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California Officials Say Seized Illegal Vape Pens Contained Dangerous Additives

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California officials announced vape cartridges seized from illegal dispensaries in Los Angeles contained dangerous additives, including the substance linked to the outbreak of vape-related lung illnesses.

California officials seized and tested more than 10,000 illegal vape cartridges and found 75 percent had undisclosed chemicals such as vitamin E acetate, which the CDC named as the cause of the vape-related lung illnesses. State officials also found nearly all of the seized vapes were less potent than advertised, with some containing fractions of the THC listed on the packaging. In some samples, the cannabis oil in the cartridges was diluted by more than one-third with undisclosed additives.

“The prevalence of dirty and dangerous vape pens at unlicensed cannabis stores demonstrate how important it is for consumers to purchase cannabis goods from licensed retailers, which are required to sell products that meet state testing and labeling standards,” said Lori Ajax, head of California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control. “We urge consumers to scan the QR code to confirm that a business is licensed.”

California lawmakers proposed new rules that would require all licensed cannabis shops to post a QR code in storefronts to help customers distinguish legal dispensaries from illegal ones. Customers would then use their smartphone to scan the code and be able to see if the business is selling legal and tested cannabis products.

A new federal report by the Centers for Disease Control found one in six patients who developed lung injuries after vaping cannabis obtained their products from legal dispensaries. The CDC report, based on patients in Utah, Wisconsin and Utah, found 16 percent of those who reported purchased their product from a commercial source, with the majority reporting they purchased the product from “informal” sources such as family, friends, and in-person and online dealers.