Flavored Vape Carts Return Feb 8th

Back in October the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared a state of emergency from the national outbreak of pulmonary illness linked to vaping. Governor Jay Inslee, The State’s Board of Health, and the State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) banned flavored vape cartridges from the marijuana industry in accordance with the national outbreak in hopes to save the children. Well guess what folks?! The storm has passed, the children are secure, and we’re getting our flavored vapes back.

The LCB sent out an email yesterday, January 23, briefing the rules going forward and the plan to re-implement flavored vape carts to the industry. The main points of the email are outlined below:

  • The State Board of Health emergency rule temporarily banning flavored vapor products remains in effect through February 7, 2020. On February 8, 2020, retailers may legally sell flavored vapor products.
  • As of February 8, 2020, you no longer are required to post the warning sign about the severe lung injury. 
  • The State Board of Health emergency rule temporarily banning vapor products with vitamin E acetate remains in effect until March 19.
  • The Board is expected to withdraw all LCB flavored-vapor-product rules that are tied to the State Board of Health rules.
  • Marijuana Vapor Product Ingredient Disclosure forms are still required to be submitted by all producer/processor and processor licensees for each vapor product. For more information, see the Links to Required Documents box on our Vapor and Public Health

Now I get to rant about the over regulation of our beloved LCB, and the fallout businesses deal with from them out thinking the room on this issue.

I get it, the CDC declared a state of emergency, and thats a big deal. Instead of looking toward the black market for the issue, our governor put a 4 month halt on legal, regulated businesses. This was a completely unnecessary move that messed with the production line of a lot of companies. For instance, lets take a company like Hellavated, who solely made flavored vapes, and take a closer look at how they were impacted.

Pre-October, Hellavated had a myriad of flavored vapes like strawberry, blueberry, watermelon, mint, yada yada, you get the picture. At any given time in our store we had at least 6 different flavors in disposable vape carts, full gram 510 threaded carts, and the pax pod line. They had flavor specific, color coded packaging, and hardware to go with each flavored product.

On October 9th, our governor deemed their product not safe for consumption. Hellavated then had to halt production and re-market and re-think their whole line of products to tailor to the new rules. I don’t have the specific stats nor do I need them to tell you this was not a cheap task, that could have very well crippled smaller businesses that didn’t have the capital to jump over this hurdle tossed in by the LCB.

Anyways fast forward to yesterday and the LCB abolished all the unnecessary over regulation of flavored vape carts effective February 8th. Vapor blazers everywhere rejoice.

Closer Look, Flavored Vape Ban

So it happened, flavored vape carts are gone. We can all pour a little e-cig juice out in remembrance for what we once had…

I mean, I think pouring out e-cig juice into the trash is probably the best thing you can do with that stuff in the first place, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Back to marijuana vape carts… Our state has drafted legislation on the banning of flavored cartridges. What defines a flavored vape cart you may ask?

Our state Board of Health and Liquor and Cannabis board is in the process of figuring that out. They are trying to lock down what it means to define the word flavor.

According to WAC 246-80-010 they isolate the two words “characterizing flavor” and try to define what that means.”Characterizing flavor” means 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. A vapor product does not have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information. It is the presence of a distinguishable taste or aroma, or both, that constitutes a characterizing flavor.

So again we have this definition that I literally copy and pasted from the LCB website, but what does that actually translate to when considering product on our wall? Let us dive deeper.

On Thursday, October 10, it was my coworker’s and my task to take all the flavored vape carts and store them in quarantine, because ya know Governor’s orders.

So were sitting here taking down all our fruity and minty and basically any non-marijuana strain named cartridges out of our inventory. I cant help but notice that it just so happens all of the vape carts that we are ordered to take down are distillate vape carts. Excuse me, flavored distillate vape carts.

I would say that a large majority of the vape cart company’s in the i-502 market happen to be using the distillate extraction method. Many distillate cartridges claim to be strain specific when they are sourcing their terpenes from the same natural terpene vendors that the flavored distillate company’s were.

These distillate vape cart company’s use mixes of different natural terpenes to produce a similar taste and smell as a specific cannabis strain would. WITHOUT BEING CANNABIS DERIVED. We are allowed to continue selling these “strain specific” distillate vape carts despite them being made the exact same way and sourced the exact same way as flavored distillates. Which to me seems like some bullshit.

Lets look at this definition one more time… “Characterizing flavor” means 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.

To me, it seems like a ruling to allow a strain specific distillate vape cart that is derived in the exact same process in which our now banned flavored distillate vape carts is a complete oxymoron ruling from our governor.

I guess we’ll just chalk this ruling up to that’s what you get when the entity’s who regulate an industry don’t know nearly as much about it as the people who have to follow the rules.

Here’s one more look at a little graph I pulled off the LCB’s FAQ page:

Not-Allowed and Allowed Under Emergency Rule
Per the State Board of Health’s emergency rule amending 246-60 WAC and the definition of “characterizing flavor” contained therein:

Not AllowedAllowed
Synthetic terpenes and terpenoids or other synthetic flavoring compoundsTerpenes and terpenoid 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
Botanically-derived terpenes, terpenoids or other botanically-derived flavoring compounds, except if directly derived and solely from marijuana plants tagged within the I-502 system or hemp plants 
Any other compounds that impart a “characterizing flavor” that is not specifically excluded   

So once again naturally derived terpenes that are found in our strain specific distillate vape carts are allowed to be sold but our almost identically made flavored distillate vape carts are banned.

If you want my real pro-tip, do yourself a favor and don’t buy distillate vape carts, they’re all garbage disguised as recycling.

Our signage is changing; it’s not the end of the world.

Yeah, sadly you are seeing that right. The LCB has compelled us to change our signage in accordance with the Washington State Legislature’s bill altering advertising regulations, which passed in 2018. It was enacted this year, and disqualified our billboard from being allowed to advertise our brand, by 4 inches in height. We want to assure you that we are doing just fine. We do appreciate your continued patronage. We are working proactively with the LCB on what we can do with that sign to benefit our business.

It still sucks.