Six people have died and 450 people have been hospitalized. That's undeniably bad. What makes the current outbreak of lung-related sickness a crisis for readers of this newsletter is the potential hit to the legitimate cannabis industry.
While California has so far shown restraint in cracking down, fallout can come from all directions. Amazon has removed devices which can be made into counterfeit vapes.
Guardian/Cal Matters/Minnesota Public Radio
- The ripple effect has already been felt among legislators in critical Eastern states.
- Minnesota Public Radio's found a trove of products for making illicit market weed look legit, ranging "from packaging materials for the Exotic Carts brand of marijuana oil cartridges to bulk 'California compliant' stickers indicating the object to which the labels are affixed is legal under the state’s marijuana law." It's a big-ol' underground world out there. Amazon didn't respond to MPR's request for comments "on how it regulates these products or offer a reason for their removal."
- WeedWeek has followed the vaping narrative since David Downs broke the story. Many of you first read about it here. As the shockwaves move across the country and back again, it's no time for Monday Morning Quarterbacking. But here's some anyway: If the pot press had been more consistent in labeling the crisis an illicit pen crisis — as Downs did — the traditional press's urge-to-panic would have been at least slowed.
- As far as we're aware, only one of the deceased, in Oregon, is known to have shopped at a licensed dispensary.
- Did you hear the story from not-so-long-ago about the county Planning and Building Department inspector who allegedly received over $100,000 for his promises to expedite permit approvals and was arrested and charged with bribery? No? Well, that California corruption tale and many many others are here, illustrating why the FBI is about to get busy with weed in politics.