BC cannabis company receives permission to process, sell cocaine

The decision comes just weeks after the province's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act exemption went into effect, decriminalizing personal possession of up to 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA.

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Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
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A British Columbia cannabis company has been granted permission by Health Canada to process and sell cocaine. Adastra Labs, based out of Langley, received approval from federal authorities on February 17. 

The decision comes just weeks after the province's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act exemption went into effect, decriminalizing personal possession of up to 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or MDMA. 



According to Yahoo Finance, Adastra Labs received its Controlled Drug and Substances Dealer's License on August 24, 2022, allowing it to legally engage in the production and sale of certain controlled substances, including psilocybin.

Via the additional permission granted by Health Canada, the company is now allowed to handle 250 grams of cocaine. It can also legally import coca leaves in order to manufacture and synthesize the substance locally. 

Michael Forbes, CEO of Adastra Labs and founder of the Forbes Group, has a long history in the industry, and though his company currently specializes in cannabis, he has years of experience working on the front lines of addiction medicine as a pharmacist.

Forbes has been a proponent of harm reduction, the idea that while users are waiting to receive treatment, they should have access to a safe supply of their drug of choice. In 2010, for example, he piloted a needle exchange program at the behest of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Harm reduction is a critically important and mainstream topic, and we are staying at the forefront of drug regulations across the board," Forbes said. "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." 

The suggestion that introducing more drugs into the system will help solve the crisis has been criticized by many who argue that it will only exacerbate existing problems.
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