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DEA Cracking Down on Marijuana Vaping Products

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in San Diego said it’s cracking down on marijuana vaping products, products federal agents now refer to as a “public health crisis.”

The DEA, along with a coalition of local officials, denounced marijuana vaping products in a press conference held Friday morning.

“It’s a public health crisis,” said Colin Ruane, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, DEA San Diego Division. “We’re trying to get on top of it.”

The first case of vaping-related illness in the U.S. was just a couple months ago, and nearly 1,900 people in 49 states have wound up in the hospital, and dozens have died since.

DEA Crackdown on Vaping in San Diego

[DGO] DEA Crackdown on Vaping in San Diego

The DEA investigated 30 THC extraction facilities in San Diego in just the last year, four as a result of a fire or explosion.

As of Thursday, 31 people in San Diego County have been hospitalized with vaping-related illnesses, many of them used THC products.

“We know there is no regulation of the production of the cartridges, there is no quality control and they may be filled with contaminates people don’t know about,” explained Ruane.

Because health officials still don’t know what chemical is making people sick, they urge the public to avoid vaping.

“The only way to assure you are not at risk is to refrain from the use of all e-cigarette or vaping products until the national investigation is completed,” said Wilma Wooten, a county public health officer.

NBC 7 spoke with March and Ash, a licensed cannabis dispensary that sells vaping products in San Diego, even they said they understand the risks of the products they sell.

“Anything we put on our shelves, we feel, is safe. Now, to say that there is no risk is just false and that’s not doing a service to the community, or your customers or your business in the long term,” said Breton Peace, co-owner of March and Ash.

Peace said vaping products use to make up almost a third of their sales, but since reports of vaping illnesses and deaths surfaced, those sales have dropped by 20 percent.

Of those 31 San Diegans hospitalized with vaping-related illnesses, more than half were men, ranging in age from 17 to 70. No one locally has died.

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