BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A portion of Governor Charlie Baker's temporary ban on vaping products in Massachusetts is set to end Tuesday at noon.
This section of the ban concerns the sale of medical marijuana vaping products. The ban on recreational marijuana and nicotine vaping products will remain in effect.
Suffolk Superior Judge Douglas H. Wilkins ruled last week that medical marijuana vapes fall under the purview of the Cannabis Control Commission, not the Baker administration. Judge Wilkins has given the commission until noon to determine its next steps.
It is possible for the medical ban to stay in place. The Baker administration appealed Wilkins' ruling to the Supreme Judicial Court, requesting the SJC issue a temporary stay to prevent the products being sold. CCC Executive Director Shawn Collins also has the power to act alone for the sake of public health at any time. Collins has stated he's "leaning toward" a quarantine of cannabis oil vapes, while allowing the sale of raw marijuana flower vaporizers.
Governor Baker instituted the four-month ban on Sept. 24 as a result of an outbreak of vaping-related illnesses and deaths across the country. In Massachusetts, three people have died and at least 65 people have gotten sick.
Local vape shop owners and a nationwide vaping trade group sued the state over the ban, alleging that it would ruin them financially; employee layoffs and store closings have been reported.
The latest version of the vaping ban went into effect Oct. 28. The Baker administration said it would last three months, but Wilkins' ruling said the ban would actually end Dec. 24 unless the Baker administration held a public hearing to implement the regulation; state health officials said they will hold that hearing Nov. 22.
Baker’s public health council will vote Dec. 11 on whether to allow the ban to lapse Dec. 24 or to pass it as a final regulation, which would extend the ban indefinitely.