By Marguerite Arnold
Since the beginning of the year, when top Oscar nominees received a Haze vaporizer in their prize gift bags, the vape industry has finally begun to come into its own.
According to Aaron LoCascio, the CEO of VapeWorld, “It’s an exciting time.”
Long a dark horse in many discussions—from medical use to innovation in technology—vaping began to establish bottom line credibility along with legalized marijuana last year. And with that cred came entrepreneurs from all over the map as well as investors. Mark Williams, co-founder of Firefly, used to work for Apple. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is also an investor in this space through Privateer Holdings.
“The level of talent that is drawn to any particular emerging technology is always a good barometer for the health of that industry,” LoCascio said. “As the public continues to learn more about the benefits of vaporization, leading technological visionaries are flooding this incredibly fast-growing niche market.”
As a result, the vape industry has been and will continue to be a fascinating space to watch just because of this—especially as the issues raised by vaping marijuana in particular, seem to continue to dance along the lines of regulation even as they push new boundaries of innovation.
The issues that vaping raises are some of the toughest in the industry to regulate, including the oversight of what is put in them—hashes, waxes and concentrates. It was the battle over extracts that led Dutch authorities to shut down the first day of the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam last year over American Thanksgiving. And states from Alaska to California and everywhere in between, particularly where state laws are mandating a “smoke-free” market, are also on the front lines of such debates.
Vaping is not the same thing as smoking and even though health concerns linger about the safety of such devices, this new form of delivery has already begun to change the game, if not the debate across the industry. As LoCascio said, “Smart companies are putting extra efforts into helping educate the public not only on how to use vaporizers, but on their many benefits.”
The medical-use vertical is where vaping has established a stronghold of both delivery results and credibility, but that is clearly spilling over into other places and markets, particularly for recreational users.
According to Roger Volodarsky, CEO of PuffCo, “The acceptance of vaporizers in the growing health movement may not just be linked to the benefits of vaporizing. Concentrated marijuana is taking over more and more of the consumption market.”
Volodarsky added, “Although in its incipient stages, pre-filled vaporizers have made it a possibility to consume marijuana within seconds of purchase. It’s also extremely easy to use the load-your-own vaporizers giving you the option of selecting the concentrates you trust and prefer.”
It may also be that as a result of the sophisticated delivery options delivered by modern vapes that states and regulators are also able to begin to get a handle on what is now an established and booming market for the foreseeable future.