Ottawa is now requiring the country's licensed medical cannabis producers to screen their products for all banned pesticides after months of product recalls dogged the industry and random spot tests turned up unauthorized contaminants at two more growers.
Health Canada said Friday this next step of a mandatory testing regime was necessary after final results from random tests of seven growers found two, Hydropothecary and Peace Naturals, had products with traces of the banned pesticide myclobutanil or another active ingredient in other pesticides piperonyl butoxide. Myclobutanil, a chemical which is used to kill mildew, is a known carcinogen that is strictly prohibited for use on plants that are smoked because it produces hydrogen cyanide when heated.
The federal department had hinted it might take further action after four recalls in the past six months among the licensed producers, who are expected to eventually provide much of the country's recreational cannabis supply once the drug is legalized as early as next year.
"This requirement for mandatory testing for the presence of unauthorized pesticides will help ensure that Canadians can continue to have confidence in obtaining safe, quality-controlled medical cannabis from licensed producers," said a statement from Department spokesperson Eric Morrissette sent to The Globe and Mail Friday evening.