Health Canada seized product from licensed producer selling black market weed

Dec 23 2018, 5:11 am

A Winnipeg-based licensed cannabis producer is having its products pulled off shelves in two provinces after Health Canada learned that it may have sourced product from illegal sources.

On Friday, — in a story first reported on in the Winnipeg Free Press — news broke that Bonify, a medical cannabis supplier was the subject of an investigation by Health Canada after a whistleblower reported a large amount of cannabis being bought out of province from an illegal seller.

According to a Health Canada statement sent to Daily Hive, on November 23, they received an email complaint alleging wrongdoing by Bonify. The complaint was assessed and referred to Health Canada’s regional cannabis inspectors.

A week later, on November 30, Bonify notified Health Canada that it would be initiating a recall of two lots of cannabis products sold to the public for which they were unable to verify if the required laboratory testing had occurred.

A recall notice on December 7 shows that this is likely in reference to the 3.5 gram packaged Worlock Kush and Cherry Lime Pie dried cannabis flower. The recalls affected customers who purchased weed from three different stores located in Regina, Moosejaw and Saskatoon between November 20 and 30, 2018.

After cancelling a scheduled inspection, Health Canada conducted an “unannounced and far more extensive inspection of the company’s premises,” over the span of four days, December 11 to 14.

Health Canada inspectors identified concerns over the purchase records of eight lots of cannabis products, including the two that were already recalled.

The suspect cannabis was seized and Health Canada says Bonify’s Board of Directors has “removed company executives and brought in a third-party management consultant to review how unapproved cannabis products were released for sale.”

Although the affected products were not sold in Manitoba stores, Health Canada had discussions with the Manitoba Liquor and Cannabis Commission on December 19 regarding the situation. The MLCC did not respond for comment by time of publication.

Bonify operates a 20,000-sq-ft facility in the provincial capital of Winnipeg.

As well,  Bonify did not respond in time for comment, however, the company’s official Twitter account released a brief statement.

“An investigation into these irregularities is ongoing,” the company wrote. “Bonify’s board will be able to provide further comment at the appropriate time after the investigation reaches its conclusion.”

Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair, whose responsibilities were also recently extended to include cannabis regulation, tweeted that his department is aware of the allegations.

“We take this issue seriously, in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” he wrote.

A notice on Bonify’s website says that orders have been “temporarily halted.”

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