By Paul Demko, Natalie Fertig, and Mona Zhang | November 11, 2019
— Metrc’s Lewis Koski says the response to the vaping crisis shows the need for stringent, transparent regulations for the cannabis industry.
METRC’S KOSKI: VAPING CRISIS SHOWS NEED FOR REGULATED MARKETS — The lack of precise information about what products are causing vaping-related illnesses is preventing an effective, targeted response to the health crisis. That‘s the point Lewis Koski, chief operating officer of Metrc, which contracts with a dozen states to provide cannabis tracking systems, kept coming back to in a conversation with Paul and Mona on Friday in Washington.
At the federal level, the primary response by both Congress and the executive branch has been to call for cracking down on flavored e-cigarettes, even though most of the evidence points to black market THC vapes as the main culprit for the lung illnesses. The most extreme reaction at the state level has been in Massachusetts, where Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has implemented a temporary ban on all vaping products. (Although a state judge has ordered the ban to be lifted for medical marijuana patients on Tuesday.)
“Regulators and public health officials are simply unable to identify the problem,” Koski said, making the case for why the cannabis industry needs strong, transparent regulations. “You’d be able to identify more precisely what the problem is and be able to attack it.”
Koski is certainly not alone in reaching this conclusion, but his resume gives him a unique perspective on the issue. He’s the former director of Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division and founded a consulting firm that’s worked closely with state governments on implementing legalization.