Over 1,500 Canadians have signed a petition demanding that Quebec cut down the amount of plastic used to package legal cannabis products.
The petition asks the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), the government agency responsible for selling and distributing all legal cannabis products in Quebec, to ban all single-use plastic for weed packaging. "There's too much packaging for no reason," said Ruba Ghazal, Member of the National Assembly of Quebec and sponsor of the petition, to CBC News. "The other request is to have more ecological packing, biodegradable plastic," Ghazal added.
The petition notes that the SQDC uses thick, plastic child-resistant packaging on cannabis products, which is often boxed in a second layer of cardboard. Most of these containers are designed for single use and are non-recyclable, and the SQDC does not offer any options for its customers to dispose of this packaging in an environmentally-friendly fashion.
The SQDC responded that the excessive packaging is necessary to comply with the federal government's strict marijuana packaging regulations. "Producers and suppliers must strictly adhere to government labeling and packaging requirements imposed by the Cannabis Act and by Health Canada," the agency said in a statement reported by the CBC.
When the Canadian government legalized adult-use retail sales last fall, it included a number of severe regulations governing exactly how cannabis products could be packaged. Every weed product must be sealed in a tamper-evident, child-proof package devoid of any logos or flashy colors that could possibly attract the interest of children.
Gallery — Edibles That Look Like Real Food Products:
This is the second petition against the SQDC's plastic packaging that has been circulated in two years. Last year, Montreal resident Jody Aveline, founder of the Cans 4 Cash Collection Service, petitioned the provincial weed supplier to take a more eco-friendly approach to its packaging. The SQDC is “pushing more plastic on the world,” he said to Global News. “It’s ridiculous.”
This earlier petition asked the cannabis agency to implement a refund or consignment policy to encourage customers to bring their opened packaging waste back to stores. The petition also suggested using reusable containers, or allowing customers to bring their own pot containers. “What about [making the packaging out of] hemp?” Aveline proposed. “Why not use the byproduct of the product?”
Aveline's petition attracted around 1,000 signatures in total. In response, SQDC spokesperson Mathieu Gaudreault told Global News that the company's packaging was “almost all completely recyclable.” Gaudreault added that “the SQDC is sensitive to this issue and will be looking at the environmental impact of our packaging during the next product selection meeting with our suppliers.”
The company did not change its packaging, however, prompting Ghazal's new petition, which demanded that the company take another look at devising an environmentally-friendly alternative.