Dana Larsen has an important parcel to send. He weighs out his product, vacuum packs it and slips it into a padded shipping envelope destined for Nunavut – with no return address.
The recipient suffers from great pain and depends on Larsen’s products, known as “Bubba Kush,” “Sweet Skunk” and “Blue Dynamite,” for relief from nausea and for a good night’s sleep. This particular parcel of medical marijuana, however, will be lost en route. They often are.
Northern postal workers to blame for theft
“Not to put down postal workers,” Larsen said. “I’m sure most of them are fine, upstanding citizens – but once in a while some of them steal stuff and certainly with pot, it does go missing sometimes.”
Larsen, director of Sensible BC and operator of The Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Vancouver, laments the loss of his product to postal workers and couriers. He says the problem is the high cost of it up North – up to $50 per gram versus the $8 to $10 he charges at his two dispensaries and online.
“Postal workers in Nunavut steal our marijuana more than anywhere else in Canada,” said Larsen. “It’s kind of a cat-and-mouse game, but our understanding is that they use pins to poke a hole in the package, thereby opening up any vacuum seal and being able to smell what’s inside without making it noticed.”
New pot program raises questions over stolen goods
Health Canada’s new medical marijuana program requires licensed providers of the drug to ship it in an unmarked “tamper-evident and child-resistant container.”
Larsen is skeptical, however, and said he doesn’t know how well Health Canada will be able to deal with thefts.
“I don’t know how a postal worker who smells marijuana in a package or pokes a hole in it is supposed to know whether it’s legal, government-regulated weed, a dispensary or just someone mailing weed to their friend.”
John Caines, spokesperson for Canada Post in Ottawa, says Larsen’s accusations are unfounded.
“That’s a pretty bold statement,” Caines said. “There are procedures in place to prevent that.
“We’ve been delivering [medical marijuana] for years. Our employees deliver a lot of parcels and don’t have time to stand around squeezing them. You wouldn’t know what’s in the parcels. It’s not identifiable and it’s illegal to open mail.”
Reported by Nick Eagland