Lift and Co. and MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) have teamed up to create CannSell, Ontario’s first cannabis retail training course, which aims to teach retailers how to tell if someone is high or not.
Right off the bat, the certification program raises questions as one might wonder if “CannSell” rhyming with “cancel” is simply a coincidence or a subtle hint of what MADD would like to see happen to cannabis legalization.
But I know you’re curious as to what signs the course is teaching retailers to look out for.
As MADD Canada CEO Andrew Murie told the Financial Post:
“One of the fundamental questions right off the bat was: If you smell cannabis on somebody, is that enough to say you’re not going to serve them?
We had to go, ‘No that’s not enough. This is not about use of cannabis; it’s whether they’re intoxicated…. We’re looking for gross signs of intoxication — where it’s really obvious … something’s not right about that individual.”
Other signs include “dishevelled clothing”, “dry mouth”, “aggressive behaviour”, and being “argumentative”, which raises the possibility of retail clerks being forced to judge your fashion sense and trying to stare in your mouth.
You might also be asking yourself whether it’s wise, or even fair, to give a single cannabis-focused tech company like Lift so much power over the cannabis retail certification process, although, according to the Financial Post, “the agreement does not include “any monetary transaction” between the government, MADD and Lift & Co., according to Lift.”
But let’s take a look at the program and see what it’s all about.
How long will the CannSell course take and how much is it?
The CannSell course and exam has been designed to take approximately 4-hours and costs $50. Test-takers get two chances to achieve 80% or higher before they have to do it all over again.
According to the CBC, “the CannSell certificate will be mandatory for all managers, employees and licence holders planning to work in one of the province’s 25 brick-and-mortar pot shops when their doors open on April 1”.
It also begs the question- if a $50 online course can teach you how to tell if someone is high or not, then why are we spending $17,000 to train Drug Recognition Experts?
CannSell is being compared to Smart Serve, a training program designed to teach responsible alcohol service. But the comparison between the cannabis and alcohol programs isn’t exactly apples to apples because…
There are big differences between selling alcohol and cannabis in Ontario
One of the biggest differences comes down to access.
According to the Smart Serve website, “Anyone who serves or handles alcohol in a licensed establishment in Ontario must be certified by Smart Serve.”
The list of licensed establishments where you can buy alcohol in Ontario is long and includes restaurants, bars, lounges, clubs, grocery stores, and both public and private liquor stores. That means when it comes to getting hammered, you’ve definitely got your options to choose from.
According to Ontario’s official government website, beer and wine will be available in up to 450 grocery stores- and that’s in addition to the 450 Beer Stores and 660 LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) run by the government, which means there are over 1000 public liquor stores alone!
But where can one legally buy cannabis in Ontario?
Right, now there zero legal brick-and-mortar cannabis stores in Ontario, which means citizens of Canada’s most populous province are being forced to purchase their cannabis online on the Ontario Cannabis Store website– at least if they want to get their cannabis the legal way.
But come Apr. 1, 2019, 25 brick-and-mortar cannabis retail locations are set to open- which is a far cry from the thousands of establishments you can purchase and/or consume alcohol across the province.
Making matters even worse for cannabis users, there are no cannabis equivalents to a bar or lounge where you can go to relax and enjoy your bud because while there are a handful of consumption lounges that allow you to use cannabis onsite, they are all still technically illegal because they are unlicensed! The province has considered allowing consumption lounges, but so far, little progress has been made on the issue
This isn’t MADD Canada’s first cannabis-related venture, either
MADD Canada previously partnered with Uber and Tweed in a campaign that launched a week before legalization called Don’t Drive High, which suggested 101 things to do instead of driving while stoned.
“Cannabis presence is the leading cause of fatalities on our roadways.”
Reefer Madness. Andrew Murie the CEO of MADD CANADA claims “Cannabis presence is the leading cause of fatalities on our roadways” pic.twitter.com/mVrToFTomM
— Sly Woof (@SlysPet) February 22, 2019
He may have been referring to a 2018 study that linked 420 to a spike in car crashes that was recently debunked as junk science and fear-mongering propaganda by Dana Larsen in the Georgia Straight.