Illegal THC vape cartridge seizures have doubled in Guilford County over the past year

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — As concerns over vaping-related illnesses rise, Capt. Daryl Loftis with the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday authorities expect to seize more illegal THC cartridges.

“Oftentimes it originates in source states: California, Colorado, Washington state, places like that. Areas where it might otherwise be legal,” Loftis said.

Guilford County detectives announced this week they found about 5,058 “Cookies”-branded cartridges that were headed to Richmond, Virginia.

Loftis said in the past year, seizures have doubled.

The boxes are professionally packaged and labeled, advertising 91 percent THC.

“We should be concerned about the black market THC products. They are harming people,” said Chris Hopkins, a senior manager for MadVapes. “And as an industry, our whole goal was harm reduction in the first place.”

Hopkins explained that they are educating customers about the products, which could contain harmful compounds like vitamin E acetate.

“We believe the public has kind of misconstrued the entire situation, where you have two topic matters that are kind of coming together under the word ‘vape,’” he said.

Loftis said deputies have not interviewed patients at Moses Cone Hospital being treated for vaping-related illnesses to find out where they purchased their products but said they may in the future.

Cone Health in Greensboro confirmed Thursday morning its first death due to vaping.

Officials at hospitals in the Piedmont Triad have said they are seeing a spike in the number of patients admitted for pulmonary disease caused by vaping.

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