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A Well Known “Legal” California Vape Brand Has Been Caught Making Illegal Products

Surprisingly, this California vape pen brand is well known and licensed. Which is causing more concern around the current vape lung epidemic.

Well, this changes things. The nation is struggling to figure out what’s causing the vape pen epidemic that has killed 18 and injured over a thousand. And now a new issue has popped up in California. Kushy Punch, a very popular and legal vape pen brand on the west coast, allegedly has an illegal extraction facility.

A Tale of Two California Vape Brand Facilities

A source told Leafly that Kushy Punch had two facilities. One that all the tested product went through, and another which created product that was not tested. Their “clean” facility distributed product that went through the licensed cannabis market. While it’s “dirty” facility  appeared to be performing petro-solvent extractions. This type of extraction occurs when a technician concentrates the active ingredient in cannabis, THC. Petro-solvent extraction is legal with a permit in California, but this extraction method can sometimes concentrate pesticides along with the THC. 

“Investigators confiscated thousands of illegal vape carts worth millions of dollars,” Bureau of Cannabis Control spokesperson Alex Traverso told Leafly. But it appeared that this facility was taking this illegal product and boxing it up with professional-looking vape pens and cartridges and making it ready for consumption.

Industry Fallout?

So what does this mean for the vape pen epidemic? Previously, we recommended only buying vape pens from licensed producers. But this changes things. If you can’t trust a trusted your local dispensary to sell safe products, then what? What should vape pen consumers do now?

First, we need to follow this story. The investigation will provide a lot of answers. Were the “dirty” facility products sold to licensed dispensaries? If so, then the industry need to have a reckoning. There will need to be a complete audit of all sales and distribution channels. Investigators will find out if these products were only sold on the black market. If that’s not the case, this investigation will turn criminal very quickly. The inevitable vape pen lawsuits will be expanding very soon.

Regardless, this means you have to be even more vigilant about vaping. As the industry evolves and becomes more regulated, this may continue to happen. Hopefully the premium brands will rise to the top as the state and federal governments move forward with regulations. Legalization would eradicate the black market. We’re in limbo until we know exactly what is causing the VAPI (vaping associated pulmonary injury) epidemic. And the illness affecting over 1,000 vape and e-cigarette users won’t have answers.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Legal and licensed brands need to assure customer safety. It will be a huge blow to the industry if “legal” brands can’t be trusted. Especially until we find out what is exactly causing this epidemic. Safety is what separates real dispensaries from back alley sellers. And if consumers can’t trust anyone, they will turn away altogether. And the worst effect of a story like this is that it hurts cannabis. This plant has a great chance of having a net positive effect on society. If regulated and tested, it can be a great pain management alternative to opioids. CBD has a great potential to be an effective anti-inflammatory medication. But we won’t know what the potential is until the bad actors are eradicated. And that won’t happen until the government steps in to legalize the plant.

No matter what, only buy vape pen products from the safest dispensaries.

If you’re concerned ask your local dispensary. Or better yet, do what the CDC suggests and quit vaping altogether. That’s the only way to completely ensure your safety.



The editors of have decades of experience in the THC and cannabis industry. We have been concerned about the rise of illnesses caused by vape pens and are getting the information out as best we can.

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