Bay State regulators responded to the rash of vape-related illnesses with a swift and wide-reaching ban, but medical marijuana patients are fighting to get their medicine back.
Massachusetts medical marijuana patients will be able to legally purchase and consume cannabis vape cartridges next week, after a superior court judge partially halted Governor Charlie Baker’s wide-reaching ban on cannabis and nicotine vape products.
Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins ruled that Governor Baker did not have the power to unilaterally outlaw a medical marijuana product without the approval of the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC). In his decision, Judge Wilkins also noted, that for medical marijuana patients in particular, the absence of cannabis vapes could cause more harm than benefit.
“The [Massachusetts] legislature did not want the Department of Public Health to regulate medical marijuana, but the Emergency Regulations do just that,” Wilkins wrote. “The conflict with the legislative scheme could not be clearer.”
Governor Baker enacted a four month emergency ban on all nicotine and cannabis vape products in September as a response to the thousands of nationwide hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths tied to tainted vape products. But while most experts point to contaminated black market cartridge hardware and non-soluble cutting agents as the impetus for the vape crisis, Gov. Baker’s all-inclusive vaping injunction took a one size fits all approach to complex issue.
Now, with Judge Wilkins decision in place, the CCC will have one week to add their own vape product rules and regulations before Bay State dispensaries are once again allowed to sell cartridges, pods, and other vape products on November 12th. No matter what the CCC decides, though, recreational cannabis and nicotine vape products will still be outlawed.
“We believe the judge made the correct decision,” Will Luzier, one of the Massachusetts medical marijuana patients involved in the suit who vaporizes cannabis to relieve his arthritis and ocular hypertension, told the Boston Globe. “The governor’s administration overstepped their mandate.”
The vape-related illness that became a national health scare this summer has fallen out of daily news coverage in the past month or two as fewer Americans are hospitalized with the mysterious lung damage, but as health experts continue to search for the exact root cause or causes of the crisis, health officials have advised consumers to avoid unregulated, black market products. For more info on vape illness, check out Elyon’s statement on vaping safely here.
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