Adastra Labs, a Langley-based company known for its cutting-edge cannabis and ethnobotanical products, has recently received approval from Health Canada for an amended license. This license permits the lawful possession, production, distribution, and sale of a highly regulated substance.
Following decriminalizing personal amounts of controlled substances in British Columbia, Adastra can now interact with up to 250 grams of cocaine and import coca leaves to create and synthesize the substance.
As a leading manufacturer and supplier of innovative scientific products, Adastra Labs is excited to continue exploring new avenues in ethnobotanicals and beyond.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier David Eby was caught off guard by Health Canada’s sudden approval. Expressing his surprise, the premier said the announcement had astonished him. He added that this decision was not included in the provincial plan and that Health Canada did not engage with the B.C. government before making this move.
In response to the premier’s remarks, Adastra Labs released a statement on Friday retracting any suggestion of current activities involving cocaine under their Dealer’s License. The company emphasized that any future activities would only be carried out within the bounds of legal permission granted by the license and after consultation with relevant Provincial Governments.
It’s important to note that the dealer’s license obtained by Adastra does not allow the sale of coca leaf, psilocybin, or cocaine to the general public. Instead, the license is limited to authorized dealers such as pharmacists, practitioners, hospitals, or holders of section 56(1) exemption for research purposes under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA).
To combat the ongoing overdose crisis that resulted in the deaths of more than 11,000 British Columbians since 2016, the province has begun the process of decriminalizing up to 2.5 grams of drugs as of January 31st.
In Canada, controlled substance possession, production, or sale is generally illegal unless authorized for medical, scientific, or industrial purposes. Possession of cocaine can carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison, while production or trafficking can result in life imprisonment.
However, recent developments, such as the decriminalization efforts in British Columbia and Adastra Labs’ approval for lawful possession, production, and distribution of cocaine, indicate that discussions around drug regulation and harm reduction are evolving and progressing.
In a recent statement, Adastra Labs confirmed that their amended license now permits them to “interact” with a maximum of 250 grams of cocaine and to import coca leaves to manufacture and synthesize the substance.
CEO Michael Forbes emphasized that Adastra is committed to staying at the forefront of drug regulations and exploring innovative solutions to promote harm reduction. Forbes stated that the company proactively pursued the amendment to its Dealer’s License to include cocaine in December 2022 and will evaluate how the commercialization of the substance fits into its business model to support the demand for a safe supply.
Overall, Adastra Labs is dedicated to exploring innovative solutions to drug regulation and harm reduction challenges while maintaining a solid commitment to safety and compliance.
Following Adastra Labs’ approval for lawful possession, production, and distribution of cocaine, Health Canada issued a statement reminding the company of the very narrow criterion of their license. The statement warns that if the strict requirements are not followed, Health Canada will not hesitate to take action, including revoking the license.
The announcement of Adastra’s license amendment has also sparked controversy, with Opposition leader Kevin Falcon criticizing the move during a question period at the B.C. Legislature. Falcon argues that cocaine is not prescribed and is not a safe substance and that commercializing it as a business opportunity amounts to legalizing cocaine trafficking.
This debate highlights the ongoing discussions around drug regulation and harm reduction in Canada. While some may view Adastra’s license amendment as a step towards providing a safer supply of cocaine, others see it as promoting the use of a harmful and illegal substance. The topic of drug regulation and harm reduction remains a complex and nuanced issue, with many differing opinions and viewpoints.
The B.C. Centre on Substance Use has expressed uncertainty regarding the exemption granted to Adastra Labs for the lawful possession, production, sale, and distribution of cocaine. Kevin Hollett, a spokesman for the agency, stated that they know “very little” about the exemption and that the safe supply policy released in July 2021 focuses primarily on opioids.
Hollett acknowledged that he is not clear on how the exemption for cocaine might fit into the safe supply policy, if at all. This highlights the need for further discussion and clarification around regulating and using controlled substances in Canada, particularly as the country faces an ongoing overdose crisis.
The issue of drug regulation and harm reduction is complex and multifaceted. As evidenced by the ongoing overdose crisis in British Columbia and other parts of the world, current drug policy and enforcement approaches fail to address the root causes of drug addiction and related harms.
Recent developments, such as the decriminalization efforts in British Columbia and the approval of Adastra Labs’ license amendment to include cocaine, indicate a shifting perspective toward drug regulation and harm reduction. While these developments have received criticism and scrutiny, they also provide an opportunity to explore new and innovative approaches to drug policy that prioritize harm reduction and public health.
Moving forward, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and communities must continue engaging in constructive dialogue and collaboration to develop evidence-based solutions prioritizing the health and well-being of individuals affected by drug addiction. By adopting a compassionate and evidence-based approach to drug policy and regulation, we can work towards creating safer and more equitable communities for everyone. (Full Story)