On November 5, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) announced that vaping-related illnesses had affected a total of 2,051 people. The federal health agency added that 39 people had died as of November 5. Amid rising concerns about vaping-related deaths, President Donald Trump announced that he’d meet with representatives of the vaping industry.
On November 11, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Trump tweeted, “Will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma.” He added, “Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!”
However, the article stated that public health advocates fear the meeting could dilute the policy. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, stated that he was worried about the mentioning of jobs in the tweet. He thinks that talks could allow for the sale of some flavored e-cigarettes that attract young people and children. As per the article, Rizzo wants the government to ban menthol and mint-flavored e-cigarettes along with sweet and fruit-flavored e-cigarettes.
The article added that in September, the Trump administration wanted to ban all flavored e-cigarettes. Later, the administration exempted menthol-flavored products only.
Vaping controversy’s impact on cannabis
The CDC reported that it had collected information from 867 patients suffering from vaping-related illnesses about the products they used in e-cigarettes or vape products. It revealed that 86% had used THC-containing products, while 34% had used THC-containing products only. Also, 64% of patients had used nicotine-containing products, while 11% had used nicotine-containing products only.
Although the exact cause for the illness is still unknown, the CDC has advised citizens not to use illegal brands or modify the substances used in the e-cigarettes. Last month, Vox reported that the majority of the patients that it interviewed stated they had purchased THC-containing vape products from informal sources. So, with the majority of the cases relating to illegal cannabis, could Trump look at legalizing marijuana to stop vaping-related illness? Until now, he’s been silent on legalization. Read Cannabis Legalization: Did President Trump Drop a Hint? for more info.
Canada legalized the sale of cannabis-derived products starting on October 17, 2018. Many prominent cannabis players are now entering the vaping segment. Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED) plans to introduce 15 vaping SKUs by the end of the year. The company has also submitted its products to Health Canada for approval. Read Canopy Growth Is Set to Launch New Products to know more about Canopy’s upcoming releases.
In June, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) entered into a supply agreement with PAX Labs. Along with PAX, the company plans to introduce a portfolio of vape products at various price points. Last month, Aurora submitted its cannabis-derived products to Health Canada for approval. In June, Aphria forecast that vapes and concentrate products would acquire 30% of the Canadian adult-use market. The company has also partnered with PAX Labs for the development of cannabis vaporization devices.
The cannabis sector is under pressure
This year, the marijuana sector is going through a rough patch. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) has lost 23.2% of its value. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index is up 23.1%. The expectation of a slowdown in cannabis sales growth, vaping-related deaths, and higher operating expenses appear to have dragged the sector down. Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, and Aphria have fallen 29.5%, 26.7%, and 16.7%, respectively, this year. Marijuana legalization at the federal level in the US could boost the sector.
On November 14, both Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth will report their earnings results. For a look at analysts’ estimates, read Aurora Cannabis: Can it Boost the Industry in Q1? and Can Canopy Beat Q2 Estimates and Boost the Sector? For more cannabis-related news and updates, check out 420 Investor Daily.