Health Canada to randomly tests Medical Marijuana

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on February 13, 2017.

Health Canada is randomly testing medical marijuana products from licensed medical marijuana producers to check for the presence of banned pesticides after two growers were found to be using low levels of prohibited pest control substances.

The move has been prompted by product recalls that affected almost 25,000 users, claims of product-related sickness and symptoms that included weight loss, nausea, vomiting, throat irritation, and respiratory tract infection, and threats of a class-action lawsuit.

The department said on Tuesday in a release, “it will begin random testing of medical marijuana products produced by licensed producers, to provide added assurance to Canadians that they are receiving safe, quality-controlled product."

"The expanded product testing program will further enhance the department's existing regime of regular unannounced inspections of licensed producer facilities, as well as the controls in place by licensed producers," reads the statement.

The department further said that corrective actions have been implemented by both companies, including an expanded testing regime that covers pest control products. In addition, it will give additional compliance education and information to licensed producers to support their efforts to strengthen controls and safeguards of marijuana products.

Under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, licensed producers are permitted to use only the 13 pesticides in medical marijuana, while myclobutanil, pyrethrins and bifenazate are not approved.

Last year, drug inspectors found low levels of banned chemicals myclobutanil, bifenazate and pyrethrins in products from licensed medical marijuana producers Organigram and Mettrum, who voluntarily recalled their products.

However, the new measures do not make regular testing mandatory for the marijuana companies. Though licensed producers are required to test for mould, bacteria and heavy metals, the department  said testing for harmful pesticides is still something that companies “have the option” of doing.

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