Quebec petition calls for provincial cannabis retailer to ban single-use pot packaging

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A petition to lower the quantity of single-use packaging on Quebec cannabis products has garnered more than 1,500 signatures—and counting.

The petition calls on the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), the province’s only legal cannabis retailer, to halt the use of all single-use plastic components, which are currently ubiquitous in Quebec retail.

“There’s too much packaging for no reason,” Ruba Ghazal, Quebec Solidaire MNA for Mercier and environment critic, who sponsored the petition, told CBC News.

The petition is the second of its kind to circulate in Quebec, with the previous one garnering over 1,000 names. It is posted on the website of the national assembly.

Packaging for SQDC products such as oils, flower and pre-rolls usually consists of a thick cardboard box containing a second, plastic, child-proof container. Most of the containers are not recyclable—and the retailer hasn’t provided any recycling programs or other solutions for the quickly amassing used cannabis containers.

“Also the other request is to have more ecological packing, biodegradable plastic,” Ghazal commented.

Like others before it, and in true Quebec fashion, the SQDC has blamed the federal government for the environmental gaffe. “Producers and suppliers must adhere strictly to government labelling and packaging requirements imposed by the Cannabis Act and by Health Canada,” the SQDC stated.

Although federal law does require cannabis packaging to be child-proof and unappealing to youth, there is no ban on using recyclable plastics or other more environmentally friendly options or programs for mitigating the rapidly expanding pot packaging waste. Alternative options include recyclable plastics or biodegradable bioplastics made from plants such as corn.

Quebec’s largest city, in particular, has seen a recent push to prohibit single-use plastics. Montreal municipal government has sought to ban single-use plastics, such as straws and utensils, from grocery stores and restaurants by 2020.

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