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Tag: Health Canada

Health Canada Marijuana Testing: Transparency or Hypocrisy?

Testing procedures

A report published by the Globe and Mail this week once again called into question the ethical and practical standards to which Health Canada operates their medical cannabis testing programs. During a random screening by Health Canada, the Toronto based Licensed Producer, Mettrum Ltd. was found to be using the pesticides Myclobutanil and Pyrethrin. Myclobutanil is deemed so dangerous that Washington, Colorado and Oregon all moved very quickly to ban its use in cannabis grow operations due to potentially fatal hydrogen cyanide emissions when heated. Though Mettrum issued a recall on November 1st, the public and consumers were never informed of the findings by the company or Health Canada.

This is not the first time that Health Canada has withheld information from the public on the use of dangerous chemicals in tested cannabis. In September of this year a Globe investigation revealed that nearly 60% of samples tested in unlicensed Vancouver dispensaries in 2015 also contained pesticides, fecal bacteria, yeast and mold, and were not safe for human consumption. Despite the legal vacuum in which these dispensaries operate, it was nevertheless surprising that Health Canada did not act to protect Canadian citizens from harm. Now that they have once again failed to act in the best interests of the people they are sworn to protect, hard questions need to be asked of the decision makers who are putting large swaths of our populous at risk of disease or death.

There are hundreds of ACMPR applicants currently held up in the licensing process with Health Canada. Many of these newer applicants recognize the need for the highest quality ISO 17025 testing standards for cannabis, but are languishing – some for years – in the Health Canada queue. The government appears to be protecting existing LP’s from the legal consequences of using illegal and dangerous substances in their cultivation practices, while simultaneously excluding higher quality competition.  At best this is a double standard, and at worst it brings the entire ACMPR mechanism into disrepute and smells of willful blindness. This is a critical period of rapid expansion for this industry and as companies work towards legitimacy they should not be let down by the very mechanism which governs them.

It is time to reexamine the process from within. Health Canada and the LP’s it regulates must begin to operate in a transparent manner, with the safety of the Canadian public being the highest priority. This requires not only full public disclosure when cannabis containing hazardous substances are released to the public, but testing programs that identify these substances before they are released. The following protocols and principals should be adopted by all LP’s and strictly enforced by Health Canada:

  • ISO17025(2005) laboratory data must be the standard to which all testing laboratories are held.
  • At the present time, LP’s are permitted to submit samples to a variety of unaccredited 3rd party Mom and Pop labs, and cherry pick the results that are most favorable. This practice is dangerous and must stop.
  • Health Canada must act in the best interests of the Canadian public, and not be seen as acting in concert with the largest producers to conceal the presence of toxic substances in the cannabis they sell.
  • Whenever Health Canada finds instances of contaminated cannabis being released to the Canadian public, be it through an LP or otherwise, this information must be disclosed immediately and not years later through a freedom of information act order.

Health Canada Meets Federal Court Deadline!

HC-signature v2On August 11 Health Canada (HC) announced that they will meet the court imposed August 24 2016 deadline for revising the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) . The regulations are now called the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). These new regulations will replace the MMPR as of August 24, 2016, and are being implemented as a result of the Federal Court ruling in the case of Allard v. Canada. Health Canada has issued a fact sheet – http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=1110409 – with the complete set of regulations to be published on the HC website August 24, 2016.

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Federal Court Ruling Not Appealed!

Minister PhilpotToday Health Canada Minister Jane Philpott has decided not to appeal Justice Phelan’s decision that requires amendments to the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR).

According to the Minister ““We will respect the decision of the federal court and as such we are now in a situation where we have responsibility to address the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations and they will be amended accordingly in order to address the concerns of the court.”

Under Justice Phelan’s decision Health Canada has until mid-August to make those changes to the MMPR.  TheraCann will therefore continue to keep you updated on any proposed specifics of these changes and how they will be implemented.

For a full review of Minister Philpott’s comments please click here.

To learn more about our analysis for Justice Phelan’s decision click here.

Justice Phelan Allard et. al. v. Her Majesty the Queen

marijuana law_300On Wednesday February 24, 2016, Justice Phelan of the BC Federal Court announced his decision in the matter between Allard, Beemish, Hebert and Davey (the “Plaintiffs”) and the Federal Government (the “Defendant” – Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada).

The matter concerned the plaintiffs claim that their Section 7 Charter Rights were violated by the repeal by Health Canada of the Medical Marihuana Access Regulations (“MMAR”), in favour of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (“MMPR”), introduced in July 2013.

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Medical Marijuana – A CFL Boon?

football_cannabis_300On the day of Super Bowl 50, we look at the role of medical marijuana in professional sports. Former Toronto Argonaut, Ricky Williams believes that MMJ is crucial to saving all of football. He credits marijuana for preserving his health during his football career and other players say that cannabis helps them avoid painkiller addiction.

According to this article, currently CFL players who want to use marijuana for pain management can do so, providing there are no legal issues obtaining it or using it. By contrast, the NFL is still trying to prohibit its use despite an estimated 60% of NFL players smoke marijuana and an estimated 70 – 90% of players who use prescription painkillers during their playing career went on to abuse them.

The CFL’s lack of testing for cannabis means that players are already exploring it as an alternative to prescription painkillers. As pressure increases to ensure player safety in the NFL, the league should take a few notes from Canada’s playbook to allow medical marijuana as an alternative to prescription drugs for pain management.

Legalizing Marijuana: A Look at the Numbers

Medical-Marijuana-Taxation_300According to this Calgary Herald article, a new report from CIBC World Markets says Canada’s federal and provincial governments could reap as much as $5 billion annually in tax revenues from the sale of legal marijuana. CIBC also estimates that the market could blossom to $10 billion annually.

Prime Minister Trudeau maintains that legalized marijuana will not be a cash cow and that all revenues will address mental health and addiction issues. Given the current economic uncertainty Canada is facing, perhaps it is time the government reconsiders its stance on this issue by expanding the revenues to offset costs for broader health care programs and medical or scientific research. Like other “sin” taxes, such as alcohol or gaming, large portion of the proceeds are returned to the community by supporting charitable and community-based programs, thereby freeing up government funding for other programs.

The bottom line is that if marijuana is going to be legalized, there must be a comprehensive strategy in place to ensure the medical, social and economic well-being of Canadians.

CNMMA Review of BenchmarkSYSTEM

CNMMAExcerpt as published in CNMMA July 7, 2015 news letter:

More about our member, Benchmark Labs, and Their Involvement in the MMPR Space

“One SYSTEM One SOLUTION” is the mantra of TheraCann International Corporation (formerly Benchmark Labs). The BenchmarkSYSTEM is the first ISO 17025(2005) and Safe Quality Food (SQF) compliant secure Web based Enterprise Relational Program (ERP) software. With over 10 years of experience in addressing on-site quality assurance and analytical report data, not only does the Benchmark Labs SYSTEM manage, track and report quality assurance data, it also provides a convenient single source application for your entire medicinal marihuana operations. We integrate all aspects of your operations including, but not limited to, communications, record keeping, accounting, asset management, inventory tracking (seed to sale and final destruction), patient and doctor registration and secure log-in portal, laboratory analysis, complaint and recall management utilizing automatic work-flows to ensure compliance. As such, Benchmark Labs is the first to provide a complete and ready to deploy SYSTEM to meet current and future Health Canada requirements.

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Benchmark Joins CNMMA

CNMMAJanuary 20, 2015: TheraCann International Corporation (formerly Benchmark Labs) is pleased to announce it has become a active member of the Canadian National Medical Marijuana Association (CNMMA).

The purpose of CNMMA is to:

  1. Advocate for the Canadian Medicinal Marijuana Sector: The new program- like all new programs – will go through challenges and barriers including unintended consequences of the regulations. As a community, the members of the CNMMA will have an official voice to work with governments to ensure the sector has the parameters to be successful.

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TheraCann Partners with Bokashicycle

bokashicycle_fermentorJanuary 5, 2015: Bokashicycle, of Lakewood Washington, today announced a new Distributor Agreement with TheraCann International Corporation (formerly Benchmark Labs) to provide their easy to implement and complete fermentation system as part of the TheraCann comprehensive, and truly “Turn-Key” infrastructure solution to medical marijuana producers through North America. Under the agreement, TheraCann will provide, install and maintain Bokashicycle technology to TheraCann Labs clients.

“We are looking forward to working with you and your [TheraCann] Team assisting and improving on ways in which marijuana growers process their waste materials” said Dr. Larry Green, President of Bokashicycle.

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