Jason Vegotsky, CRO of KushCo Holdings talks “Vape Illness Concerns” with The David Webb Show on SiriusXM Patriot 125

Originally aired Sept. 3, 2019

David Webb, SiriusXM Patriot 125:
Congratulations are in order to Nick; founder, chairman and CEO of KushCo Holdings. He was going to join me but his wife just had a baby so I take the chance and the opportunity to say congratulations to Nick his wife and their newborn, and a substituted Jason Vegotsky, Chief Revenue Officer to fill in.

Jason, it’s a tough act to follow, man. Never follow kids or the circus. How are you doing?

Jason Vegotsky, KushCo:
I’m doing well, good morning.

David Webb, SiriusXM Patriot 125:
Good to hear, great news for Nick.

An important topic for you and I to cover, Jason. Now especially with kids going back to school, this story has gotten more attention. Vaping related illnesses and so forth.

Speaking with Dr. Marc Siegel, our medical director of doctor radio and talking about a number of issues, he’s brought up that there are allergies to be considered that some may have to some products and that there’s even an issue to look into of potentially counterfeit products being sold. So there’s a lot to this, but let’s talk about your point of view from KushCo.

Jason Vegotsky, KushCo:
KushCo Holdings, we sell over a billion units a year and we’re the largest distributor of vaporizers to the cannabis industry, so we really understand what’s going on here. This black market in the United States is a 50 billion dollar industry and we are urging people to move to the legal market and buy products that they know are tested and safe.

From our perspective; the hardware that’s tested, the oil that’s tested in the legal market, we feel very comfortable that are not causing this. However, when you’re buying what they’re calling “street vapes” that could be from a manufacturer of a vape product who knows where, and then oil that’s going into it that’s made totally illicitly, there’s no way to find out how real it is and how safe it is.

David Webb, SiriusXM Patriot 125:
How how do you distinguish though is the question. I’d love to live in the world where people had the impetus and the time to research and see who they’re buying from or even the ability to get the information… but that’s not so.

Let’s call it what it is. When it was the days of Camel cigarettes back in the day, young kids tried a cigarette. Especially the younger demo out there that aren’t even supposed to be using it, so it’s all part of it regardless of whether it’s under the age to purchase or not.

How does someone distinguish, an adult or otherwise, what they’re getting and what product?

Jason Vegotsky, KushCo:
On the cannabis side, we’re really urging people to make sure they’re buying from legal dispensaries. If you’re buying from a legal dispensary, you know that product is going to be tested and compliant with all regulations in the state.

State-by-state there has been a lot of good regulations put into place to make sure that this kind of thing doesn’t happen. However, if you’re going to be buying it outside of the legal channels you’re going to be susceptible to any type of oil and any type of hardware that may or may not be compliant. This is where we’re seeing most of these cases pop up, in states that are not regulated as of yet.

David Webb, SiriusXM Patriot 125:
Unfortunately, it happens in many industries, the reality is that products… or if you want to put it under the umbrella of illicit products, counterfeit products, do make their way into legitimate stores, legitimate outlets.

I mean in the case of alcohol we saw in the Dominican Republic. it was counterfeit alcohol in the hotels that played a large part. That’s a reality we deal with. Address that issue.

Jason Vegotsky, KushCo:
At KushCo, we’re really trying to lead the way here and it is very hard to tell what is legal and what is not legal. If it was easier to tell we wouldn’t be having this problem.

But what we’re doing is working with a lot of big companies, like DeLaRue that is the leading anti-counterfeiting outfit in the marketplace… they do all the passports, they do 138 country’s currency.

So forcing brands in the space to put some anti-counterfeiting mechanisms on their packaging is going to allow people to be able to differentiate what’s legal and what’s not legal.

David Webb, SiriusXM Patriot 125:
What about a public campaign, Jason. Is there one underway and to what extent? To let people know, those that vape pen, we’ve seen it grow immensely and use in every which way just as a device.

Jason Vegotsky, KushCo:
We’re seeing it happen state-by-state right now. That’s one of the challenges with how regulations are rolling out, there’s not a lot of unity within the message. But definitely state-by-state we’re seeing a lot of messaging to the public, especially where regulation is in place and they can point to that regulation to have people going to these legal channels.

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