Washington State's Vaping Response Targets THC Products

Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order that requires the state’s cannabis regulator to immediately ban THC vaping products that are identified by the US CDC and FDA as the cause of the lung disease epidemic. The Governor also directed the State Board of Health to use its emergency rulemaking authority to ban flavored vaping products, including THC products, at its meeting on September 9, 2019.

Washington’s response to the vaping epidemic is broader and requires the state’s regulator to act quicker than those issued recently by California, New York, and Michigan. The order directs the cannabis industry to immediately post signs warning consumers about the risks of vaping and to disclose all compounds used in the processing and production of vape products.

The state’s cannabis regulator, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, notified licensees of these requirements, which include:

  • The posting of the vape products warning sign in each store;

  • The disclosure of all compounds contained in THC products including additives, CBD and other cannabinoids;

  • The disclosure to the LCB of all solvents, ingredients, and additives used in the processing and production of vape products;

  • Cooperating with investigators; and

  • Voluntarily educating consumers about issues related to vape products.

The cannabis industry will also be impacted by the bills that will be sponsored by Governor Inslee during the 2020 legislative session. The bills provide the state with additional oversight of the vaping industry and provide money to fund enforcement efforts in the black market.

We expect most states will propose vaping legislation in 2020. The legislation will require additional product disclosures, warning signs, flavor bans, and testing requirements. The cannabis industry may consider bolstering industry best practices to incorporate manufacturing and marketing standards. This proactive response could help shape what the legislation will look like in 2020.