Marijuana vaporizers borrow technology from e-cigarettes

The discussion surrounding e-cigarettes has now drifted like smoke to include electronic methods of smoking marijuana.

Halifax police say they don't have a problem with vaporizers

Christopher Enns demonstrates a vaporizer for marijuana. (CBC)

The discussion surrounding e-cigarettes has now drifted like smoke to include electronic methods of smoking marijuana.

Christopher Enns owns and operates a marijuana lounge in Halifax. His store is dedicated to all things pot and in the last few months, vaporizers have become the fastest moving item in the store.

"They're similar in terms of the design and function to the nicotine cigarettes that we are seeing growing in popularity,” he said. “But they're specifically tailored for use with cannabis."

With vaporizers, the plant doesn't have to be burned, which some users say is healthier than inhaling smoke.

Enns says he regularly uses a vaporizer to smoke his own medical marijuana.

“For one, you're able to use a lot less plant matter to get the same effect by not having a trail of smoke or waste of resin collecting in your device,” he said.

Enns says the vaporizers appeal to his customers because they're discreet and portable, with a weaker smell than a traditional joint.

Right now federal government definitions restrict patients to dried marijuana. This vaporizer uses the cannabis extracts in the flower buds.

Police raided shop in September

Enns argues what he's doing is within the law.

"Vaporizers are absolutely legal. There's no restriction on being able to have a device to use your medicine,” he said. “And there's all sorts of other resins and extracts that you technically could use with a vaporizer if you were just looking for a flavour enhancement."

Halifax police conducted a raid on Enns’ shop in September following a complaint of drug trafficking.

Spokesman Cst. Pierre Bourdages says they don't have a problem with vaporizers.

"Drug trafficking and drug use is illegal, but the sale and purchase of equipment used to smoke it is not,” he said. “So unless there is a drug sold with the equipment, it is not illegal."

On March 20, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal from a British Columbia man who wants to use cannabis in ways other than smoking the dried plant. Right now, that is a grey area in the law. 

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