It’s a sign of success: major weed vape manufacturers now have the same problem as Air Jordans, Rolex watches, and Gucci bags: knock-offs.
Merry Jane is reporting on a glut of counterfeit hash cartridges which have flooded markets all over the world, especially in areas of the United States without permissive medical or recreational marijuana regulations.
In particular, MJ says that the knock-offs tend to imitate name brand cartridges from California including King Pen, Brass Knuckles, and Heavy Hitters.
The article’s author Zach Harris says that he’s collected a drawer full of cartridges with King Pen labels, but that the originals and the copies are so similar that he himself can’t tell which is the genuine article.
A representative from Loudpack, King Pen’s parent company, told Harris that counterfeit manufacturers have gotten so good that at this point the labels are often indistinguishable and the only way to really authenticate a King Pen cartridge is to test the oil in a lab.
Counterfeit vape cartridges are available from street dealers, but they also make a killing for online distibuters, with empty pre-labeled cartridges advertised on Instagram, sold on specialized sites, and even made available through mainstream retail hubs like Amazon and eBay.
King Pen’s Chief Marketing Officer Kate Denton that the company only distributed their product to vetted, licensed sellers. When the company discovers a knockoff product, they contact government authorities and file cease and desist letters.
“How effective this is is questionable,” says Denton. “The state doesn’t take action on these matters as quickly as we’d like. We have always been in the habit of sending cease and desist letters to counterfeiters and unlicensed retailers, however locating bad actors is difficult, and they tend to move locations frequently.”
As soon as one site goes down, one with a different name but the same product will come up and take its place.
Okay, so how about they just change the label? They’ve tried that, several times in fact just since last summer. But almost as quick as they can change the design, maybe even quicker, counterfeiters are able to copy it.
Brass Knuckles has tried to counteract counterfeit cartridges with some very complex labels. The company’s Instagram account reads, “Starting July 1st, all authentic Brass Knuckles cartridges have exclusive, serial numbered moving hologram stickers on the side of their acrylic casing.”
Not to be picky, but actually they mean “holograph.” A “hologram” is projected light which appears to take a solid shape. A “holograph” is a printed 2-D image that looks like it’s 3-D when you look at it from different angles. Once counterfeiters’ vape cartridges start shooting out holograms of Tupac or Michael Jackson, then we’ll really be in trouble.
Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily