ATTENTION

Hello David, (Leafly) thank you for reaching out to us in regards to our product, the Clear Cut. I would like to take this time to shed some light on how the Industry has come to be where it is in regards to Tocopheryl Acetate,IE Vitamin E, including the Clear Cut product line. I would like to make you aware that we view all of this information as important to the public, so we will be releasing this response in full on our website and social media and hope that you do so in full as well.

In May we released a video which featured our new product called Clear Cut, and yes, it does contain Tocopheryl Acetate. The videos you are referring to are copies, put up by bad actors with misinformation to induce fear and hatred in the industry at a time when level headed research is necessary. It is widely known that Vitamin E/ Tocopheral Acetate is listed as non toxic and G.R.A.S. by the FDA and that a review of the MSDS of Tocopheryl Acetate shows minimal if any side effects.
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.8892
https://www.sigmaaldrich.com/MSDS/MSDS/DisplayMSDSPage.do?country=US&language=en&productNumber=T3376&brand=SIGMA&PageToGoToURL=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sigmaaldrich.com%2Fcatalog%2Fproduct%2Fsigma%2Ft3376%3Flang%3Den

Before releasing this product we conducted extensive research into the effects of inhalation of Tocopheryl Acetate, studying many reputable studies on inhalation and the effects thereof. I am including a list of links below. Many studies show Vitamin E to be beneficial to the lungs when inhaled, with studies on beneficial uses for Asthma and the beneficial treatment of burns to lungs from fire and smoke inhalation. If fact, Vitamin E has been studied to help repair the lung damage caused by smoking cigarettes. The preponderance of published documentation shows that inhalation have positive benefits, not negative.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15962709
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16552360
https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.201303-0503ED
https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/135/4/671/4663778

As a company, I collected this documentation and along with legal council had a meeting with the OLCC (Oregon Liqueur Control Commission) to discuss how and if Clear Cut could be introduced into products in Oregon. During our meeting at OLCC headquarters in Portland Oregon, we provided the OLCC a list of the ingredients in ClearCut, as well as all of the studies that addressed the inhalation of Tocopheryl Acetate. We wanted to be very transparent about our ingredients, our research as well as the intended usage of this product.

As a business, it is important to maintain a trade secret. For the OLCC, it is important to disclose each ingredient in the substance being sold. After review of the product and the informational studies we provided to the OLCC, the the OLCCs requests were to include usage guideline, not to claim specific health benefits, include a shelf life and use specific labeling language. All requests were agreed to and acceptable, the only issue we had was the labeling disclosure of  "Tocopheryl Acetate" vs our proposal of "Vitamin Blend", in the effort to maintain a trade secret.
In the efforts to be completely upfront with regulatory agencies, we fully disclosed our ingredients, studies and intended usage, along with the information that products like this were being sold throughout Oregon, California, and the rest of the country at the time and in 6 months it would be everywhere. The response from the OLCC was that this was news to them, and that they had never heard of it. We replied the reason for this was that Oregon did not require testing for this product and as of now we believed that this product had already entered the system. Our intentions in disclosure were to notify the consumer of the products they were consuming, as well as protect our Intellectual Property. This conversation has been ongoing up to this point in time.

Through our research and testing we have found that almost every terpene and flavor manufacturer in the country is selling their version of Tocopheryl Acetate. HoneyCut started this ball rolling with their product "HoneyCut". This product was quickly Deconstructed by the entire cannabis industry. For $300 you can send a sample to a lab for deconstruction and in 24 hours they will tell you whats in it. Many companies were very open about their methods of obtaining their products.
Floroplex sells "Uber Thick".  https://www.buyterpenesonline.com/terpenes-for-sale/terpene-diluent-flavorless-uber-thickener/
The Perfumers Apprentice sells "Thickener Extra".  https://shop.perfumersapprentice.com/p-9017-apprentice-thickener-extra.aspx
Both in stores and online you'll find:
"Vapour Terp"  https://vapeurterp.com/product/thickener-flavorless/
"Honey Hack"  https://www.buyhoneyhack.com/ 
"The Candy Cut":  https://thecandycut.com/
"Final Cut"   https://www.irislabsolutions.com/products
"Clean Cut",  "Thick Stretch"," Terp Cut" ...
At last count we had counted over 40 companies selling their own version of Tocopheryl Acetate.

China has stepped in. You can now buy Honey Cut, or whatever it might be on
DLWholesale:   http://www.dlwholesale.com/smoking/188237-237ml-honey-cut-diluting-agent-8-oz.asp
Ebay:  -https://www.ebay.com/i/223641894152?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=223641894152&targetid=809744044745&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=9052985&poi=9060325&campaignid=6470415789&mkgroupid=83196409411&rlsatarget=pla-809744044745&abcId=1141166&merchantid=114810810&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5bfi3ZS95AIVJ__jBx1CAApiEAQYAiABEgJkffD_BwE
As well as in every store in downtown LA. It can be purchased on offerup:   https://offerup.com/item/detail/698590844/
and just about any platform you can think of. Knock off Honey Cut is sold on the streets of downtown LA for as little as $.10 a gram.  We dont know what it is or where it came from. Websites are posting HoneyCut labels for you to print out on stickers for you to bottle.  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5d200178774b8600010b11a5/t/5d35385aa472a70001e383be/1563768922911/honey_cut_label.jpg

During our initial marketing campaign we reached out to some of the biggest names in the vaping industry. We were surprised to learn that almost every single one had already been contacted by a person selling HoneyCut. Many were giving us pricing to beat. These are names that everyone in the industry would know. Many companies said they do not and will not use cutting agents, many wanted to know if we could beat the price. In speaking to industry insiders, the largest suppliers were selling over 50 barrels of Tocopheryl Acetate per month. Out of the sampling we have observed, we expect Tocopheryl Acetate to be in approx 60%- 70% of the carts on the market today.

As a terpene manufacturer we have seen a new troubling issue of distillate contamination. Good looking distillate turns cloudy when terpenes are added. When heated the distillate can turn into a jelly substance, or severely darken. There are a variety of unknown cutting agents at play that may be dangerous on their own, or when mixed with different substances.

If Tocopheryl Acetate is indeed the culprit, this is an industry wide problem with serious ramifications. Most suppliers, vendors and re sellers did the due diligence of researching this product. It passed all the quality control standards set internally by cannabis vape companies, as well as passing state testing requirements. Regardless of what the contaminant is, this in an industry wide problem, each held by manufacturers, resellers, distributors and on down the chain. Each company Deconstructed this product, analyzed it, researched it, cross referenced it to the FDA, provided COAs and MSDS to the public and did and everything we knew how to do to provide a good product in the climate we operate under.  We performed our due diligence to the best of our abilities by meeting with the OLCC, disclosing our ingredients, multiple third party laboratory testing, researching FDA guidelines, researching published inhalation studies and more. At this time the FDA has stated Quote "No one substance, Including Vitamin E Acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested."

As a precaution, we are stopping the sale of all dilutants until we learn more. We have removed our videos, and halted sales out of a preponderance of caution. We understand you were baited by a bad actor posting up one of our videos along with bad information from a different account. We hope for the best for everyone, and request that you share this important information with the public and not focus on catch phrases and soundbites, we all have a duty to get good information to the people as soon as possible.

Drew Jones
MrExtractor.com

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Hello Gillian, 

Thank you for reaching out from The Associated Press with questions regarding the national vaping situation at hand. We want to be as transparent and helpful as possible to the public. So, we will be responding to your questions in writing, posting them on our website and social media to make sure the correct information reaches as many people as possible. 

- Please describe your business and what you do/sell?
Connoisseur Concentrates creates flavoring products, made from natural and artificial ingredients. We do not handle or process cannabis, CBD or THC in any way, nor are any of our products sourced from them.  

- Have you ever sold or marketed any products containing Vitamin E acetate? 
Yes, we have. Our Clear Cut line of products contained Vitamin E acetate  .  

- If so, what ones? And when? Do you still sell them? 
Clear Cut was sold for approx the last 4 months. We have been closely monitoring the illnesses in the vaping industry, and seeing that dilutants are one of many causes being investigated. We felt the right thing to do was stop the sale of all dilutants, including Clear Cut until we hear more news from the FDA and CDC.

- Why would one add Vitamin E acetate to a vape cartridge? What purpose does it serve? 
The industry was in need of a substance/carrier to suspend CBD. As you know- all across the county health conscious Americans are looking to CBD products for assistance in their lives. CBD is a huge market and so is the demand for better ingredients and carrier agents. When creating a CBD vape cartridge, if you use over approx 35% CBD with a liquid carrier the CBD will recrystallize, causing the cartridge to become inoperable. The commonly used carrier is MCT oil, a coconut oil derivative. The issue with MCT is that it is very thin, and using it at the required 65% dilution ratio resulted in a thin liquid that would cause the majority of cartridges to leak and fail, due to the way todays vape cartridges are designed. There was an industry need for a thicker carrier and has been for years. Vitamin E mixed perfectly and displayed all of the characteristics that clients would want and manufacturers would need when creating these vape products, as well as passing all of the industry standards and testing requirements. 

- You indicate in your open letter to Leafly that other companies are selling Vitamin E acetate and that it’s becoming increasingly popular. Why is this? What’s the appeal? 
For years companies have struggles to manufacture CBD vapor cartridges that would remain stable and function without leaking.  Vitamin E unlocked the ability for manufacturers to create stable solutions that worked with the vapor cartridge brands that customers wanted to use.  The vapor cartridges that held very thin liquid solutions did not function very well. Once a solution was found, Vitamin E, companies realized that for $300 they could simply deconstruct, or reverse engineer their competitors product and offer it as their own, due to the simplicity of the formula. This lead to over 50 companies that we know of offering their own version of Vitamin E acetate under many different names.  Even though Honey Cut started as a licensed brand and product selling Vitamin E acetate, Honey Cut soon became the name for any substance that was thick and clear and sold on the streets. China, being huge in the vape market, figured this out and started dumping cheap Vitamin E acetate labeled as Honey Cut to anyone who would buy it for whatever price they could get for it. As a company we did a large amount of research on the product before releasing it. In contrast, we suspect counterfeit Tocopherol Acetate or different versions of Vitamin E Tocopherols which can be harmful were marketed and sold under the generic name Honey Cut throughout the country.

- Why did you decide to pull all your dilutants from the market? 
We have full faith in the CDC and FDA to deliver good information. If they believe there may even be the possibility of a problem with a product, we believe the right thing to do is stop sales and wait until a finding is issued. Our only goal is to provide a better product to the industry as it develops. 

- To your knowledge, did you sell the Clear Cut to any OLCC licensees? If so, to your knowledge, did any of them include it in their vaping cartridges or other products? 
Absolutely not on both questions. I want to be clear that at no time have we told anyone that the OLCC approved or disapproved our products, only that we entered into discussions about our product in the spirit of full disclosure. This issue has been misquoted numerous times, which is why all of our statements have been in writing and posted on our website, including the response to leafly which does not state OLCC approval, only ongoing discussions.  The OLCC was very thorough on their questioning, and any licensee we contacted would not purchase the product without a full disclosure of ingredients and the ability to label them on the packaging as required by the OLCC. Any reports to the contrary are false. We sold no products to any party representing any licensed company in Oregon, nor do we know of any using different versions of Tocopheryl Acetate. 

- Please provide an idea of the scope of the use of Vitamin E acetate in vaping products currently and the impact these concerns about safety could have on that market in the future.  
Its everywhere. And it has been for years. A simple search of Vitamin E vape on Amazon will show vitamin companies using vape carts to deliver vitamins, including vitamin E. Constance Therapeutics has an issued federal patent on combining Vitamin E and THC and/or CBD and vaping it. They have been using this for years to treat stage 4 cancer patents with great success.   Constance Therapeutics has reported that with over 5500 people using their program, vaping Vitamin E multiple times a day over the years, not a single one has developed lung issues. 
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thoughts-vitamin-e-vaping-controversy-from-company-patented-finley/ 
Regardless of the outcome, the damage is done. This sheds light on problems we have seen more and more including; shady fake carts, dilutant/carriers with shoddy Chinese labeling, knock off packaging, synthetic THC in carts and contaminated distillate. This isn't what this was supposed to be. While a vitamin may currently be at the center of this controversy, from our end, this product was supposed to enhance peoples lives. It was suppose to offer an alternative to the chemicals and poor products. The industry has a set of guidelines that manufacturers abide by in order to introduce products to market. These guidelines consist of: Rigorous third party lab testing, FDA guidelines, Third party peer review, manufacturing practices and regulatory boards. In our case, we put up our product and it passed all of those tests. We hope for the best for everyone but, no matter what the cause and outcome, the vape industry will be changed forever by this. 

Thank you for your time in reaching our to our company for a statement.

Andrew Jones
CEO, Connoisseur Concentrates LLC

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