This Week in Cannabis: Top Stories From Across Canada From Apr. 20-26

Published on April 28, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020

This week in Cannabis: Tweed and TerraCycle choose Earth Day to launch a new cannabis-waste recycling program, the Feds are set to approve a new saliva-testing device that detects recent drug use–but not impairment, and Shoppers Drug Mart launches a portal to buy medical cannabis in Alberta.

We’ve rounded up this week’s top stories from across Canada.Explore the World’s Largest Strain Database

Feds to Approve a New Saliva-Testing Device

Just in time to watch its predecessor, the Drager DrugTest 5000, challenged in court on constitutional grounds, a new saliva-testing device is nearing federal government approval.

The Abbot SoToxa is a handheld device (unlike the DrugTest 5000, which is a desktop item) that offers quick results. Like the DrugTest, the SoToxa cannot test impairment, and its results don’t support criminal charges, but despite even manufacturers stressing the devices can’t test impairment, many provinces have rules that automatically suspend drivers’ licenses in the instance of a positive saliva-test result.

The Canada Gazette impact statement on the SoToxa device from the says it should be used to test for recent drug use, a positive ID of which would be grounds for further investigation. At present, the SoToxa has cleared testing by the Canadian Society of Forensic Science, but now enters a 30 day public consultation period.

Cannabis-Waste Recycling Program Goes National

As outcry over cannabis overpackaging continues, Tweed and US recycling company TerraCycle chose Earth Day to announce the nationwide expansion of their Tweed x TerraCycle cannabis-packaging recycling program (first announced only weeks after legalization).

Though the program has been running in a few stores across Canada for some time, Monday’s announcement launched the service cross-country. In addition to recycling bins in cannabis retailers, the expanded Tweed x TerraCycle offers free pickup of cannabis containers—which will be especially useful both for consumers who don’t have ready access to cannabis stores, and also to those whose municipal recycling does not handle all types of plastic used to package cannabis.

Once Tweed x TerraCycle have collected between 10 and 40 tons of plastic cannabis packaging, they will melt it down into plastic pellets that can be used to make new plastic products.

Shoppers Drug Mart Launches MED Portal in Alberta

After rolling out its online medical cannabis portal in Ontario in January, Shoppers Drug Mart launched its second portal for patients in Alberta on Tuesday.

Rather than ordering from a single cannabis producer, patients who use the Shoppers portal can choose products from 11 producers, including big names like Aurora and Aphria as well as smaller producers like Flowr and Broken Coast.

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The company offers a call-centre for patient questions and counselling (similar to what most LPs offer medical consumers), though when the corporation announced their program last August, dispensary owners cried foul, saying they knew better about cannabis than Shoppers Drug Mart.

In widening the program to Alberta, Dr. Hance Clark, director of pain services at the Toronto General Hospital and a member of the chain’s medical cannabis advisory board, shot back at those who believe they can get better medical advice in dispensaries. “I’ve gone into dispensaries just out of my own curiosity and I can tell you there is sometimes an 18-year-old telling someone, ‘This is what you should use for rheumatoid arthritis, this is what you should use for your anxiety, this will help you sleep,’” he said.

To Do List

Funky Buddha Yoga Sessions

TORONTO, ON – This one-hour vape and yoga session is held 11 a.m. to noon at The Good Grass on the Danforth.  Billed as a way to tap into your inner Buddha and be one with your body and mind in these exclusive yoga sessions cost $10 to attend. BYOW, vapes provided.

Jokes N Tokes

VANCOUVER, BC — The weekly cannabis-themed comedy show series takes place at the Cannabis Culture Lounge on West Hastings on Apr. 28. Tickets are $10 for the evening featuring professional comedians and rising stars.

Are you hosting a cannabis event in Canada? Email to share your event with the Leafly community.

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Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.
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