As 2019 is winding down and we look back at some of the headlines, the mysterious vaping illness that swept the country is one of the bigger stories from the past year. Over 2,290 people have been made sick and 47 people have died after coming down with a mysterious respiratory illness after vaping THC. The Centers for Disease Control has linked vitamin E acetate as possibly one of the culprits behind the illnesses. Vitamin E acetate is found in many black-market THC vaping cartridges.
While vaping marijuana may be legal in Washington, it is not in many states. According to a recent study by the Associated Press, law enforcement across the country have seized 510,000 illegal marijuana vape cartridges and arrested over 120 people in the past two years alone.
A Boom in Vaping Pot
Vaping pot has become extremely popular in the last few years. The cartridges can be small and discrete and often do not even smell like marijuana, which means users can puff away almost anywhere without getting caught. They are also fast-acting, which users like. And vaping THC also looks like vaping legal nicotine, which makes it all the more hard for law enforcement to tell the difference.
Bootleg vape cartridges have really exploded, both in states where using marijuana is legal and where it is not. In Wisconsin, a mother and her sons were charged with operating a huge THC vape manufacturing operation where they were producing 4,000 to 5,000 cartridges a day. This is all the more reason why marijuana should be legalized and regulated nationally, according to marijuana legalization advocates.
In Alabama, a prosecutor has reported that juvenile court pot vape possession cases have increased threefold in the last year in her county. Drug authorities in New York City have seized 200,000 illegal cartridges. Ray Donovan, a special agent with the New York Drug Enforcement Administration, said, “This is where the market is going ... These criminal organizations are going to jump on whatever the business model is and try to take advantage and exploit that.”
It is estimated that the illicit marijuana vape market is as much as $2.5 billion a year. Black-market cartridges usually sell anywhere between $20 to $50 a pop.
Meanwhile in Washington
Because of the vaping illness outbreak, Governor Inslee instituted a 120-day ban on flavored vaping products starting October 10, 2019. He and other state officials want to permanently ban flavored nicotine vaping products, and the Liquor and Cannabis Board are working on writing legislation that would regulate flavored vapes for THC.
Drug Defense Attorney in Seattle
If you have been charged with a drug-related offense in the greater Seattle area, you need help. Building a strong defense requires the aid of an experienced attorney with a deep knowledge of drug laws in Washington. When it comes to your future, do not settle for anything less than the best. Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi at 206-621-8777 or fill out an online contact form to get started today on a free consultation of your case.