Illicit Cannabis Oil Cartridges Being Sold Openly


From retailers to Instagram, it has never been easier to acquire potentially dangerous and illegally produced cannabis oil cartridges containing THC.

Imagine a world where you could simply browse pages on Instagram to shop around for black market cannabis cartridges, and within an hour of reaching out to these pages, have the product in your hands. Further, imagine being able to walk into a store and acquire these illicit products as easily as purchasing vape juice.

Officials in California have recently reported that there significant numbers of unlicensed dispensaries operating illegally in California, noting that as much as 80% of the state’s cannabis sales may be taking place in the black market. In addition, the proliferation of easy-to-create and anonymous social media accounts on platforms such as Instagram have made it easier than ever for users to shop around for dealers local to them.

These potentially dangerous black market products have been responsible for outbreaks of vaping-related injuries throughout the United States. After being initially attributed to e-cigarettes, lawmakers throughout the country began implementing various prohibitionist policies such as flavor bans in response.

The nicotine vaping industry continues to face excessive and unwarranted scrutiny while these dangerous illegal products are sold openly in retail outlets and on the internet. Public health experts have questioned the priorities of officials given the dangers of these cartridges, and the potential benefits vaping may offer smokers.

Preventing Youth Vaping

In September 2019, outbreaks of vaping-related injuries and illnesses began popping up throughout the United States. While initially being attributed to nicotine vapor products such as e-cigarettes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, both found that illegally-produced cannabis oil cartridges spiked with vitamin E acetate to be the actual cause.

The California Bureau of Cannabis Control recently announced there are large numbers of retailers operating within the state that may be selling these dangerous products openly. In addition, the state’s Cannabis Advisory Committee found that as much as 80% of cannabis sales may be taking place in the black market.

Not only are people able to purchase these dangerous products in stores while not having access to vapor products, but the cannabis cartridge black market operates in the open with such little concern that users can simply find a stranger on Instagram to delivery directly to their door. Using various methods, users are able to browse dealers as well as their offerings and arrange to meet up through direct messaging.

The hysteria surrounding the September outbreaks resulted in an extreme regulatory crackdown on the nicotine vaping industry, despite the nation’s leading public health agencies exonerating it from them. These crackdowns came in the form of various regulations, ranging from flavor bans to outright prohibition in some instances.

Safety Of Nicotine Vaping

Vaping faces unwarranted regulatory scrutiny despite being repeatedly proven as a reduced-harm alternative to tobacco. According to a groundbreaking study by Public Health England, researchers found that vaping is 95% safer than smoking, which the country’s public health agency routinely defends.

In addition, research shows that vaping poses significantly fewer long-term risks to users than smoking. A study published in the Journal of Aerosol Sciences found that vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of developing cancer in their lifetimes than smokers.

Not only is vaping notably safer than smoking, but vaping may be our single greatest asset to combat the global smoking epidemic. Researchers from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the most effective smoking cessation device available, even more than prescription nicotine-replacement therapies.

Furthermore, current research indicates there is little to no risk of harm to long-term users of vapor products. Research published by the National Academy of Sciences found that not only is vaping less harmful than smoking, but there are no long-term health effects from prolonged usage.


The open operation of the black market is a slap in the face to the millions of current and former adult smokers looking for a safer alternative to help them quit smoking. While unable to access a safe, regulated, and effective smoking cessation device, people can purchase dangerously spiked cannabis cartridges without issue.

The priorities of officials are out of line when vaping can be completely prohibited without notice, such as the temporary ban of all products in Massachusetts. Yet, these illegal dispensaries can operate and continue to open with little resistance, as witnesses in California. It would appear that officials are not acting in the best interests of public health when such flagrant inconsistencies exist.

Lawmakers should be shamed for their lack of consistency in addressing and regulating nicotine and cannabis vapor products. Millions of adult smokers who could potentially benefit from vaping are left unable to access perhaps the greatest smoking cessation tool at our disposal, while counterfeit cannabis is allowed to flourish.

How do you feel about dangerous spiked cannabis products being sold openly while vapor products continue to face bans? Why do you think this is so prevalent? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive all the latest vaping news!

(Image Credit – Pixabay –

Jimmy, lover, blogger, vaper and ex-smoker. I’ve been blogging about and supporting Vaping since 2009. They changed my life and I think history will show them as one of the most significant public health invention of the 21st century.

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