Suffolk Superior Court Judge Douglas Wilkins has ruled it should be the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) that decides the fate of vaping for medical marijuana users in the state, not Gov. Charlie Baker, who enacted a four-month statewide temporary ban on vaping on September 24, 2019.
According to Wilkins, the ban on all vaping products is “likely invalid” in relation to medical marijuana and undermines the medical marijuana law. Wilkins has given the commission a one-week deadline to determine what, if any, emergency regulations it wants to enforce. If the commission does not make a decision soon, the ban for medical users will be lifted as of November 12.
The new ruling does not apply to recreational marijuana vaping products or tobacco.
Gov. Baker has gone on record and said he would appeal Wilkin’s decision and ask the Supreme Judicial Court to look at the case.
Two people in the state have died due to vaping products, but the exact cause is unknown. Others were sent to the hospital with concerning medical conditions due to vaping. Because of this, Baker and the Department of Public Health (DPH) decided to make a temporary ban on vaping products, citing it was a public health emergency at the end of September.
“DPH likely exceeded its authority by banning vaping products used by medical marijuana cardholders,” Wilkins wrote in his decision.
Wilkins believes that the commission needs to be the one that adopts “emergency regulations,” if they decide to do so.
“Like any Massachusetts agency, the CCC itself has full authority to adopt emergency regulations … It may choose to promulgate the emergency regulations in whole or in part. Or, it may choose not to promulgate them,” Wilkins wrote. “The choice needs to come from CCC, not DPH or this court.”
The Cannabis Control Commission was scheduled to meet on Thursday, November 7, but did not reveal whether or not it planned to discuss the ban.