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Health Canada saw lab tests showing toxins in retail pot, minister confirms

Health Canada has confirmed it reviewed lab reports warning that dangerous chemicals not approved for any human use were found in cannabis sold at dispensaries in Vancouver, but took no action.

Health Minster Jane Philpott issued a statement late Friday acknowledging that her staff had discussed the lab results with Tilray, a licensed producer of medical marijuana based in Nanaimo, B.C., that sent the warning to Health Canada. Dr. Philpott’s statement comes a day after the Health Minister was unclear about whether she had seen the lab results, telling The Globe and Mail, “I’m not sure what document you are referring to.”

But in her statement on Friday, Dr. Philpott provided details of a meeting between her chief of staff, Geneviève Hinse, and executives of the medical marijuana company, in which the documents were discussed.

“Tilray expressed concerns about illegal dispensaries and shared the results of lab work suggesting contamination of cannabis,” the minister said. “I was not present at the meeting, but I am informed that as the meeting concluded, the CEO provided a photocopy of six pages of lab results to my staff. I have confirmed that a copy was also provided to Health Canada employees.”

Kerry Jang, a Vancouver city councillor, upbraided the federal government on Thursday for sitting on the documents and not warning the city about the problem. Dr. Jang, a psychiatrist who is a point person on marijuana issues for city council, called Health Canada’s actions irresponsible.

Health Canada knew of a problem “and has chosen to go silent,” Dr. Jang said. “That is not responsible. This is people’s health here.” [Read More @ Globe & Mail]

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