
And the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suspects that it was vitamin E acetate that contributed to the 47 vape-related deaths this past year – one of which was in the fine state of Michigan.
As such, the MRA has also banned any future production of vaping products using vitamin E acetate. To ensure compliance, they will conduct inspections at processing facilities. Manufacturers will also be required to disclose all additives.
So even if you ARE able to find vaping products with THC, the state Department of Health and Human Services is advising the public not to use them. Particularly if they came from the black market.
Extensive Testing Is Well under Way
There is currently only one business in Michigan that’s licensed to test recreational marijuana products.
The test takes about 20 minutes to complete and is conducted independently of other vaping product tests that are required by the state.
But the testing lab was only approved last week, so there’s a lot of product to be tested. Since the business opened, they’ve been tearing through the backlogs. Thus far, they’ve only found vitamin E acetate in unlicensed, black-market vaping products.
So there’s that.
Just When Will Vaping in Michigan Return Then?
The truth is, no one can say for certain when vaping products will be widely available again.
Arbors Wellness in Ann Arbor is actually planning to have some of the tested products back on the shelves this week. And Exclusive Brands, also in Ann Arbor, is looking at a week to ten days before product returns to their store.
Meanwhile, Greenstone Provisions – a smaller dispensary than the two mentioned above – is still awaiting test results and has no clue when the process will be complete. This is a point of frustration given that they have numerous customers calling and asking about vaping products.
Finally, Michigan Supply and Provisions (a fourth retail location that opened on Sunday evening in Morenci, Michigan) have found themselves rotating stock back to the lab for retesting.
This can create additional complications and tie up vaping products for even longer.
In fact, in cases that involved batches separated and disturbed to dispensaries across the state, the testing can become so complicated that it ends up being more expensive to test it than to just dispose of it.
But at least the dangerous vitamin E acetate issue is being resolved.
As for the rest, we’ll just have to keep living with the growing pains.
Is Your Cannabis Company Experiencing Growing Pains?
If you have a cannabis business, the return of vaping in Michigan is bound to be good news.
Even so, if your business is struggling, then it’s time to look at your current marketing and public relations strategy.