Article by Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail
Health Minister Jane Philpott’s office was warned nearly a year ago that dangerous contaminants had been found in retail marijuana sold by unregulated storefront dispensaries, but the federal government appears to have done nothing to act on the concerns.
Documents obtained by The Globe and Mail through the Access to Information Act show test results from a Health Canada-accredited lab were sent to the government last fall, and to Dr. Philpott’s office a few months later, revealed cannabis from several Vancouver dispensaries contain-ed pesticides and fungicides “not approved for any human use.”
The names of the dispensaries are redacted from the documents, but the results say high levels of banned chemicals – such as the pesticide carbamate, which is not permitted for use on cannabis, and dodemorph, a fungicide used on roses that is not approved for human consumption – were in 13 of the 22 the samples tested.
While the total number of dispensaries was also redacted, it appears the samples were obtained from about a dozen Vancouver locations. In July, The Globe published the results of independent tests on cannabis bought from nine Toronto dispensaries that showed potentially dangerous contaminants in one-third of the samples.
The investigation detailed a lack of oversight by Ottawa, which has created a regulatory vacuum as the government works on its plans to legalize the drug. As a result, hundreds of unregulated dispensaries have opened, many looking to make a fast buck, and some pocketing more than $20,000 a day in sales.