The British Columbia government warns cannabis buyers to avoid illegally grown products after a pilot study found that most samples from unlicensed sources were contaminated with fungicides and other dangerous substances.
The samples were taken from dried cannabis that had been confiscated by the BC Cannabis Community’s special security unit and tested in a laboratory to determine if they met federal standards for legal sale. In February, a total of 20 samples were collected and tested from six illegal shop fronts near Metro Vancouver, 18 of which contained pesticide residues. Only three samples were found to meet the standards for legal sale.
“The lab found 24 different pesticides, with almost every sample containing at least one,” said Mike Farnworth, British Columbia’s secretary of public safety.
The results of the pilot test were published by the National Collaborating Center for Environmental Health and showed detectable levels of pollutants in 18 of the 20 samples. The most common found in 16 of the 18 samples was a fungicide called myclobutanil, followed by a plant growth regulator called paclobutrazole and an insecticide called spiromesifen. Traces of bacteria, heavy metals and other pollutants were also detected
BC started its Community Safety Unit when cannabis was legalized across Canada two and a half years ago and so far 160 illegal businesses have been closed or voluntarily closed, Farnworth said. He highlighted another discovery by the enforcement agencies, namely products in packaging that mimicked well-known brands of biscuits, candies and snacks.
“With their familiar pictures, colors and names, these are obviously attractive to children,” Farnworth said. “But their content does not consist of candy, but of illegal cannabis, often with a THC concentration that exceeds the legal product limits by ten times or more.”
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BC had the most established illegal cannabis market in Canada when the federal government made recreational sales legal in October 2018. Farnworth said the BC experience was similar to Colorado, which went from 100 percent to 70 percent legal in four years.
The growth in legal sales is shown by the recent sales of BC’s network of state and licensed private stores. Legal sales were around $ 20 million in March 2020, and sales more than doubled to $ 43 million in March this year.
“When you buy from a licensed seller, you can trust the label on the product, you know you are supporting legitimate local businesses and workers, and you can be assured that tax revenue will go to public services that we all depend on are. like health care and education, not in the pockets of illegal retailers or organized crime, ”Farnworth said.
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