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article imageManitoba suspends pot producer's sales amid recall

By Karen Graham     Dec 21, 2018 in Business
Winnipeg - Manitoba suspended the sale and distribution of all cannabis products from Winnipeg-based producer Bonify Ltd after Health Canada recalled two of the company's strains over contamination concerns. However, Manitoba's move is being called "out-of-line."
The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority (LGCA) of Manitoba and Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation say the sale of all cannabis products produced by Bonify are suspended over quality-control issues.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister went so far as to say he believes illegal cannabis entered the legal distribution system. However, the province's move to suspend sales from a licensed cannabis producer is being called "unprecedented and perhaps out of line," reports CBC News.
"It's one thing for the province to say, 'We're not going to sell your product here,' or 'We're taking it off the shelves,' or 'We're going to recall it.' It's another thing for the province to say 'You're not allowed to operate your facility anymore,' " said Matt Maurer, vice-chair of the cannabis law group at Toronto law firm Torkin Manes.
And therein lies the problem. Maurer points out that "Those licenses are granted by Health Canada and the federal government."
Canada's legalization of cannabis has sent stocks in pot companies soaring over the past year o...
Canada's legalization of cannabis has sent stocks in pot companies soaring over the past year on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges
Don MacKinnon, AFP, File
On Thursday afternoon, the LGCA seized and delisted all Bonify products from Manitoba retailers. This came a week after Health Canada issued a recall notice for two of Bonify's cannabis strains - Cherry Lime Pie and Warlock Kush - sold in Saskatchewan due to contamination concerns.
"On one hand, it doesn't surprise me that the province wants to take a proactive and, perhaps, preventative approach. On the other hand, if the products in question were only sold in Saskatchewan … then it might be a little bit unnecessary to recall everything in Manitoba," said Maurer.
Maurer just doesn't think the province has the right to come in and yank everything, particularly a company's license. "I don't recall that ever happening before where provinces come in, or even the federal government, he said. 'You know, we've got to put a hold on everything.' "
As for Pallister? He says, "This is a black day for the distribution of legal cannabis. It casts a pall on the other companies who didn't do anything wrong, who are working through the system," he told reporters at a news conference held at the Manitoba Legislature.
Health Canada findings
Specifically, Health Canada said the two recalled products may not meet some of the microbial and chemical contaminant limits specified by federal cannabis regulations. Consumers are being told to return Bonify cannabis products in their original package for a refund to the store where they were purchased.
Neither Health Canada nor Bonify received any reports of adverse reactions to the recalled pot, the federal agency said, and no complaints about the product had been filed. Bonify's board of directors said on Twitter a "thorough review by Health Canada and a third-party consultant found irregularities pertaining to the recalled product."
But no place and no one with Health Canada or Bonify suggested there was an illegal product involved, so where in the world Pallister got that notion is anyone's guess.
Readers may recall that in November, RedeCan Pharm, a small pot producer based in Fenwick, Ontario, said 7,400 bottles of its 3.5 grams “B.E.C.” product were voluntarily recalled by the company after it received reports of five customers complaining of mold issues, according to Digital Journal.
More about Manitoba, Bonify, qualitycontrol issues, provencial oversight, Politics
 
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