In a shocking report, shops were found to still be selling vape cartridges with incredibly levels of pesticide contamination and toxic vitamin E oil.
Despite all the news about dangerous, tainted vapes, thousands of unlicensed cannabis shops still operate throughout the state. Because they’re not following the rules, the products they sell are not subject to stringent potency and purity testing requirements.
Samples obtained in illegal shops in Los Angeles had pesticide levels more than 5,000 times the legal limit. Others contained nearly 35 percent tocopheryl-acetate, the vitamin E oil additive that, when heated and inhaled, prevents lungs from absorbing oxygen.
Also troubling: The illicit vape cartridges that were tested exceeded California’s maximum allowable level of pesticide residue, which go straight into a users’ lungs when vaped and can also cause lung injury.
One cartridge tested at 5,475 times the legal limit for chlorfenapyr, a mosquito pesticide. The same cartridge had 547 times the allowable limit of bifenazate (a chemical used to kill mites), and 362 times the limit for myclobutanil, a fungicide that can transform into hydrogen cyanide when heated.
One of the first brands associated with the vaping crisis and death is called “West Coast Cure.” The brand is still widely available in-state from unlicensed delivery services.
In a previous article, we showed the connection between West Coast Cure and Weedmaps.
Weedmaps officials have said the company will require all listings to include a state license number by the end of 2019. That policy allows illegal, unlicensed stores to remain listed for two more months.
A Weedmaps official responded to a question about the listing of West Coast Cure products earlier this year by saying anyone can list a store stocked with whatever products they like, due to Weedmaps’ self-publishing business model.
Many industry leaders remain furious that Weedmaps continues to facilitate the black market long after the California Bureau of Cannabis Control sent the company a cease-and-desist letter in February 2018.
Consumers should value their health more than their pocketbook, and pay a little extra for products that are legal, tested, and free of contaminants, from licensed, regulated, legitimate cannabis retailers.