Washington lawmakers push to ban potent marijuana concentrates

Published Feb 11, 2020 02:00 p.m. ET
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One of the many bills that are circulating in Washington today is House Bill 2546. This bill would effectively change the face of the legal cannabis landscape in Washington, outlawing the majority of vape cartridges, dabbable extracts, and other types of cannabis concentrate products that are state-licensed.

Forcing a number of cannabis consumers into the unregulated legacy market

This market is responsible for killing people with tainted vape cartridges. The popularity and demand for these products are high, and the lawmakers have noted 40% of the state's sales of legal cannabis is through these products. Lawmakers have concerns over the connection between psychosis and cannabis. Some lawmakers believe that there must be a cap on the amount of THC that’s set to 10% on all non-medical marijuana concentrates.

THC limits

Ganja products on the legacy market will be providing the levels of THC that the consumer wants. The amount of THC in the products, like THC oil or dabbable concentrates, will have the potency that people prefer and that many have been purchasing for years.

Legacy market concentrates have been connected with over 50 deaths. CDC officials have concluded that vitamin E oil was used in the diluting of the illegal market vape cartridges. State-approved licensed to market products did not show in testing any Vitamin E oil, due to the potency testing required at the state level. The potency testing would explain the lack of THC and render the product unsellable.

The levels of THC that the lawmakers want to have capped according to a professor at Northwestern University could quickly backfire and be the catalyst for driving the consumer to the legacy market. One could wonder where did the magic number of 10% come from? Well, the answer is that in the past studies that have been conducted and define "high-potency" ganja any product with more than 10% THC.

The new bill that is being attempted to be bought to light raises another question. How will breeders produce low-potency extracts? For the breeders to comply with HB 2546 strict level limits, processors would likely need to dilute the products or start with deficient potency plant material according to the industry experts. Currently, ganja trim or the flower can contain 10% to 30% THC.

Cannabis extractor Heylo states that to comply with the new proposed rules, concentrate producers would need to blend THC extracts with other cannabinoids like CBD or dilute with some form of the cutting agent. Christine Bryant from Hashtag, a cannabis retailer, believes that the passing of bill HB 2546 would be devastating for their inventory. Most of the store's high CBD concentrates have levels of THC at about 20%.

She acknowledges that psychosis is terrible and frightening, sometimes debilitating symptoms. However, she and other professionals are unconvinced that a cap of 10% on the concentrates will provide any substantial benefits to the cannabis consumer. If 40% of the products that are being purchased are banned, then it is likely that the action from this bill’s approval will light the path to the age-old legacy market.

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