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VIDEO: SaltWire journalists across Atlantic Canada size up government-regulated cannabis


SYDNEY, N.S. - A cellphone video of Chad Kelly weighing his government-legislated cannabis has gone viral.

The licensed medical marijuana user visited a local Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation outlet in Truro on legalization day — Oct. 17 — where two different strains of dried marijuana were purchased.

Kelly said after buying one gram each, he peered through the plastic film and saw one bud that appeared smaller than its advertised amount.

After watching Kelly’s video, journalists from across the Saltwire Network decided to see if they could find any discrepancies in cannabis purchases from licensed retailers in all four Maritime provinces. Out of five grams purchased in Nova Scotia two were slightly short, one was slightly over and two were perfect grams.

Two grams were purchased in Newfoundland — one was over and the other was a perfect gram. In P.E.I. one gram was purchased and it weighed slightly short, while in New Brunswick the one gram purchased was dead on.

“We left the NSLC, got into the car, and in the excitement of everything opened up the package of Pink Kush (under the brand San Rafael ‘71),” said Kelly.

“I knew it wasn’t a gram, so I pulled the wrapper packaging back — the seal —just to check it out with my own eyes.”

After arriving at Kelly’s friend’s house, the pair grabbed a digital scale with a readability of 0.1 grams. The unit had not been calibrated since its purchase.

Kelly weighed a package of Purple Chitral before moving onto the questionable Pink Kush.

The first gram measured as advertised.

“We weighed the package of Pink Kush out and it came to .60 and it flashed at .70 for a second but went right back down to .60 — and that’s when the video was being made, as you can see.” Since its posting later that day, the Facebook video has garnered close to 600,000 views.

In the video, the friends erupt into laughter before exclaiming Kelly was ripped off.

Available only to his Facebook group, Kelly later made the video public after receiving numerous requests.

“We knew it was short. We just didn’t realize it would be that short, and at the same time I think it was the whole emotion of paying $12.40 for something and not receiving the whole product,” he said.

Kelly likened the experience to purchasing a 12-pack of beer and realizing two cans or bottles were missing.

He said no one wants to waste their hard-earned money.

“With the economy that we live in, every dollar counts nowadays,” he said.

Kelly hasn’t returned to the government outlet since the video taping.

Attempts were made to contact officials with San Rafael ’71 and its producer MedReleaf but no response was received by press time.

Kelly isn’t the only one finding shortages in their legally purchased cannabis products. Zach, not his real name, has been selling marijuana in Cape Breton illegally for about 40 years. One of his customers purchased two grams of two different products and brought it to Zach to weigh, knowing he has quality scales.

One was the Namaste brand and the other was a hash blend. One weighed in at 0.94 and the other at 0.90. Based on his experience, Zach said dried cannabis should only be packaged at a moisture rate of seven per cent and if they are packaged like that there shouldn’t be shortages due to moisture loss.

“My opinion is that the province has gone into the cannabis industry… and the government couldn’t handle it,” he said of the Nova Scotia government.

“They should have left it in the private sector.”

Moncton-based cannabis producer Organigram sells licensed recreational products under the brands Edison Cannabis Co., ANKR Organics and Trailer Park Buds.


Return policies by province
Return policies by province


Company chief commercial officer Ray Gracewood said they received 17 complaints regarding weight countrywide by late Wednesday afternoon.

He said in most cases, the majority of concerns were addressed by walking consumers through Health Canada’s guidelines on variances.

“The machinery and the standards that we’ve put in place from a manufacturing perspective really allows us to tighten up on that and to get very, very close to that targeted weight,” said Gracewood.

Related:

• Cannabis day arrives in Cape Breton

• Sydney River NSLC second-busiest store in N.S. on first day legalization

• No shortage of applicants for cannabis production

In instances where larger weight variations occur, Gracewood said they would generally be attributed to moisture loss over time.

According to Health Canada’s legal limits, discrepancies of up to 10 per cent are allowed on cannabis products weighing two grams and under, while a five per cent variation is allowed for products two grams and over.

Federal department spokesperson André Gagnon said producers must also follow the Weights and Measures Act requirements for scales used for the sale of cannabis products.

Read more coverage of cannabis legalization. 

Erin.pottie@cbpost.com

Nicole.sullivan@cbpost.com

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