OLCC Identifies Potential Consumer Harm In Some Cannabis Vape Products

Voluntary recall started because non-cannabis additives had undisclosed ingredients

Investigation continues to determine impact across Oregon’s legal cannabis industry

OREGON:  As part of an on-going consumer product safety investigation, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has identified that marijuana products sold in Oregon’s recreational marijuana market during the last two years contained additives, squalene and squalane, that have been linked to safety concerns similar to Vitamin E Acetate when vaped and inhaled. The OLCC is working to trace products and when necessary remove them from sale. OLCC will be considering immediate action at its December 2020 Commission meeting to prohibit future use of squalene and squalane, institute a mandatory recall of affected products, and create a more stringent and transparent review process of cannabis vaping products going forward.

Recreational retail shops won’t be open until October.

The products under investigation by OLCC contained Viscosity, a non-cannabis diluent manufactured and sold by a third-party (non-OLCC marijuana licensee). Some of the product remains on the market, and the OLCC is working to trace and remove it.

Bulk Naturals LLC., dba True Terpenes, sold Viscosity that solely contained squalene, squalane, and an unidentified olive extract to OLCC recreational marijuana licensees between at least January 2018 and November 2019. Squalene is a “botanically-derived terpene” that can be derived from olives; squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene. Following OLCC’s confirmation of the presence of squalane in Viscosity via independent laboratory analysis by ChemHistory and SC Labs, True Terpenes has complied with all of OLCC’s requests for information. Viscosity has since been reformulated, and according to True Terpenes, none of their products have contained squalene or squalane since November 2019.

As a result of its investigation the OLCC has identified recreational marijuana licensees that potentially used Viscosity in their products.  Because of their purchase of Viscosity, OLCC has requested additional information from several licensees about products they have manufactured.

One licensee – Oregrown, a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Bend – swiftly provided the requested documentation. Oregrown was the first licensee to confirm its use of the Viscosity formula under investigation, and since then has been working with the OLCC to voluntarily recall the limited amount of its remaining product containing Viscosity. OLCC has provided Oregrown with the information regarding affected items still on the market and their current location.

Oregrown utilized Viscosity in making Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite style vaping products manufactured on or prior to August 31, 2019. Although Oregrown has reformulated its PAX product to no longer include Viscosity, the previously manufactured items containing the prior Viscosity formula remain in the market. The most recent sales from Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite products containing this prior Viscosity formula were in October 2020.

In all, between April 2018 and October 2020, 268 OLCC licensed recreational marijuana retailers sold this item.

Consumers can verify the date of manufacture and whether an item they have purchased is subject to this recall. Any Oregrown PAX Era D9 Elite item with the label identification of “2520” and made before August 31, 2019 should be destroyed by the consumer or returned to the retailer where the item was purchased.

The OLCC has found that Oregrown was NOT aware of the contents of Viscosity and didn’t know that it contained potentially harmful ingredients. At the time that Oregrown used Viscosity, the manufacturer, True Terpenes, did not publicly disclose any of Viscosity’s ingredients due to claims of trade secret protections. Oregrown has provided all information that OLCC has requested, and its products complied with OLCC’s labeling rules at the time. OLCC expects that other licensees will act just as swiftly in order to ensure consumer safety by assisting the Commission in identifying and removing these potentially harmful products from the market.

The OLCC has been concerned about the presence of undisclosed ingredients in cannabis vaping products, and during the last year has been examining the use of non-cannabis additives. As part of this review OLCC has gathered evidence that certain additives pose potential danger to consumers.

At the same time the OLCC has suspected that these unhealthy additives had already been introduced into Oregon’s recreational marijuana system without the knowledge of licensees. The OLCC has been investigating the presence of unknown additives in cannabis vape products, which led to OLCC’s independent discovery of squalene and squalane tainted products.

OLCC recently commissioned a study that determined that when exposed to heat, squalene and squalane produce harmful chemicals. It has also been documented that inhaling squalene has been associated with exogenous lipoid pneumonia. Initial evidence about these additives also suggests a potential for consumer harm similar to that already proven about Vitamin E Acetate.

In light of these recent findings, OLCC staff will be proposing two actions at OLCC’s December 17, 2020, Commission meeting. One will be an action that would declare squalene and squalane adulterants; if approved by the Commission, any items in Oregon’s regulated market to which squalene or squalane have been added would be subject to a mandatory public health and safety recall. The second proposed action will be rules regarding cannabis vaping products that have been under development since July 2020; these rules would establish greater transparency and accountability regarding non-cannabis ingredients, like Viscosity, that are used in cannabis vaping products sold in the OLCC system.

OLCC is continuing its investigation into licensees that purchased Viscosity during the relevant time frame in order to confirm whether it was used in any other vaping products that were sold to consumers. If it is determined that other licensees used the prior formulation of Viscosity without proper disclosure on the item’s label, or have withheld information from the OLCC regarding the use of Viscosity, OLCC will pursue compliance action against those licensees as necessary. Additional health and safety recalls may be issued as more information is discovered.

The Emerald Cup Returns To Sonoma Co. Fairgrounds Dec 14 & 15th, 2019

Bringing Top Cannabis Experts, Educators and Farmers Together with Consumers

CALIFORNIA: The Emerald Cup has announced the programming for the 16th annual competition and festival, to be held December 14 & 15, 2019. Long known as the largest, most-respected organic outdoor cannabis competition in the world, The Emerald Cup has developed into the destination for agricultural experts, industry innovators, health and wellness advocates, cultural enthusiasts and the canna-curious to celebrate and expand their horizons. In addition to the competition and highly coveted awards, the gathering features the year’s finest sun-grown cannabis harvest, panels, and talks covering a range of current topics, multiple stages of genre-spanning music, experiential and installation art, and a premier organic epicurean experience.

Named for the Emerald Triangle growing region of Northern California’s Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties, The Emerald Cup will be held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, CA and tickets are on sale now for 21+ patrons here. The Emerald Cup weekend will be preceded on Friday, December 13 by the invitation-only Emerald Cup Mixer, an industry event open to California licensed cannabis brands.

The Emerald Cup is a place for both cannabis experts and the “canna-curious” to explore. “We look forward to welcoming everyone to what promises to be the best Emerald Cup to-date,” notes founder Tim Blake. “It is truly a beautiful moment in the history of cannabis culture. After enduring the challenges of legalization in California over the last two years, and three years of enduring devastating fires, rain and power outages, the industry has begun to stabilize and this year’s event is an opportunity for our community to celebrate this year’s hard work together.”

A few of the companies that Emerald Cup has partnered with for the 2019 installment include sponsors Flow Kana, Cookies, The Botanist, Elyon, Connected Cannabis, Alien Labs and SC Labs. Learn more about the multi-faceted Emerald Cup below and click here for additional details and tickets.

Emerald Cup 2019

THE EMERALD CUP COMPETITION 

Open to personal use sun-grown flower cultivators and any currently licensed California cannabis business, The Emerald Cup’s contest features categories including Licensed and Personal Use Cultivators, CBD, Infused Products (Edible, Beverage, Topical & Tincture), Most Innovative Product and much more. “We’re honored to host the largest and most respected cannabis contest in the world,” adds Blake. “Having expanded from just a flowers contest to over twenty seven different competitions in sixteen years has been a remarkable ride. We’re extremely excited to be able to carry on the essence of the contest, which is the tradition of the competition between the personal use farmers. This year we’re also extending it to include solvent less concentrate makers.” For more information on the contest and to enter click here.

The Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award will also be presented and recognizes farms for their outstanding ecological and community work. It is designed to be a catalyst of positive competition filled with information sharing, land stewardship, ethical marketing, watershed consciousness and love of nature, living soil and biodiversity.

The Emerald Cup has also named entertainer and entrepreneur Tommy Chong the recipient of the Emerald Cup’s Willie Nelson Award–the annual lifetime achievement award celebrating those persons who have spearheaded the cannabis movement through advocacy of it’s benefits and accessibility.

EMERALD TALKS & SESSIONS

Emerald Talks (panels and keynotes) will feature over 80 of the biggest and important names in cannabis advocacy, business and culture and will cover a range of compelling topics including: Federal Cannabis Legalization; Sex, Wellness & CBD; Criminal Justice Reform; Regenerative Agriculture; Vaping Facts & Fiction; Entrepreneurship; Cannabis in Food & Wine and more. A few of the speakers that will be at the Emerald Cup include former NBA player, cannabis advocate and entrepreneur Matt Barnes;Drug Policy Alliance Ethan Nadelmann;Entrepreneur and activist Wanda James, who was the first black woman to open a dispensary in Colorado; natural soap giant Dr. Bronner’s CEO (Cosmic Engagement Officer) and leader in establishing the Regenerative Organic Certified standard, David Bronner; Regen Talks with Dragonfly Earth Medicine, author Jeff Lowenfels, Deepak Kumar Chaudhary (Indain Landrace Exchange) and Matthew Trumm (Tree Top Permaculture); and Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm.

“I’m always blown away by the brilliance of our speakers and the variety of topics we present at the Emerald Cup,” notes Blake. “In addition to such high caliber cannabis community members presenting at the Cup, we will be joined by industry experts in farming, science, legal, and manufacturing, as well as everyone from the leaders in the psychedelic movement to the mayor of Santa Rosa.”

MUSIC

The weekend will also see multiple stages of live music, including performances from DJ Snoopadelic (the alter ego of legendary Doggfather and Merry Jane founder Snoop Dogg), Santigold, Steel Pulse, The Polish Ambassador, The Expendables, The Movement, Con Brio and Chali 2na, who will be both performing and creating a “puff & paint” mural. Programming for the Redwood Stage will be curated by the producers of Northern Nights Festival and will be announced soon.

MARKETPLACE & ADDITIONAL EXPERIENCES

Bringing together a wide collection of vendors and exhibitors and featuring over 300 brands, the Marketplace is one of the largest draws to the Emerald Cup.The weekend will also feature all organic food and locally grown produce from organic small farms, display of all the Contest Flower, MAPS psychedelic art and muralists, and a version of Blake’s mystical Mendocino County event space Area 101 will be featured as a throw-back to the location of the very first Emerald Cup 16 years ago.