View of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley from Elk Mountain. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

Cannabis company’s campaign to match hikes with strains of weed called ‘irresponsible’

Chilliwack Search and Rescue head says mixing intoxication and the outdoors is unsafe

Anyone who’s hiked Elk Mountain in Chilliwack knows it’s a long, winding ascent through lush forest culminating in a beautiful view of Cultus and the Fraser Valley in all directions.

And what those who’ve hiked elk also know is that there are some very steep, rocky and, depending on the time of year, marginally treacherous spots where even the nimble-footed need to be careful.

So an Ontario cannabis company’s suggestion that once at the top you should smoke a big fat joint before hiking down is “irresponsible at best,” according to the head of Chilliwack Search and Rescue (CSAR).

Hikers ascend Elk Mountain in Chilliwack in November. Cultus Lake can be seen in the distance. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

“This is akin to a company advertising/promoting alcohol by utilizing images of people cheerfully engaged in outdoor activities,” according CSAR president and search manager Doug Fraser. “An individual’s safety in the outdoors is compromised if he/she is under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any other substance that impairs co-ordination, judgment, etc.”

• RELATED: Four companies vying to open cannabis stores in locations across Chilliwack

Fraser was responding to a question about a publicity campaign The Progress received via email from a Toronto PR firm, promoting Peak Leaf Cannabis, the newest product of a large Ontario cannabis growing company.

The campaign pairs three B.C. hikes with three strains of Peak Leaf marijuana.

For Pender Hill on the Sunshine Coast, they suggest “Forest Rain”, ” mix of woody aromas and a trace of sweet herbs.” For Quarry Rock in North Vancouver, try sweet “Mountain Kush.”

For Elk Mountain, they suggest “Alpine Breeze.”

“Begin your hike with a steady incline through lush forest, culminating in a view of Chilliwack, Cultus Lake and the surrounding Fraser Valley,” said the email from downtown Toronto’s Veritas Communications. “Indulge in the tropical fruit aromas of Peak Leaf’s Alpine Breeze for a sweet break before you begin your descent.”

Asked if the campaign was well thought through, given the obviously problematic combination of intoxication and mountainous terrain, along with the danger of forest fires and the practical consideration that smoking is not permitted in City of Chilliwack parks, the PR firm responded.

”We are firmly committed to increasing consumer awareness about responsible cannabis use,” a company spokesperson said via email. “That means always consuming products safely, with full consideration for activities people may be engaged in and ensuring proper disposal after smoking.”

• RELATED: Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

The outdoor hiking motif seems to be the core branding strategy for Peak Leaf Cannabis, which is just one brand of many owned by parent company CannTrust Holdings Inc., which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They say they produce 50,000 kilograms of cannabis a year in a 450,000-square-foot facility in the Niagara region, and cultivate and process in a 50,000-square-foot distribution centre in Vaughan. Peak Leaf is only available in B.C. and only through the provincially run B.C. Cannabis Stores.

“At Peak Leaf Cannabis, a brand exclusive to British Columbia, we believe reconnecting with the natural world is essential for reconnecting with yourself.”

But for Fraser who, along with his team, frequently deals with rescuing people who have made mistakes, and sometimes put themselves in difficult circumstances for lots of reasons, promoting smoking marijuana and hiking is just unsafe.

“There are plenty of examples of responsible businesses/corporations, but often I see companies choosing promotion of their product with little regard to public safety,” he said. “This lack of corporate responsibility is a concern. Sometimes this lack of awareness is simply innocent ignorance. Education is paramount. I’ve personally contacted a couple of local companies to suggest more responsible messaging.”

• RELATED: 10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Chilliwack Search and Rescue president Doug Fraser says an Ontario cannabis company’s new PR campaign pairing strains of marijuana with B.C. hikes is “irresponsible at best.” (PeakLeafCannabis.com)

Just Posted

Port Alberni’s Kari Trott set to shine at Canada Winter Games

Trott is one of two Special Olympics BC figure skaters invited to the national event

BCHL: Bulldogs’ Hawthorne commits to NCAA Wildcats

20-year-old goaltender earns scholarship to play Div. 1 hockey next year

Port Alberni realtor trekking the Sahara Desert in support of ACAWS

Chris Fenton of The Fenton Team will spend five days hiking in the Sahara Desert

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Port Alberni bear spraying suspect arrested in Coombs

Nanaimo resident facing 16 criminal charges after “well coordinated” RCMP effort

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Most Read