Here at East Coast Herbalist, we want to keep our loyal customer base in the loop on any industry news or regulatory changes regarding hemp products. For our many friends that enjoy vape products, there are some changes on the horizon we wanted to make you aware of.
On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, a spending bill to provide stimulus to the American people during the Covid-19 pandemic. Buried in this bill were some sneaky and inadvertent changes to the hemp industry, for better or worse.
As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress passed legislation extending the applicability of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (“PACT”) Act to electronic nicotine delivery systems, also known as “ENDS.” This legislation, which is called the ‘‘Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act,’’ brings ENDS into the PACT Act by amending the definition of a cigarette to include electronic nicotine delivery systems.
The bill also lumped CBD and hemp products into what is classified as “ENDS” when it is in vapable form. This ensures that the government will treat hemp derived vape products in the same way we treat tobacco or electronic cigarettes.
Law makers claim this bill is to curb underage smoking. This act put in place the same limitations that had already existed for cigarettes and other tobacco products to the hemp industry by applying these limitations to the shipment of CBD, Delta 8 THC, CBG, and other cannabinoid vape cartridges.
Following the rollout of these amendments, all major shipping services have announced they will no longer service hemp vape items. This will cause most retailers to no longer sell vape-related products online because they do not have a good option to ship directly to customers using traditional shipping methods like USPS, FedEx or UPS. This even applies to vape devices, packaging, batteries, and other accessories.
For companies that choose to continue shipping vape products, they will need to keep extensive records of who products are sold to as well as require the shipping company to only deliver if an adult of legal age is able to show a valid ID. Although an inconvenience to customers, we see this as a way to ensure that underage individuals are not having products sent to them through the mail.
The thing that makes this most difficult is that companies will have to find other potential shipping options outside of the major carriers, which are few and far between at the current time.
The shipping ban is already in place for FedEx, UPS, and DHL. The ban for USPS was supposed to take effect on 4/26/21, but USPS has requested more time to iron out additional details.
So, for the time being, products can still be shipped via USPS, but we do not know how long this will be an option for online shoppers. The hemp sector may not have been the original target of the vape shipping ban, but the industry is now reeling from the ramifications.
How to Sell Hemp / CBD Vapes Moving Forward
So what do businesses that currently sell vape products online do to stay alive? There are several options to consider if they want to continue selling vape.
Here are two ways that retailers can keep CBD vape sales going into 2021 and beyond:
Wholesale Vape Sales
Companies currently doing business online can change their focus from selling B2C to selling B2B to retail shops with brick and mortar locations. Since competition online will be limited, these locations will still be able to sell products to consumers, who may be forced to venture out into the world to buy vape products.
You should be able to keep your wholesale vape orders shipping through independent freight providers. Businesses may have to pay higher shipping costs, so you can bank on larger minimum orders from manufacturers to make the rising cost of freight shipping providers worth the business.
Brick and mortar locations selling products may end up growing in number. Not only gas stations and smoke shops, but there’s even rumors that Amazon (with its private delivery force) may jump into the CBD game, so stay tuned for updates!
Currently, there is no publicly available information about how often vaping products are shipped in the mail. However, U.S. consumers ordered $44 million in CBD vape cartridges online in 2020, providing some measure of how often mail carriers might be used to fulfill orders, according to Rick Maturo, associate client director for the Nielsen Cannabis Insights Practice.
Brick and mortar locations that can get vape products from wholesalers or manufacturers will have less competition from online companies. The majority of customers will have to visit a store with a physical location to buy vapes. There’s certainly enough demand to warrant a network of retail shops or physical locations buying more vape products.
Opening a retail location is no easy feat, but having this avenue to sell vape products will become the easiest way for consumers to get them. The bottom line is that the industry is evolving and consumers and retailers will have to adjust to the new rules.
If you currently buy vape products online, check out our vape selection on our website and order them while you still can. Use the coupon code vape to get 20% off any vape products we carry for a limited time.