Updated 4:07 11/22/19 with additional information from the MRA
Amid an outbreak of lung injuries likely tied to marijuana vaping products, the state has hit pause on the sales of those products pending additional testing.
The state Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued new rules on Friday, effective immediately, and will include additional testing of marijuana vaping products by the MRA, as well as increased compliance measures.
Among the new rules handed down is a ban on vitamin E acetate, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has associated with lung injuries in people who use e-cigarettes.
The MRA rules also stipulate that licensed manufacturers clearly list all inactive ingredients on labels and marijuana licensees are prohibited from using inactive ingredients that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for inhalation.
The MRA said it will begin inspecting licensed facilities twice per month to ensure compliance with the new rules. Sales of marijuana vapes are paused until all products receive a passing test result, according to the MRA rules.
MRA spokesman David Harns said Friday afternoon* that the agency plans to “have a process in place” so that sales can resume by Dec. 1, but could not immediately offer more details.
“As always, our primary goal is to protect the public’s health,” MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo said in a statement. “The collaboration with our public health partners over the last several months has resulted in the issuance of these rules which will increase consumer confidence in the regulated supply of marijuana products intended for inhalation.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gained nationwide attention in September when she called for emergency rules banning the sale of flavored nicotine vaping products, citing widespread addiction among youth.
President Donald Trump soon after considered a federal ban on flavored vaping products, but has since walked that back. On Friday he voiced support for a minimum age of 21 to buy vaping products.
However, the Whitmer ban also came as the lung injury epidemic, now linked to vitamin E acetate, was spreading.
CDC numbers from this week show almost 2,300 confirmed cases of EVALI in 49 states, excluding Alaska, as well as in the District of Columbia and in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Forty-seven people across the country have died from lung injuries according to the CDC, including one person in Michigan.
The MRA rules issued Friday could help prevent further deaths, according to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“Prohibiting additives that could cause harm to human health is a step forward in efforts to protect the public during this outbreak of lung injury cases,” Khaldun said in a statement.