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

Serious crash closes Six Mile Road on Sunday afternoon

Road closed between Atkins Avenue and Old Island Highway

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

Tour de Rock alum is newest Oak Bay Police officer

Const. Derek Brand did nine years as volunteer reserve officer

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Most Read