Industrial medical marijuana company Dycar Pharmaceuticals is still awaiting its licence from Health Canada to begin renovations and get production going in Cranbrook.
However, Carmen Wannop, Dycar’s vice president of sales and marketing, commented on compassion clubs and other types of dispensaries that have been making the news lately.
Wannop took issue with the way they operate.
“No matter how you look at it, a compassion club is illegal,” Wannop said. “The federal government has stated that and everything else. There is no way for a compassion club or dispensary or whatever you want to call it to obtain their product through legal means.”
Wannop stressed that the company is not against patients getting their medication.
“What we are for is the patient having access to safe, legal forms of their medication,” she said.
She said some of the larger dispensaries, like those in Vancouver, have contracts with growers, so the grower grows specifically for them. Wannop said that grower is growing illegally.
Others have gone back to the old program, the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations. The new program is the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations.
“They say that they’ve gone to a Personal Production Licence or Designated Grower Licence and they buy their excess,” she said. “That is 100 per cent illegal.”
She noted that under the old program the person allowed to consume the product could have a month supply for consumption and a three month supply in storage.
“The rest of the stuff, if you had a really good crop, was supposed to be destroyed,” she said. “You were supposed to weigh it, make sure you noted if it was wet or dry product and destroy it. So if Health Canada came to look at your records, you could state that was in storage for that crop and that was what was left over and this is what it weighed and this is what was destroyed. So they can’t legally get it from those people.”
She said the dispensaries can’t get product from those people. Some have stated they are going to licensed producers (LPs) — like Dycar will be.
“It is stated right off the bat, Health Canada will not licence any compassion club or dispensary,” she said. “The only people an LP can sell to is the end-user.”
Wannop said that if a LP sells to a compassion club or dispensary, it’s against the law and the licence will be revoked.
She said while not all compassion clubs run that way, the majority that she has seen do.
She noted the quality control is at a different level as well.
“One piece of equipment that I am putting in my lab is worth a half of a million dollars. That tests the mold, the mildew, the pesticides, the heavy metals and makes sure that product meets FDA standards. A compassion club doesn’t have to do that.”
She said some places even spray the plant with green spray paint.
She also noted the Supreme Court ruling on consumables was quite specific.
“Compassion clubs still are not allowed to make these. The end-user can make them.”
Dycar has to apply for a separate exemption to be able to make extraction. The oils also can’t be made with volatile gases. She said many extractors use isopropyl alcohol, which can explode.
Wannop said Dycar will be using an extractor that costs $1 million and uses carbon dioxide.
She said the facility itself will cost $10 million to upgrade and once the other commercial equipment is added in they are at $15 million.
The building is the old Ice River Springs building located at 900 Industrial Road 1.