Article by Ian Bailey, The Globe and Mail
Illegal marijuana dispensaries in British Columbia and Ontario say they are developing a system of testing standards amid concerns about contaminants in cannabis – both at unauthorized storefronts and in the federally regulated system.
The proposal from the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries, whose 25 members represent a fraction of the hundreds of illegal dispensaries operating across the country, to set up a testing system by May comes ahead of federal legislation to legalize the drug. The Liberal government has not said where recreational marijuana will be sold, but dispensaries have lobbied to be included in the new system.
A Globe and Mail investigation last year revealed three of nine samples of dried cannabis from nine unregulated dispensaries in Toronto would not meet Health Canada safety standards for licensed growers. And the testing regime in the federally regulated system has also faced criticism after large recalls involving banned pesticides.
The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries said it has created a working group with dispensary owners, cannabis producers, processors and lab owners to design a credible testing program.
The group’s president, Jeremy Jacob, noted dispensaries are not allowed to test their products through labs licensed by the federal government.
“We need to empower our member dispensaries of our organization and customers to make educated choices about the cannabis products they’re buying,” Mr. Jacob said in an interview Wednesday.