SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

Vape death prompts Oregon to ask stores to review products

Authorities in charge of Oregon's legal retail marijuana market will ask store owners to voluntarily review the products on their shelves and pull any they feel might be unsafe.

Posted: Sep 11, 2019 3:41 PM
Updated: Sep 11, 2019 5:41 PM

By GILLIAN FLACCUS Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities in charge of Oregon's legal marijuana market said Wednesday that they will ask store owners to voluntarily review pot products on their shelves and pull any they feel might be unsafe as concern mounts about severe lung illnesses and deaths tied to vaping across the U.S.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which also regulates pot, will ask stores to put up signs warning about the potential dangers of vaping, executive director Steve Marks told The Associated Press.

The agency can't ban vaping devices or any specific ingredients in them until more is known about what is causing the health problems, he said.

"The public safety agency has to tell us there's a public health concern for us to act," Marks said. "They have not done so yet. ... With the lack of specificity, that's about the level of action we can take at this point."

Nationwide, hundreds of serious breathing illnesses and six deaths have been tied to e-cigarettes, including one death in Oregon.

In that case, a middle-aged man had recently vaped products containing THC, the compound that gives marijuana its high, that were purchased at a legal marijuana dispensary in Oregon, health authorities say.

The names of the store and company involved have not been released.

Federal and state officials are investigating what is to blame for the illnesses, and no single device, ingredient or additive has been identified as the main culprit.


RELATED: Senator Ron Wyden wants to tax e-cigarettes after Oregon vape death


Most of the patients said they vaped products containing THC. But some said they vaped only nicotine, while others said they used both THC and nicotine.

After extensive testing, New York investigators have focused on vitamin E acetate, which recently has been used as a thickener, particularly in black market vape cartridges.

Suppliers say it dilutes vape oils without making them look watery. Vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or to use on the skin but inhaling oily vitamin E droplets can trigger pneumonia.

Officials in New York have subpoenaed three of the biggest thickener manufacturers.

The Oregon Health Authority said it hasn't conclusively linked any one product to the death in the state and couldn't say if vitamin E acetate was involved.

Marks, the Oregon regulatory chief, said no companies selling marijuana vape cartridges at state-licensed stores have listed vitamin E acetate as an ingredient, which they would be required to do. Regulators haven't banned or approved its use because no companies have indicated they are using it, he said.

But Oregon doesn't test for additives like vitamin E acetate in vaping products sold at retail stores, so the regulators can't know if it's being added illicitly by some manufacturers, Marks said.

Any company that has added an "undisclosed agent" to its vape cartridges should tell regulators immediately or face "legal complications and probably additional liabilities," he said.

"My worry is that some of these folks may have gone around and put vitamin E in their products that we are unaware of," Marks said. "If it's in our products, it's out there and we don't have a clear way to know which ones it may or may not be in."

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission first heard of vitamin E acetate in May during a meeting with a company that wanted to sell its newly developed thickener containing the additive to state-licensed companies that make marijuana-infused vaping devices.

The commission said the discussion ended when it told the company it would have to list all the ingredients in the thickener instead of just calling it a "vitamin stabilizer."

Companies and dispensary networks outside Oregon also took note of vaping additives Wednesday as a new case of lung disease emerged in Washington state.

The Berkeley Patients Group, the oldest medical dispensary in the country, said it is contacting all its vendors to ensure products are additive free.

And several prominent cannabis oil extractors distanced themselves from vaping additives, including AbsoluteXtracts and Dosist.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
Marion39592504
Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
Deschutes23182185
Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5061240

Reported Deaths: 74159
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152548627128
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581504
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
Nevada9914103
Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
San Benito775977
Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
Sierra2170
Alpine1060
Out of CA00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 47°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 47°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
33° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 33°
Stagnant and dry weather continue all week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events