Canada would like an accurate read on the country’s current smoking habits. And they’re willing to get real smelly to do it.
Construction workers about a mile into the new tunnel being constructed on the Clean Rivers Project. It is part of DC Water’s program to reduce overflows from sewers into the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers and Rock Creek. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images)
As Canada prepares to legalize cannabis across the country, many federal groups would like an accurate read on the country’s current smoking habits. And they’re willing to get real smelly to do it.
Statistics Canada is currently taking bids from anyone who can, and is willing, to wade through the sewers to hunt THC for $600,000 a year. That’s a much higher salary than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles receive, who seem to run around the sewers pro bono.
“The methodology is there,” said Anthony Peluso, the assistant director at Stats Canada. “It handles cannabis and it handles everything else for roughly the same price. You’d be a fool to say no from a statistical point of view.”
That’s right, a fool not to go through poop for traces of weed. A fool!
Samples from the sewers will be collected one week a month over the course of a year. The samples will be taken from six municipalities and roughly eight million Canadians will have their shit from the sewers tested. Stats Canada even believes, if they develop their methods enough, they may be able to deduce how much weed is being bought legally and how much is being bought from the black market.
The municipalities will be anonymous, and obviously while Stats Canada will be able to know how much THC is going through the country’s guts, they won’t know who each log belongs to. Unless you label your poo. Which is another discussion entirely.
Depending on who you ask, this may seem invasive and creepy or it may seem inventive, but it’s most certainly stinky. Canadians have a weird relationship with Statistics Canada. When they brought back the longform census, the country was so enthusiastic about filling it out they crashed the servers. Hopefully, they won’t see a similar surge of volunteered samples in the sewers.