Testing Cannabis Smoke

Anne McLellan, the head of the legalization task farce who once called cannabis a “scourge,” thinks we should be testing cannabis smoke.

And by “we,” she means the private sector. As the former deputy prime minister told The Globe:

The big disappointment coming out of the legalization project is that governments and researchers have not stepped up in the way that we had hoped after legalization to do a lot of that research… There is a lot that we do not know that we are going to need to know.

McLellan hoped that Ottawa would “incentivize” the private sector to test cannabis smoke. But no federal regulations require it.

McLellan is critical of the fact that Canadians are consuming cannabis without proper government studies. After five years of legalization, we still don’t know how safe legal cannabis is.

But this is reefer madness and an attempt to shove some inconvenient facts down the Orwellian memory hole. From when the Liberals pledged to legalize it to the day the first cannabis shops opened – the propaganda was intense.

Cannabis from “illicit” sources was unsafe. Only government-regulated cannabis was safe to consume. Bill Blair, Canada’s cannabis czar, called the licensed grow facilities “pharmaceutical factories” where you could eat off the floor.

So what happened?

Testing Cannabis Smoke

Testing Cannabis Smoke

What happened? Governments set up monopoly wholesalers while large producers flooded the market with their products. All the while, politicians like Justin Trudeau labelled BC Bud as a bunch of criminals with no regard for product safety.

Now that the cannabis cartel is here, the propaganda has shifted back to prohibition reefer madness. All cannabis is unsafe. Therefore, we need to start testing cannabis smoke.

McLellan worries that legal liability may become an issue without these tests. It’s not out of the question. Canadians could sue the government. Governments could sue cannabis companies. It’d be a repeat of the litigation against Big Tobacco.

But the cannabis industry has no incentive to test cannabis smoke, says McLellan.

Data from Health Canada‘s 2021 Canadian Cannabis Survey found that most of Canada’s cannabis consumers don’t consider cannabis smoke as harmful as tobacco smoke. And that’s a perception the legal cannabis industry doesn’t want to challenge.

But even if testing shows that cannabis smoke is just as (or more) harmful than tobacco, frequency of use is an important measure. Your average cigarette smoker is going through at least twenty cigarettes daily.

Even the biggest pothead in the country is unlikely to get through 20 one-gram joints a day. Perhaps, for medical reasons, they need this amount of cannabis. More often than not, you’ll find patients swapping out cannabis flower for shatter or edibles.

Who wants to smoke twenty joints in a row when a small dab of shatter can provide the same effects instantaneously?

An Inept Trudeau Government

What McLellan suggests isn’t that radical. The federal government already requires tobacco companies to meet strict testing standards. It’s strange they didn’t require the same for cannabis.

Instead, like everything else from the Trudeau government, they directed their priorities elsewhere. Instead of focusing on the real potential effects of cannabis smoke by requiring testing, Health Canada focuses on “mental health.”

As we’ve discussed before, cannabis is an active placebo. Beyond its physical effects, everything else boils down to set and setting. Cannabis cannot cause mental health problems.

So it’s not surprising the Trudeau government paid no heed to testing cannabis smoke. Instead, they launched a propaganda campaign about the “mental health” risks of cannabis.

That said, one of the plain-packaging warnings on legal cannabis products warns of cannabis smoke.

“The smoke from cannabis is harmful,” the warning reads. “Toxic and carcinogenic chemicals found in tobacco smoke such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, aromatic amines, and N-heterocyclics are also found in cannabis smoke.”

This warning is one of eight. The other seven include “mental health” risks and impairment without reference to smoking.

Nobody Cares

Testing Cannabis Smoke

There are groups across the country meeting with Health Canada and provincial governments. They want to get the ball rolling on testing cannabis smoke. This includes an advisory board full of doctors and other healthcare professionals.

They aren’t prohibitionists. Many advocated for cannabis legalization long before Justin Trudeau hijacked the issue to win the 2015 election. As well, some were pioneers in the medical cannabis field.

According to the Globe, these professionals are getting the “runaround.” Officials pretend to be shocked but then do nothing. Therefore, they suggest a “buyer-beware” strategy. Even when it’s legal and regulated, these healthcare professionals suggest taking precautions.

Health Canada and the Trudeau government are hedging their bets on the idea that everybody knows inhaling smoke into your lungs is unsafe. Therefore, no extra testing is needed.

Because of this, the advisory board and McLellan believe there’s potential for a class-action lawsuit facing the government 10-15 years down the road.

Testing Cannabis Smoke

Testing Cannabis Smoke

The Cannabis Act is undergoing a mandatory review. Senior bureaucrat and Trudeau Foundation crony Morris Rosenberg is leading the review. He said testing cannabis smoke is “not an issue that I have yet focused on.”

Meanwhile, the last government-approved test on cannabis smoke was in 2005. A single harvest from Prairie Plant Systems (the original and sole commercial producer of medical cannabis) did not yield positive results.

Compared with tobacco, the cannabis from PPS had twice as much tar, up to five times as much hydrogen cyanide, and 20 times as much ammonia.

But because current production methods demand sterile greenhouses and an irradiated final product, testing cannabis smoke doesn’t matter.

Trudeau’s government just gave Canadians another reason to ignore their mandates masquerading as rules of law.

If legal cannabis producers are growing cannabis that, when smoked, will be just as toxic as tobacco or cannabis from “illicit” markets, then what the hell is the point of government regulation?

What is the purpose of driving up the costs of production with excessive paperwork, licensing, and taxes?

If the government can’t guarantee that legal cannabis smoke is safer than “illicit” cannabis smoke, then maybe it shouldn’t be in this business.

Maybe the ruling party should live up to its name and liberalize legalization.