When Cannabis 2.0. was implemented, cannabis consumers in Newfoundland and Labrador found that one big product was missing from their shelves: cannabis vaporizer pens and vaporizer cartridges. The ban on cannabis vaporizer sales has finally been removed for “Canada’s Happy Province”.
Public Health Scare Halts Vape Sales
Newfoundland and Labrador’s cannabis stores opened in 2019, which directly coincided with the industry event that came to be known as “vapegate”. Skeptics, critics, and public health officials alike, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA released statements warning that vaporizers were linked to increases in lung injury. It was found that it was a lack of regulation and the use of Vitamin E acetate in vaporizers that was indeed creating a public health scare. This event helped the industry as a whole create and enforce strong standards for vaporizer product production and reinforced the need for strict testing for potentially harmful compounds.
As cannabis stores were set to open across Canada, America’s maritime neighbours to the north watched this public health scare, leading the province to ban the sale of vaporizer products across Newfoundland and Labrador. The regulators wanted to wait until there was more information and research on the impacts of vaporizing cannabis products and lung health.
In 2020, there was a report of a vaporizer-related illness occurring, which only muddied the waters on whether sales should be permitted in cannabis stores. At the time, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, chief medical officer, said the “emergence of vaping-associated lung illness is quite concerning,” and the province will continue to monitor for cases. “To reduce your risk of this illness, we recommend that you do not vape any products,” she said.
Permitting Vape Sales, With Restrictions
After a three-year review that took a number of health and safety issues into account, the province finally removed the ban on vaporizer products. Products are not to contain any flavouring, such as using botanical terpenes, other than those related to the cannabis itself.
Newfoundland and Labrador Canada (NLC), recently updated their Frequently Asked Questions page to reflect that these products are now available across the province. The Cannabis NL provincial retailer currently displays 16 different available vaporizer cartridges, each listed at $36.99 per gram.
“Oceanic is very excited to see the industry evolve in [Newfoundland and Labrador],” says Taylor Giovannini, CEO of Oceanic Releaf in an interview with Cannabis Retailer. “Oceanic jumped at the opportunity.” The company has released their own brand of vape cartridges called SEAWEED and OCEANIC, which are available in their eight retail stores across Newfoundland and Labrador and at the NLC warehouse for all other retailers to purchase. “We’re happy to see [Newfoundland and Labrador] catch up to the other markets in Canada,” says Giovannini. “Oceanic will continue to push for progress and positive change to the cannabis industry.”
According to Health Canada’s 2021 Cannabis Use Survey, 28% of consumers prefer using vaporizers as their method of cannabis consumption. At present, vaporizer products are still banned in Quebec.