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WIRE: Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board bans flavored vape products

Washington — According to action directed by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board and the Department of Health the sale of flavored vapor products by cannabis licensees is prohibited – effective Oct. 10, 2019.

The definition of flavored vapor products is available in the Board of Health’s posted draft rules (linked below).

  1. The LCB directs processors to immediately cease sales of flavored vapor products.
  2. The LCB directs retailers to immediately cease sales of flavored vapor products.

The LCB is consulting with affected state agencies and will follow up soon with options for returning or destroying product.

The action does not include marijuana- or hemp-based terpene flavors.

The department has defined “flavored” in an emergency ruling as: “A distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco or marijuana or a taste or aroma derived from compounds or derivatives such as terpenes or terpenoids derived directly and solely from marijuana, as defined in RCW 69.50.101(y), or hemp plants that have been grown and tested as required by state law, imparted by a vapor product.

Characterizing flavors include, but are not limited to, tastes or aromas relating to any fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, menthol, mint, wintergreen, herb, or spice.”

The rest of the release from WSLCB follows:

This message is to follow up today’s Washington State Board of Health meeting where the Board of Health took action on Gov. Inslee’s Executive Order 19-03: Addressing the Vaping Use Public Health Crisis. It instituted emergency rules that direct action on Oct. 10, 2019, by both cannabis licensees and vapor product licensees. The Board of Health’s rules are available here in draft form. The only changes made were to WAC 246-80-030 regarding reporting requirements of cases to the Health Department. This change is Health-specific and not does pertain to regulated cannabis businesses.

Background

As you know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of vape-associated lung injury associated with the use of both regulated and illicit vapor products. This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a single cause, but all reported cases have a history of using vapor products. Most patients with severe lung disease have reported a history of using vapor products containing THC. Some have reported the use of vapor products containing only nicotine.

Executive Order

On Sept. 27, 2019, Gov. Inslee issued Executive Order 19-03. This order directs the Liquor and Cannabis (LCB) and the Department of Health (Health) to immediately take certain actions to protect public health.

Those actions are reflected below as numbers 1 and 3. In addition, the agencies are directed to work together to draft legislative proposals to bring tighter regulation to the non-cannabis vapor industry.

Four actions have come forward that licensees and the LCB can do now while public health officials conduct their investigation:

  1. Signage. Prominently post this warning sign in retail locations. This required sign is co-branded with the Washington State Department of Health. A Spanish version, also available, may be posted as an additional sign.
  2. Clarify rule regarding additives on packaging and labeling. There is some confusion among industry members that certain additives, like terpenes, imported CBD, and other cannabinoids do not need to be disclosed on packaging. Current rules require all product components on packaging (WAC 314-55-105).
  3. Disclose to LCB all compounds (including ingredients, solvents, additives, etc.) used in the production and processing of products that are vaped and vaping devices themselves. Public health officials have requested assistance in gathering additional information about ingredients in vapor products.
  4.  Cooperate with the ongoing epidemiological investigation. Local, state and federal health agencies are looking into which products have been involved with Washington cases of disease. We ask for your cooperation if you are contacted by someone from a state or federal epidemiology team and/or a representative from your local health jurisdiction.

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