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

UPDATE: Highway 51 reopens briefly

All-wheel drive vehicles are permitted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday

Terrace RCMP investigating suspicious death of a man in Thornhill

Kamloops resident was found unresponsive early Sunday morning, died hours later

Freezing rain warning issued for central Interior Remembrance Day

Highway alerts in place for Begbie Summitt and Pine Pass

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Major changes for Radley Park ahead of new camping season

More campsites, limited booking period and online booking system

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

Rona’s ‘truly Canadian’ ads are inaccurate, watchdog says

Ads Standards points out U.S.-based Lowe’s acquired Rona in 2016

Brian Burke considered favourite to replace Don Cherry

Brian Burke is the 5-4 pick to be the full-time replacement next season

Major donor Peter Allard takes UBC to court to get his name on all law degrees

Philanthropist claims school not adhering to 2014 agreement for his $30-million donation

Report predicts drug resistance likely to kill 400,000 Canadians by 2050

This increase is expected to cost Canada 396,000 lives, $120 billion in hospital expenses

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Most Read