The new proposal, House Bill 2546, would dramatically alter the face of Washington’s legal cannabis landscape by outlawing the vast majority of state-licensed vape cartridges, dabbable extracts, and other concentrated products. Such products are increasingly popular with consumers, lawmakers noted in the bill, accounting for nearly 40% of the state’s legal cannabis sales in 2019.
Experts warn that the move, ostensibly aimed at improving public health, could quickly backfire. Leo Beletsky, a professor of law and public health at Northwestern University, said that a blanket ban on such a large swath of popular products would likely drive consumers into the illegal market.
“There may well be rationale for eliminating some portion of the riskiest products on the market if there’s evidence to support that, but doing that with 40% off the products would make very little sense,” Beletsky said. “If 40% of the market is toward these products and then you ban them, you’d definitely be creating a push towards the black market.”