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October 3, 2019

Weed Industry: Throw Out Black Market THC Oil Carts

A letter to Congress from the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and more than 800 cannabis industry members urged lawmakers to legally regulate cannabis to prevent more health problems caused by black market weed products. The letter was delivered today to House and Senate leadership, according to Marijuana Moment.

The plea was prompted by the national outbreak of lung injuries, apparently caused by adulterated THC oil in black market cartridges. Vitamin E acetate—used to dilute cannabis oil by some THC oil producers—is the target of many state investigations. As many as 17 people have died from the outbreak, and more than 800 have been hospitalized.

Cannabis remains federally illegal. The cannabis industry stakeholders are asking Congress to “deschedule” the drug (remove it from the Controlled Substances Act) and shift oversight from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the FDA or another agency dedicated to public health and safety.

The cannabis industry has been upfront and honest from the start about black market THC oil being the likely source of the lung injury outbreak.

“Descheduling is the only way to truly reform federal cannabis policy in a sensible manner so that state regulatory programs can most successfully ensure consumer safety and to pave the way for appropriate federal regulations,” says the letter.

The illegal black market for cannabis is estimated to be $41 billion, and cannabis oil cartridges account for a large portion of that. Federal legalization and regulation of the market would make production and sale of unregulated, untested products more difficult and less attractive, and regulated products less expensive and more widely available.

Recommendations from the NCIA include:

  • Congress should remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and regulate it in a manner similar to alcohol
  • Consumers should stop using oil cartridges bought on the black market
  • Encourage licensed vape cartridge producers to stop using “thickening agents” until they have been studied
  • Licensed producers are “strongly encouraged” to voluntarily recall products containing vitamin E acetate
  • Licensed retailers (dispensaries) should “take steps to ensure none of their available vape cartridge inventories have been sourced from a producer that uses Vitamin E acetate”

The NCIA, along with the Cannabis Trade Federation, made similar recommendations last month, according to Marijuana Moment. Members of the legal cannabis industry were the first to point to adulterants in the black market supply as the likely source of the lung injuries.

The illegal black market for cannabis is estimated to be $41 billion, and cannabis oil cartridges account for a large portion of that.

“These unfortunate illnesses and deaths are yet another terrible, and largely avoidable, consequence of failed prohibition policies,” NCIA executive director Aaron Smith said. “Current federal laws interfere with research, prevent federal regulatory agencies from establishing safety guidelines, discourage states from regulating cannabis, and make it more difficult for state-legal cannabis businesses to displace the illicit market.”

The cannabis industry has been upfront and honest from the start about black market THC oil being the likely source of the lung injury outbreak. The earliest reporting on the outbreak that wasn’t focused on nicotine vaping products came from cannabis industry media outlets like Leafly, Merry Jane and Marijuana Times. Leafly’s David Downs has been a month ahead of the mainstream press in reporting the probable cause of the lung injuries, and has maintained a page with the latest updates.

But mainstream press outlets have until recently focused exclusively on nicotine vaping products—mirroring the stated concerns of the CDC—leading to a misplaced national panic that has resulted in a wave of vape product bans by governors using emergency health powers.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy


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Jim McDonaldJames VincentJtAlmondGeissJosh Recent comment authors
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You should call attention to the RAMPANT illicit THC market on twitter. There are thousands of people selling black market THC, that might not even contain actual THC. Have a look at some of these hashtags. NO ONE is talking about this! Twitter is a major market for these poisons.

#cerealcarts #exoticcarts #whiteruntz #pinkruntz #dankwood #mariocarts


I live in a medical only state. There isn’t much of a black market per se around my area. What you will see are people who buy the bargain basement selection $20/ eighth at a medical dispensary and try to pan it off at the old street price of $50. The pot isn’t all that good of stuff. It is fast tracked to the sales shelf. They harvest a bit too premature and is not properly cured. I only catch a slight buzz off it. You can take a trip to a nearby recreational state and buy a better quality… Read more »

James Vincent
James Vincent

Your goal is to clearly sell vaping products by ads. What you’re doing is unethical and dishonest. I’d rather greedy college boy turned wannabe Weed Head claiming they know s***. The simple fact is any Stoner can tell you smoking wet weed f**** up your lungs and that’s the exact same thing as vaping. You would know this if you actually cared about the plant instead of just caring about the money that it brings you

Terry Vincent
Terry Vincent

You guys are so full of it. You only want regulations to control the market. They use the same things in legal products and even have caused a death. You are a bunch of greedy bastards who are letting sick people die because of your greed. Making millions and changing people 100’s of dollars for scrap products like oils and edibles. Stop pretending you are not the problem. No one vaped until you guys made it look like candy. Yes it should be legal so people can control their own meds not so the people that put people in jail… Read more »


No they don’t, you’re sadly mistaken. You probably haven’t even gone to the websites of THC cartridge producers. Why would a legitimate company essentially poison and kill their customers?

I’m sure you’ve formed your well thought-out objection through due diligence. Then again, maybe not. While we’re at it, let’s ban cigarettes and alcohol, too.

James Vincent
James Vincent

Ask Johnson’s and Johnson or any other greedy drug company

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