Wayne Jory didn’t know what was wrong. It started two years ago with an odd, lingering taste in the back of his mouth. He was lethargic with out of the norm mood swings. The 55-year-old Murray River carpenter was unable to work, and then there was the unexplained weight loss from his steady 215 pounds to 170.
But finding a cause proved elusive for he and his doctor. Tests for the most obvious potential afflictions all came back negative.
Life became a mysterious struggle that almost cost him his 20 plus year marriage to his wife Jo.
On January 9, 2017 New Brunswick medicinal marijuana producer Organigram issued a voluntary recall on product produced between February 1 and December 16, 2016. According to the company, trace amounts of pesticides were found in what was supposed to be certified organic marijuana.
When Jory learned of the recall a light bulb went off, the chemicals discovered would not show up in routine blood work and he had been an Organigram customer for close to a year. He was one of the first in line for medicinal marijuana as he sought relief from constant back pain, the result of a squished disk. Marijuana seemed a better option than the morphine or Percocet he had been using.
And for the first couple months there were no negative symptoms, the pot numbed the pain while acting as an anti-inflammatory. But then his downward health spiral began and his symptoms worsened while he continued to Vape or eat Organigram (he does not smoke it) product. He applied to Health Canada under the federal Access to Information Act for results of tests conducted on batches of Organigram marijuana. Rather than data he received documents with masses of data blacked out. Health Canada deemed it confidential corporate information.
What Jory did learn is that he is not alone. Hundreds of Canadians share his suspicion that tainted product negatively impacted their health. They banded together in a class action lawsuit against Organigram. For its part the company contends contaminant levels were insufficient to harm humans.
Jory and his group, however, point to their own independent data that disputes the company line. From their membership they collected eight samples, seven of which were still under factory seal. Results show levels of several toxins far in excess of levels deemed safe for human consumption.
As a result of the quality control breach, Organigram lost its organic certification. Last month it wrote former customers to ‘apologize for the inconvenience’ and acknowledge ‘shaken trust’ and outline actions it is taking to ‘regain your confidence.’