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Health

Maine Medical Marijuana Providers Report E-Cigarette Sales Bump After Massachusetts Ban

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Keith Srakocic
/
Associated Press
In this photo made on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, a woman uses her vaping device in Harmony, Pa.

Some medical marijuana businesses in Maine say they’ve seen a recent boost in e-cigarette sales, even as concern grows over deaths and illnesses related to vaping products.

Patricia Rosi, the CEO of Wellness Connection, which operates four medical cannabis stores in the state, says sales to Massachusetts residents have nearly tripled after that state enacted a temporary ban on sales of vaping devices.

“So definitely we’re seeing a pattern of people coming up to Maine and stocking up,” she says.

As of this week, the federal CDC has reported nearly 1,900 cases of lung-related illnesses related to e-cigarettes, including 37 deaths.

Democratic state Sen. Rebecca Millett has drafted a bill to ban sales of vaping products in Maine until the federal government determines their safety. Earlier this month, Gov. Janet Mills said that she has instructed the Maine CDC to increase checks on e-cigarette sales to ensure that youth aren’t buying them.

Rosi says her company is monitoring releases from federal regulators, but says she feels confident in her company’s products because it controls its own supply chain.

“We’re closely monitoring to understand better and be able to adjust, if need be,” she says.

Federal regulators have yet to identify a cause to the illnesses but have recommended people not use vaping products containing THC.

Originally published 2:50 p.m. Nov. 1, 2019