This Week in Cannabis: Top Stories From Across Canada From Apr. 12-19

joint hotbox
Photo by Jesse Milns

This week in Cannabis: Halifax’s first cannabis crawl gets 86’d, a branch of the Saskatoon Public Library hosts a cannabis education event that includes how to roll a joint, and makers of Canadian law enforcements preferred roadside drug test stress that the machine does not detect intoxication.

We’ve rounded up this week’s top stories from across Canada.

Explore the World’s Largest Strain Database
LEAFLY’S STRAIN LIBRARY HAS ‘EM ALL

Saskatoon Public Library Branch Hosts Cannabis Education Day, feat. a Joint-Rolling Workshop.

Saskatchewan is becoming one of Canada’s most interesting cannabis locales these days.

As cannabis retailers praise the provincial government for allowing them to buy direct from producers without going through a provincial wholesaler like the Ontario Cannabis Store and delivery services fight for the right to bring cannabis to your door, a branch of the Saskatoon Public Library offered “The 411 on 4/20,” a daylong cannabis symposium last week that included a joint-rolling workshop.

Naturally the symposium discussed lots of serious issues, such as cannabis’s potential health effects, and the overlapping municipal, federal, and provincial laws related to the plant. But what everyone really noticed was cannabis advocate and head-shop owner Mark McCaul teaching a room full of people the art, science, and craft of rolling a joint.

To avoid unnerving the local constabulary, McCaul used tea leaves rather than cannabis flower. Nonetheless the Saskatchewan Police (as well as some lawyers) were on hand and presumably learned how to roll tighter cones.

Meanwhile, the event helped normalize something it turns out a lot of people already do. Community librarian Jenny Ryan, who conceived of the event, said, “I talked to a doctor about coming out, and he said ‘You know, I’m just now getting patients disclosing to me that they’ve been using this for years.’”

Makers of DrugTest 5000, Stress the Machine Cannot be Used to Detect Intoxication.

Regardless of whether their DrugTest 5000 saliva tester has been ok’d by Health Canada for use by police at roadside stops, a representative of manufacturer Drager stressed the device was never intended to test for intoxication.

“Our device is there to really just identify whether there’s a presence of THC. It’s not meant to measure impairment and we never claimed that it does,” said Einat Velichover, Drager’s head of Canadian drug and alcohol detection. “So really it’s just one tool of many that law enforcement utilize in order to assess impairment and road safety.”

Velichover went so far as to call for police to balance individual rights against the goal of road safety. This adds to the arsenal of complaints against the device, which may not function below four degrees Celsius or while on an angle, and suffers from “fairly high” false-positives and false negatives.

Lawyer Kyla Lee said last September that such testing was “out of step with what the courts have authorized insofar as roadside testing,” and said the device would face a fairly swift constitutional challenge. That’s the result Nova Scotia motorist and medical cannabis patient Michelle Gray is hoping for.

In January, despite passing a field sobriety test, Gray had her car impounded and lost her license for a week after testing positive in a roadside saliva test seven hours after she last consumed cannabis. She’s planning to take the police to court over the constitutionality of the procedure.

Halifax’s First Cannabis Pub Crawl Gets Snuffed Out

The Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming Authority cancelled Halifax’s first cannabis pub crawl, but organizers Dart Frog Events claim the agency originally signed off on their plan to offer participants a pre-rolled joint ahead of each of the first two stops on the tour.

The AGA says it never approved the event. Organizer Krishna Parmar said, “Why can’t we give out a couple joints? Why are some things okay, but not others?” He compared mixing alcohol and cannabis to mixing it with energy drinks. “In all the bars, you can find Red Bull and alcohol at the same time even though you shouldn’t have Red Bull with alcohol. We’re all adults here and we let them make their own decisions.”

Mixing alcohol and cannabis, often a ticket to a very greened-out place, is already controversial in Nova Scotia, where the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) is also in charge of selling cannabis and does so in numerous liquor stores around the province.

Last summer when the province unveiled its retail framework for cannabis, public health advocates criticised the plan to combine the two products for sale, but government officials argued the NSLC was already effective at controlling regulated products and the agency’s staff would be trained not to cross-promote alcohol and tobacco.

To Do List

Let’s Talk Cannabis

TORONTO, ON – Join the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario for a frank and open panel discussion at the YMCA Centre in Toronto on Apr. 24 from 7 p.m.. The event is free to attend and will feature speakers; Erin Boudreau, Policy and Community Engagement, Schizophrenia Society of Ontario, Dr. Suzanne Archie, Cleghorn Early Intervention in Psychosis Program, and Jordana Rovet, Skylark Children Youth & Families

O’Cannabiz

TORONTO, ON – The industry expo takes place at The International Centre from Apr. 25-27 and brings together cannabis professionals from across the globe for an event featuring high profile celebrity speakers like Montel Williams, Ricki Lake, and Steve Rollins. The expo bills itself as a “buffet of best-business practices and opportunities to source, shop, network and grow.” Ticket packages range from $50-$599.

C-45 Quality Summit

WINNIPEG, MB – Taking place Apr. 23-25 at the RBC Convention Centre, this summit will feature speakers from Health Canada and bringing together leaders from across the Canadian cannabis industry. Tickets are $475.

Edmonton Cannabis & Hemp Expo

EDMONTON, AB – This interactive forum is on Apr. 27-28 at the Edmonton Expo Centre and is aimed at educating on the latest technology, research, and benefits of cannabis. Tickets are $10

Are you hosting a cannabis event in Canada? Email canadaevents@leafly.com to share your event with the Leafly community.