What You Don't Know May Kill You

Posted by Gabriela Gershfeld on September 25, 2019



In recent weeks, there has been significant coverage on the alarming number of deaths, across the nation, relating to vaping. Seven people in California have died from vaping-related illnesses. In response to this travesty, Governor Newsom has announced a $20 million dollar advertising campaign aimed at warning the public of the dangers of vaping. 

It seems as though Governor Newsom wanted to follow New York Governor Cuomo and Michigan Governor Whitmer plan to outright ban e-cigarettes. However, unlike Cuomo and Whitmer, Newsom does not have the similar authority to ban products under the guise of “public health.” Unlike in New York or Michigan, any plan to outright ban e-cigarettes requires legislative action in California. In other words, Newsom cannot unilaterally ban e-cigarettes without the California legislature on board. Thus, Governor Newsom’s apparently only option is to invest an outstanding $20 million towards an advertising campaign, which seems a bit redundant considering the press surrounding vaping. 

The collective disdain towards vaping is surprising considering how polarized everything is these days. However, the libs the republicans love to own/destroy/eviscerate and the brown-nosing Trumpista republicans the libs love to hate can rally behind one thing - their disdain of vaping. As Rich Lowry points out in his Politico article, “The Ridiculous Campaign Against Vaping,” the disdain towards vaping has “jump[ed] traditional geographic and political bounds, running from the Oval Office to San Francisco, from President Donald Trump to his most fervent enemies.” 

Although from first glance the collective movement against vaping seems to a beacon of hope in these polarizing times, it raises some interesting questions. First, in a recent article posted on Reason, Jacob Sullum posited a very interesting question - can governors unilaterally ban products they don’t like? Second, considering there’s been 283 mass shootings in the US as of September 1, are politicians across the nation falling for alarmists trappings while avoiding actual public health concerns? Finally, is an outright ban on the use of e-cigarettes an appropriate response to the vaping-related deaths and illnesses when no one knows exactly what is the cause of these deaths and illnesses? Or is the better solution to create regulations? 

We wish we had concrete answers to give you but we, unfortunately, are no Nostradamus. Even the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn’t actually sure what is going on considering the CDC has expressly stated that it does “not yet know the specific cause of these lung injuries.” However, the apparent culprit coming out from the woodwork seems to be vitamin E acetate, which is commonly used as a diluent thickener in THC vape carts. What we can say, without a sliver of a doubt, is that when someone is injured, a lawsuit inevitably follows. Considering the number of illnesses and death, lawsuits are definitely coming down the legal pipeline. 

Exposure: Product Liability Insurance and Testing Laboratories 

In the midst of the vaping crisis, there is a growing concern that the marijuana industry will be caught in the legal and political cross-hairs. You may be wondering how someone can place blame on the marijuana industry when no one is sure of who or what the culprit is. However, that is precisely why the marijuana industry may be caught in the cross hairs. In other words, because the connection between vaping and its potential health issues have not been completely demarcated there is risk of litigation

So how can a ganjapreneurs protect themselves?

For starters, ganjapreneurs should test their products at testing laboratories. Although the regulatory process of THC oil production is in complete disarray, ganjapreneurs should take proactive steps to ensure their product is not fueling the vaping crisis. With the possible culprit being vitamin E, ganjapreneurs should find laboratories that have testing procedures that are able to detect the existence of vitamin E. Companies in the vaping business should implement processing systems that enable them to know exactly what chemicals are being added to the oil in order to alter its flavor and consistency. 

Second, ganjapreneurs should look into purchasing product liability insurance in addition to their required commercial general liability insurance. In a nutshell, product liability insulates sellers from the risks associated with potentially selling defective marijuana products. A number of insurance companies now offer product liability insurance for those in the cannabis business. 

What To Do In the Meantime – Cultivate and Smoke Grass 

The quote “what you don’t know won’t kill you” should be taken with a grain of salt in the context of the vaping crisis. In fact, what we don’t know is killing people. 

Marijuana vaping will remain unregulated until more government funding is allocated to test these products. In the meantime, a return to the old-school method of smoking seems to be in order. Cannabis cultivation is legal, tested, and regulated in the state of California. Most importantly, it can be trusted. With the help of Margolin & Lawrence, you can look at the following counties that are about to open or are already open to licensing for cultivation. Also, you can purchase an existing cannabis license and/or operation and start your own business with help of Margolin & Lawrence. For existing operations, please refer to our mergers and acquisitions blog

El Dorado County: 

El Dorado is one of the first counties in the Sacramento region to allow commercial cannabis activity, including retail sales and cultivation, with an estimated 2,000 legal and illegal cannabis growers. 

Only medical cannabis may be commercially grown the unincorporated parts of Yolo County with no retail permitted. All commercial cannabis activity is banned in Placer County and unincorporated parts of Sacramento County. Measure N was passed in the county that imposes taxes on the sale, cultivation and testing of cannabis.

Santa Ana City, Orange County: 

Santa Ana is the only city in Orange County where cultivation is legal. As indicated on August 17, the city is currently accepting applications for cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, and testing for Phase 1. 

Humboldt County: 

Humboldt County has opened their cultivation ordinance for exclusively “pre-existing growers” prior to 2015. Applications will be accepted until the end of 2019. The county instituted this program in an effort to incentivize unlicensed cannabis cultivators to legalize their businesses and contribute to collected tax revenue and economic development. 



This blog is not intended as legal advice and should not be taken as such. The possession, use, and/or sale of marijuana is illegal under federal law.