Amid what doctors are calling a nationwide epidemic, Clark County saw its first case of a vaping related-illness.
Now the Nevada Vaping Association is warning consumers: do not use marijuana-based products that are not intended for vaping.
A cannabis industry insider told pot isn’t the problem. Jason Sturtsman said local dispensaries know how to make vape products safely. But he said it can be hard to tell the difference between the real thing and a dangerous knock-off.
“This impacts the cannabis industry. It results in less vape sales. It results in concern that there could be a possibility of additives in cannabis products,” Sturtsman said.
Sturtsman said the problem is that illegal vape sellers are mixing cannabis with harmful oils like Vitamin E.
“Mineral oil, they’re also finding coconut oil too as well,” he said. “This is resulting in a condition called Popcorn Lung or Oil Lung.”
Sturtsman said sealed vape products from licensed dispensaries are safe.
“The entire cannabis industry does not have coconut oil as an additive,” he said. “If you look, a lot of vape pens will say pure cannabis oil.”
Instead, he said it’s bad players on the black market who are ruining it for everyone.
“It’s an extremely popular product in dispensaries especially here in Las Vegas where discreet consumption is the name of the game,” he said.
Spotting the fakes can be hard.
“When I have seen them in the pass, they tend to be a little bit darker,” Sturtsman said. “[Vitamin E] is a thickening agent so they actually add that so it appears thicker, higher quality because it’s an illegal product. They want it to appear to look like a dispensary’s product.”
Sturtsman said vaping is just another part of the growing cannabis industry that needs to be better regulated.
“When you’re buying something illegally, whether it’s a nicotine pen or a cannabis pen, you have no idea what they added to it,” he said. “They don’t care about you. They don’t care about your family.”
The National Cannabis Industry Association put out a call to Congress, asking lawmakers to deal with vaping-related illnesses, legalize and regulate weed.
Vaping accounts for 25% of cannabis sales in Nevada.