EASTHAMTPON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Local marijuana dispensaries report sagging sales following Governor Charlie Baker's ban on vaping products, nicotine, and marijuana on Tuesday.
Staff at two western Mass pot shops say they're helping vape customers find alternatives and steer clear of the black market.
Not a single vape product to be found at INSA in Easthampton after Governor Charlie Baker instituted a ban earlier this week.
"We have definitely seen a decrease in sales since the ban. It's our second-largest category, so it makes up about 25% of our sales right now," INSA CEO Mark Zatyrka tells us.
Zatyrka tells Western Mass News staff are now trying to educate customers on safe alternatives.
"Customers are looking for advice on other products they can use. Tinctures are just a small bottle that has either THC or CBD liquid inside. It can be placed under your tongue. A few drops under your tongue. It kicks in a little faster than edibles," stated Zatyrka.
The fear, he says, is that some will turn to the black market.
"I feel especially bad for our patients that have come to rely on different vape products for different ailments. My worry is that they're going to go to the black market, and that's really where the more dangerous products are," says Zatyrka.
The CDC says there are now thirteen deaths and more than 800 confirmed cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use.
Zatyrka says products sold here are all natural, but understands the national concern.
INSA and New England Treatment Access, or NETA, in Northampton say they support strict regulations moving forward.
NETA tells Western Mass News:
"We believe this issue underscores the importance of a legal and licensed cannabis market where products must pass rigorous testing procedures to help ensure safety and consistency."
The ban is in place in the Bay State until January 25.
Governor Baker says the four-month ban is designed to give medical experts time to figure out what aspect of vaping is responsible for illnesses and to determine whether new regulations could allow for safer vaping products.
Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.