Nearly All Cases in Illegal States
Most importantly, no cases are associated with adult-use or medical cannabis products from legal state-licensed stores. Almost all affected states do not have adult-use legalization in effect. They include Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Additional states are pending verification. The California incidents occurred in Kings County, which has banned licensed cannabis stores.
Reports indicate that severe acute respiratory distress resembling lipoid pneumonia followed the repeated use of tainted carts. The patients’ heavily inflamed, fluid-filled lungs lost function and sometimes failed. Two patients in California required mechanical ventilation. Steroids knocked down the lung inflammation, but recovery has taken weeks of hospital care. Some patients may have permanent lung damage.
West Coast Carts, Dank Vapes Named
Public health officials have interviewed patients and obtained samples of tainted products in California, Wisconsin, Illinois, and other states. Officials in each state plan to analyze the seized carts. The California Department of Public Health had no test results to share as of Friday morning.
In Hanford, a small county seat south of Fresno, officials released a photo of one patient’s brand, called West Coast Carts.
In Wisconsin, a family member of a victim there said another suspected tainted cartridge came from an illicit-market brand called “Dank Vapes.” Medical and adult-use cannabis products are not legal in Wisconsin.
Neither brand is traceable to a single company. Outside of a state-regulated system, anyone can order vape packaging and fill it with their choice of ingredients.