In the wake of the recent vaping crisis that’s sickened more than 2,000 people and killed dozens more, vape makers and retailers are using a variety of strategies to ease consumer concerns and shore up sagging sales.
In particular, marijuana vape manufacturers and dispensaries are:
- Posting signs in stores and training in-store staff to help consumers understand why they should purchase vape products from licensed retailers to ensure they are tested, safe and free from harmful additives.
- Holding brand days, during which vaporizer company representatives meet directly with consumers to discuss their products and allow people to ask questions about the vaping health crisis.
- Offering apps that consumers can download to smartphones to gain access to vaping stories, blog posts and research.
These steps come as vape sales continue to fall in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington state, although the pace of declines has moderated.
The declines have been particularly sharp in Colorado, according to Seattle-based data analytics company Headset: Vape’s share in that state stood at 19.4% in July, falling to 14.3% by October – a 26% decline in total share.
The responses by marijuana vape companies and retailers have varied.
Los Angeles-based Project Cannabis, a vertically integrated marijuana company, displays a letter on the counters in each of its four dispensaries that explains to customers:
“California’s regulated cannabis and cannabis products are rigorously tested for residuals, toxins, solvents, pesticides and heavy metals above and beyond the testing required for any other manufactured product sold in California.
“While investigations are ongoing and a cause has not yet been identified, it is important to note that no cannabis vaping products purchased at licensed cannabis businesses have been linked to these illnesses in California.”
Project Cannabis Chief Operating Officer Cameron Smith said when the vaping issue surfaced, the company immediately instructed its vendors to forward testing results on all vape brands the company carries in its stores.
It also trained its store associates to ask customers which brands they have purchased elsewhere and request to allow the company to inspect devices and packaging in an effort to identify illegal or counterfeit brands.
“Most consumers who are buying these products don’t realize that they’re shopping in illegal shops,” Smith said. “There are some very compelling counterfeit products out there, (and) they look like the real thing.”