Health Canada to Revoke Cannabis Producer’s Cultivation Licence For First Time

Article by Jameson Berkow, Globe and Mail

Health Canada to revoke cannabis producer’s cultivation licence for first time JAMESON BERKOW Former Ascent Industries head of business development James Poelzer carries cannabis seedlings at a medical marijuana production facility in Maple Ridge, B.C., in 2014 RAFAL GERSZAK/GLOBE AND MAIL

Health Canada is moving for the first time to revoke a Canadian cannabis producer’s licences to grow and sell marijuana, citing unspecified “unauthorized activities,” barely one month after the legalization of recreational cannabis took effect.
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Vancouver-based Ascent Industries Corp., which initially had licences for its Agrima Botanicals LP suspended in September, announced on Wednesday that Philip Campbell, Reid Parr and James Poelzer – the company’s long-time chief executive, chief operating officer and head of business development, respectively – have resigned. Chief financial officer Blair Jordan will serve as CEO on an interim basis, the company said.
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Mr. Jordan, who was not available for an interview, said in a statement the company was “fully committed to remedying this situation with Health Canada, and ensuring that Ascent operates at the highest level of the industry’s best practices.”
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The company has only a matter of days to persuade Health Canada to back down, otherwise it will become the first legal cannabis producer in Canadian history to have its licences revoked.
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While Ascent is able to maintain its U.S. operations in Oregon and Nevada, the licensing issues facing its Canadian division have weighed heavily on shareholders. Since launching on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker ASNT in August, the stock has fallen from a peak of 85 cents a share in September to 18 cents, after a decline of nearly 65 per cent on Wednesday.
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Ascent, which acknowledges in its own investor materials that any failure to comply with the requirements of its Agrima licence “will have a material adverse impact on Ascent’s business, financial condition and operating results,” is fighting to stay in business in Canada. The company says it has 89 employees in British Columbia and intends to exercise its right to be heard under the Cannabis Act in hopes of maintaining its licences.

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