British Columbia cannabis firm Adastra Holdings (CSE: XTRX) recently announced that Health Canada approved Adastra Labs’ amendment to include cocaine as a substance that the company can lawfully possess, produce, sell, and distribute.
On August 24, 2022, Adastra obtained its Controlled Drug and Substances Dealer’s License, which authorizes the company to possess, produce, sell, and distribute up to 1,000 grams of psilocybin and psilocin.
With the amended license, Adastra is now allowed to work with up to 250 grams of cocaine and import coca leaves in order to produce and synthesize the drug as well.
Many say that adding more drugs into the system will just exacerbate current problems, and that this will not help solve the epidemic. But Adastra CEO Michael Forbes believes that “harm reduction is a critically important and mainstream topic.”
“We proactively pursued the amendment to our Dealer’s License to include cocaine back in December 2022. We will evaluate how the commercialization of this substance fits in with our business model at Adastra in an effort to position ourselves to support the demand for a safe supply of cocaine,” Forbes said.
Nevertheless, adults 18 years and older in British Columbia have a three-year exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to possess up to 2.5 grams of opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, or some combination thereof between January 31, 2023, and January 31, 2026.
The news comes a month after British Columbia became the first province in Canada to decriminalize the personal use of heroin, meth, ecstasy, and cocaine.
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Carolyn Bennett announced that “adults 18 and over in British Columbia will no longer be subject to criminal charges for the possession of up to 2.5 grams of certain illegal drugs for personal use and the drugs will not be confiscated.”
The decision, known as the “Section 56, Exemption,” will be in force for three years until January 31, 2026. Opioids (such as heroin, morphine, and fentanyl), crack and powder cocaine, methamphetamine (meth), and MDMA (ecstasy) are among the illegal drugs covered by the exemption.
Earlier, the US Drug Enforcement Administration was reportedly working on legalizing cocaine derivative [18 F]FP-CIT, which is said to be a “diagnostic substance that is used in assisting the evaluation of adult patients with suspected Parkinsonian syndromes.”
However, critics have lamented the move as a safety concern and such rescheduling would wrongly signal that cocaine is less harmful than cannabis, which is still federally illegal in the United States.
Adastra operates a 13,500 sq. ft. agricultural-scale Health Canada licensed facility located in Langley, British Columbia, focused on extraction, distillation and manufacturing of cannabis-derived products.
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