With over 2,600 cases of a mysterious illness and at least 60 deaths, our nation has a new health crisis -- and it's being driven by the marijuana industry.

The Facts

At least 60 people have died from severe respiratory complications associated with vaping. More than 2,650 cases have been reported across the United States. Two of the deaths have been connected to marijuana products in Oregon, one of which was associated with marijuana oil purchased at a legal dispensary. A third death in Tennessee was linked to a vape purchased at a Colorado dispensary.

The CDC recently confirmed what local newspapers had discovered: that the vaping-related lung illnesses are indeed tied to the "legal" marijuana market. In a recent study, the CDC found that 16 percent of marijuana vaping devices implicated in the epidemic were obtained from commercial sources, such as medical or recreational dispensaries.

Five cases of illness in Oregon have been linked to dispensaries in the state, according to state officials. An additional case in Washington state has been attributed to Washington’s “legal” marijuana industry. All told, cases of the illness in Oregon, Ohio, Utah, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Maryland have been linked to the use of “legal” products.

The Spin

Desperate to avoid the blame, the marijuana industry has been quick to point the finger at black market products. The numerous deaths and cases of illness tied to "legal" dispensaries completely undercuts this talking point.

Logically, cheap vaping devices make greater targets for diversion to the black market, given the possibility of a higher profit margin. We have long known that the legal market fuels the illegal market and it was recently discovered that a marijuana vaping device producer in California was supplying devices that couldn’t pass inspections to the black market.

Here’s How SAM Has Been on the Front Lines to Hold the Industry Accountable:

-Our Science Advisory Board penned a letter to congressional leadership laying out recommendations to tackle the vaping crisis: 

  • Pass resolutions supporting the Food and Drug Administration using existing authorities to remove dangerous products from store shelves;
  • Conduct oversight hearings to encourage federal and state officials to release as much information as possible regarding the sources of these vapes and the kinds of vapes used by victims, including connections to state regulated products; and
  • Halt any legislation that will greatly expand the marijuana industry’s sales of potentially fatal products, including the SAFE Banking Act.

-We have called on the Trump Administration to enact a national moratorium on the sale and production of marijuana vaping products:

“We are calling on the Trump Administration and the new HHS advisory committee to recognize that THC vaping poses a significant threat to public health and include these dangerous products in their forthcoming recommendations. The sale of THC vaping oils and other products must be halted before more Americans are put at risk.”

-We have participated in press conferences across the country urging Congress to take action and to halt attempts to reward the marijuana industry with banking access and investment opportunities.

See coverage here, here, and here.

How You Can Help

In order to best protect health and safety, it is crucial that we push back against the misinformation being peddled by Big Marijuana. Check out our Vaping Frequently Asked Questions page by clicking here.

Share this information with your family, friends and coworkers. The power of the word of mouth cannot be understated.

Push back on your local representatives and media outlets. If you see or hear either of these saying the vaping crisis is solely a black market issue, you are now well armed with the facts. Use them.

Finally, click here to send a letter to your member of Congress urging them to oppose any effort to extend banking access and investment to the marijuana industry in the midst of this crisis.