Adastra Labs, a cannabis company based in Langley, British Columbia, announced that it had received approval from Health Canada to include cocaine as a substance that it can legally process, sell, and distribute.
B.C. Premier David Eby said he was “astonished” when he became aware of the news, according to CTV News.
“The short answer is I was astonished by this announcement. I understand that this company says Health Canada has given them some sort of authorization. It is not part of our provincial plan,” he said when asked about his reaction to Adastra Labs’ release. “If Health Canada did in fact do this, they did it not only without engaging with the province but without notice to us.”
Health Canada issued a statement to CBC News on Thursday night saying Adastra Labs is only licensed to sell for scientific and medical purposes. This means Adastra Labs can sell to other companies with the same licence such as pharmacists, practitioners, hospitals, or the holder of an exemption for research purposes.
“They cannot sell products to the general public,” the federal department said.
While the British Columbia Liberal Party also chimed in to express disappointment in the supposed federal decision but directed partial blame to Eby’s governing British Columbia New Democratic Party for allowing Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary, a brick-and-mortar drug store to operate in Vancouver.
The Adastra Labs’ approval comes amid the recent decriminalization in British Columbia of up to 2.5 grams of certain drugs, including cocaine, that began on Jan. 31.