Last night David Owen called me and said he wanted to speak out about the dangers of marijuana vaping products.
Owen is one of the organizers behind Legalize ND, a citizen group which backed a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota last year. His group is readying another proposal for the ballot in the 2020 cycle. But last night Owen was concerned about people getting hurt.
“Before 2019, not a single person had died of marijuana use or overdose, and as of today that statement remains true,” Owen told me. “Unfortunately there is a new delivery mechanism for marijuana, that of a vapor cartridge, which introduces its own toxic chemical, Vitamin E acetate. Without getting overly technical, when the Vitamin E acetate vapor is inhaled, it causes lung tissue scarring and in cases of chronic use, hospitalization or perhaps death.”
“Due to the recent report from the Grand Forks Herald, with nearly 400 of these black-market cartridges being found in the City of Grand Forks, in 1 vehicle, we can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend it’s not happening in our state. This is real, this is dangerous, and it needs to be resolved,” he added.
Owen also referenced national headlines linking hundreds of cases of lung diseases, and several deaths, to vaping products. Mostly vaping products intended to deliver marijuana.
What’s the solution? Owen says it’s time to get rid of the black market.
“Marijuana in North Dakota has been illegal for three generations, and it has done nothing to curtail the use of the substance or decrease its availability to the general public,” he told me. “It is also the primary reason in my opinion that we have moved from the safe, natural products, towards the THC cartridge solution, as it is significantly more profitable. As a result, lawmakers can double down on this failed plan, but history has proven it won’t work.”
He also warned that people should refrain from using marijuana until it’s legal. If they are going to use it, they should use it in traditional ways.
“If you choose to use marijuana, I hope you continue to stick with the safe versions, the same versions that have not caused a single overdose or death, and refuse to purchase these black market THC cartridges,” he said. “So long as there are safe options, please use them, for the sake of your family, your friends, and your life.”