This week, federal health officials announced that vitamin E acetate has been found in the lung fluids of 29 patients affected by the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries, pointing to the vape cartridge additive as the likely culprit in the epidemic. Elsewhere, in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has been ordered to lift its ban on vape products in the state’s medical cannabis market.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: The U.S. Hemp Authority has released its Guidance Procedures 2.0, which aim to apply the lessons of the organization’s initial launch as a certifying body for hemp and CBD brands. The organization set up two rounds of public comment, which garnered more than 2,000 comments. A Technical Committee charged with refining the program reviewed the comments, and the U.S. Hemp Authority’s Guidance Procedures 2.0 reflect several policy changes in response to the feedback. Read more
- Federal health officials announced Nov. 8 that vitamin E acetate has been found in the lung fluids of 29 patients affected by the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries—a breakthrough that identifies the vape cartridge additive as the likely culprit in the epidemic. Based on data collected as of Oct. 15, 86% of 867 affected patients reported using THC products in the three months before the onset of symptoms, and subsequent analyses of THC-containing product samples revealed potentially harmful additives, including vitamin E acetate and medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil). Read more
- Kentucky: Rep. Jason Nemes prefiled a medical cannabis legalization bill ahead of the state’s 2020 legislative session, which kicks off in January. The legislation, which will become House Bill 136 when the legislative session opens, would charge the Department for Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control with regulating the fledgling industry and create a state-run system to license cultivators, dispensaries, safety facilities, processors, practitioners and patients. Read more
- Iowa: The Iowa Medical Cannabis Board recommended adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and intellectual disability with aggression to the state’s list of qualifying conditions, but rejected opioid dependency and Alzheimer’s disease due to concerns about a lack of studies or other evidence that medical cannabis could help those conditions. Now, the Iowa Board of Medicine must agree with adding PTSD and intellectual disability to the state’s qualifying conditions before they can be officially approved. Read more
- South Dakota: Cannabis reform groups submitted petitions containing over 80,000 signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State in order to qualify two separate marijuana reform ballot initiatives for next year’s election. One initiative would establish a medical cannabis program for qualified patients with debilitating health conditions, while the other would legalize cannabis for adults aged 21 and older and require the state legislature to enact a hemp cultivation law. Read more
- Colorado: Back in the summer, Denver’s Department of Public Health & Environment announced its plan to randomly test cannabis products bought off store shelves. Out of 25 dispensary inspection reports that Westword’s Thomas Mitchell perused, 20 included at least one “hold and quarantine” flag. That’s an 80% failure rate. Read more
- Massachusetts: A state judge has ruled that Massachusetts must lift its ban on vape products in the medical cannabis market. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas H. Wilkins, who’s been pushing back on the ban for a few weeks now, cited the “irreparable harm” that a ban might cause patients in the medical cannabis market. Read more
- Elsewhere in the state, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has convened a federal grand jury to investigate municipal cannabis contracts—called “host community agreements”— in an effort to crack down on local corruption. Great Barrington, Eastham, Leicester, Newton, Northamptom and Uxbridge have received subpoenas from Lelling’s office inquiring about the cities’ host community agreements with the cannabis businesses operating within their borders. Read more
- Michigan: The Michigan House approved legislation Nov. 5 that would overhaul the state’s expungement laws and make it easier for people convicted of cannabis offenses to clear their records. The seven bills were approved with bipartisan support in the Republican-led chamber and now head to the Senate. Read more
- Ohio: A judge has ruled that a section in Ohio’s medical cannabis law that requires 15 percent of licensed companies to be owned by members of “economically disadvantaged groups” is unconstitutional. The Board of Pharmacy is reviewing the ruling and discussing whether to appeal it with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. Read more