Responding to tragic deaths across the United States, including two in Oregon, along with many reported illnesses, Kind Leaf made the decision back in September to be the first cannabis dispensary only carry cannabis vape cartridges with natural ingredients, before any government action took place. The death toll has unfortunately climbed to 37 and reported illnesses are now reaching close to 2,000 across the country.
It is true leadership to put consumer safety over temporary profits, but that is just what Kind Leaf, one of Oregon’s premier cannabis retailers, did. It is even more impressive considering that the Pendleton store is a true, mom-and-pop shop, not backed by out-of-state or out-of-country investors or corporate interests.
Cannabis legalization has ended unnecessary arrests and citations in Oregon while creating thousands of jobs for our residents and generating millions of revenue for the state, but more testing and labeling regulations are needed regarding additives to cannabis oil cartridges. While the state of Oregon took several steps forward, first asking retailers to review products on their shelves and to remove any products that may have concerns about, before finally announcing a temporary ban on flavored cartridges and establishing a workgroup to look at the issue, Kind Leaf lead the way and did not wait for government regulators, or anyone else, to act.
Kind Leaf Pendleton removed 68 vape cartridges from 15 different brands because they contain additives that aren’t specifically listed as ingredients. While more information is needed, tests of vape cartridges suspected to be the cause of some illnesses have found vitamin E acetate, used by some companies as a thickener, to be a prime culprit. Currently, vitamin E acetate and other potentially harmful additives aren’t required to be tested for or labeled under state guidelines. The cause of these frightening illnesses is still unknown and there could be multiple causes.
“We take our responsibility to provide safe cannabis and cannabis products very seriously,” stated Erin Purchase, Kind Leaf’s director of operations. “Consumers should know what they are ingesting and potentially fatal additives should not be allowed to taint an otherwise safe product. We believe that it is common sense to put people before profits and will work with regulators and businesses to ensure that Oregon’s cannabis program is as safe as possible for all Oregonians.”
Thankfully, Kind Leaf’s own Erin Purchase has been appointed to serve on Oregon’s Vaping Health Public Workgroup. Erin will rely upon her knowledge of Complementary Alternative Medicine, her experience in the cannabis industry, as well as her passion for consumer rights and safety, to advise the state to the best of her ability. It is great that the state is taking this issue seriously and has chosen someone with her heart and mind in the right place to help the state develop safer industry regulations.