Vaping Remains Banned, Illegal Cannabis Cartridges Sold Openly Vaping Remains Banned, Illegal Cannabis Cartridges Sold Openly

Illegally operated retail outlets and dealers operating through platforms like Twitter make purchasing illicit THC carts easier than ever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently concluded that illegally produced cannabis oil cartridges spiked with vitamin E acetate were responsible for a series of outbreaks of lung illnesses and injury throughout the country. Despite this, acquiring these potentially dangerous carts has never been easier.

Officials in California have voiced concerns over large numbers of unlicensed recreational dispensaries operating illegally in the state. Additionally, officials noted that up to 80% of cannabis purchases within the state might be black market sales.

Furthermore, the ability to quickly create anonymous profiles on social media has lead to an entire market of dealers on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, willing to meet, deliver, or ship to you at a moment’s notice. Users are able to shop around and arrange a deal through direct messaging.

Despite outbreaks of lung illnesses being attributed to these illegal THC cartridges, the already heavily-regulated nicotine vaping industry has faced mounting scrutiny for lawmakers and the media. While anyone is able to readily purchase these carts as quickly as a pack of cigarettes, current, and former adult smokers are unfairly prevented access to a safe and effective smoking cessation device.

THC Not Nicotine

A series of outbreaks of lung illnesses and injuries began appearing throughout the United States in early September 2018. Officials had initially attributed these outbreaks to e-cigarettes and vaping, which led to a wave of prohibitionist policies such as flavor bans being enacted in states and municipalities throughout the country.

Officials at the California Bureau of Cannabis Control found that large numbers of unlicensed recreational dispensaries are operating illegally within the state, selling unregulated products that may be potentially dangerous. Additionally, the Cannabis Advisory Committee announced that as much as 80% of cannabis sales within the state might be taking place on the black market despite offering both recreational and medical access.

Not only are users easily able to buy risky THC cartridges in stores, but they’re readily able to order them online as well. Platforms such as Twitter and Instagram allow users to shop around, and message dealers openly advertising their products and arrange to meet in person, have it delivered, with some black-market entrepreneurs even offering domestic shipping.

Despite both the CDC and FDA concluding that nicotine vaping was not responsible for these outbreaks and that spiked cannabis cartridges were the real culprit, vaping remains prohibited throughout the country. At the same time, people can readily order risky carts through apps.

Facts About Nicotine Vaping

As the dangerous cannabis cartridge black market booms, vaping continues to face unwarranted regulatory scrutiny despite being a proven reduced-harm alternative to tobacco and useful smoking cessation device. Landmark research by Public Health England concluded that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, a figure country’s public health agency continues to stand behind.

Current data indicates vaping is significantly less harmful over the long-term than smoking. Research published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes compared to smokers.

Vaping has not only been proven to be less harmful than smoking, but it may be the single most effective way to help smokers quit. A study from the University of Louisville found that vaping was the single most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than prescription options such as Chantix.

Additionally, one of the nation’s leading academic bodies found there is little to no risk to long-term users of vapor products. Research by the National Academy of Sciences found that vaping is less harmful than smoking, and there are no long-term health effects associated with long-term usage.


Forms of prohibitionist policy, such as flavor bans, prevent current and former adult smokers from accessing a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco and proven smoking cessation device. Meanwhile, people are freely able to visit retailers and shop for dealers online to purchase potentially dangerous products responsible for thousands of illnesses and injuries to date.

Reactionary regulation passed by lazy lawmakers has led to damning implications for the broader vaping industry as a whole. Licensed vape shops are being forced out of business through restrictive regulation, while illegal unlicensed dispensaries operate freely.

Despite the injustice of inconsistency, members of the vaping community must continue to remain diligent in continuing to push back against various forms of government overreach, preventing them from accessing the tool that freed them from the bonds of cigarette addiction. These inconsistencies only highlight the issues with these forms of regulation and the broader ramifications which may stem from them.

What are your feelings on the lack of consistency in enforcing regulations between cannabis and nicotine vapor products? Are you concerned about the widespread availability of potentially dangerous cartridges? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!


Katie Bercham - CocktailNerd Editor

Katie actually had a negative first experience of electronic cigarettes, picking up a cheap and horrible model from my local mall. Thanks to a chance meeting with co-editor David, she hasn’t had a tobacco cigarette in over 5 years. She brings a strong female voice to the e-cig community.