Article by Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail
A federally licensed medical marijuana company whose products tested positive for a dangerous banned pesticide says it has determined the main source of the problem – an employee who sprayed the chemical on plants without authorization.
The announcement by Hydropothecary Corp. comes after a month-long investigation that began when Health Canada conducted a random spot check at the company’s Gatineau facility and turned up evidence of myclobutanil. The pesticide, which is used to kill mildew, is not permitted for use on cannabis because it can cause serious health issues when inhaled.
Hydropothecary chief executive Sébastien St-Louis said the employee used the pesticide on three mother plants at the facility. Clippings are taken from the mothers to create broader crops for harvest, and the pesticide was passed to subsequent generations of plants.
“It looks like, pretty conclusively, that it was an employee that applied myclobutanil to three specific plants,” Mr. St-Louis said. “That employee is no longer with us.”
The company conducted further testing and discovered some starter plants bought from the so-called grey market in 2014, a process that was approved by Health Canada, also came contaminated with myclobutanil.
As a result, the company is expanding a previously announced recall of contaminated products to 19 lots sold between July, 2015, and March, 2017. However, as is the case with several other recalls in the Canadian medical marijuana sector this year, this action will have little protective effect, because many of the products would have already been consumed.
Mr. St-Louis said the company has taken steps to prevent such problems from happening again, such as better surveillance of all applications made to plants, including watering, and more oversight by senior staff. Any plants brought in from outside the company will be quarantined and tested, he said.