While Health Canada explicitly states no animals or animal-like depictions can be used in the promotion of cannabis (because of their inherent appeal to the youths), it hasn't stopped authorities from using cute creatures to enforce anti-weed laws. And accidentally flout the province’s animal cruelty laws.
The Edmonton Police Services (EPS) recently released a public service campaign aimed at reminding drivers of drug laws, headed by the catchphrase: “Put your skunk in the trunk.”
The image depicts a furry stripped friend peaking out of the trunk of an acid green hatchback—EPS bumper sticker and all. The message is supposed to illustrate an anecdotal and lighthearted take on one of the region’s driving laws: all cannabis must be kept out of reach of anyone in the vehicle, at all times, or fines will ensue.
“Skunk” is common slang for cannabis—mainly attributed to likeness of the powerful pong of both weed and a skunk’s spray.
In accordance with the Alberta’s Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Act, police remind all drivers: “Cannabis must be in a sealed package and out of reach of all occupants of the vehicle. If you are pulled over for any reason, and police see cannabis stored improperly in your vehicle, you could be arrested and searched, and you could face a fine.”
This means simply tossing your product, even if legally purchased, on your passenger seat or in your glove box won’t fly if you get pulled over. The ticket will set drivers back $115. In case you need further instruction, there's a video:
According to an EPS release, between legalization in October and May 31, 2019, 149 charges were laid for the “improper transport of cannabis”.
“We’re finding that many citizens are doing everything legally, going to the licensed retail store to buy their cannabis, but then they’re driving home with their purchase on their back seat,” Constable Dexx Williams, an EPS cannabis compliance officer, said in a release.
“We don’t want to lay charges or give tickets to people who are trying to follow the laws, but we have to take violations involving cannabis in vehicles very seriously.”
Now, while “cannabis” may be the clear subtext of the campaign, it should stand to be clarified: please, don’t actually put a skunk in your trunk. If you’ve ever seen the Disney flick 101 Dalmatians, you’ll know it doesn't bode well for either the nefarious bad guys, or the skunk. And in accordance with section 2.1 of Alberta’s Animal Protection Act a person who owns an animal must ensure it has adequate food and water, care, protection, and shelter, which extends to the transport and storage of the creature.
Violations of Alberta's animal cruelty laws can carry up to $20,000 in fines.