CANNABIS COMMUNITY CARE AND RESEARCH NETWORK (C3RN)

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Mass Live:As Cannabis Control Commission prepares to vote on vaping ban, coalition says Mass. should lift ban on already tested THC vape products

6 Nov 2019 9:01 PM | Marion (Administrator)

As Cannabis Control Commission prepares to vote on vaping ban, coalition says Mass. should lift ban on already tested THC vape products

Today 4:49 PM

By Tanner Stening | tstening@masslive.com

The Cannabis Community Care and Research Network has written to the Cannabis Control Commission recommending a number of policy changes ahead of the commission’s vote on whether to keep Gov. Charlie Baker’s vape ban in place for medical marijuana patients.

In a letter dated Nov. 5 and signed by company CEO Marion McNabb, C3RN outlined the steps it would like to see implemented to ensure medical marijuana patients have access to vape products. The letter was sent to the commission the day a judge ordered that the state be blocked from enforcing the ban on medical marijuana vape products, beginning on 12:01 p.m. on Nov. 12.

The network’s recommendations include, among other things, stopping the ban on already tested and approved tetrahydrocannabinol products, establishing a vape buyback program and adopting “digital citizen surveillance system," according to the letter.

The proposed buyback program would incentivize patients and consumers with discounts and designate sites for the disposal and testing of vapes purchased from the back market. This could include turning in an illicit vape for a discount medical vape from a regulated vendor.

Other ideas are floated in the letter, including developing a secret shopper program for regulated cannabis vape products, revise labelling or testing standards based on local input and hold emergency public hearings to solicit feedback from the “scientific, clinical, consumer, patient and community.”

The letter also includes the results from a survey C3RN launched on Oct. 29 assessing the impact the ban has had on Massachusetts residents. The survey showed that 57 percent of respondents said that lack of access to THC vape had impacted their health; 33 percent said the ban caused them to purchase illegal THC vape products on the black market; and roughly 20 percent said the ban caused them continue smoking.

Roughly 60 percent of those who responded to the survey were between the ages of 25 and 44; 27 percent were between the ages of 45 and 65. Only 5 percent said they were ages 18 to 24, and roughly 7 percent were older than 65.

Approximately 60 percent of respondents identified as medical cannabis patients compared to 31 percent who identified as a nicotine vape consumer.

The Cannabis Control Commission will decide whether to keep Baker’s vape ban on medical marijuana vape products after Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ordered the prohibition lifted on those products for patients who are medical marijuana cardholders.

Wilkins wrote that the state’s Department of Public Health likely exceeded its authority in issuing the ban without assessing its impact on small businesses or holding public hearings. The state now must go back and do both things after filing new regulations with the Secretary of State per a court order.

charlie baker announces vaping ban

Gov. Charlie Baker files vaping ban regulations with Secretary of State

“We believe that means that the ban will remain in place,” Baker told reporters at the Statehouse.

“The court therefore allows the [Cannabis Control Commission] time to adopt the Emergency Regulations in whole or in part,” the ruling states, “or decline to adopt any ban at all. Rather than disrupt the market, it allows the Emergency Regulations, as adopted by DPH, to remain in place for one week.”

Vapor Technology Association originally brought the suit challenging Baker’s ban, and a group of medical marijuana patients and advocates intervened. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Monday announced it will hear arguments in December from the case.




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