Pubdate: Fri, 25 Aug 2017
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2017 The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Mike Hager
Page: A1


A Vancouver Island medical marijuana producer has recalled products
sold last year after a spot test of its supply by Health Canada showed
two pesticides present in a sample of cannabis oil.

The recall announced Thursday stems from a crackdown by the federal
department in March after months of product recalls dogged the
medical-cannabis industry, which is set to make billions of dollars
once Ottawa legalizes the drug for recreational use.

Broken Coast Cannabis Ltd., one of the first commercial growers given
a licence by Health Canada in 2014, is recalling three batches of
dried cannabis sold during the second half of last year.

The federal agency stated that no patients have reported getting sick
from Broken Coast products and, in the recall notice, said the
contaminants are unlikely to cause any adverse health consequences.
However, the Globe recently profiled several medical cannabis patients
who faced extensive health problems they say were brought on by
smoking tainted products sold by another grower subject to a similar
recall) This new recall comes after federal inspectors visited in
March and took a random sample of cannabis oil - which the company had
been licensed to produce but not yet sell to patients. When the test
results for that sample came back in July, Health Canada found trace
amounts of two banned pesticides, myclobutanil and spinosad, according
to a recall noticed posted to the department's site Thursday.
Inspectors then went back and took samples of dried cannabis leaves
from the company's Ladysmith, B.C., production site and found
myclobutanil - whose manufacturer Dow AgroSc! iences does not consider
safe to use on plants such as cannabis.

Broken Coast representatives did not return a phone call or e-mails
requesting comment Thursday.

Jonathan Zaid, head of the patient advocacy group Canadians for Fair
Access to Medical Marijuana, said the average patient consumes their
medicine within a month of purchasing it and anyone who bought the
cannabis in question will have likely used it by now.

Still, he said Thursday's announcement once again shows the federal
government's testing regime is working, albeit slowly. However, there
is a need to improve government oversight and quality control of the
country's 50-odd licensed growers, Mr. Zaid said.

"From a patient's perspective, it's concerning if there's any
unauthorized substances found in cannabis. Patients are using this as
a medicine so it needs to be safe and reliable," he said. "At the same
time, it is good to see that the recalls can happen because it shows
accountability within the system.

"But, obviously, we'd like to see it happen much sooner so that
patients haven't already consumed product and that testing is done on
a much more pro-active basis."

Health Canada is asking patients who may be affected by the recall to
stop using the cannabis, call the company as well as contact the
federal department to file an Adverse Reaction Report, which is how
the government tracks problems with prescription drugs.

The Globe recently talked to more than a dozen patients subject to a
February recall of licensed producer Organigram's cannabis who say
nothing happens when you file such a report, as they are usually just
anecdotal filings that are used for datakeeping purposes.

Those patients believe they have been affected by exposure to
myclobutanil, a chemical used to kill mildew, and bifenazate, an
insecticide prohibited for use on certain types of plants, including
cannabis. When inhaled, myclobutanil enters the bloodstream directly
through the lungs, without being broken down by the digestive system.
No studies have been done to determine whether it is safe to be
smoked, and Dow AgroSciences strictly warns against inhalation.
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