As a Vancouver cannabis company attempts to keep up with a slew of orders for its marijuana-filled advent calendars, some health experts are raising red flags about them.
The calendars were introduced earlier this month, and Coast To Coast Medicinals‘ Lorilee Fedler says the response has exceeded expectations: the company has sold 150, with an additional 300 awaiting processing, and the waiting list is now 1,500 strong. Although the calendars are illegal, Fedler says she hasn’t been approached by the authorities.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Jesseman at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction says that items such as this show the loopholes which exist in current legislation. “The biggest concern is it’s not a regulated product,” she says. “We’re talking about a product that has not gone through quality testing, so there’s no way to be certain as to what’s in the product in terms of the levels of THC and other cannabinoids, so what the level of intoxication will be.” She added that contaminants like mould, fungus and pesticides could also be a concern.
Professor Mark Haden at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC says Canada’s pot industry needs to allow for endorsement-free access, and permitting decorated weed-filled advent calendars is not the way to do it. “We don’t want to criminalize it. We don’t want to promote it. We want to make it boring,” he says. “We do not make it boring with advent calendars.” He’s also concerned about child safety: “It’s reasonable to assume that advent calendars will be opened by children. That is not a good idea.”
Fedler notes that she included warnings labels on the packaging, and, anticipating forthcoming federal regulations, eschewed a child-friendly design. “We didn’t make ours like the classic Santa or the reindeer or the snowman. We made ours like an ugly Christmas sweater,” she says. “I can see (it being a problem) if we made it a copycat of the kids’ calendar and put some weed edibles in there, but we took it differently so it was not so attractive to the kids.”