Alberta Ends Ban on Cannabis Vapes

As of February 2020, the cannabis vaping ban will be lifted in Alberta.

After the highly controversial vaping crisis that occurred toward the tail-end of 2019, Alberta has decided to allow retail cannabis stores to sell cannabis vaporizer products this week.

"We expect retailers will be able to begin ordering products as early as this coming week and there may be limited product from the onset," said Angelle Sasseville, a spokesperson for the government agency. "Like all other products before vapes, inventory will increase in time."

It should take around two weeks for vaporizers to start hitting shelves across the Canadian province. Originally, vaporizers would have been made legal throughout Canada on October 17th last year, which started legalization 2.0, the legalization of Edibles, Extracts and topicals.

Though as many will know, the vaping crisis of 2019 brought the momentum surrounding vapes to a screeching halt, prompting Alberta to place a moratorium on all vaporizer products.

As of January 2020, The CDC reported a total of 2,711 hospitalized cases across all 50 states, with 60 confirmed deaths. The symptoms of those afflicted with vaping-related issues primarily affected young people who were using an illicit cannabis vape product.

In response, Alberta announced at the end of last year that cannabis vape products would be unavailable for sale while officials conducted an inquiry into the effects of vaping. Evidently, the inquiry didn't reveal any further concerns for legislators, who lifted the moratorium this week.

This may be because many believe that the vaping-related deaths occurred due to the prevalence of Vitamin E Acetate—which is often used as a volumizing agent by black-market vendors— in illegal vaporizer products. Vitamin E Acetate was singled out by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a "very strong culprit" for vaping-related lung injuries.

Alberta wasn't alone on the decision to ban vapes, with the province accompanied by Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador who have similarly prohibited the sale of cannabis vapes. Nova Scotia has also decided to take action, and will not allow the sale of flavoured cannabis vapes to be sold in the province.

Whether these provinces will follow Alberta's lead is unknown, and whether this signals the end of an enduring vaporizer crisis and moratorium, only time will tell. Though as it stands, a great deal of damage has already been done.

In the United States, legal vape revenues have plummeted, with BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research stating that the US cannabis industry experienced a staggering $41 million decline in vape sales by the end of 2019.

Has the vaping crisis scared consumers for good? Or will a CDC confirmation that the crisis is limited to illicit vaporizers quell the fears of vape consumers?

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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