Lawmakers in Washington State have proposed a bill that would effectively wipe out most of the state’s THC concentrates. The move, which would dramatically affect the state’s legal weed industry, suggests a lack of basic knowledge of cannabis use, and could even negatively impact public health if passed.
House Bill 2546 proposes that the state limit legal cannabis extracts including vape cartridges to a maximum 10% THC potency. Concentrates currently make up about 40% of the legal cannabis market in Washington.
The intention of the bill, supposedly, is to limit harm to users which come from vaping. It comes as a response to the respiratory illnesses caused by illegal concentrates which have resulted in 57 deaths.
However, some experts claim the bill would have the exact opposite effect. Of those 57 deaths, not one were caused by legal concentrates, but limiting such a move is likely to push consumers into the black market.
“There may well be rationale for eliminating some portion of the riskiest products on the market if there’s evidence to support that, but doing that with 40% off the products would make very little sense,” Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and public health at Northwestern University, told Leafly.
“If 40% of the market is toward these products and then you ban them, you’d definitely be creating a push towards the black market.”
Concentrates generally run anywhere from 40% to as high as 99.9% potency. So, if users were going to try to get their THC fix from legal concentrate, they would need to vape a lot more of it.
Additionally, in order for manufacturers to be compliant, many would use additives to dilute their product. That again could be counterproductive, as an additive (vitamin e) was the cause of the respiratory illness in the first place.
“We’re trying to preserve the chemistry that’s in the flower and just make a concentration of it,” Daniel Lubke, director of marketing and brand for Seattle-based cannabis extractor Heylo, told Leafly. “To cater to the legal demand, we would have to be making an inferior product, essentially, and going away from the method we’ve developed, that our customers love.”
Photo via Flickr/WeedPornDaily