Washington acts to keep products safe, while South Dakota's governor tries to keep recreational use illegal

Washington state officials extended the ban on vitamin E acetate in vape devices. - LINDSAY FOX/CC BY 3.0 PHOTO
Lindsay Fox/CC BY 3.0 photo
Washington state officials extended the ban on vitamin E acetate in vape devices.

The first week of 2021 was a busy one for news, and cannabis news was no exception. Get caught up on the handful of cannabis-related news items from the past week, both locally and around the nation.

BAN ON ADDITIVE EXTENDED

Vitamin E acetate, the chemical responsible for a rash of vape-related lung disease that popped up around the country in 2019, will remain a prohibited additive in the state of Washington. In a Jan. 6 meeting of the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, an emergency rule was put in place to extend the current ban on the chemical. It has been banned as an additive since November 2019, but for now the ban is not permanent.

During the previous legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee requested a bill, SB 6254, which would have permanently banned vitamin E acetate. Despite bipartisan support, the bill did not become law.

LEGAL CHALLENGES IN SOUTH DAKOTA

On election night, 54 percent of South Dakota voters approved the legalization of recreational cannabis. Considering the state's official motto is "Under God the people rule," you would think the will of the voters would be respected. But Gov. Kristi Noem disagrees, and on Jan. 8 aNoem issued an executive order allowing for a challenge to the constitutional amendment.

Noem publicly voiced her opposition to the amendment prior to Election Day and called its passage the "wrong choice" for the state. Last week's executive order will allow a lawsuit against the amendment, brought by Rick Miller, superintendent of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, to go ahead. Miller is acting under the direction of the governor by challenging the constitutionality of amendment, which is set to become law on July 1.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA WITHDRAWALS STUDIED

A study published Jan. 5 in the journal Addiction shined a light on some negative effects of the use of medical marijuana for pain management. The team of researchers from the University of Michigan surveyed 527 state-certified medical marijuana users over two years to track their withdrawal symptoms. Over half of those in the study reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness or irritability, the sort of things you'd hear listed off at the end of a commercial if medical marijuana was advertised on television.

"Our findings suggest a real need to increase awareness about the signs of withdrawal symptoms developing to decrease the potential downsides of cannabis use," says Lara Coughlin, the clinical psychologist and researcher who led the University of Michigan study. ♦

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