The State of Cannabis Vape 2021: Sasha Aksenov, The Blinc Group

NEW YORK: These are dynamic times for the cannabis vapor market.  While consumer demand is at an all-time high, and retail vape sales are poised for another record year, COVID-exacerbated supply chain challenges plague an industry dependent on Chinese manufacturing, just at the time when MSOs are looking to scale their production.

To add insult to injury, the USPS has just banned Hemp and CBD Vapes from the US Mails, and on Saturday Night Live, the Devil takes credit for the introduction of vapes as one of his best inventions.

Where is the cannabis vapor market headed in the coming year?

To find out the State of Cannabis Vape in 2021 Marijuana Channel One caught up with The Blinc Group Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Alexander ‘Sasha’ Aksenov, at MJBizCon 2021 in Las Vegas, where The Blinc Group had a large brand and staff presence to introduce its new patented HALO System, featuring ‘brand your carts on-the-fly from tip to base’ design that allows for flexible, affordable and scalable cart branding for cannabis producers/processors.

“Change has always been part of the cannabis vape industry since the beginning,” the veteran brand marketer explained. “The name of the game is knowing what’s coming, so that you can plan ahead.  Planning ahead is one of the foundational principles of The Blinc Group.”

Don’t miss this MJChannel One exclusive interview — a must-see video for all producers, processors and retailers, and anyone interested in understanding how the cannabis vapor market is disrupting the legal cannabis and hemp space.

WATCH THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW ON MARIJUANA CHANNEL ONE

LCB Board Action: Adoption of Final Rules (Cannabis Vitamin E Acetate)

Details of July 20, Cannabis Plant Chemistry Public Session

WASHINGTON:  Yesterday (7/21/21), during a regularly scheduled meeting, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board took the following action:

Adopted final rules (CR 103) to permanently cross-reference the Washington State Board of Health (SBOH) vitamin E acetate prohibition in cannabis processor and retailer rules. The rules take effect August 21, 2021. 

A second Deliberative Dialogue on Cannabis Plant Chemistry was held July 20, 2021. To learn more about the session, references, notes and a link to the session recording are included below.

OLCC Reminder: Effective July 1, 2021 New Rule Standards For “Inhalable Cannabinoid Products With Non-Cannabis Additives”

Final Implementation of New Rules for Vape Cartridges, Specific Pre-Rolls Took Effect July 1st

Compliance Education Bulletin CE2018-09 revoked

The July 1, 2021 deadline for “Inhalable Cannabinoid Products with Non-cannabis Additives” (“ICP”) has passed.

Generally, ICPs are vape cartridges and pre-rolls with non-cannabis terpenes or flavorings. On and after July 1, 2021, licensees cannot possess or transfer these products unless they comply with the new rule standards. Licensees in possession of products subject to the deadline should waste them.

Licensees can use the following to spot labels subject to the deadline and what labels are not subject to the deadline:

  • Labels subject to the deadline contain product identities like “marijuana extract with non-marijuana terpenes” or “marijuana extract with natural and artificial flavors” and ingredient listings that state “natural” or “artificial flavors.” Here is an example;
  • Labels that are NOT subject to the deadline contain product identities and ingredient listings that contain the words “non-cannabis additives” and list all the ingredients in the product – either on an insert or on the exterior label. Here is an example.
  • Licensees may no longer utilize generic labels for ICPs created on and after April 1, 2021.

A more detailed explanation of the requirements can be found in Compliance Bulletin CE2020-07 along with links to the rules.

There are new Metrc related requirements to ICPs, see the guide here. The proper category in Metrc is “Inhalable Cannabinoid Product with Non-cannabis Additives.” For processor licenses, the category name when an item is created will include “with ingredients”; retailer and wholesaler licenses will not see “with ingredients” in the category name when repackaging an item in Metrc. It is compliant for retailer and wholesaler licenses to repackage, send, and receive packages that do not say “with ingredients” in the category name.

As a result of these Rule changes, OLCC Recreational Marijuana Program, Compliance Education Bulletin CE2018-09 is revoked, and the guidance provided in that bulletin is no longer valid.

Questions related to the rules or labeling should be directed to marijuana.packaging@oregon.gov.

Questions related to Metrc should be directed to marijuana.cts@oregon.gov

Oregon: Final Implementation of New Additive Rules Takes Effect July 1, 2021

Final Implementation of New Rules for Inhalable Cannabinoid Products with Non-cannabis Additives starts July 1st

 

Limited Retail Sell Down to Last Through Month of June

OREGON: The July 1, 2021 deadline for “Inhalable Cannabinoid Products with Non-cannabis Additives” (“ICP”) is rapidly approaching.  Generally, ICPs are vape cartridges and pre-rolls with non-cannabis terpenes or flavorings. On and after July 1, 2021, licensees cannot possess or transfer these products unless they comply with the new rule standards.

Before July 1, 2021, licensees can sell, destroy (waste), or return to the processor any ICPs that do not comply with the new rules – but if returning to another licensee, the ICPs will still need to be wasted in compliance with OLCC rules prior to July 1, 2021.

Licensees can use the following to spot labels subject to the “sell down” (cannot be possessed or transferred on and after July 1, 2021) and what labels are not subject to the sell down:

  • Labels subject to the sell down contain product identities like “marijuana extract with non-marijuana terpenes” or “marijuana extract with natural and artificial flavors” and ingredient listings that state “natural” or “artificial flavors.” Here is an example;
  • Labels that are NOT subject to the sell down contain product identities and ingredient listings that contain the words “non-cannabis additives” and list all the ingredients in the product – either on an insert or on the exterior label. Here is an example.
  • Licensees may no longer utilize generic labels for ICPs created on and after April 1, 2021.

In December 2020, the OLCC enacted new additive rules that impact all OLCC marijuana licensees and industrial hemp certificate holders. This is only a summary of the rules and in some instances the rule requirements are generalized. This is not a substitute for reading the rules. A more detailed explanation of the requirements can be found in Compliance Bulletin CE2020-07 along with links to the rules.

There are two important dates for licensees in these rules: April 1, 2021 and July 1, 2021:

  • On and after April 1, 2021, all ICPs manufactured or processed must comply with the new rule requirements;
  • On and after April 1, 2021, all ICPs must be correctly categorized in Metrc (this includes ICPs made before April 1, 2021). Licensees with these products in their inventory must make these changes. See the Inhalable Cannabinoid Products and Metrc Tracking Guide for more information; and
  • There is a limited “sell down” period for ICPs made before April 1, 2021. Processors may transfer ICPs made before April 1, 2021 that do not comply with the new rule requirements until June 30, 2021. As of July 1, 2021 licensees cannot even possess or transfer products that do not meet the new rule requirements.

 

Questions related to the rules or labeling should be directed to marijuana.packaging@oregon.gov.

Questions related to Metrc should be directed to marijuana.cts@oregon.gov.

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board Actions: Vitamin E Acetate in Vapes & Tier 1 Canopy

WASHINGTON:Yesterday, during a regularly scheduled meeting, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board took the following action:

Approved a rule proposal (CR 102) to expand the plant canopy square footage allowed for licensed Tier 1 cannabis producers.

Adopted emergency rules (CR 103E) to enforce the requirements of WAC 246-80-021 prohibiting the use of vitamin E acetate in vapor products, within the context of chapter 69.50 RCW. This emergency rule allows the Board to take disciplinary action against any cannabis processor licensed under WAC 314-55-077, or any cannabis retailer licensed under WAC 314-55-079 that fails to comply with the provisions of WAC 246-80-021 under the authority of chapter 69.50 RCW. The emergency rules took effect immediately yesterday upon filing with the Code Reviser’s Office.

Rescinded Emergency Rules WAC 314-55-1065 and 314-55-1055, regarding the LCB Vitamin E Acetate Prohibition and Cannabis Product Disclosure Form

WSLCB Interpretive Statement On Cannabinoid Additives

WASHINGTON:  Consistent with RCW 34.05.230, WSLCB has published an interpretive statement to clarify WAC 314-55-109 concerning cannabinoid additives.

One of the key findings of the 2019 Hillard Heintz report was that WSLCB licensees expressed concerns about inconsistent interpretation of law and regulation applying to their businesses.

Interpretive statements do not have the force and effect of law. They are explanatory documents intended to convey the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board’s interpretation of law and regulation as it exists at the time the statement is issued. Current interpretive statements are advisory only.

WLSCB Interpretive Statement #IS21-01 was filed with the Washington State Code Reviser on January 26, 2021 as WSR 21-04-030. The interpretive statement is intended to clarify and confirm current rule, WAC 314-55-109, concerning cannabinoid additives – requirements, restrictions, and quality assurance testing, including the ways that cannabidiol (CBD) product obtained from a source not licensed under chapter 314-55 WAC may be sold in licensed retail locations.

Additional information can be found on the WSLCB Interpretive Statements webpage.

OLCC Commission Bans Some Additives from Cannabis Vaping Products

Additives linked to potential harm to cannabis consumers

More transparent ingredient disclosure required going forward

OREGON:  At its regular monthly meeting on December 17, 2020, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission banned two ingredients immediately from further use in cannabis vaping products — squalene and squalane. In addition, the Commission approved rules designed to provide better protection for cannabis consumers by requiring recreational marijuana licensees provide more transparent disclosure of, screening for, and labeling of inhalable cannabinoid products that use non-cannabis additives. The Commission also ratified five stipulated settlements.

The action taken against squalene and squalane comes in the wake of an OLCC investigation (see December 11, 2020 press release) that uncovered the use of those ingredients in cannabinoid vaping products sold in Oregon. The OLCC found that squalene and squalane were not disclosed as ingredients and were included on product labels as “natural flavors.” Studies, including one commissioned by the OLCC, have shown that squalene and squalane can produce harmful chemicals when exposed to heat and inhaled, posing potential harm to consumer health.

If the OLCC discovers any remaining products in the marketplace that contain squalene or squalane, those products will be subject to an immediate recall, a provision included in the new rules. Squalene and squalane join Vitamin E acetate on OLCC’s list of banned adulterants; as a result of the Commission’s actions, propylene glycol (PG) and triglycerides, like MCT oil, will be added to the list effective April 1, 2021.

The Commission began examining the impact of non-cannabis additives in the wake of the e-cigarette use-associated lung injury (EVALI) health crisis in mid-2019. During 2020, the OLCC held a series of discussions with cannabis industry stakeholders, public health officials and OLCC cannabis licensees to contemplate an approach for identifying and screening out non-cannabis ingredients added to cannabis products that pose a potential danger to human health. A framework for applying those standards was used to create the rules.

The approved rules will help the Commission protect health and safety by compelling greater ingredient disclosure, and to address both the acute and chronic health effects of additive ingredients when heated and inhaled by specifying the standards for non-cannabis additives being used in inhalable cannabinoid products. Because of the disclosure requirements, licensees and consumers will have greater assurance that any additives used in cannabis vape products were manufactured with the intent that they would be inhaled.

The rules take effect December 22, 2020, and the OLCC on that date will immediately begin accepting label applications under new rules for inhalable cannabinoid products. The Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) will be updated by that time to include a category for designating inhalable cannabinoid products.

Any inhalable cannabinoid products made on or after April 1, 2021, will be subject to the new rules, including no use of PG or MCT and full disclosure of additive ingredients on the item’s label. By April 1, all inhalable cannabinoid products (regardless of manufacture date) must also be tracked in CTS with disclosure of the additive mix used in the cannabinoid product.

From April 1 to July 1, 2021, OLCC recreational marijuana licensees are allowed to “sell down” any inhalable cannabinoid products made before April 1, 2021. Beginning July 1, 2021, all inhalable cannabinoid products in the marketplace must comply with the new rules and standards, and anything that does not comply, regardless of manufacture date, must be destroyed.

The Commission also ratified the following violation fines and suspensions based on stipulated settlements (detailed information on specific cases can be found here on the OLCC website):

SHADOWBOX FARMS (#1467A) will serve an 32-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension OR pay a fine of $5,280 for one violation.

Licensee is: Rogue Valley Group, LLC; Tim Winner, Manager; Artemis Group, LLC, Member; Joseph Bundy, Member; Megan Bundy, Member; Bryan Bundy, Member.

FLOWERSMITH will serve a 14-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension OR pay a fine of $2,310 for two violations.

Licensees are: Flowersmith, LLC; Samuel Felton, Member; Gavin Henner, Member

BLACK MARKET DISTRIBUTION will serve a 69-day recreational marijuana wholesaler license suspension OR pay a fine of $11,385 for three violations.

Licensees are: Black Market Distribution, LLC; Aaron Mitchell, Member; Rosa Cazares, Manager.

COPPERHEAD ORGANIC FARMS will surrender its license at the earlier of the date of transfer of ownership of the business or February 19, 2021 for four violations.

Licensees are: CH Organics, LLC; Corey Tarr, Member; Debra Davis Estate, Member.

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.

WSLCB Virtual Listen and Learn Forum Session #2: Rules Regarding Marijuana Vapor Products

WASHINGTON:  The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is hosting two Listen and Learn forums to consider establishing new and amending existing sections of rule concerning marijuana definitions and marijuana vapor products. This is the second of two planned sessions. The full text of the draft conceptual rules are provided here.

For this session, we are discussing only draft conceptual rule sections 314-55-550 to implement House Bill 2826 pertaining to marijuana vapor products, and the Marijuana Vapor Product Disclosure Form. The Disclosure Form is provided here.

Please join us virtually on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. via WebEx.

**Attendees wishing to provide feedback are encouraged to participate early in the meeting, as the meeting may end early dependent on level of participation.**

Background
On March 25, 2020, HB 2826 passed the legislature in response to concerns related to marijuana vapor product and vapor related lung illnesses. The bill contained an emergency clause, and in its intent section, found that “recent reports of lung illnesses associated with vapor products” demanded “serious attention by the state in the interest of protecting public health and preventing youth access.

HB 2826 provides that the Board may adopt rules prohibiting any type of marijuana vapor product device, or prohibit the use of any type of additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound in the production and processing of marijuana products, including marijuana vapor products. However, before adopting either of these types of rules, the Board must have determined, following a consultation with the Department of Health (DOH), or any other authority the Board deems appropriate, the device, additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound may pose a risk to public health or youth access.

HB 2826 authorizes the Board to require marijuana processors to submit, under oath, to the Department of Health, a complete list of all constituent substances and the amount and sources of all constituent substances in each marijuana vapor product. HB 2826 also provides that Board may adopt rules prohibiting the use of a characterizing flavor in marijuana vapor products.

Rules are needed to implement the provisions of HB 2826, and to establish definitions for terms including, but not limited to “characterizing flavor,” botanical terpenes,” and others.

The Pre-proposal Statement of Inquiry filed by the Liquor and Cannabis Board may be found here.

Meeting Details
An agenda is attached. Please come prepared to offer feedback and suggestions regarding this rule section.

If you wish to participate virtually, we’d like to offer the following reminders:

  • Virtual participation will be structured to allow one speaker at a time through a hand-raising feature on WebEx.
  • If you experience difficulty with audio or visual elements of virtual participation, please be patient.

Please remember that we are still in the developmental phase of rulemaking, and there are not yet any proposed or final rules amendments. To help you prepare for this listen/learn/contribute forum, please review the guidance document prepared for this and future forums.

Questions? Contact Casey Schaufler at casey.schaufler@lcb.wa.gov

To join the WebEx meeting online:
https://watech.webex.com/watech/j.php?MTID=m208eaad1ec16f31cfccdf6970963e1cb


To join the WebEx meeting via audio conference only:
Dial: (415) 655-0001
Access Code: 372 115 47

WASHINGTON: Virtual Listen And Learn Forum Session #1: Rules Regarding Marijuana Definitions And Vapor Products

WASHINGTON:  The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is hosting two Listen and Learn forums to consider establishing new and amending existing sections of rule concerning marijuana definitions and marijuana vapor products. This is the first of two planned sessions. The full text of the draft conceptual rules are provided here.

For this session, we are discussing only draft conceptual rule sections 314-55-010(4) and (40) to implement House Bill 2826 pertaining to marijuana vapor products.

Please join us virtually on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. via WebEx.

Background
On March 25, 2020, HB 2826 passed the legislature in response to concerns related to marijuana vapor product and vapor related lung illnesses. The bill contained an emergency clause, and in its intent section, found that “recent reports of lung illnesses associated with vapor products” demanded “serious attention by the state in the interest of protecting public health and preventing youth access.

HB 2826 provides that the Board may adopt rules prohibiting any type of marijuana vapor product device, or prohibit the use of any type of additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound in the production and processing of marijuana products, including marijuana vapor products. However, before adopting either of these types of rules, the Board must have determined, following a consultation with the Department of Health (DOH), or any other authority the Board deems appropriate, the device, additive, solvent, ingredient, or compound may pose a risk to public health or youth access.

HB 2826 authorizes the Board to require marijuana processors to submit, under oath, to the Department of Health, a complete list of all constituent substances and the amount and sources of all constituent substances in each marijuana vapor product. HB 2826 also provides that Board may adopt rules prohibiting the use of a characterizing flavor in marijuana vapor products.

Rules are needed to implement the provisions of HB 2826, and to establish definitions for terms including, but not limited to “characterizing flavor,” botanical terpenes,” and others.

The Pre-proposal Statement of Inquiry filed by the Liquor and Cannabis Board may be found here.

Meeting Details
An agenda is attached. Please come prepared to offer feedback and suggestions regarding this rule section.

If you wish to participate virtually, we’d like to offer the following reminders:

  • Virtual participation will be structured to allow one speaker at a time through a hand-raising feature on WebEx.
  • If you experience difficulty with audio or visual elements of virtual participation, please be patient.

Please remember that we are still in the developmental phase of rulemaking, and there are not yet any proposed or final rules amendments. To help you prepare for this listen/learn/contribute forum, please review the guidance document prepared for this and future forums.

Questions? Contact Casey Schaufler at casey.schaufler@lcb.wa.gov

To join the WebEx meeting online:
https://watech.webex.com/watech/j.php?MTID=mee35a3ea86f3824ff52650252c672ee9

To join the WebEx meeting via audio conference only:

  • Toll Free: 1-855-929-3239
  • Toll: 415-655-0001
  • Access Code: 133 951 6990