AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — The debate surrounding the safety of legal and illegal THC vapes has grown after the death of a 17-year-old Bronx teen. It is the first vaping related death in New York State.
While Governor Cuomo is calling for federal action, the advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is recommending all THC vapes be removed from marijuana dispensaries.
"Now that we have a death in the Bronx, I just think it should be a wake up call. We should err on the side of caution and take these off the shelve until we figure out what's going on," said Kevin Sabet, the presdient of SAM.
"I really don't have concerns about the use of vape within the medical marijuana program of New York State. It's the illegal black market where I think children, teens and adults are getting into trouble. That's a real shame because that's taking a good program and giving it a bad name," Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, the director of the DENT Cannabis Clinic, said.
"It worries me that we don't really know what's really in the medical stuff in New York let alone the illegal market," said Sabet.
While Sabet has concerns over what's in legal marijuana vapes as well as illegal, Dr. Mechtler said there's no reason to be worried because he's done the research himself. His concern is with THC vapes sold on the black market.
"To take something into your lungs, that you don't know what's in it, you don't know what dangers are in there... You're playing Russian roulette," said Mechtler.
There's one thing both parties agree on: Any kind of vapes should be kept out of the hands of young people.
"No minor should be vaping whether it's e-cigarettes, Juul product or THC project whether it's legal in a state or illegal," Sabet said.
"Nobody under the age of 21 should be vaping. THC or nicotine in my opinion," Mechtler said.
Governor Cuomo has called for a ban on all flavored vapes, which was set to go into place October 4th. An appellate court judge has put that ban on a temporary restraining order until October 18th.