Q&A With NPR

NPR called our shop last week! It was freaking cool. What the hell does NPR want with our homegrown little Tacoma House of Cannabis shop you say? Freaking Vape carts.

In the last week Governor Inslee announced an Executive Order to ban all flavored vaping products. The reality of that impact for marijuana businesses is still to be decided. On October 9th the Board of Health will draft legislation that if approved would ban flavored cartridges, require much more descript ingredient lists on labels, and other forms of potentially tightened regulations.

Back to earlier… When the NPR reporter called the shop, I gave my usual “Welcome to Good Burger, Home of the Good Burger, blah blah blah this is Kyle,” to which he replied, “Budtender Kyle! from the Blog? This is so and so from NPR…” I was a little stoned and thrown off at first, but then flattered that he had referenced our lowly little blog. I quickly put him on hold and handed the cordless to the boss. He was calling of course of the recent executive order from Governor Inslee.

So yea, the boss’ had a sit down with an NPR reporter. Fans of Tacoma House of Cannabis be on the look out for the article, we’ll even try to put a link to it on here, as long as they don’t say anything bad of course.

My boss gave me access to the talking points that they went over in their interview, so I decided to have a little fun and have my own Official unofficial Q&A with NPR.

So, in the universe where NPR reporters interview bloggers/budtenders for their opinion on groundbreaking topics, I imagine the conversation went a little something like this…

Q: What are you hearing from your customers about this? are you hearing anything?  

A: Most of our vape cart consumers either don’t know about the concerns in the media lately, or maybe they just don’t care. Three weeks ago when I first heard of vaping related scares in Oregon in the news maybe one or two consumers in a weeks worth of shifts asked me what I thought about the issues. In the last week, I’ve had maybe 10 consumers have concerns on the issue.

Q: How do you go about evaluating these vaping products as retailers?

A: Man you should probably freaking talk to my boss, but as a consumer I’ve always felt weird about vaping or smoking artificial flavored anything, if you ask me it should taste like what it is, not strawberries, or blueberries, or anything that isn’t cannabis derived.

Q: Has there been any noticeable impact on your business?

A: Not my business bro, I’m just the meter maid. What I do know is distillate vape carts make up 50% of the inventory of our vape cart selection, the flavored distillates being probably a quarter of the total section. If the state bans flavored distillates outright, certain processing companies will have to drastically change their business models or cease to exist.

Q: What would you like to see the state do or not do?

A: I think that on October 9th when the state’s Board of Health meets, they are going to continue the ban on all flavored vape carts and impose more regulation on the vape carts that they deem safe. Until then processors and retailers will continue to sell and buy all the flavored vape carts they can. Doesn’t really affect me to much, besides maybe having a few extra disappointed stoners to break the news too. So that sucks.

Q: Do you believe there needs to be more regulation/testing of these vaping products?

A: Honestly man I don’t think there is anything wrong with the vape cart products that we currently sell in the i-502 market. I also however do not have a problem with a bunch of white coats further regulating what is allowed into this industry, as long as where talking the science-y stuff like vape carts.

UPDATE FROM MANAGEMENT:

KNKX, a local NPR affiliate, filed their story, at this link. You can hear an audio version just below this text.

Pulmonary Illness Linked to Vaping?

In the last week the media has produced some fear mongering headlines involving an investigation of an Oregon death linked to vaping.

Articles on various websites in the last couple days are not shying away from pointing the finger at vape products purchased at a legal pot shop to be potentially linked to the cause of the death of the middle-aged Oregon man.

I call these fear-driven headlines blasphemy!

If you ask me the only connection one could make to a hazardous cannabis vape oil is one that would be sourced from the black market.

I was talking to some family members from California that shop around at some of the flea market style cannabis bodegas. We were specifically talking about certain vendors selling rip off vape cartridges that either didn’t work or didn’t get you high. My cousin was jokingly talking about them refilling old cartridges with hot dog water and ripping people off.

Frequently people come into Tacoma House of Cannabis asking about refilling empty vape carts with oil that they thinned out with substances like MCT oil or something else they purchased from the internet or at a tobacco vape shop.

I always tell people that this is a bad idea. Not just because the filaments could burn out in the vape cartridge and leave your oil trapped, but because cutting/thinning pure cannabis oil is not natural and one should never smoke a thinning agent.

The fear mongering that the various media outlets were doing didn’t take any of the black-market aspect into consideration.

NPR published an article that did a really good job breaking down what could have been the source of the health hazard.

In the NPR article they interviewed New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and picked his brain on the issues of what could be the source of the health hazard.

Zucker says that Vitamin E oil was very prevalent in about 13 of the patient-submitted cartridges that they analyzed.

Vitamin E oil could be used as a topical or a dietary supplement but vaping it could be very harmful. When it is “inhaled deep in the lung, [it] can cause problems,” Zucker tells NPR.

Vitamin E oil is not an approved additive per the rules and regulations of the New York medical marijuana program, and the cartridges that contained it appeared to be black market products purchased off the street, says Zucker.

Its reported that officials in Oregon say that the man that died of severe pulmonary illness had used a vape product purchased at one of Oregon’s state regulated marijuana stores.

If Oregon officials are going to make a connection of this death to the product he purchased in a legal marijuana store in their report, they had better also try to make a connection to any and everything that could have hindered this man’s lungs in the previous year.

I say that this type of press release is fear mongering and attempt to smear the name of legal cannabis. And that is totally not cool man.

Those that are still worried from the slough of stories that came out this week, my only advice would be to never purchase any marijuana product from anyone that is not a state licensed marijuana store. But c’mon man, especially a vape cart.