A ‘misunderstanding’ led BC to claim that Health Canada authorized the sale of cocaine, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it was a “misunderstanding” when a British Columbia-based company said Health Canada granted a license to manufacture, sell and distribute cocaine.

Trudeau told reporters in Winnipeg that British Columbia premier Adastra Holdings, Inc., which manufactures adult and medical marijuana from its headquarters in Langley, British Columbia, made the announcement on February 16. said he was “as surprised” as David Evey of Health Canada has authorized the “lawful possession, production, sale and distribution” of cocaine.

In a news release, the company said it was granted Health Canada’s amendment to its controlled substance dealer license on February 17.

Eby was the first to respond to the company’s statement on March 2, saying he was “surprised” that Health Canada had approved the amendment and that his government had asked Health Canada for a response.

Trudeau said on March 3, “I was surprised to see the Prime Minister of British Columbia talk about selling and commodifying cocaine on the open market.

“There are limited and very restricted licenses for certain pharmaceutical companies to use the substance for research purposes and for very specific, narrowly prescribed It is not permitted to be offered on the market.”

The prime minister said the government was actively addressing the issue.

“We have been working very quickly with this company to correct the misunderstandings their press release has caused,” he said, noting that decriminalizing the commercial sale of cocaine is “a move promoted by this government. It’s not what I’m trying to do,” he added.


BC will decriminalize possession of up to 2.5 grams of certain hard drugs, including cocaine, beginning January 31 after Health Canada approved a three-year experimental decriminalization waiver program in May 2022. Did.

Federal Minister for Mental Health and Addiction Carolyn Bennett said B.C.’s decriminalization plan would result in “the stigma, fear and shame that people who use drugs remain silent about their use or use alone.” said to be reduced.

In 2022, more than 6 people will die from drug overdoses on average in British Columbia every day, and since the government declared a public health emergency in 2016, more than 11,000 people have died from illegal drugs in the state. Died from an overdose.

Federal Conservative Party leader Pierre Polivre has vowed to drop the decriminalization policy if he is elected prime minister.

Prime Minister Trudeau and Justice Minister David Lameti have said Ottawa has no plans for a national drug decriminalization policy.

Canadian Press and Marnie Cathcart contributed to this report.