Potential culprits in mystery lung illnesses: Black-market vaping products

By Rob Kuznia and Lena H. Sun

LOS ANGELES — Doorways chained shut and “Members Only” signs warn casual passersby against stopping along this five-block stretch of downtown known as the “Cannabis District.” This gritty corridor is a major hub for the estimated $9 billion black market for the state’s illicit cannabis products.

Products sold here, including a flood of counterfeit vape materials from China, are coming under scrutiny as federal authorities investigate the mysterious vaping-related lung illness that has sickened at least 530 people in 38 states and claimed nine lives.

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