Vaping Crisis, Cannabis Career Opportunities Discussed at CWCB Expo

Hundreds of New England-based cannabis industry professionals turned out for the 3rd annual Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCB Expo), held last week at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.

In addition to connecting with suppliers and CBD brands, attendees heard from a number of industry stakeholders, including dispensary operators, manufacturers, and trade group leaders, as well as a variety of consultants and service providers.

Arguably the most spirited discussion during the three-day conference occurred on Thursday afternoon and focused on a national vaping crisis that in recent months has pitted cannabis companies against policy makers.

In September, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker placed a four-month ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported hundreds of lung injuries and multiple deaths related to the use of vape (Oregon has also instituted a six-month ban on the sale of flavored vaping products).

Speaking on the topic during the CWCB Expo were Jennifer Flanagan, the commissioner of Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) policy director Andrew Kline and inhaleMD president Jordan Tishler.

Moderated by Seth Adler, the host of the Cannabis Economy podcast, panelists were asked to comment on Gov. Baker’s decision to implement a ban, and the potential implications of the move.

“It is hard to place blame on someone that is there to protect the public health,” Kline said, adding that he believes the ban will only drive consumer who would otherwise purchase vaping products from legal dispensaries to the illicit market.

“Rather than just banning the products, let’s list the ingredients,” he said. “Let’s take the ingredients that are dangerous and ban them.”

For her part, Flanagan said the CCC must enforce Baker’s ban and support the Governor as he addresses a so-called “public health emergency.”

Kline pushed back, and suggested that Massachusetts lawmakers should instead look to a mature market like Colorado as a model to emulate.

“Colorado has been at this for 10 years, and Colorado is not banning these products,” he said.

Indeed, Colorado’s marijuana enforcement division has proposed a ban on certain additives believed to be linked to the increasing number of vaping-related illnesses -- which now stands at more than 1,600.

“Why not look at that list, ban those products and start there,” he said, pointing to an adjunct like vitamin E acetate as a potential culprit.

In addition to conversations around the future of vaping and the cannabis category as a whole, the CWCB Expo hosted numerous talks that examined career opportunities and the evolving culture of the cannabis industry

Minority and female representation within the industry was explored during several seminars, and entrepreneurial opportunities throughout the hemp and CBD sectors was also discussed.

Stay tuned for additional THCnet coverage of the CWCB Expo in the coming days. In the meantime, check out a photo slideshow from the event above.

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