With just one word — Erbachay — is raising a lot of eyebrows around Saskatchewan. The ads, displayed in Regina and Saskatoon, show a green leaf with the word “Erbachay” and “Canada Wide Delivery.”
The company behind the signs are a Vancouver-based medical marijuana dispensary. “By putting these billboards up, we’re trying to help that process. Make it a little more normalized, make it more accessible,” Erbachay Health Centers president Darcy Delainey said.
Erbachay isn’t a licensed producer for cannabis with Health Canada but within Vancouver city limits, Delainey said he can sell medical marijuana.
The billboards are a way to educate the public and hopefully destigmatize weed, he said.
“If people want to come and investigate, they should. They should come and learn as much as they can,” Delainey said. What we’re trying to do is initiate that conversation. We exist. Cannabis is coming around to the whole country.”
He adds that the company doesn’t sell to anyone under 19 years of age, plus they require documentation that the pot is for medical use.
Across Canada, there are 38 authorized licensed producers for medical marijuana. Best Buds, located in Regina, isn’t a licensed producer either. The shop’s president Patrick Warnecke said they’re operating under a morality basis.
“It’s both good and bad. Good for giving the exposure, letting people know that cannabis is out there and it isn’t going away,” president Patrick Warnecke said.
“But at the same time, until legalization happens, or any regulations, whoever is doing this is really poking the bear so to speak,” he said.
Warnecke said it puts a spotlight on the still “illegal” industry. Under Health Canada regulations, any advertisement of the sale of marijuana or cannabis to the public is against the law.
According to Regina police, those Erbachay signs fall within the grey area as to whether they’re considered breaking the law.
“The billboards that we’ve seen that I am aware of doesn’t specifically say the sale of marijuana. It has a picture of a leaf, but is it a marijuana leaf?” inspector Darcy Koch said.
“You can make your indications or assumptions, but in the end, that investigation would have to be conducted,” he said.
Delainey said he has ads running in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Marijuana by mail is also still illegal if you’re not a licensed producer and can be a form of trafficking according to Regina police.
The federal government plans to introduce law to legalize marijuana in the spring. Read more here.