The vaping outbreak that happened in the second half of 2019 commanded the attention of the marijuana industry.
The vaping outbreak took a toll on vape-related companies and led to the death of dozens of people, and more than 2,600 were hospitalized. The cause of the epidemic pointed to the additive vitamin E acetate, which found in some of the implicated THC vaping products.
The industry has overcome the situation, and vape sales are picking up again; however, this should be a lesson for businesses dealing with marijuana products.
The epidemic has influenced the way the public views state-legal marijuana companies. Marijuana company executives have taken the initiative to review their processes, especially those related to technology. They are also more focused on testing as well as their relationships with the consumers.
The following are some of the takeaways from the vape crisis the staff from Marijuana Business Magazine found when they took a deep dive into the marijuana industry, and how businesses can best operate moving forward.
Determine the additives that are safe for vape products
Due to the vape crisis, thee list of additives that companies can use in vaping products has been reduced. Additionally, the manufacturer can choose to omit additives or add terpenes. According to the chief product development officer at Cresco Labs, Matt Ingram, using 100% marijuana products in the vaping products is safe, because vaping marijuana oil is safe. Ingram also said it is safe to use terpenes obtained from other plants. However, the CEO of Platinum Vape Cody Sadler noted that currently, marijuana-derived terpenes are the only safe thing to use in vaping products. Botanical terpenes are not bad; it’s just that we are not sure if they are meant to be smoked, Sadler added.
It is vital to vet hardware suppliers and test the vape components
Although the vaping hardware was not associated with the vaping outbreak, investigators found that some THC vaporizers had heavy metals. Therefore, before sourcing any supplier, the companies should make sure that they are ISO certified and that they meet all the testing requirements, Ingram said. Vaping products manufacturing companies should also visit the companies supplying them with vaping hardware. According to Ingram, Cresco Labs also tests the equipment before dispatching the products to the retailers.
Companies should adopt technology the make the vape products more transparent and help fight the fake vaping products.
Marijuana vaporizer companies have adopted new technologies to help instill trust in vaping products by manufacturing cartridges that encrypted with microchips to help fight counterfeit vape cartridges. They have also attached QR codes which can be scanned using a smartphone to help consumers monitor the dosage, use, and authenticity. Lucid Green provides marijuana vape suppliers with a technology known as Lucid ID, which scanned using a smartphone; it displays the product’s lab results, dosage guidelines, ingredients, effects, and user reviews.
How to navigate the next critical events in the marijuana industry
Since the legalization of marijuana in the U.S., thee vaping crisis was the first significant national health emergency to hit the country, and most probably, it is not the last. In preparation for future marijuana crisis, marijuana industry executives recommend the adoption of the following six strategies.
- Prepare a marketing response that will provide the general public with a clear message.
- Consider the food industry’s farm-to-table approach.
- Educate the retailers about the content of the product.
- Educate consumers about the content of the product.
- Manufacturing companies should thoroughly vet suppliers.
- Reassess and reevaluate the internal workings of your business.