By Nichola Saminather
TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador said on Wednesday they would not allow the sale of cannabis vapes, just weeks before the start of marijuana derivatives sales, as concerns linger about a possible connection between the vaping products and severe lung disease
“We will not be selling vaping products on January 1,” Fabrice Giguère, a spokesman for the Société québécoise du cannabis, which is responsible for marijuana sales in the province, said by email, adding the province had not officially announced its stance.
All of Quebec’s legal cannabis stores are run by the provincial government, while Newfoundland and Labrador’s stores are private.
Earlier on Wednesday, Newfoundland and Labrador, which as Canada’s easternmost province was the first to kick off sales of legal cannabis last year, said it would not allow cannabis vape products, but would review the decision in light of any new clinical evidence.
There have been 11 cases of severe lung illnesses in Canada related to vaping, according to data from the Canadian government, which has said it is investigating the cause. Three have been in Quebec, and none in Newfoundland & Labrador.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Nov. 21 identified vitamin E acetate, an additive that is often mixed with marijuana oil in the illicit cannabis market, as a “chemical of concern.”
“The intent of the decision is to protect the health of the people in this province until there is more evidence about the connection between cannabis vaping products and severe lung disease,” the Newfoundland and Labrador government said in a statement.
(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)