Article by Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail
Health Canada, which is facing a growing controversy over tainted medical marijuana, cannot say with certainty how widespread the use of banned pesticides is within the industry. Instead, the regulator has been leaving it up to the growers to police themselves on the use of potentially harmful chemicals.
In a background briefing with The Globe and Mail, a senior Health Canada official acknowledged that even though the government prohibits the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as myclobutanil, – which is known to emit hydrogen cyanide when heated –the department has not been testing cannabis growers to ensure the 38 federally licensed companies were, in fact, not using it.
“Up until this point, we have not required licensed producers [LPs] to test for any unauthorized pesticides, nor have we been testing all LPs, and it is because we expect their companies to be pro-actively watching and taking the appropriate measures to ensure non-authorized products aren’t used,” the senior official said.
In recent weeks, three of those companies have been forced to recall product after it was found to contain myclobutanil, angering customers, including cancer patients and others with compromised immune systems.
The Globe revealed in December that a recall by Mettrum Ltd. was due to the discovery of myclobutanil – a fact neither the company nor Health Canada mentioned when first announcing the recall to the broader public.
The potentially harmful chemical, which has been outlawed for use on cannabis in several U.S. jurisdictions, was only discovered after another banned pesticide was found in Mettrum’s product, and subsequent tests were performed.