While the war over the use and taxation of electronic cigarettes wages, Dutch company E-njoint has started selling a new marijuana-flavored “e-joint” that will almost certainly lead to controversial legal battles over their distribution and use in states across the nation.
Like e-cigarettes, the e-joint uses a liquid composed of propylene glycol, glycerin, and flavoring that is then vaporized into water vapor to produce an experience that mimics smoking without many of the harmful effects.
According to a March 5 press release from E-njoint, the e-joint “contains no THC, CBD, nicotine, tar or toxins. [It’s] completely legal, but [it] still gives smokers a high-like feeling.”
Daryl Cura demonstrates an e-cigarette at Vape store in Chicago. The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. (AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Previous versions of the e-joint, which is built to look and feel like a typical marijuana cigarette, provided a fruit flavoring, but E-njoint’s most recent model includes organic compounds that the company claims gives the user a “cannabis aroma and flavor.”
According to E-njoint, only one store in America currently sells e-joints.
E-cigarettes have faced much scrutiny since being released in the United States. The American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids have all openly denounced the use of e-cigarettes as a sort of gateway product to using tobacco or other drugs.
The Food and Drug Administration even initially ruled the products were “drug or delivery device[s]” that should not be available to the public. In 2010, a federal court ruled the agency did not have the authority to rule on the use of e-cigarettes, opening the way for e-cigarette use by consumers throughout the country.
Since then, the popularity of the product has skyrocketed. In 2010, 750,000 e-cigarettes were sold in the United States. By 2012, the number of products sold jumped to more than 3.5 million, with more recent estimates suggesting sales have continued to rise.
Despite their popularity, some have continued to allege the product is dangerous and contains harmful carcinogens, but multiple studies by researchers suggest the products are relatively safe to use and provide a good way for smokers to transition away from real drugs.
One study published in BMC Public Health, conducted by Drexel University’s Igor Burstyn, reviewed more than 9,000 analyses of e-cigarette use and found no harmful effects caused by continuous second-hand exposure to e-cigarette vapor.
Although scientific studies have shown vapor from e-cigarettes, including e-joints, is mostly harmless, many state legislators have worked to discourage the product’s use through increased taxes, bans, and burdensome regulations.
Add this to the long list of attempts by the government to control every aspect of every American’s life, from womb to the tomb.
Even if e-cigarette and e-joint products are harmful when used over many decades, a claim unsupported by good research, what legitimate reason does the government have to prevent its use?
Social conservatives are told over and over again that they have no right to stop women from getting abortions or homosexual couples from being married. It’s their bodies, and they should be allowed to do what they want with them—at least that’s the consistent mantra coming from the left.
But when it comes to what we put in our bodies, whether it be sugary drinks in New York City or tobacco products across the nation, the government claims to have a legitimate power over personal freedom. It’s this sort of hypocrisy that continues to permeate governing bodies in nearly every corner of America.
Electronic marijuana cigarettes do provide some interesting questions about the role government ought to play in discouraging drug use, but ultimately, the government’s role should always be to enhance freedom, never to stifle it. Unfortunately, that has not been the case for quite some time, and e-joints are likely to be a major source of contention between groups who support personal freedom and those who actively work to restrain it.
Justin Haskins(Jhaskins@heartland.org) is the editor-in-chief of the New Revere Daily Press and the editor of The Heartland Institute, a leading free-market think tank headquartered in Chicago. Opinions are his own.
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