PLYMOUTH (CBS) – Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency in Massachusetts regarding vaping, and banned the sale of all vape products for four months, effective immediately. This includes marijuana vapes and nicotine vapes, and applies to all stores.
Local smoke shop owners fear the sudden declaration is going to put them out of business. “It’s been a frenzy,” said Chris Kolacz, the co-owner of “Beantown Vapor Shop” in Plymouth. “People are outraged today. They got their free will to purchase what they want as adults taken away from them.”
Tuesday afternoon, customers were swarming into the store to stock up on products. “We only sell vape products here,” Kolacz said. “So what else can we do but close the doors?”
The CDC and FDA are still investigating exactly what has caused more than 500 people nationwide to get sick from vaping. The CDC warns about black market purchases, but people in the vape business fear Governor Baker’s complete ban will push people to that black market.
“We are punishing a regulated industry for the actions of drug dealers,” said John Nathan, whose company 80V eLiquid manufactures vape products. “What this is going to do is embolden that black market.”
Nathan says he discourages childhood use and wants to see vapes used only by adults, purchased at local 21+ businesses. But with the Governor’s ban, that won’t be an option.
“These small businesses, we’ll all be closing,” he said. “That’s thousands and thousands of jobs.”