OLCC kicks off six-month ban on flavored vape products
Oregon's Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Health Authority on Friday, Oct. 11, rolled out a ban on all flavored cannabis and nicotine vaping products in response to a growing number of cases of acute respiratory illness and death linked to vaping.
OLCC board members unanimously approved temporary rules proposed by the Health Authority after a Portland meeting. The board was responding to Gov. Kate Brown's Oct. 4 order placing a temporary ban on the products.
OLCC's ban takes effect Monday, Oct. 15. The ban is expected to affect approximately 4,000 retailers statewide.
"We're dealing with a national epidemic with a growing number of cases," said Jeff Rhodes, the governor's senior policy adviser to OLCC. "The latest numbers are 1,299 cases and 26 deaths, two of which occurred in Oregon."
In Oregon, an outbreak of nine cases of acute respiratory illness caused the Health Authority and Brown to issue warnings in late September for Oregonians to stop vaping. Brown asked the Health Authority to propose options up to and including a temporary ban which she issued a week earlier.
According to OLCC officials, the agency will call manufacturers and retailers across the state this weekend to inform them of the new rules and distributing signs notifying consumers of the ban.
The ban does not include tobacco-flavored tobacco or nicotine products. It also doesn't include marijuana-flavored marijuana and THC products on the market.
OLCC Marijuana Technical Unit Manager TJ Sheehy said that 10 percent of all marijuana vape products would be affected by the ban. A process to handle exceptions could be in place by Nov. 15 at which time manufacturers can apply to have products sourced from natural botanicals exempted from the ban.
"It's important to note that most of these cases reporting vaping of THC products, some of them using exclusively THC products, but also some using exclusively nicotine products," said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, state health officer. "In working with the CDC, we still don't have a definitive cause of this injury, or what ingredient or ingredients are causing it."
The OLCC and the Health Authority will create a work group in the next six months to examine the source of these illnesses.