The emerging cannabis industry faced one of its biggest tests to-date in late 2019 when numerous illnesses were reported and vape cartridges were pointed to as the cause.
Mainstream media coverage of the issue was enormously negative in focus and can accurately be described as possessing a hysteria quality.
Cannabis opponents jumped on the issue, trying as hard as they could to downplay reports that the issue almost entirely involved unregulated cartridges, and instead used the crisis to try to portray the regulated cannabis industry in the worst light possible.
The illnesses and deaths tied to the vape crisis are extremely unfortunate, which is part of what makes the media hysteria and opportunistic tactics of cannabis opponents so terrible.
Individuals affected by vape-related issues, their families, and the overall public safety of society deserves better. We all deserve to have a conversation that is driven by logic and science, and not scare tactics.
A big question that has lingered since the first reports of illnesses is how will this affect legal vape cartridge sales?
What Does the Math Say?
A handful of isolated reports trickled into the media at the start of the vape crisis regarding reduced vape cartridge sales at dispensaries.
Many cannabis industry observers pointed on social media that just because one dispensary experienced reduced sales didn’t automatically mean that it represented the entire industry.
BDS Analytics examined a large amount of vape cartridge sales data from California, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Maryland which is much more useful data compared to looking at just one or two dispensaries.
According to the sales data compiled by BDS Analytics, in October, which was the second month after the onset of the vaping crisis, vape cartridge sales in the six markets increased by 0.4% compared to the previous month.
Some markets showed signs of consumers switching from vape cartridges to other forms of cannabis, however, at the macro level, the vape crisis appears to not have translated into a major decline in vape cartridge sales.
That is good news for the emerging cannabis industry and also for the safety of cannabis consumers across the country.
Why the Math is Important
In decades past, fear-mongering was an effective tactic for cannabis opponents. Spreading stories and talking points that involved half-truths and/or outright lies worked.
Those days appear to have gone the way of the dinosaur if vape cartridge sales data is any indication.
Cannabis consumers and non-cannabis consumers alike want to see cannabis policies and regulations that are based on science and research, and not on the outdate political views of a handful of people.
As many cannabis advocates have pointed out over the last few months, concerns about cannabis products is an argument in favor of cannabis legalization and regulation, not continued prohibition.
Lawmakers and regulators across the United States pursued kneejerk reactions to the vape cartridge reports, which was counterproductive.
Meanwhile, the cannabis industry was largely proactive and did the responsible thing of pulling products from shelves when necessary, issuing voluntary recalls in some instances, and performed a top to bottom review of product development processes.
The responsible manner in which the regulated cannabis industry has handled this major test is commendable and has clearly resonated with the cannabis community, as reflected in BDS’ analysis.
It demonstrates that the general public is no longer falling for the fear-mongering tactics that were so effective in previous decades. Science and logic are winning the day, not hysteria, and that is a great thing.
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