Oregon's vape sellers are fighting in court over whether Gov. Kate Brown can ban their merchandise. Meanwhile, black market dealers wait eagerly.
Last week, several vaping companies and a tobacco retailer sued to block the flavored-vape ban. On Oct. 24, the Oregon Court of Appeals temporarily halted the ban on flavored tobacco vape cartridges. The half of the ban that applies to cannabis vapes may continue—unless a frustrated weed industry also sues.
But the cannabis industry may have a harder time in court, because its product is still illegal on the federal level.
"I anticipate there's a possibility some of the harder-hit businesses will look to file a lawsuit on the cannabis side," says Amy Margolis, a cannabis lawyer. "But what the Oregon Department of Justice has always fallen back on is that they have extremely broad authority because [cannabis] is federally illegal, and that gives them much deeper reach."
Four sources in the legal cannabis industry tell WW that prohibition will inevitably drive vape users to the black market. They're motivated to say that—they don't want a ban. But dealers on the black market confirm that story.
WW found them where illicit THC cartridge sellers hawk their goods: Snapchat.
We wanted to know which flavored cannabis vapes were being sold, and whether the market had changed since the ban.
Posing as a 15-year-old vape buyer, we found three dealers. All three claimed to be from California.
"Yes we are getting more business [because of vape bans]. And also because of the quality."
"Presently Rove THC carts [are the most popular product] and daily I sell about 300 carts."
"At your age the best method of payment will be for us to use the most discreet way so that no one can say you did such. That's why I tell you to use the bitcoin method of payment. That's why we use the discrete method of delivery."
"U need 600 carts??" [We asked for 600 carts.]
"It's possible just wanted to be sure. I can supply u 600 carts weekly if u want."
"Actually the bans haven't touched my business as I told u already because of the quality products that I sell so my clients still trust me."
"Listen, I am a legit dealer and have been doing this for years. Also I have a wife and 2 kids whom I take care of so I know the value of money and how difficult it is to acquire so I can't possibly defraud another…I just need you to trust me and all will be cool."
"A cart goes for $25. I don't have fake stuff. Got OG kush, Sour Diesel, Blackjack, GSC, Exotic, Mario, Dank Vape, Kingpen, Monopoly, Cereal and Stiizy carts."
"Sure dear, people keep buying [despite the bans]. Weed is illegal in some states but people keep smoking. I have more orders coming in, seriously."
"Dear that's my work. If I tell you how I make it discreet, it is not a secret any longer so I can't expose that but just know you will be getting your package in a discrete form."
"If you're going for a large quantity then I can give you a cart for $15. Is that fair enough?" [We told him we needed 500 carts but that another dealer had offered to sell at $18 per cart.]