On Monday, a Massachusetts judge, Douglas Wilkins, refused to reverse the ban on the sale of vaping products, which was adopted after the outbreak of lung illnesses associated with e-cigarettes. However, he instructed the state of Michigan to modify the ban and solicit public comments.
Judge Douglas Wilkins from Suffolk County Superior Court’s ruling was a partial win for Charlie Baker, a Republican Governor who, in response to the outbreak of the lung illnesses, adopted the strictest sales ban. However, Judge Wilkins said that by issuing the ban, Baker overexerted his powers. The judge issued an order that would stop the state from enforcing a ban on the sale of nicotine-vaping products unless defects were detected in the products.
The judge said that by October 28, through an emergency regulation, Baker should reissue the ban and give the vape shops as well as the members of the public a chance to comment.
Products containing THC, which is the psychoactive compound of marijuana, are legal in the state; therefore, they will not be affected by the ban.
Baker’s administration was responsible for ensuring that the order was issued correctly as they prepared for the next steps, said Lizzy Guyton, Baker’s spokeswoman.
The business association was not happy about the ban and said they are working to block it. The group said the ban is a threat to the state’s $331 million nicotine vaping industry, said Tony Abboud, VTAs executive director.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of e-cigarette lung-related illnesses reported nationally are about 1,479. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention links most of the diseases to products containing compounds of THC, especially those bought from the illicit market.
Washington-based VTA filed the lawsuit against Baker’s emergency order citing that the mandate was unconstitutional, overreaching, and arbitrary because it was meant to target the youth engaging in vaping activities and the outbreak but ended up banning the sale of vaping products to everyone irrespective of their age.
Other states such as Oregon, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington joined in on the ban of e-cigarettes sales, asserting that they are harmful to public health, especially to teenagers.
The ban of e-cigarettes in Michigan, New York, and Oregon has been put on hold by the courts following similar lawsuits.
It is expected that marijuana industry players, such as Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) may be happy with this ruling since it puts a halt to the arbitrary and farreaching bans that would have been imposed elsewhere.
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