B.C. woman wants pot testers in Vancouver schools as vape use rises
“This tool in 20 seconds can tell you what’s on the end of a vape pen, or what’s been in a kid’s pocket, or in a brownie or in a liquid, or in a gummy bear.”
DAVID CARRIGG February 4, 2019
A man using a vape pen. A B.C. woman wants to introduce a pot testing kit into schools that would allow administrators to know whether there is THC on things like vape pens and candy. JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY
Anti-pot advocate Pamela McColl is bringing to B.C. a pot-testing tool she hopes will be used by school boards and parents across the province.
McColl, who is chair of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, said the “spotkit” was essentially a swab that allows the user to wipe anything – candy, the end of a vape pen or a brownie – and within 20 seconds know whether the product has THC in it (THC being the psychoactive component of cannabis).
She said she came across the product while watching the Today show on NBC, in which a presenter arranged for the kit to be tested on a cookie, gummy bear and student backpack.
The segment can be seen here. The swabs, which are made in Colorado, turn red when THC is identified.
“When I saw that I immediately contacted the manufacturer, because I thought what a great tool. This tool in 20 seconds can tell you what’s on the end of a vape pen, or what’s been in a kid’s pocket, or in a brownie or in a liquid, or in a gummy bear,” she said.
The product has just been released in Canada.
“We are trying to get them into stores, but also in different places,” said McColl, adding she showcased the product at the Wellness Show in Vancouver over the weekend.
One of those places is in schools across B.C. She said she would start by approaching the Vancouver School Board.
McColl said the kits are already used in some schools in the U.S., as well as by police in Denver, Colo.
“It’s non-intrusive, it equips parents with an inexpensive product. It’s not a saliva swab. I think it could be really helpful as a tool to open up conversations for parents to see what their kids are using. I’m going to be approaching school trustees.”
McColl said her particular concern was vape pens that are increasingly being used in B.C. schools to consume marijuana, nicotine and flavours.
“It’s a big problem in this country; schools are really struggling with this,” she said.
Pamela McColl wants a pot testing kit introduced to B.C. schools as vape use rises. WAYNE LEIDENFROST/ PROVINCE
Vaping involves using a device with a battery-powered electric coil to heat any of a number of liquids. Vapes are legal in Canada, but not for people under the age of 19. It is also illegal to give or sell a vape to a minor.
According to a U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention report released in Nov. 2018, high school use of e-cigarettes (vapes) increased dramatically between 2017 and 2018 (by 78 per cent from 11.7 per cent of students in 2017 to 20.8 per cent in 2018). That report is here.
The report states: “The rise in e-cigarette use during 2017-2018 is likely because of the recent popularity of e-cigarettes shaped like a USB flash drive, such as the JUUL. These products can be used discretely.”