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DEA to Join Fight Against Illicit THC Cartridges Behind Lung Illness Outbreak

Counterfeit cannabis cartridges, via the New York State Department of Health.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Food and Drug Administration is asking the DEA to help with the ongoing investigation into a lung illness outbreak linked to vaping.

The FDA wants the DEA to help crack down on the supply side of the crisis because health experts have linked the illnesses to black market cannabis vape cartridges.

Health experts are increasingly focusing on illicit cannabis cartridges that are cut with vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent that resembles marijuana oil.

“To be clear, if we determine that someone is manufacturing or distributing illicit, adulterated products that caused illness or death for personal profit, we would consider that a criminal act,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday.

Last week, the FDA launched a criminal investigation focused on the black market makers of the cartridges.

In the past month, law enforcement has busted at least two major distributors of counterfeit, black market cannabis cartridges.

More than 53o people have been sickened by the mysterious lung illness, and at least nine people have died. In a vast majority of the cases, the patients vaped black market cannabis cartridges.


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