Politicians Respond to Vape Deaths with Proud Ignorance & a Dangerous Disregard for the Actual Issue
It truly has been a fascinating week to watch lazy, inept, and woefully uninformed politicians from the POTUS on down completely redefine the term ‘knee jerk reaction’ in the wake of half a dozen deaths now being attributed to the use of vape pens.
Wannabe Nazis literally marching through American streets carrying (tiki) torches? Ahh, good people on both sides.
Back to back to back mass shootings? Thoughts & prayers, motherfuckers, thoughts & prayers.
Twenty-two of our military veterans committing suicide every damn day in this country? Oh if only we could just fix the mental health issues…everyone else is crazy, not me.
480,000 people dying every single year here in the U.S. alone due to tobacco use? Smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em boys! Amirite?!
Six people die from a mysterious lung failure after prolific use of a vape pen?
ALL HANDS ON DECK! GET THE MAN HIS SHARPIE! THERE’S NO TIME FOR SCIENCE, THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC!
So we get what we got yesterday with President Trump announcing to the world that he plans to ban all “flavored” “e-cig” products.
The video is pure Trump, with him beginning by praising the vape industry for its business success, then Freudian slipping his way past speaking about his wife’s son that she allegedly had with him, and then revealing nothing that the rest of us don’t already know. "A lot of people think vaping is wonderful and it is great. It is not wonderful. That's one thing I think we can say, definitely,” stammered Trump, befuddled as ever.
As we reported earlier this week, many of the vaping-related deaths from this fateful summer have been attributed to pre-filled vape cartridges containing not nicotine – as you’d find in “e-cig liquids” – but THC-rich cannabis oil. Some of the deaths have been chalked up to black market products, but at least one is being linked to legal products bought in a state-sanctioned cannabis dispensary.
A common denominator across these cannabis-linked cases was an excessive buildup of fatty waxes, or lipids, that were essentially clogging the respiratory function of the walls of users’ lungs. Preliminary investigations have revealed that this rise in lipid-related vape ailments correlates pretty closely with the rise in the use of diluents, thickeners, and other cutting agents by vape cart manufacturers.
Now under the microscope of the nation, these manufacturers will swear that they only cut their product to make it flow better for the consumer, but you don’t have to be a genius to figure out that every milligram of Vitamin E Acetate or MCT Oil they put into the cartridge is one less milligram of high cost cannabis oil that they need to put in. Even the relatively small number of companies that manufacture and supply these cutting agents have either yanked the products from their sites and stores, or have shut their entire websites down completely as the heat continues to rise.
So, of course, the president’s promise to crack down on Blueberry Razzmatazz vape juice is fine and dandy, but just like any lip service paid to ending racism, gun violence, or lung cancer, this latest breath of hot air won’t do anything to address the actual issue.
But, he is the leader of the free world, so it didn’t take long for his minions across the country to follow his lead. That brings us to Republican Rep. Paul Gray of Utah who yesterday vowed to also ban all flavored e-cig juice and he brought the SMOKING GUN to his press conference.
This dumbass… Sorry, I mean Rep. Gray took to the podium yesterday to declare that he had taken it upon himself to get to the bottom of the Great Vape Plague of 2019 and boy did he have some shocking news for us. According to Rep. Gray, he asked a local “drug testing” lab to randomly visit Salt Lake City area vape shops and purchase random products from random brands. He then had that “independent lab” test 12 such products to determine what is “really” in them.
And so, before the press, the public, Jesus Christ AND all of the Latter Day Saints, Gray cracked the case by announcing that 10 out of 12 samples tested came back positive for “opioids, PCP, barbiturates, and THC”. As evidence, he had in hand the lab test documents. And by lab test documents, I mean he had a college ruled notepad featuring his own handwriting and a bunch of numbers and abbreviations – including one rogue “LSD” entry.
Well, fuckin’ A, boys, who can argue with that? It’s a wrap! Case closed!
It took about 10 minutes after that mouthfart to escape Gray’s face before the “independent lab” that he was hanging his Sherlock hat on came out to say that it was pretty much all bullshit.
“This is not to be taken as evidence,” said Michael Murano, President of Beechtree Diagnostics, the lab in question. “I think [Rep. Ray] didn’t share enough of the testing parameters to truly validate.”
Those undisclosed "testing parameters"?
Beechtree Diagnostics is not a “drug testing” lab insofar as determining potency, purity, or research gains. No, they are a DRUG TESTING lab – PISS SNIFFERS! That’s right… they literally dripped vape juice on “point-of-care strips” most commonly used in urinalysis testing.
“We used a presumptive testing method that is not particularly accurate. The accurate test isn’t available now,” Murano sugarcoated. I looked up “presumptive” in the thesaurus and it’s not a fancy word for bullshit so Mr. Murano should rephrase.
This is how our so-called leaders react to a so-called crisis – with proud ignorance and a dangerous disregard to do anything about it. In Utah alone, an average of 474 people are dying every year from ACTUAL OPIOID OVERDOSES. Crickets on that issue from Rep. Gray and his fellow conservative lawmakers.
The fact of the matter is, from pogs on the playground to weed on the streets, banning something doesn’t make it go away and it certainly doesn’t make it safer. Whether your concern is with cannabis oil vape carts or with nicotine carts and pods, regulation is crucial. Currently, the incredibly strict lab testing requirements in the California cannabis market do not call for the identification of diluents, glycols, or other cutting agents. That would be a good start, right?
This has been a shining example of why you cannot rely on the government for anything. You need to look out for yourself and those you care about. Many reputable vape cart manufacturers have come out in the past week promising that they never cut their carts and vow that they never will. Supporting these brands by purchasing their lab-tested products through a licensed dispensary is really the only way to mitigate the risk right now.
Knowing your source is more important than ever.
Be safe, buds!