Stories about vaping illnesses have dominated news from the cannabis community over the last few months; here at The Marijuana Times we have done several stories on the subject and have covered it even more on our video news show, Cannabis News.
There are several reasons for this: people are dying from bootleg carts and awareness about this needs to be raised, in my estimation. Beyond that, the issue is one that prohibition supporters are trying to spin as some sort of argument against legalization, when, in fact, yet another positive effect of legalization would be a reduction in the making and availability of bootleg carts – as legal carts undercut the need for them.
One way or another, the saga over bootleg THC cartridges will be one that affects the cannabis community for some time to come. And now, we have a new Associated Press report that over the last 2 years authorities across the United States have arrested some 120 people and have seized over 500,000 illegal vape carts. In one bust in Minnesota alone, law enforcement found 77,000 cartridges.
Considering the fact that this is likely just a fraction of the bootleg carts produced in the U.S. over the last 2 years, one can easily assume that millions are in circulation, maybe even tens of millions. That’s millions of cartridges that have unknown chemicals in them, still out there.
And until the government catches up to the problem and gives the legal industry the permission to operate and undercut the black market, it’s up to us in the cannabis community to warn others to stay away from these bootleg cartridges.
If someone wants to sell your some carts – even someone that you might know – beware. If they are in any way unaware of where the carts came from or can’t prove they came from a legal shop, take a pass. If they are on sale for $40-$50, take a pass. And if you know they came from someone’s basement or garage, take a hard pass and walk the other way.
I know what it’s like to be in a state that still languishes under cannabis prohibition; something that seems like a taste of the legal industry is enticing, but just because it looks like it came from a store doesn’t mean it did.
If you live in a prohibition state, stick with what you know. One day you’ll be able to walk into a store and buy real THC cartridges; until then, it’s best to err on the side of caution.