At a press conference on Tuesday, Massachusetts Governor Baker said that he is banning all vaping products in the state until Jan 25, 2020. Across the country, consumers have reported vaping-related illnesses. 530 people said they have have been affected, and nine people have died. Massachusetts’ Department of Public Health said this month that all physicians must report any vaping-related pulmonary disease to the department, and the state is now tallying 61 possible cases.
Mission Dispensaries, has two current locations in Massachusetts (Georgetown and Worcester) and a third coming soon. The company’s Kris Krane, President of 4Front Ventures, which owns the dispensaries said, “The governor’s decision to ban the sale of vape products in Massachusetts is an unfortunate reaction to a genuine public health concern. Evidence suggests the overwhelming majority of vape-related illnesses have resulted from the use of unlicensed and unregulated vape cartridges obtained from the illicit market. Though he may have the best intentions, banning the sale of legal vape products produced in a heavily regulated industry will only serve to drive consumers and medical patients to the illicit market, possibly exacerbating these public health concerns rather than alleviating them. We stand behind our products and are confident the legal and highly regulated market is capable of protecting consumers.”
Many feel that banning all vape products is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Most of the illnesses have resulted from consumers using non-regulated and black market products.
“While the life-saving potential of nicotine vaping devices has been recognized by many public health authorities, several recent high-profile hospitalizations and illnesses have put vaping on trial, inviting scrutiny and calls for outright bans on the technology,” said Yaël Ossowski, deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center. “Contrary to the sensationalistic media reports, adults who use vaping and e-cigarettes as a means to quit smoking are vastly improving their chances of living long, healthy, and productive lives.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Bobby Burleson said, “In our view, recent reports of acute respiratory illness linked by regulators to THC vaping (and e-cigarettes) should ultimately accelerate the shift away from the black market for cannabis products in the US. The sell-off for stocks with heavy vape exposure has been severe with coverage names GNLN, KSHB, SLNG, and TILT meaningfully underperforming.”
He added, “While we are likely early days in resolving these industry challenges, longer term we expect associated revenue and EBITDA impact to our vape related coverage names to be more modest than the selloff suggests – vape is a lower margin business and THC vaping illnesses have largely been a black market phenomenon (with the exception of one case). It follows that supply chains and customer spending are likely to respond by shifting more dramatically to the tier one products and legal channels served by our coverage names.”