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“This is a wake-up call for the cannabis space," Eric Foster

Company flagged by Health Canada for cannabis production in previously unlicensed rooms

CannTrust Holdings has received a compliance report from Health Canada notifying the company that its greenhouse facility in Pelham, Ontario is non-compliant with certain regulations.

Health Canada had put a freeze on more than 5,000 kg of marijuana at the company's Pelham, Ont., plant after finding it had been grown in five unlicensed rooms. However, in an interview, Peter Aceto, CEO of CannTrust, has confirmed that some of the cannabis grown in unlicensed room has been already shipped to provinces across the country. 

“Some of that product has left. We feel confident in its quality and safety because it has gone through testing in Health Canada-sponsored third party labs, as well as our own quality testing. But yes, some product has definitely been released to the provinces,” Aceto said. He added that the company has been in contact with those provinces where the product has been shipped, and it would continue to have an "open dialogue" with them. The company has also voluntarily put on standby 7,500 kg of dried cannabis grown in "previously unlicensed rooms" at its Vaughan, Ontario, indoor facility. 

“This is a wake-up call for the cannabis space in a bunch of ways,” said Eric Foster, partner at Dentons and co-head of the Toronto-based law firm’s cannabis practice, in a phone interview with BNN Bloomberg.

“With more of these massive blue chip, multinational companies getting involved in the industry, that brings an increased focus on operational excellence. What we’re seeing now are these growing pains that have to be rectified immediately because it brings a dark cloud over the industry,” he continued. 

The cannabis industry is indeed a highly regulated sector, and to be compliant is one of the most important aspects - if not the most important. 

“Health Canada is sending a message that entrepreneurial creativity is not allowed in a regulated environment,” George Robinson, RavenQuest Biomed CEO, said in a phone interview with BNN Bloomberg. 

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