By now, you’ve probably heard of what’s being called VapeGate.
According to the Center for Disease Control, vape-relating illnesses have shown up in over 500 people now – with seven resulting in death.
It’s some scary stuff. And it’s definitely sent a ripple through the cannabis industry.
Of course, it’s given fodder to the anti-marijuana community who are instilling fear into the masses with strange words like VapeGate and Vitamin E acetate.
But there’s no arguing there’s a legitimate problem here.
What Is Going on?
The CDC hasn’t yet verified the specific cause of this fiasco, but those in the know are saying that all fingers are pointing toward Vitamin E acetate.
Sounds harmless enough, right? You might even take a Vitamin E tincture or capsule each morning.
That’s because your digestion system has the chops to handle Vitamin E. But your respiratory system isn’t equipped to process it. Inhaling Vitamin E can cause pneumonia.
It’s not surprising that none of the vaping illness cases were linked to legal THC vape products though. In order pass compliance, they’re subject to a battery of extensive testing. But CBC vapes are not.
Furthermore, Vitamin E acetate is used by many illicit manufacturers as a cutting agent. It saves them from having to use as much pure cannabis oil.
So while all fingers are pointing at Vitamin E acetate, they’re also pointing at the black market.
Meanwhile, the FDA is in the midst of a criminal investigation and have already arrested sellers from illicit markets in Arizona and Wisconsin.
The Reign of the Black Market
Unfortunately, none of this has come as a big surprise to many cannabis executives. The dangers of an unregulated market have long been a concern. Where there are illicit happenings there are bound to dangers.
Now they’re exploding like fireworks.
And what the message across the sky is saying is that a regulatory framework is essential. There MUST be testing in place to ensure that products are safe.
It’s also telling those who keep turning to the black market for products such as these are taking a huge risk.
The Reaction to VapeGate and Vitamin E Acetate
In their usual proactive manor, cannabis companies are aggressively rising from the fall-out.
A company in Michigan is encouraging consumers to bring black market vapes to any of their locations. Their primary objective is to get the illegal black market cartridges off the streets, so they’ll happily trade them out for a free CBD or THC cartridge.
Another company has developed anti-counterfeiting technology that is being utilized by the state of Utah. It serializes and encrypts every legal cannabis package so buyers and sellers can track every box from sale to self through their app.
A third company has so finely calibrated its industrial hardware that nothing can be heated past the point where it becomes a toxic substance.
There is even an app that allows consumers to verify a product’s authenticity, understand its effects, offer usage recommendations, view test results, scan reviews, and track their own experience.
Ah, technology. It could be just the thing to finally dismantle the black market.
So take that, VapeGate.
Do You Have Your Own Fiasco?
While it may not be at the level of VapeGate and Vitamin E acetate, if your marketing is suffering, then so too is your cannabis business.
Is it time to take a second look?
If so, contact us for a consultation. We’re cannabis marketing specialists and we know what it takes to survive in this industry.