Although Illinois is one of the states that will be legalizing marijuana for recreational use, it is unclear what this could mean for a growing black market marijuana vaping market. At least 510,000 cartridges have been seized throughout the country in the past two years. While in some cases the cartridges have been discovered during traffic stops or operations targeting a more traditional method of drug delivery, urgency has been heightened since vaping with THC has been linked to a deadly lung disease. In the last nine months, the disease has killed at least 47 people and made over 2,000 ill.
According to law enforcement and prosecutors around the country, the cartridges have presented a number of challenges. One is determining how current laws apply to them. Another is in training officers to recognize the cartridges and in how to test them.
Among the seizures have been 200,000 cartridges in New York City over a period of just a few months, 50,000 vapes found by Indiana law enforcement during a traffic stop and more than 1,900 vapes shipped from California to Alabama. According to advocates for marijuana legalization nationwide, the rise in the market for the vapes and the dangers they present is further reason to legalize the drug so it will be safer.
People who are facing charges related to drug trafficking or other drug charges may want to consult an attorney. In addition to the legal penalties, a drug conviction may affect other areas of their lives, affecting their access to housing, student financial aid and some careers. An attorney may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed. The attorney may look at whether the person’s rights were violated during the course of the investigation or if there were errors in testing the alleged substance.