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Pennsylvania Vape Shops Continue To Struggle Because Of 40% Tax On Vapor Products

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By CHRIS MELLIDES

Pennsylvania vape shops were dealt a serious blow after a tax hike was passed in October as part of the state’s budget plan.

The imposed measure called for a 40 percent wholesale tax on all vapor products, and stores selling them also had to pay a 40 percent floor tax on their existing inventory.

Photo Credit: Emma Lee/for NewsWorks

Due to this retroactive tax, it is estimated that 100 vape businesses closed their doors in 2016, which accounts for approximately 1/3 of the state’s vapor product industry, according to the Pennsylvania Vape Association, an advocacy organization with a focus on tobacco harm reduction.

Last year the state’s House Finance Committee voted 19-4 to repeal the 40% wholesale tax on vapor products, but the bill ultimately expired due to a lack of legislative days in 2016 and an inadequate number of readings by the House.

This year, the legislation is expected to be reintroduced by Representative Jeff Wheeland and Senator Camera Bartolotta with the goal of reducing the tax from 40 percent to just five cents per milliliter on e-liquid.

A rally to support the reduction of the existing vapor product taxation will be held at the state capitol on Monday, January 23 from 10-11:30 a.m.

Vape businesses interested in supporting the rally can list their shop name and contact information on the Pennsylvania Vape Association page.

Chris Mellides is the Managing Editor of VAPE Magazine. A seasoned journalist, he has worked in all areas of the media industry since first getting his start in newspaper reporting ten years ago. Contact him at chris@vapemz.com.

June 2017

Just in Juices June 2017

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Just in Juices

CANDIES

Phoenix

from Vapergate

Phoenix’s flavor profile is on point and tastes just like the delicious Trolli gummy candy peach rings that you know and love! What you get is a spot-on peach with a creamy marshmallow kick and a sprinkle of crunchy sugar crystal coating to round out the sweet flavor. This juice is the fire! 60ml pricing is available.

vapergate.com

Blue Raspberry Gushers

from The Kandy Kollection

A rockin’ blue raspberry candy filled with punchy fruit flavor. 60ml pricing is available. http://vapefame.com/

DESSERTS

M.B.Y.C.

from Sic Boy

M.B.Y.C. blends praline with creamy sweet ice cream and adds just a touch of vanilla custard to round out a truly awesome flavor.

giantvapes.com

Cosmic

from Esnaxx

Take lush strawberries and pile them high on a sugary bed of flaky funnel cake for a sweet and delicious vape that’s sure to satisfy. 120ml pricing is available.

esnaxx.com

Strawberry

from Shortcake Man E-Liquids

This 70VG/ 30PG blend is a lite strawberry shortcake topped with candy glazed strawberries and whipped cream. 60ml pricing is available.

www.vapefame.com

UniCake

from BLVK Unicorn

This 70VG/ 30PG blend is a delicious crumble cake baked to perfection and blended with a fresh handful of blueberries guaranteed to make those mouths water with envy! 60ml pricing is available.

blvk.com

FRUITS

UniApple

from BLVK Unicorn

Imagine taking a bite into a freshly picked Fuji apple. It’s crisp initial taste is matched perfectly with a tart finish in this 80VG/ 20PG blend. 60ml pricing is available.

blvk.com

Archangel

from Super Charged Heaven

The best selling strawberry and cream liquid in the state of Michigan.

Superchargedheaven.com

FRZN Chee

from BLVK Unicorn

This blast of sweet lychees with a hit of cool menthol creates an explosion of fruity and chill flavor the likes of which you’ve never experienced before. 60ml pricing is available.

blvk.com

BEVERAGES

Blackberry Moonshine

from Saffire Moonshine E-Liquid

Sweet, with just the right amount of bite, Blackberry Moonshine transports you to the era of bootleggers and moonlit travels. Experience the taste of Tennessee.

moonshineeliquid.com

Espresso

from Chuck CLDS

This 80VG/ 20PG blend gives you an espresso and sweet cream combo on the inhale and a vanilla bean donut on the exhale.

chuckclds.com

WILD CARD

CRSP

from Esnaxx

Prepare yourself for an out-of-this-world vaping experience with explosive flavor that captures the tart notes of your favorite fruity cereal and combines it with a silky-smooth marshmallow surprise. 120ml pricing is available.

esnaxx.com

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2017 Future of Vaping Special Issue

Full Spectrum: CBD Industry Gains Momentum

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Full Spectrum: CBD Industry Gains Momentum

By Tony Ottomanelli II

Though widely unknown, a specialized group of individuals, many of whom have ties to manufacturing e-liquids still hold aspirations of reaching greater business expansion. Others have ties to the success of the marijuana movement revealing the potential medical treatments and approving certain state voting ballots to allow the citizens to vote on whether they would legalize cannabis, either recreationally or strictly for medical access.

These two industries are now expanding the benefits of CBD to the point of launching some of the most effective products on the market, becoming recognizable on an international level for some of the smaller businesses who made the transition.

As a result, the question then becomes: Does the quality of the product largely depend on whether the retailer is from a state where marijuana is legalized? Many will say it does not matter. Many will admit that there is a vast distinction, due to the undeniable effects of a highly-concentrated THC derived from the cannabis plant and the synergistic effects between cannabinoids. What does that mean? Well, read along, get your vape on and learn from some new ideas that will change the future as we essentially know nothing of what is to come down the road.

CBD Defined

“What is CBD?” This short worded question could essentially become a very detailed and lengthy explanation. However the short answer is that CBD is one of the top two compounds found in cannabis. While THC is the dominant compound, CBD is perhaps the “Responsible Older Sibling” due to its non-psychoactive effects that can also be derived from industrial hemp in states as well as marijuana plants

CBD-usage is rising as a therapeutic treatment for a wide range of diagnosed conditions, such as: PTSD, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Epilepsy, Chronic Pain, Diabetes Cancer, Schizophrenia, Crohn’s Disease, Anxiety, Cardiovascular Disease, Antibiotic-Resistant Infections and more.

However, there are two sides to every coin. There’s CBD that comes from industrial hemp if the seller is in a state where there is no legalized medical or recreational marijuana, yet in the states where marijuana is legal for medical and/or recreational consumption the CBD is typically derived from the cannabis plant.

When you learn that something is non psychoactive, it means that it will not get you “high” or “stoned”, it is not intoxicating to the user-especially among all of the cannabinoid compounds currently found in scientific biomedical research of medical marijuana and now the billion dollar industry’s most coveted sector of legalization over the past few years throughout the United States-the recreational sector, which is entirely operational in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and soon-to-be fully operational in Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Maine and even Washington D.C.

Gene Shaffran from 4 Cogs CBD based in Alabama tells me, “We make a CBD vape/tincture and a CBD balm. Our products are made from imported industrial hemp. We do not do retail sales we do wholesale only at the moment.” Gene also tells me how and why they got started in the industry that I’ve heard from a number of other CBD business professionals, which could be referred to as, a closely-connected emotional experience.

“We started making the CBD for my dad, he took a lot of pain meds and meds for stress and anxiety,” Shaffran said.

In Missouri, Kevin Lacey from Pinnacle CBD also shared a compelling testimonial about how he became involved with the CBD Industry. Also, currently running his e-liquid brand through Pinnacle Distributions, began researching a lot about it after jumping into the industry as soon as Kevin realized it was a possibility for treating his young daughter who has epilepsy.

From my research and interviews with industry professionals who manufacture or sell CBD products, it was obvious that anyone who gives or benefits from a deeply emotional connection, such as caring for loved ones, as a primary motivator to establish a business, ultimately applying their passion to their careers will always develop quality products.

That may seem like a given certainty, but it also helps reveal certain honest qualities in the business owners. Their ambitious disposition says much about their character. They’re passionate, caring, detailed, patient, loving, helpful, effective, compassionate and productive people. Aren’t those good qualities for companies to have and are they not representations of ourselves?

Is CBD the common ground or the midpoint where the vape community meets the marijuana community? Or is it a barrier between the nicotine vapers and marijuana vapers? Well, first, to suggest a parallel barrier creating divisiveness is unrealistic, primarily because many people belong to both communities. There is no line drawn in the sand. Or is there?

Perhaps many simply assume whether “nicotine or marijuana – is all the same” – I’ve certainly heard such arguments actually used by people on a regular basis. Of course, one might initially assume that nicotine and THC consumers who vaporize THC Concentrate or dry herb shared common ground already with actual vaping devices. Very different circumstances yet also there is some truth. Vaporizing is, after all, a method used to avoid the harmful procedure of combustion.

CBD is a very unique compound. Many people doubt claims that its healing properties are so miraculous, but CBD is the number one studied and most researched cannabinoid out of 85 different cannabinoids found in the plant itself. One after the other, research study or scientific experiment in biomedical research all play a role in determining the effects from CBD,but the point is, studies have been proven scientifically to show clear evidence that there are indeed therapeutic properties capable of any number of health benefits.

Since CBD is the most studied of all the cannabinoid compounds in cannabis that is studied the most and the results prove its efficiency, as most studies reveal that CBD works best when it is working alongside other cannabinoids and it doesn’t necessarily have to be THC.

Regardless, CBD also affects the way you may feel from the THC compound, which primarily attaches itself to the brain receptors and CBD finds receptors in your body, thus categorizing it as a non-psychoactive compound.

Types of CBD: Full Spectrum vs. Isolate

This brings us to taking a closer look at the two most available, popular and easily distinguishable CBD products, which are either CBD in the “Full Spectrum” or CBD as an “Isolate.” First, for the most simplistic explanation, CBD isolate is solely CBD aka Cannabidiol purely on its own and derived from industrial hemp, while “Full Spectrum” CBD is when the compound works with a number of other different cannabinoid components included in the product, such as natural Terpenes, CBC and CBN.

Extensive preclinical research and some clinical studies have shown that CBD has strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral, and neuroprotective qualities. Cannabidiol can change gene expression and remove beta amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, from brain cells.

Which is better? Seems to be much more difficult question then most probably anticipated because everyone’s body is different so perhaps one person’s body reacts much better to just pure CBD while another person may have a better reaction to the full spectrum of cannabinoids working together. It seems almost as if the majority believe “full spectrum” is the way to go and they give very logical explanations as to why, but there are also some industry professionals and experts who prefer CBD isolate.

So, perhaps the answer is not as difficult as we thought. Which is better? Perhaps, It all depends on you. I’m going to say that it most definitely depends on you, as it all depends on how your physiology responds to particular cannabinoids. “I personally don’t like isolates, I do not get the same benefits from them as I do full spectrum,” says Shaffran.

From research extending all the way to Jerusalem, a study concluded that Full Spectrum CBD is by far more effective for alleviating inflammation and pain sensation than its isolate CBD counterpart, but that is merely one study on how health benefits could be provided by CBD as a therapeutic relief. There are hundreds more. For the most part, all the studies make similar conclusions about full spectrum being far more effective. Kevin from Pinnacle CBD agrees 100% with the study from Jerusalem.

Ryan Hindes from CBDfx, states, “We definitely encourage all of our customers to do their research before buying any CBD from one of the many brands available on the market.”

He continues, “A lot of companies are using isolate because it is cheap and easy to work with. Research suggests that isolate is not nearly as effective as full spectrum oil, so even though it costs less per milligram of CBD, isolate may end up being more expensive in the long run because of the limited efficacy.”

Much like how the vapor industry started out, the CBD market also is currently unregulated during it’s introduction to the world as it grows more and more popular each day. Therefore, it has attracted many skeptics, doubters and deniers. However, once more, similar to the vapor industry, CBD is helping millions of people benefit from the medical properties.

CBD will eventually become more universally known, the similarities to conventional vaping will be revealed. Right now, investors in cannabis have their eye on vaping and CBD, which can certainly be consumed as a vaporized substance – using tinctures and applying it as a topical ointment are the other more popular ways to use CBD.

Full Spectrum vs. Isolate: Industry Professional Insight

The 4 Cog CBD business owner, confirms, “Isolate CBD is just CBD where most of the other compounds have been removed. Full spectrum CBD contains more of the other organic compounds found in the plant.”

Kevin Lacey from Pinnacle CBD, explains, “The vaping community, needs to realize that if you have a great tasting e-liquid and merely sprinkle some isolate CBD crystals into it, then you don’t necessarily have a quality or effective CBD product.”

Mr. Lacey proceeds to explain, “With Full Spectrum versus Isolate, I don’t see it as a debate, but more of a lack of consumer knowledge. People do not understand that combining more of the components together, this provides a much better likelihood to feel the therapeutic relief.

Adding, “CBD works well for relieving pain, but also the cannabinoid CBC works well for pain so when all these cannabinoids are engaged in an entourage effect synergizing together to cause more effective results. When you isolate a compound you are depriving the therapeutic capabilities. When you try to combat something with one component, it’s not going to be nearly as effective as a combination of five or six cannabinoid compounds.”

Ryan Hindes, mentions, “We started out in the e-liquid industry and saw CBD as a great add on to our line of e-liquids. Today, CBDfx is still a DBA of anywhere, but it has grown a lot since the launch in 2014. We sell our products wholesale, to retail stores and online at cbdfx.com.  Initially, we were only manufacturing vape additives but today, CBDfx offers a wide range of vape products, edibles, drinks, capsules and tinctures. We are located in California, but we sell our products to all 50 states and export to at least 25 countries internationally.”

Mr. Hindes from CBDfx proceeds by explaining, “Therefore, we only use the hemp oil extracted from the stems and stalks of mature industrial hemp grown organically in the EU. Industrial hemp is definitely less potent than marijuana and as a result, we need a significant amount of plant material to extract our CBD oil. Some companies are using CBD oil derived from the flowers and leaves of the marijuana plant, which is a less costly process but on the flip side, they end up with a product that is less compliant.”

Hindes says that. “The quality of CBD oil is determined by the amount of cannabinoids and terpenes, the purity and the extraction method. And that his company’s CBD oil, “is rich with cannabinoids and terpenes, free of solvents and heavy metals.

Hindes only uses CO2 extracted oil for his products, and says with confidence that, “We are offering the purest and best full spectrum CBD oil available on the market.”

Seeing the vaping industry’s juice makers transferring over their skills to a new established industry on the horizon, with entrepreneurship and innovation guiding its growth. It’s not like CBD just came onto the scene in the past few months, it’s been around for years – though now we’re witnessing CBD gain more users due to it’s variable health benefits.

New Industries & Communities Synergize Together

In reality, those who have made a switch in business models from first manufacturing nicotine-based e-liquids to also include exclusivity in representing “vape-ready” CBD based liquids have provided another fresh perspective to contribute to the ever-increasing CBD community. Along with a highly-skilled portion of the legalized marijuana industry, these specialized e-liquid manufacturers are now involved with contributing in another billion dollar industry.

It may be a much more profitable business model since CBD can also be consumed or applied other ways, whether crystal isolate, lozenges, patches or topical ointments. After all, it appears CBD has become quite the compliment to both the vaping industry as well as the ever-expanding marijuana industry-many might agree the CBD industry has become the best of both worlds.

CBD is not some simplistic therapeutic remedy or whacky vitamin combination. There is very real evidence pointing out how much CBD could become a milestone for medical research discovering revolutionary cures for some of the worst ailments and diseases and taking all aspects of the industry into consideration. Things become very complicated, especially when discussing anything related to the origin of its chemistry, the specifics of it’s legality, and even biological genetics.

Conclusion

CBD is one of the primary forces behind the medical marijuana movement, eventually overcoming the lack of access to treating patients, which was initially denied. Regardless, the community essentially grew to be a large group of advocating industry professionals with influential lobbyists, started out as a rejected subculture desperately seeking approval from America’s social system and regulatory agencies…sound familiar?

Perhaps living in Denver has my vision more cloudy and essentially faded. Then again, I am still an American  living within the United States America and so my surroundings are cloudy and my view is most likely faded. Oh, wait a second. That’s from all this constant steady flow of inconvenient vapor literally fading the room’s visibility, hiding which does not need to be seen, surely this merely a side effect of being American.

Thank you to Gene Shaffran from 4 Cogs CBD & Kevin Lacey from Pinnacle CBD

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2017 Future of Vaping Special Issue

Additives Au Naturale

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Additives Au Naturale

By Lavender Lee

Going natural is everywhere: from gardening, to food, to makeup, to hair care and it is clearly here to stay.

There are natural additives in vape products to choose from, too. Additives allow the benefits needed without the unwanted side effects from things like nicotine, caffeine, sleep aides, vitamins, and energy drinks.

Are additives a sign of the future for vaping?

Billy Vernetti, co-founder and COO of Elixir Distribution Company LLC says, “We don’t use caffeine or melatonin specifically, but we use several other herbs and vitamins. Alterna is our botanical nicotine alternative. Alterna is 100% certified organic, non GMO, vegan, gluten free, and non-toxic.”

“Nicotine will spell the death of our industry. Not many companies are going to survive the process. Big Tobacco needs vaping in order to survive. There are two kinds of customers: ones who quit and ones who die,” Vernetti says.

Vernetti believes that once the regulations take effect, “the survivors will be easy pickings for the Big Tobacco companies.”

“That’s their evil plan,” continues Vernetti. “Then once they effectively dominate vaping, the chemicals will surely return—unless we as an industry, find something better to use.”

“The entire scope of the FDA deeming regs is nicotine.” adds Vernetti.

Alterna is a botanical nicotine alternative with a proprietary blend of botanical extracts, which include green tea, yerba mate, St. John’s Wort, passion flower, burdock root, vegetable glycerin and deionized water. Combined, these alternatives deliver a full spectrum of support for moving away from nicotine while continuing to enjoy vaping.

Vernetti lays claim that Alterna can be used as means of fighting anxiety, curbing appetite and helping with the detoxification process. The cofounder also states that “Alterna will help companies avoid the PMTA, TPE, BOE, FDA, state and federal taxes, pretty much everything associated with tobacco.”

“It will…save the vape industry. We are asking juice companies to at least give us a try. It would mean they could continue manufacturing e-liquid unimpeded by the FDA tobacco regs,“ Vernetti says.

“The well-studied effects delivered by the herbal extracts we choose are documented in the pharmacopeia of Botanical ingredients and have been studied for thousands of years in both ancient and modern medical practices.”

“We are completely different than tobacco free nicotine (TFN) in every way.” cautions Billy Vernetti.“We use valerian instead of melatonin and yerba mate instead of caffeine. We have an MD and a licensed herbalist on our staff.”

Brad Ridenour, CEO of High Voltage Vapor says, “Not many people are doing this and we’ve been going strong for four years. Some of our e-juice blends contain caffeine and B12. Our line really kills two birds with one stone by getting your energy and vape all in one source.

Ridenour says that his client demographic falls between the ages of 18 to 30 years of age, and that most shops that wholesale High Voltage are near military bases, colleges and truck stops.

“Our customers are looking for more than just nicotine, because they’ve been down to 3mg of nicotine and are left with just flavor,” Ridenour said. “For them, it isn’t enough. They need energy in this fast-paced society we live in. “

Adding, “As far as caffeine goes, customers who’ve never tried the caffeinated High Voltage flavors always ask about the effects.”

Those effects Ridenour says “will not make them too wired, but will give them the little boost they need.”

High Voltage also has melatonin infused e-liquids – Unplugged and Lights Out. Melatonin is a natural sleep aide that is found in our brains and the same chemical is what causes babies to sleep a lot.

Brad adds, “Melatonin doesn’t knock you out, per say, but it does help bring on sleep. Unplugged and Lights Out are most effective at 0mg or 3mg nicotine strengths.”

Tom Kiklas, Founder of Pure Energy LLC adds, “We have spent years in development of this patented, nicotine-free, caffeinated e-liquid that will effectively deliver the same energy boost, as say, a Red Bull or Monster energy drink in e-liquid form. We have successfully done this and are in our soft launch now.”

Maybe additives are not just the future of vaping, but could possibly change other industries, as well? Time will tell, but it sure sounds promising.

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