Article by Solomon Israel, Leaf News
With new government-licensed cannabis stores still opening in communities across Canada, shoppers with experience buying black market bud from their local dealer might be in for a surprise when they browse the legal market, where shoppers can’t see the exact weed they’re buying until after they buy it.
At Lake City Cannabis in Chestermere, Alta., customers ask to open sealed cannabis containers for examination on a daily basis, said owner Ryan Roch.
“We just explain to them, there’s a lot of regulations… We can’t just crack jars open, expose product, have it out there,” he said.
“We try to explain, ultimately, that things are changing, right?”
Federal cannabis production regulations, which prioritize public health concerns, are the main reason Canadians must shop for legal marijuana sight unseen. The rules require that the immediate container for dried cannabis bud be either completely opaque or at least translucent, meaning no one can see exactly what’s inside.
“This measure, along with requirements for plain packaging and labelling, and for packages to be child-resistant and tamper-evident, is part of the government’s approach to reducing the appeal of cannabis products to youth and reducing inducements to using cannabis,” wrote Health Canada spokesperson Geoffroy Legault-Thivierge in an emailed statement, noting that the federal task force on cannabis legalization recommended opaque packaging.
Provincial retail regulations add another layer of control on top of the federal packaging rules. In Manitoba, for example, provincial regulations forbid customers from handling cannabis before purchase, and cannabis can’t be sold unless the original, nontransparent packaging is completely unopened.
But for discerning consumers, eyeballing cannabis flower can impart valuable information about quality. Independent cannabis reviewer Brad Martin of Pancakenap.com likens it to scrutinizing a container of grapes at a grocery store, or inspecting flowers at a florist.
“You want to make sure that it’s not scant, that the colouring looks like it should,” he said.
Scent also matters to cannabis cognoscenti like Martin.
“You can see what works with you and what doesn’t, the same way you test cologne.”