With COVID-19 keeping everyone at home, how can parents navigate consuming cannabis while keeping their family safe? We spoke with Adine Fabiani-Cater, Chief Marketing Officer of High Park Company to get a better idea of how to consume cannabis safely.

With the Coronavirus keeping everyone at home, are there ways to use cannabis while still keeping the safety of your family front of mind?

Many governments recently announced they consider cannabis an “essential service.” To go from illegal substance to essential service in 18 months is pretty incredible. Everyone is trying to maintain a sense of normalcy where possible despite social distancing, so keeping up your self-care ritual is paramount — whether that’s exercising, cooking your favourite meals or consuming cannabis. Luckily, we’re living in an exciting time where consumers have access to safe, quality-tested and regulated cannabis products. So even if you’re holed up at home with your kids and pets, (and I’m talking to folks of legal age here) there are safe and interesting ways to integrate cannabis into your daily routine.

If so, what measures can you take to keep your family safe when it comes to cannabis use?

It’s important that your products are stored in safe places out of the reach of kids, pets or other vulnerable groups in your household. Keep your products somewhere difficult to access, like a lockbox or on a high shelf, and ensure all packaging is properly sealed so that if your child does happen to stumble upon it, they can’t access it due to the child-resistant packaging that’s required by Health Canada.

Continuous education is key. A part of our thesis at High Park is that cannabis is a mainstream product used by mainstream people. This becomes more true every day. Just like you would talk to your kids about alcohol or internet safety, cannabis is another topic parents need to discuss with their children in order to keep them safe and informed.

Are there any safety measures being built into cannabis packaging?

All High Park Company products are produced in accordance with Health Canada regulations, which include child-resistant packaging as well as government-mandated warning labels and product information.

How are government regulations protecting families?

There are age restrictions for who can consume or purchase cannabis, and these same rules apply in the home. In Ontario, for instance, you must be 19-years-old. In accordance with Health Canada guidelines, our products cannot ‘appeal to children,’ so you’re not going to see gummy bears edibles or anything like that. Licensed producers are also limited on how they can market their products, so you will not see cannabis billboards or ads in places where someone under the legal age may see them. The government has also limited the amount of cannabis each individual can carry. The federal rule is that you can carry up to 30 grams of dried cannabis – which is a lot more than it sounds. Different product forms have different equivalencies to 30g of dried cannabis so it’s important to be aware of that.

Most people don’t know what the equivalencies mean, especially in the context of new forms. For example:

Chowie Wowie = Approximately 28 packs

Canaca vape pens = 15 pens

Canaca pre-rolls = 20 pack of three pre-rolls

Everie Tea = 50 packs

How to talk to your kids about cannabis?

As a parent, I know that every parent-child relationship is unique so you need to approach this conversation in a way that works for you — the important thing is that you do have the conversation, and you initiate an open and honest dialogue.

Inform your kids about the legal age for cannabis consumption, and explain why it’s important that they wait until they’re of age to try it. When and if they are going to try it, tell them to ensure their products are from a legal source like the Ontario Cannabis Store. These products are government regulated, which means they are free of harmful substances and additives. By law, we’re required to label each product with the exact components (THC and CBD breakdown) so what you see is what you get. I said it before, and I’ll say it again: start low and go slow. That applies to everyone.

How is the Coronavirus pandemic impacting cannabis consumption/sales?

As I mentioned earlier, people want to maintain a sense of normalcy and self-care in ways that are suitable to self-isolating at home. We are very pleased that cannabis has been deemed an essential service because we get to continue to serve the consumers that have come to rely on our products and our teams get to continue operating. In Ontario, March has been one of our highest performing months. Don’t worry — there is enough supply to keep up with the demand. We’re working to deliver products to consumers safely (of course while protecting the safety and well-being of our workforce).

What are some of the newest trends that you’re noticing? I.e an increase in edibles sales vs strains.

Our information indicates that consumers remain curious to try new 2.0 cannabis formats like edibles, vapes and beverages. Flower sales are starting to include an add-on purchase of edibles or vape pens as consumers begin to explore other consumption methods or non-combustible alternatives. Consumers are looking for value-for-money offers, driving more sales in value-priced brands or formats like The Batch, our new no-frills cannabis brand which categorizes its product offerings by potency rather than cultivar, allowing us to offer quality cannabis, at prices that beat the illicit market.