Vape Gross sales Shake Off EVALI COVID-19 Epidemic


Americans cannot put down high quality vape pens.

The sale of the small, battery-powered devices for aerosolizing THC oil eliminated the lung injuries associated with the vapor of 2019 (VAPI or EVALI). Then in 2020 vape sales have weathered two waves of COVID-19. In October of this year, legal vape cartridge and pen sales returned to their highs of last year, analysts report.

Popular with a mistake

Vape cartridges seem just too handy. The 10 year old devices imported from the e-cigarette world solve cannabis' two biggest problems: how to measure your dose and avoid smelling like pot.

According to BDS Analytics, THC vape cartridge sales peaked in the summer of 2019 before declining in the face of VAPI. Quality control in the illegal THC vape market had gotten so low that at least 68 people died and 2,809 were injured in what the CDC called an "epidemic".

Tests and regulations have shown that legal state markets are ten times safer than illegal states.

VAPI is not contagious. U.S. lung injury clusters stalled after a leafly investigation identified the culprit: toxic cutting agents in vape cartridges for the illicit market. In the hunt for profits, illegal pen factories diluted THC oil with increasing amounts of cosmetic creams and diet oils. Vitamin E oil and squalene lead a gang of heavy, oily, toxic diluents hiding in illegal fumes.

Tests and regulations have shown that legal state markets are ten times safer than illegal states. Street vape injuries continued through 2020, albeit at a lower level. As long as Americans buy untested vape cartridges, some will be harmed by a burning cocktail of heavy metals, drugs, cutting agents, pesticides, and solvents.

In licensed trade, state-regulated laboratory tests make consumers feel safe enough to return to the THC vape market.

Outperform previous peaks

In a study with five jurisdictions, Colorado-based cannabis data company BDS Analytics found that vape sales peaked at $ 160 million per month in July 2019 and fell to $ 126 million by October 2019.

Vape sales were flat when COVID hit this spring and sales fell to a new low of $ 117 million in April 2020.

Now is October 2020 and we have $ 160 million and more again.

"Vape products appear to be on track to peak and surpass their peak in late summer 2019 in the near future," BDS stated on Aug. 25.

Back to the high point of last year. (BDS Analytics, August 2020)

On the most popular list

According to LeafLink, a cannabis wholesale market, vape sales are up 89% from the September 2019 low.

"In fact, cartridges were one of the most popular product categories at LeafLink this year," said Alex Feldman, general manager of LeafLink Insights.

Vapes account for a fifth of all LeafLink orders this year. Vape cartridges, as well as all-in-one disposable pens, grew an average of 7% in 2020 from the previous month, second only to flowering, Feldman said.

A realignment on quality

The latest poll by Pew Research found that 66% of voters are in favor of legalizing cannabis. This is in part because legal markets have the strictest vape regulations in the world.

In terms of pesticides, a 0.5 gram California Raw Garden vape cart is cleaner than organic strawberries. It should be so. They do not apply organic strawberries to the lung tissue.

Consumers got the message to buy quality when it comes to their lungs, sellers said.

Surveys show that U.S. shoppers have generally become more suspicious of unknown brands in the face of the coronavirus.

The PAX Era Pod System in constitutional states. (Grant Hindsley for Leafly)The PAX Era Pod System in constitutional states. (Grant Hindsley for Leafly)

At the US market-leading PAX Labs in San Francisco, the sale of their PAX Era Pod systems was a VAPI success just to recover and boost, said Dominic O’Brien, chief revenue officer at PAX Labs.

"Many of our retail partners have seen a significant shift towards brands like PAX and others where transparency and health and safety are paramount."

“When consumers understood that last year's vape-related illnesses were the result of the illicit market – not the regulated one – the categories quickly rebounded due to consumer preferences for portability, ease of use and ace an alternative to smoking. "

The Californian leader in vape carts, AbsoluteXtracts, also returned with a new focus.

"Last year's vaping crisis had an impact on ABX sales as fear and confusion about the disease kept many customers on the sidelines," said Kial Long, vice president of corporate communications at CannaCraft, Inc. "Now that we know the dangerous vape products come from there. " In the illegal market and with harmful and untested ingredients, our vape sales have recovered and we have even gained new customers looking for reputable, trusted and legal vape brands like ABX. "

University cities, tourist destinations still below

A PAX era made a cameo on Amazon's most-watched original series, "The Boys," but vapes remain MIA in tourist destinations and university towns.

The Nevada vape market has not recovered from COVID, according to LeafLink. A collapse in tourism halved vape sales in Sin City.

Near UC Berkeley in California, the oldest American pharmacy, the Berkeley Patients Group, vape sales have not been able to fully recover. Berkeley residents are older and more health conscious. Meanwhile, the invulnerable college crowd has not returned.

“While BPG continues to be a trusted source for safe, quality-controlled products, we have not seen demand for cartridges return to pre-EVALI levels. Part of it has to do with COVID, including the UC Berkeley closure, but it's difficult to make a real assessment right now. Even so, we've seen an increase in indica foods over the past six to seven months, ”said Sabrina Fendrick, chief public affairs officer.

Flower is even bigger

Eventually, vape sales could return to past highs, but they account for a smaller proportion of the total cannabis sales that exploded during the COVID, BDS notes.

COVID bans, stimulus checks, staycations, and election anxiety all added to weed sales in the U.S.

"For the seventh consecutive year, Blume led market share in August 2020," said LeafLink.

The shine is from the thanks to apple-flavored vape. Old school buds are natural and contain more long-term health data.

Flower sales spike in 2020 extends to flower-based vaporizers, which combine the naturalness of flowers with gentle heat instead of burning.

“Interestingly, we saw great demand for our PAX 2 and PAX 3 loose-leaf cannabis vaporizers, even though the flowers have grown with the people who spend more time at home. This underscores that while consumers love the experience and ritual of flowers, they increasingly prefer to vaporize them for incineration, ”said O & # 39; Brien of PAX.

David Downs

David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as chief of the California Bureau for Leafly.com. He has written for WIRED, Rolling Stone, and Billboard, and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and author of several cannabis books including & # 39; Marijuana Harvest & # 39; by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He is the co-host of the Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns

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Beth Edmonds