Police are cracking down on unlicensed vaping products as a vape-related health crisis sweeps the continent that has already claimed the lives of at least 18 individuals. On October 2, California law enforcement raided SoCal-based company Kushy Punch’s Canoga Park factory based on allegations that it was making illegal cannabis vape products.
An investigation uncovered illegal Kushy Punch products that had been sent to local marijuana store Genesis Marketplace. It found that the items for sale differed from those documented by Kushy Punch’s lab test paperwork.
Reports state that Kushy Punch operates two Los Angeles facilities, one with state compliant cannabis products and the Canoga Park address, which processed marijuana that may not comply with state restrictions on pesticide content.
Health authorities continue to be perplexed over the vaping health crisis that has resulted in over 1,000 cases of lung injury across the United States. A Mayo Clinic report from earlier this month says that the affected individuals’ lungs look like they have suffered “a toxic chemical exposure, a toxic chemical fume exposure or a chemical burn injury,” according to the health facility’s surgical pathologist Brandon T. Larsen.
Elsewhere, health officials have investigated vitamin E acetate and THC oil, both substances used in many vaping products, for their possible connection to the health crisis.
Without hard answers about what is causing the lung injuries, local authorities have begun to crack down on unlicensed products and suppliers. In Wisconsin, an illegal operation producing three to five thousand vape cartridges a day was busted.
“The safety and well-being of our customers and patients is our top priority,” Genesis Marketplace’s Sal Palma told a local news site. “It is unfortunate that some companies are willing to operate outside the lines of legality, but we will continue to act as the safety net between those bad actors and our clientele.”
Kushy Punch a.k.a. Vertical Bliss is a company that has participated in the California medical marijuana market for upwards of two decades. The brand produces vaping products, gummies, and CBD items. The company maintains that it has a functional license to sell the products. A representative says that the items uncovered in the Canoga Park factory raid conducted by the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cannabis Enforcement Unit not only had expired batteries, but were not meant to be consumed.
“These cartridges were located in a single box labeled for destruction following their discovery among packaging and marketing materials at a separate storage facility,” wrote Eric Shevin, legal counsel for Kushy Punch to Marijuana Business Daily. “These cartridges were unusable due to their age as the batteries had died after being stored for more than two years.”
“Kushy Punch takes the pending BCC allegations very seriously and intends to cooperate and work closely with the BCC in its efforts to protect consumers and license holders as the regulated cannabis industry continues to develop,” Shelvin continued.