The first week back to school ended on a high note this year for a few Ryerson University students. On Sept. 5, the Marijuana Information Bureau (MIB) invited students to a treasure hunt in Allan Gardens. Prizes included pot paraphernalia and about 56 grams of medical marijuana.
The group reached out to students through its Twitter account, @MIB_Toronto, with a tweet that read:
“Come on down to ALLAN GARDENS today at 5PM, we’re hiding 2 ounces of weed plus a few other goodies! cc: @RyersonU @RyeSU.”
The MIB hid the prizes in trees, bushes and flower beds about an hour before the scheduled start time. In order to avoid legal trouble, they used vouchers that could later be redeemed for weed.
Only eight people took part in the hunt. They spent hours searching for the vouchers, which promised bongs, vaporizers, grinders, weed lollipops and medical marijuana. Most participants weren’t enrolled at Ryerson University.
MIB founder Chris, who refused to give his last name, said the group’s goal is to provide a service that helps people get medical marijuana for free.
“With new laws changing the government’s marijuana program, it was easier for people to get prescription marijuana from their doctors,” he said. “Companies were advertising $200 to $600 to help people get a medical marijuana prescription and I thought I could just tell people for free.”
Treasure hunters have to show identification to redeem their vouchers. Those who want to claim a marijuana prize must also provide a prescription. If they don’t have one, Chris sends them to his doctor for an evaluation.
“I get the marijuana from dispensaries out in Vancouver. I try to find the most medicinal, cleanest, properly flushed and cured medical marijuana that I can.”
Chris said the hunts are a good way to change the public’s negative opinion on marijuana.
“Any time I speak with the police, the feedback has all been pretty positive,” said Chris. He added, “All they’re really concerned about is that it’s adult-oriented, so there are no kids involved, and that we don’t actually hide marijuana at the hunts.”
Still, some Ryerson students disagree with his method.
“I find it interesting that they’re spreading awareness to people who actually need medical marijuana,” said Dan Howell, an architecture student at Ryerson. “If you are in need of medical marijuana, you should go to your doctor instead of getting this voucher and doing a scavenger hunt.”
Chris has been doing hunts around Toronto all year. His group also organizes marijuana movie nights, ganja yoga and trips to Canada’s Wonderland.
According to Chris, the MIB gave away $25,000 worth of marijuana prizes at another hunt in High Park on Sept. 7.
Mark Lawson, manager of customer service of Toronto parks, says MIB was not issued a permit to use city property.
“We do not allow this type of activity in city parks,” said Lawson. “The group chooses to ignore park policy.”
But Chris says there is not a permit for getting people together for a marijuana event in the city. “I just thought it was time that someone brought a friendly marijuana service to Toronto.”
With files from Kayla Hoolwerf.