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Michigan requiring more tests on licensed marijuana vapes, sales halted

State wants cartridges to be retested for vitamin E acetate

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2019, file photo, a woman using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. With one in four teenagers now using e-cigarettes, underage vaping is universally condemned, and the federal government considers it an epidemic. But some other researchers believe recent trends continue to show vapings promise as a tool to steer millions of adult smokers away from cigarettes, the nations leading cause of death. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2019, file photo, a woman using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. With one in four teenagers now using e-cigarettes, underage vaping is universally condemned, and the federal government considers it an epidemic. But some other researchers believe recent trends continue to show vapings promise as a tool to steer millions of adult smokers away from cigarettes, the nations leading cause of death. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – The state of Michigan is ordering a temporary stop on the sale of marijuana vape cartridges and requiring that a portion of the existing cartridges get retested for vitamin E acetate.

Vitamin E acetate has been called a “very strong culprit" by U.S. health officials in sickening more than 2,000 Americans who vape since March. Vitamin E acetate has only recently been used as a thickener in vaping fluid, particularly in black market vape cartridges. While vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or to use on the skin, inhaling oily droplets of it can be harmful. It’s sticky and stays in the lungs — the CDC’s Dr. Jim Pirkle likened it to honey.

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) now will require licensed safety compliance facilities to test for vitamin E acetate and that all inactive ingredients added to marijuana products be clearly listed on the product label. The MRA said it will inspect processing facilities twice a month to ensure compliance with these manufacturing standards.

“It is absolutely vital that patients and consumers know, with certainty, the ingredients in the products that they are using,” said Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. “These rules require stringent testing and will continue to prioritize the health and safety of Michiganders.”

Halt of sales

The state announced Friday that, effective immediately, licensees may not sell a marijuana product which is intended for inhalation (vaping) unless one of the following conditions is met:

  • The product has received a passing test result under these rules
  • The product was produced by a licensed processor after the effective date of these rules and in compliance with all rules promulgated by the MRA

“Prohibiting additives that could cause harm to human health is a step forward in efforts to protect the public during this outbreak of lung injury cases,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Meanwhile, state of Michigan regulators said last week that the sale of recreational marijuana could start as early as Dec. 1, 2019. The state issued its first recreational marijuana license to an Ann Arbor dispensary on Tuesday.

Read more: Michigan voted to legalize marijuana in 2018, but many communities have opted out of sales


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