Licensed medical marijuana sellers warn of ‘black market’ THC vaping products

Posted at 9:55 PM, Nov 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-10 00:31:57-05

NUNICA, Mich. -- Health officials are finding a common link in the nationwide vaping-related illness outbreak.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says Vitamin E Acetate has been found to be a common link in the vaping-related illness outbreak that  injured thousands and left nearly 40 people dead, including one in Michigan.

Many who got sick say they vaped THC products and both health officials and licensed medical marijuana providers are warning people about the dangers of untested products.

"We inform all of our customers to steer clear from the black market completely and trust the licensed, reputable facilities that are springing up all over now," Exit 9 Provisionary Manager, Tyler Leonard, said.

Exit 9 Provisionary is a medical marijuana provisioning center in Ottawa County.

Like health officials, they are urging people to only buy THC products from licensed facilities.

"With a licensed facility they are checking on not only for acetate but many other components, different chemicals and everything, you’re getting a trusted device when you come to a licensed facility," Leonard explained.

"We have lab results for all of our items in case any customers want to see the details we have everything available to them," Leonard added.

Leonard believes increased access could help cut down on the urge to buy black market or homemade products.

"I think the greater the availability of tested material is positive for everyone and it takes the allure of the black market away, because you’ll have proper medicine in more areas, you won’t have to rely so much on untested, unknown substances," Leonard said.

Others in the medical marijuana industry, including Michael Elias, the CEO of Marshall-based Michigan Pure Med,  are asking the state to crack down on the black market.

In a statement Elias said:

“The CDC’s announcement highlights the urgent need for Michigan to crack down on bad actors and black market operators who are selling untested, dangerous products and passing it off as medicine."

"There have been more than 2,000 vaping-related lung injuries and more than three dozen deaths because of harmful cutting-agents found in illicit vape products, and this is unacceptable, which is why we need stronger enforcement of the illicit cannabis market.”

The state health department says out of the 46 cases of vape-related lung disease here in Michigan, 88% say they vaped THC.

(Photo by ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)