The Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee on Tuesday advanced bills that would prohibit the sale of vaping products, tobacco or marijuana, containing vitamin E acetate, a supplement that has been known to cause severe lung injury when inhaled.
The committee voted to advance three bills involving vitamin E acetate and one bill amending Michigan’s marijuana operating licensing law. The Centers for Disease Control “strongly linked” THC vaping products containing vitamin E acetate to illnesses that resulted in 60 deaths, including three in Michigan, and more than 2,700 hospitalizations.
House Bill 4250 amends the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act by prohibiting marijuana establishments from hiring employees or volunteers under the age of 21. Such establishments may not sell or otherwise transfer marijuana that was not produced, distributed and taxed in compliance with the act. The committee voted 15-0 to advance the bills.
At a March 16 Regulatory Reform Committee hearing, Hammoud said vitamin E acetate’s dangers was discovered in 2019 amid an “emergency when young people were dying after vaping.”
“This chemical is actually inserted in the vaping process and the manufacturing process, and there it was discovered that it was extremely dangerous to be inhaled,” Hammoud said.
The use of vitamin e acetate in vaping products contributed to a national outbreak of lung illness that the Centers for Disease Control has linked to more than 2,800 hospitalizations and 68 deaths.
More than 3,400 marijuana vaping products tainted with vitamin E acetate were sold in Michigan between April 2019 and February 2020, according to the Michigan Regulatory Agency. More than 8,020 tainted cartridges were removed from shelves and inventory.
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency in November 2019 created testing requirements banning the presence of vitamin e acetate in all marijuana vaping products.
“We appreciate Rep. Hammoud addressing the agency’s concern about other potentially harmful additives and including language similar to that already in place in the MRA rules for inhalable marijuana products,” MRA Executive Director Andrew Brisbo said in a March 23 statement.
The three bills were initially introduced in October 2019 under the Judiciary Committee before being referred to the Regulatory Reform Committee in February 2020.
Additionally, the Regulatory Reform Committee advanced House Bill 4295 sponsored by Rep. Julie Alexander, R-Jackson, which would amend current law to allow people who are married to a government employee to apply for or renew a state marijuana operating license. The committee voted 14-1 to advance the bill, with Rep. John Damoose, R- Harbor Springs, voting against it.
At a March 16 Regulatory Reform Committee hearing, Alexander testified that the bill’s introduction was inspired by a constituent who works for the state. According to Alexander, the woman was recently married and her husband was barred from renewing his state marijuana licenses for a processing lab and a provisioning center because she works for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
According to Alexander, the woman had two options under current law: quit her job or divorce her spouse.
“It has become apparent that this is and continues to be a problem for many families,” Alexander said. “Today’s legislation presented to you ensures some common-sense reforms. We need to ensure our laws do not needlessly cost people their livelihoods.”
All four bills will go to the full House for a second reading.