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Military to spend $170,000 so leaders can see what it’s like to be stoned on marijuana

The Canadian Forces is buying kits that will let its leaders experience what it’s like to be stoned on marijuana.

The “marijuana simulation kits” will include “marijuana impairment goggles,” among other items. The Canadian Forces wants to acquire 26 of the kits by April 30 or sooner if possible.

“The purpose of the Marijuana Simulation Kits is to raise awareness of marijuana impairment, reduce risk of marijuana impairment, and promote healthy lifestyles within the Canadian Armed Forces,” companies who want to bid on the contract were told. “The marijuana impairment goggles, which is one of the several items included in the Marijuana Simulation Kit, allows users to experience first-hand, the deficits marijuana creates on the body.”

Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier said Friday that the kits will be used in the Military Personnel Command’s supervisor training course. “This will help ensure that CAF members in leadership positions will be able to identify signs of, assist in detecting and provide guidance regarding, prohibited drug use,” he said.

The value of the contract will only be known once bids are received, evaluated and a contract is awarded, but it is estimated at up to $170,000 over five years.

The Liberal government intends to make the use of recreational marijuana legal by the summer. CBC reported this week that a Statistics Canada survey found Canadians pay an average of less than $7 a gram for pot.

The kits may also be used at National Defence health fairs, community events, kiosks or other events to educate other military members, families and the public about the impact of marijuana on cognitive functioning, Le Bouthillier said.

A number of firms make such devices. In 2015, Innocorp Ltd. in the U.S. unveiled green-tinted goggles that simulate “the distorted processing of visual information, loss of motor co-ordination, and slowed decision-making and reaction time resulting from recreational marijuana use.” 

Some police departments in the U.S. already use marijuana impairment kits for training.

Participants wearing the goggles will experience the simulated effects resulting from recreational marijuana use, such as distorted processing of visual information, slower decision-making and loss of motor coordination, Le Bouthillier said. The training could include exercises such as ball tossing, simulated driving and other means of demonstrating the effect on reaction time.

Le Bouthiller said the military currently uses alcohol impairment goggles in similar courses for military leaders.

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