Was Vaping Just Banned In Ohio?
To vape or not to vape … but seriously, that is the question.
As the death tolls rises to nearly two dozen souls, the vaping crisis has reached a media fever pitch. Health officials at the FDA and CDC are cracking down on vaping and vaping products.
Does this mean that vaping in Ohio is no longer permitted? Well, kind of. Our team at #420OH breaks down what happened, and what patients should do now that vaping is considered dangerous.
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Program Update
With so many deaths associated with vaping carts, government organizations have been scrambling to figure out how best to address the situation.
In their “wisdom,” they have called for a ban on all vaping products containing THC (how novel). We’ll get into that in a moment, but to best understand the gravity of the situation, here’s the official statement released from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program regarding the decision from the U.S. FDA and CDC:
Dear Ohio Patients and Caregivers,
As previously communicated, the State Board of Pharmacy and the Medical Marijuana Control Program are committed to providing you updates regarding the investigation of vaping illnesses as they come available. Late yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration strengthened its message to include the following:
The public should not use any vaping product using tetrahydrocannabinol.
Consumers who choose to use any vaping products should not modify or add any substances such as THC or other oils to products purchased in stores.
Individuals should not purchase any vaping products, including those containing THC, off the street or from other illicit channels.
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program continue to work with the Ohio Department of Health and monitor CDC efforts to understand the causes of vaping illness. The Board would like to emphasize that we consider this a developing issue and will provide guidance as more information becomes available.
Anyone who thinks that they may be experiencing serious breathing problems linked to vaping should seek immediate medical attention.
Patients should report any adverse events related to medical marijuana to the MMCP Toll-Free Helpline at 1-833-464-6627.
Patients who are vaping medical marijuana as part of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program should contact their recommending physician about how to best manage the condition being treated with medical marijuana.
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program
So ... is Smoking Legal in Ohio Again?
It would seem, from the language used in the above statement, that if you don’t feel safe vaping THC products, you don’t have to vape. State officials didn’t expressly note this in the letter they sent to Ohio medical marijuana patients, but the letter does suggest that patients speak with their recommending physicians for advice. It’s likely that physician would simply recommend an alternative method, like smoking cannabis, instead.
It remains unclear if Ohio will blanket ban vaping products throughout the Buckeye State, but I wouldn’t bet on them not banning those products. Our fairly conversative state has been at odds with its own medical marijuana program since its inception. Officials have stalled certain cannabis businesses and regulated others out of existence. A few legislators have even gone as far as to decry the program as risky. It’s only logical to wonder if this latest move is simply another play to kill Ohio’s medical marijuana law once and for all.
That being said, this could also be the door opening on ending the cannabis smoking ban in Ohio. While smoke inhalation isn’t health per say, patients can better control how to use cannabis when smoking. A patient can keep a clean bowl, free of germs and bacteria. They can use hemp wick instead of butane. And they can use as much or as little Ohio-grown weed as they want simply by controlling how often they combust the dry flower.
But until state officials etch this move in stone, smoking is still not quite legal in the state. However, if a doctor recommends it for you, then a doctor has recommended it as a good treatment option for you.
Is Vaping Actually Dangerous?
Yes and no. We’ve already outlined the dangers of vaping in a few spaces, but let us reiterate — cannabis oils bought off the street may not be safe for you. In fact, you may be injecting poison into your lungs and putting your health and well-being at risk.
Unless you know and trust the source of your vape carts with your very existence on this planet, stick with dry flower cannabis for now. That said, there are no known reports of injuries or illness related to regulated Ohio medical marijuana cannabis products, be it dry flower or processed products, like vape oils.
By the Numbers...
Let’s put some context on all this hysteria. Gun violence leads to over 300 deaths per day in America. Of those deaths, over 90 occur unintentionally. Yet guns are still totally legal.
At current, there have been close to 20 deaths associated with the vaping illness, and about 1100 cases that required a visit to the hospital. Those are big numbers, and not something to brush off. There is a toxic vape oil out there that’s really hurting people, and those responsible need to pay for the damage they have done to countless innocent cannabis users.
But does a ban even make sense? We don’t ban cars and yet there are hundreds of fatalities each year due to faulty wiring, bad brakes or other flaws in a vehicle. Same goes for assault weapons, which contribute to over 4% of all gun-related deaths in the United States.
As with most dangerous products on the market, be it guns, cars, phones or medicine, legalization and strict regulation of those products makes way more sense than outright banning them.
That’s why cars have safety standards that must be met. Medicine is sold in a highly regulated pharmacy. Phones has strict guidelines for manufacturing. And gun buyers submit to a background check and need to wait for at least a week before buying a gun in most states. There will always be loopholes and cracks in the seams of regulation, but regulation is still a safer bet. Those cracks and loopholes can always be closed up.
Is This Ban Just A Clever Way to Nix Cannabis Legalization?
As legalization continues to ramp up in other countries, and states move to legalize cannabis in one form or another, there is a lot of hysteria about cannabis legalization. From a regulator standpoint, it is logical to be concerned about a new product entering the market. Is it safe? Is this product going to hurt people in the long run? Can this product be made in a way that can hurt people? If you can answer both yes and no to each question with some sense of logic to each side’s argument, you’re getting a sense of how regulators think. They are concerned. Always.
But does this concern translate to banning THC cannabis oil? It could be, and most certainly those with a close-minded approach to cannabis will likely seize on this moment to drain legalization efforts as much as they can. But frankly, regulators are not likely thinking that far ahead. Rather, they’re likely suggesting avoiding black market cannabis because it seems to be the primary culprit here. Once the FDA and CDC can isolate the problem, we will see things return to business as usual … hopefully. But if not, you can reach out to your legislators here and tell them that you are concerned.
But honestly, organizations like the FDA and CDC generally just want citizens to feel safe and be safe, no matter what products they choose to use in private. And so do we! Don’t use a product that might be unsafe.
Personally, I tossed two black market carts once reports zeroed in on Dank Vapes. It’s vital for Ohio medical marijuana patients to be safe with their cannabis. If the cannabis product is being used to benefit your health, you owe it to yourself to buy a product that will actually do that. So do your research and stay safe out there.
Going to an Ohio Dispensary...
There are roughly 40 dispensaries currently operating in the State of Ohio, with more on the way. Here’s a comprehensive list of Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries you can visit throughout the Buckeye State.
Budtenders, pharmacists, or cannabis patient consultants can assist you with questions you may have about the safety of the products in their store. Don’t be afraid to ask them for their thoughts or recommendations regarding on cannabis oils.
The educational materials, editorials and reviews found on this site are provided for informational purposes only. We are not responsible for patients or recreational cannabis users and their actions. Please consult your medical marijuana physician or pharmacist about how to properly medicate with medical cannabis, or to learn how to get your Ohio medical marijuana card.
We’ll break down why lawmakers should consider full legalization in order to better control the safety of the cannabis industry, and lead people away from potentially dangerous unregulated black market cannabis.