Article by Bill Kaufmann, Growth Op
In the first major product rejection in Alberta since legalization of recreational cannabis, the province’s regulator has returned about $1.3-million worth of pot to its producer.
Ontario-based CannTrust said wholesaler Alberta Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis (AGLC) has sent back the purchased product after Health Canada on Tuesday suspended its authority to produce the product after it was found to be cultivating the drug in unlicensed rooms.
An AGLC spokeswoman said the move won’t have a significant effect on the supply of cannabis in the province.
“The province has a healthy supply of product as a result of increased production from licensed producers,” Heather Holmen said in a statement.
“AGLC has signed agreements with 33 federally licensed producers that supply recreational cannabis and we continue to sign additional licensed producers that meet our regulatory requirements.”
Earlier in the year, the agency and retailers it supplied had expressed concerns over a shortage of product — a situation that has since improved considerably.
Dried bud supplied by CannTrust has been marketed under such names as Buddha Haze, Kinky Kush, Easy Cheesy and Clarity Coast.
Due to Health Canada regulatory action Tuesday, the company is allowed to continue growing existing lots but not new batches. It can’t distribute or sell its existing product.
“CannTrust remains fully focused on achieving complete regulatory compliance,” the company said in a statement Thursday.
“The Company is committed to rebuilding the trust of all stakeholders, and looks forward to delivering high quality, innovative products to both its patients and customers in the future.”
CannTrust said it would incur all the costs related to the return as stipulated under its supply contract with the AGLC.
The company and the AGLC’s Holmen noted Health Canada had not ordered any of its products to be recalled.
“If any retailers choose to sell their remaining (CannTrust) inventory, they may do so, as any product that was associated with Health Canada’s investigation has been quarantined,” said Holmen.
Government wholesalers in Ontario, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia have also either returned CannTrust products or halted their sale.
The company is not the first licensed producer in Canada to run afoul of Health Canada.