More concerns raised over Saskatoon medicinal marijuana dispensary

The former head of Canadian Cannabis Solutions says dispensary-issue medicinal marijuana varies in consistency, and lacks testing and oversight.

Advocate says marijuana sold at dispensaries lacks testing, oversight

A Saskatchewan man is urging patients to steer clear of the marijuana on sale at dispensaries and compassion clubs. (Sara Calnek/CBC)

A Saskatchewan man has a blunt warning for Saskatoon city council about the marijuana on sale at a new dispensary in the city.

Fred Glawischnig, an advocate for the use of medicinal marijuana, is an unlikely critic.

Glawischnig is the former head of Canadian Cannabis Solutions, a defunct company that had applied to grow industrial quantities of the drug for Health Canada.

He said patients who rely on compassion clubs or dispensaries need to take a closer look at what they're ingesting. 

Quality control questioned

Fred Glawischnig is the former head of Canadian Cannabis Solutions, a defunct company that had applied to grow industrial quantities of the drug for Health Canada. He's concerned about the marijuana sold at dispensaries. (Jennifer Quesnel/CBC)

"They have no quality control or quality assurance regulations," said Glawischnig. "There's no oversight, there's no testing and there's no recall procedure." 

He said dispensaries often buy unregulated "overstock" batches from home growers.

"[Licensed medical marijuana] is produced in almost laboratory-type conditions, it's tested for any pesticide residuals and only Health Canada-approved pesticides can be used," he said.

He said straying from licensed growers muddies the waters for doctors, who want more scientific research done before agreeing to prescribe medical marijuana.

The man running the city's compassion club on Second Avenue, Mark Hauk, recently told CBC price and minimum order requirements are problematic for some patients with prescriptions for medicinal marijuana.

Hauk also said supply issues and shipping costs can discourage those carrying so-called "green cards".

Glawischnig doesn't buy it.

"You can order your product via smartphone app, you can order it online, over the telephone," he said. "If you order it in the morning, depending on your proximity to your licensed grower, it'll arrive the next day in the mail."

For their part, he said dispensaries can't guarantee their product is safe, or legal.

In a letter delivered this week, Glawischnig urged councillors to rethink dispensaries. In it, he noted Saskatoon has "very little to gain allowing an unlicenced drug to be sold to anyone in its community."


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