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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Surrey Mounties seeking witnesses to Saturday shooting

Police say the victim isn’t providing investigators with information

South Surrey mom frustrated by city’s response after son, 10, has severe reaction to park grass 

City of Surrey parks manager says ‘potential steps’ to address concern under review

B.C.’s virtual ‘SoundON’ concerts kick off with sounds of Surrey festival

‘FVDED Broadcast’ from nightclub on July 18, as charity event

Surrey council approves $150 FOI fee for attendance requests at city facilities

This came before council’s meeting on Monday July 13

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

UPDATE: Mission spray park closed after children suffer swollen eyes, burns

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Professional basketball in Canada begins return to action with COVID-19 testing

Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, six other CEBL teams arrive in Ontario for Summer Series

Most Read