The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) is considering putting a ban on additives found in cannabis vaping products.
It was in 2019 when Oregon Gov. Kate Brown banned flavored vape products but the move had been overturned by the courts.
The OLCC now wants to stop manufacturers from mixing THC oil with any additive that has not been shown to be safe to inhale. The commission will allow ingredients derived from cannabis, like flavor terpenes and cannabinoids, to be added for natural flavoring.
It was in 2019 that thousands of people had been in the hospital struggling to breathe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked the illness to vaping and particularly the additive vitamin E acetate.
TJ Sheehy, who directs research at the OLCC, said the agency is targeting additives from third-party companies that aren’t properly regulated.
“We don’t believe that consumers should be guinea pigs,” said Sheehy.
According to Sheehy, the commission has turned to a list of hundreds of ingredients the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regards as generally safe to eat but doesn’t mean they’re safe to inhale.
“They use things like essential oils that are for perfume. Or products for ingestion.
There’s no research whatsoever about what happens when you ignite or vaporize these fatty oils and you put them into your lungs,” said Sheehy.
“We can’t rely on a health investigation after someone has been harmed, to isolate the problem,” Sheehy said. “We really need to take a closer look at the ingredients that are going into products before they hurt someone.”
U.S. trade group the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association issued a statement saying it does not support the use of flavors in vaping products without rigorous testing to show they’re safe.
“The manufacturers and marketers of vaping products and all other flavored tobacco products, and flavor manufacturers and marketers, should not represent or suggest that the flavor ingredients used in these products are safe because they have FEMA GRAS status for use in food because such statements are false and misleading,” read the statement.
“We don’t support any regulations that aren’t supported by science or evidence,” said Casey Houlihan, spokesperson for the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association.
“Especially if those new regulations would increase the cost of cannabis products or limit the availability of certain types of products for consumers.”