ALEXANDRIA, Va.—As the United States discusses the health hazards of vaping, the Wall Street Journal finds that an online market is thriving for illegal cannabis vaping products and the tools to create counterfeits.
Materials used to manufacture vaping cartridges, also called pods, can be found on many popular social media websites and online retail platforms. Since empty packaging and vape pods are readily available online, black market dealers can fill them with home-brewed products that haven’t been tested.
“The resources to make it look like you have a legitimate product are easier to get” thanks to the internet, said Vlad Valme of Portland, Oregon-based Thompson Duke Industrial, which manufactures vape-pod-filling machines.
On Instagram and Facebook, users offer cannabis oils and vaping devices. Although these companies have policies against this and remove offenders from their sites, it’s still a buzzing market—and law enforcement and tech companies are struggling to police it properly.
Earlier this year, Congress introduced a bill to target online e-cigarette sales to minors. NACS advocates for extending the Prevent all Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act) to internet sales of e-cigarettes. NACS supports updating the PACT Act to cover e-cigarettes because it would level the playing field for businesses that sell the products through different channels.
The PACT Act legislation advances the policy goal of preventing underage sales and provides a fair regulatory structure for businesses. Recently, the FDA has moved to ban the sale of unauthorized, non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes, and states such as Michigan and New York have passed or worked to pass similar laws.