WAREHAM — Smoke shops and marijuana vendors across the Commonwealth are left scrambling to figure out to how to replace lost revenue over the coming months after Governor Charlie Baker enacted a four-month statewide ban on all e-cigarette and vaping products this week.

Governor Baker announced the ban in a Tuesday afternoon press conference, saying that he declared a public health emergency and called for a four-month statewide ban on the sale of flavored and non-flavored vaping products in both retail stores and online. The sales ban applies to all vaping products and devices, including tobacco and marijuana, and lasts through January 25, 2020.

The ban is in reaction to a string of illnesses, and in some cases death, across the country associated with vaping products.

“Today, I declared a public health emergency in response to confirmed and suspected cases of severe lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarettes and marijuana vaping products in the Commonwealth,” Governor Baker tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Verilife, a medical and recreational marijuana store in Wareham, has had to shelve a significant amount of its product due to the ban. Executive Director Shelley Stormo says she found out about the ban when it was announced by the Governor.  She says that all vaping products have been pulled from the shelves and quarantined until the ban is lifted.

“Vaping products are very very popular. We had disposable vape pens, we had vape cartridges of all types, we had refill syringes for those cartridges, the Pax Pod, several lines of products we’ve had to pull off our shelves,” Stormo said.

“Verilife supports health and well-being and public health and we’re going to comply with this ban. Unfortunately, I think the unintended consequence of the ban is that we don’t want folks to get their hands on black market products and get sick, so we’re really working to match our customers with an appropriate product to get us through, so hopefully we’re able to sell vapes again.”

Stormo says the ban has already affected business, raising the price of products still permitted for sale by the state.

“It’s definitely brought our prices up unfortunately, but we’re doing the best we can to work with our partners and we have a lot of wholesale partners from across the state. So, we’re just trying to work with them on having a more consistent supply of flower,” Stormo explained.

“Flower supply has been an issue really from the beginning, so the vaping crisis really just makes  the flower supply situation even harder.”

The multi-state outbreak of lung disease associated with the use of e-cigarette and vaping products has been under investigation by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weeks.  Last week, two Westport High School students were sent to the hospital after ingesting an e-cigarette device.

“Obviously, we’re a business that supports health and wellness, so we want to know as well why people are getting sick and what’s causing this vaping situation. We’ll do our best to work with customers throughout this,” Stormo said.

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