A vape mail ban is coming due to a federal bill that passed in the wake of Vapegate has dire consequences for the vaping industry, patients, and consumers.
The vape mail ban is supposed to take effect tomorrow, March 27. The ban will have very serious effects on medical patients who vape oil, those who enjoy its discreet nature, the industry, and many small businesses in cannabis and CBD.
Ostensibly, to prevent cigarettes’ online sales to children, the vape mail ban will affect the whole industry, including the pens or batteries that heat cartridges (or carts) and those who vape flower.
While initially geared towards flavored tobacco, the vape mail ban includes cannabis and CBD vape cartridges or carts and other vaping-related products. The vape mail ban will make operations very difficult for the vaping industry.
Last December, former President Donald Trump signed into law an appropriations funding bill that was 5,593 pages long that had a provision that will make it very difficult for vaping vendors to mail items via the United States Postal Service (USPS) via a post office.
UPS and Fed-Ex following the USPS and banning vape deliveries. DHL signed on shortly after.
“Effective April 5, 2021, UPS will not transport vaping products to, from, or within the United States due to the increased complexity to ship those products,” a UPS spokesman said.
“My rep was just about in tears,” Dana E. Shoched, President and CEO of o2Vape, a Michigan-based company, said once DHL announced they were joining the vape mail ban. She is extremely concerned about the consequences of this vape mail ban.
“They’ve basically cut off our supply chain,” Shoched said.
Vaping companies will be forced to file for a tobacco reseller license and deal with the red tape of paying taxes dealing with tobacco. This will be regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) in the Department of Justice (DOJ).
“They’re turning us into cigarette traffickers basically,” Shoched said.
With brick-and-mortar stores increasingly closing and people ordered products online, this will be especially difficult for many to cope with, especially those in rural areas.
“I could ship a gun easier than I could ship a $2 vape cartridge right now,” Shoched said.
She noted that the vaping companies would be required to provide records of who they delivered vapes to and keep those records for five years.
“It’s beyond extreme,” Shoched said.
She noted many states have passed laws protecting the right to consume cannabis in all different forms.
“They’re taking that right away from us,” Shoched said.
She noted while it won’t be illegal to import vaping, the cost is going to exponentially higher, which will be passed onto retailers and then consumers.
Shoched argued that many vaping sites have additional ways to verify an individual’s age to prevent a child from buying their products already, such as requiring a driver’s license or Social Security information.
She is very worried her business will lose a lot of business.
“I guess I’m renting a U-Haul and driving up to you,” a small businesswoman based several states away told Shoched.
“I don’t think they really understood the economic value of what this is doing,” she added.
The states will likely lose a great deal of tax revenue from this as companies sell fewer products and are forced to lay people off and shut down.
The catch with such a ban is that the ATF will not be able to search every little package for a vape cart or pen/battery. Smaller companies, otherwise in compliance with the law and unaffiliated with tobacco are likely to have an easier time managing the bans by being creative.
People already ship cannabis through the mail and don’t get caught.
Fighting the Cannabis Vape Mail Ban
The bill was sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Cornyn (R-TX), who had been working on this for some time. Despite being from San Francisco, CA, where the legalization movement arguably started, Feinstein, who is 87 years old, has been a long-time opponent of the industry and worked against its interests. She was against California’s 1996 medical cannabis law and their 2016 adult-use referendum as well. Feinstein also favors limits to THC in cannabis.
When the vaping industry was initially concerned about the impact of this, Shoched said they were told this would not apply to them, just nicotine products. Then the law was changed to include them. Big Tobacco companies like RJR Reynolds and Altria, Phillip Morris, and Juul’s owner will likely be able to weather the regulations better than their components.
“It’s really going to hurt the cannabis industry,” she lamented.
Many cannabis advocacy organizations, including NORML and the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), have become involved in fighting it.
After the law had been signed, there was a Public Comment on the regulation that recently ended. Federal bills have a Public Comment period on regulations before they are implemented. Sometimes lobbyists are able to use this period to weaken a proposed regulation stemming from legislation that might adversely affect an industry they represent.
“I just feel like the Public Comment section is just for show,” she lamented. Nonetheless, many cannabis vaping advocates made their voices heard.
“We’re doing all we can,” she said, lamenting it will be difficult even to ship a mere USB charger soon.
The Post Office is still working on the rules.