Vape Shops Risk It All By Selling Ecigs to Medical Marijuana Patients
Business is booming for American vape shops this summer, but in some places, local vape store owners are peddling ecigs for more than just nicotine. New reports indicate that some vape shops are catering to a completely different market by selling ecigs to medical marijuana patients. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, this could spell disaster for the vape industry as a whole. After all, lawmakers are looking for any reason to shut down ecigs and if they believe that vapers are mostly using the devices for pot, the push to end vaping will be swift and forceful.
In a recent report from Reuters, a Connecticut vape shop shared the story of how they started selling ecigs to medical marijuana patients. Owners Matt and Jen Osmun said they didn’t initially intend to sell products to local pot users, but it just naturally gravitated in that direction thanks to referrals from a nearby dispensary. Of course, they aren’t turning any business away because profits are growing rapidly thanks to the new foray into medical marijuana devices. “Sells are going really well, and getting better every month,” Jen said.
It turns out that medical marijuana is big business and a lot of vape shop owners are jumping at the opportunity to boost sales. A recent market research report projected medical marijuana sales would hit $13.4 billion by 2020 due to the increasing demand. If all 50 states legalize marijuana, weed sales could reach $35 billion. Right now, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and doctors prescribe it to treat a variety of conditions ranging from chronic pain to cancers. In 15 additional states, patients are allowed to use certain strains of cannabis mostly to treat severe seizure disorders. Recreational marijuana is only legal in four states so far.
Medical marijuana users often prefer to use cannabis oil in vaping devices because it lowers their legal risk. Many states prohibit these patients from smoking marijuana, but they can use vaporizers because there is no combustion. It’s a loophole that has dragged ecigs into a market that they were never intended for.
“Vaporized cannabis is a really significant trend in both medical and adult use,” said Chritie Lunsford, a cannabis consultant in Colorado. “It’s consistent, it’s almost instantaneous, and it’s appropriate for a wide variety of consumers.”
In Oklahoma, the Palm Beach Vapors chain has opened 14 shops and is currently working to open eight more. CEO Chip Paul said 90 percent of the franchise owners intend to sell their devices for marijuana-related uses. “We think the cannabis market will mimic and mirror the tobacco market,” Paul said. “We think they will see this (vapor) as a safer alternative.” In some states, marijuana dispensaries sell vaping devices too so customers can buy everything they need in one location.
On the surface, cannabis might seem like a big boost to the vaping industry, but there could also be dire consequences. The electronic cigarette industry is already facing an uphill battle against regulations and public usage bans. When you add in the ultra-controversial marijuana, it could be a recipe for disaster. Do you think vape shop owners should avoid selling ecigs for use with cannabis? Is the growing trend of vaping cannabis oil ultimately going to hurt ecig users that only want to vape nicotine liquids as an alternative to tobacco?