LAKEWOOD, Colorado — The enforcement authority of Colorado's legal marijuana industry is taking action in response to the ongoing health crisis related to vaping. At a rule making hearing Tuesday, the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division considered a ban on three chemical additives to vaporizing cartridges manufactured by licensed cannabis businesses in the state.
"Today's rules established some additional regulations for vaporizer products as well as concentrates to be use in inhalers or vaporizers," said Shannon Gray, a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Revenue which oversees the Marijuana Enforcement Division
The three chemicals that would be banned are Polyethylene Glycol, a common laxative, Multi-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oils, and Vitamin E Acetate. Federal officials flagged Vitamin E as a potential source of the vaping lung illness.
"We worked closely with our colleagues at the Department of Public Health and Environment, and they are the scientific experts and the regulations were developed with their expertise in mind," Gray explained.
As of October 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recorded 1,299 cases of the vaping related lung injury in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Alaska is the only remaining state without a patient presenting similar symptoms. There have been 26 deaths from this new lung injury.
The CDC also reports that a majority of the patients used vaping products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
"The latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak," the CDC wrote on its web page.
The agency explicitly recommends that Americans not use e-cigarettes, or vaping products that contain THC.
The Colorado rules will not place any restrictions on marijuana derived ingredients. In fact, Gray said the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division is not looking to expressly prohibit any marijana products in general.
"The marijuana industry is overwhelmingly compliant and wants to protect public health and safety as we do," she said.
Gray pointed out that another new rule will require licensed marijuana businesses who manufacture vaporizer products to list all inactive ingredients on the product label. Those ingredients must be included in the FDA database or a database maintained by an equivalent world governing body.
"We feel like we've gotten to a good place with our regulations today with comprehensive stakeholder feedback and and we've gotten to a place that's protective of public health and safety."
Any new administrative rule is subject to a public comment. The period for the marijuana vaping rules ends in early November. If adopted, they will be enforced beginning on January 1, 2020.
Agendas and other meeting materials from previous stakeholder groups are posted on the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division web site. Written public comments must be submitted online using this form.