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In today's Morning Brief, CBC's Marketplace finds hundreds of illegal CBD products for sale in a thriving Canadian black market.

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Illegal, untested CBD products are everywhere and could be putting you at risk

A CBC Marketplace investigation has found hundreds of illegal CBD (cannabidiol) products for sale in a thriving Canadian black market. Going undercover, we found products are easily available and salespeople are willing to make extravagant and illicit health claims.

While Canadians look to CBD for its promise as a health remedy, Marketplace has found there's no control over what goes into the illegal black market products — and no way to test them. 

In fact, the CBC lawyers advising on this story said that Marketplace could not legally test black market products because it would mean breaking laws that police controlled substances. It's a hurdle tripping up many Canadian researchers — and it means no one really knows what is in the illicit CBD being sold.

Unlike in the U.S., CBD is a controlled substance in Canada; it is considered among drugs the government thinks can be addictive or potentially abused. These include illegal street drugs and prescription medication. CBD was lumped in with THC when cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018. 

That means, like other cannabis products, only government-licensed retailers are allowed to sell CBD products and there are strict rules and regulations around who is allowed to grow, process and distribute CBD products. 

WATCH | Canada's thriving black market for CBD: 

Canada's thriving black market for CBD

3 months ago
Duration 2:07

For example, in Ontario, authorized CBD products can only be legally purchased online at the Ontario Cannabis Store, from authorized licensed dispensaries or with a medical note from authorized stores such as Shoppers Drug Mart. In British Columbia, BC Cannabis Store is the only legal place to buy CBD online. 

It is also illegal to make any health or cosmetic claims about CBD products in Canada. To make a health claim, the product requires approval as a prescription drug under the Food and Drugs Act. No CBD products in Canada have that approval.

That didn't stop a salesperson at Calyx Wellness, an unlicensed CBD store in Toronto, from making bold claims about CBD: "From what I've heard, it depends on your situation, but it'll help with anything," she told the undercover Marketplace crew. "It's kind of like a superpower almost." Read more on this story here.

Mexico prepares for Day of the Dead

(Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman dressed as the character Catrina stands in front of a bed of marigolds on Thursday in Mexico City, ahead of the Day of the Dead. Prior to the holiday, which occurs on Nov. 2., Mexico City this week lifted some of its COVID-19 restrictions, allowing bars, clubs and indoor events to fill up to 50 per cent capacity, and massive outdoor events can fill to capacity, but masks will still be required.

In brief

Ontario will allow businesses such as restaurants, bars and fitness centres to start lifting COVID-19 capacity limits starting on Monday, Oct. 25, a government source has told CBC News. The senior government official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, said the cabinet approved the changes on Thursday. The source said Ford and his ministers are making the move after Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore was satisfied there wasn't a surge in infections after the recent holiday weekend. "Dr. Moore said last week he wanted to see the impact of Thanksgiving," the source said. "With the incubation period now over and no increase in cases, we are confident we can proceed with our phased plan to safely reopen." Read the full story here

Alberta announced back in August that it planned to drop isolation requirements and start treating the COVID-19 not as a pandemic, but an endemic disease like the flu. Hundreds of contract tracers were laid off or had their contracts not renewed, as they would no longer be needed to notify close contacts and would only continue to investigate "high-risk settings." Those plans didn't last, as cases doubled and doubled again, but contact tracers who spoke to CBC News said even with new staff added by Alberta Health Services during the fourth wave, the system isn't working to stop people spreading the virus. "Personally, I can't keep up," said one employee, adding that fixing the contact tracing system "is going to be very difficult." Read more on the province's contact tracing system.

Canada has quietly lifted a blanket advisory against all non-essential travel outside the country, which had been in place since the pandemic was declared in March 2020. Under the previous guidelines, the government advised all travellers, regardless of vaccination status, to avoid non-essential international travel. The advisories for each country have now reverted to the four levels that existed prior to the pandemic. The new advisories can be found on the government's Travel Advice and Advisory website. A blanket advisory against all cruise travel remains in place. In a statement, the Public Health Agency of Canada said Canadians should be fully vaccinated before they travel and urged travellers to follow public health measures at their destination. Read more on the changes to the travel advisory.

Queen Elizabeth spent a night in hospital after cancelling a planned trip to Northern Ireland on the advice of doctors, Buckingham Palace said yesterday. The palace said the 95-year-old monarch went to the private King Edward VII's Hospital in London on Wednesday for "preliminary investigations." She returned to Windsor Castle at lunchtime on Thursday, "and remains in good spirits," the palace said. Elizabeth was recently seen using a walking stick while attending a service at Westminster Abbey. She is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee — 70 years on the throne — next year. Read more here about the Queen's health.

WATCH | Queen returns to Windsor Castle after night in hospital: 

Queen returns to Windsor Castle after night in hospital

3 months ago
Duration 2:02

Edward Rogers is out as chair of the company his father founded, after a failed attempt to oust its chief executive officer. Telecommunications giant Rogers Communications Inc. announced after stock markets closed on Thursday that Edward, the only son of company founder Ted, has been replaced as chair of the board by independent director John A. MacDonald. The stunning development comes after a failed bid by Edward to push CEO Joe Natale from the job and replace him with Tony Staffieri, the company's chief financial officer. Staffieri left the company abruptly when the attempt failed to gather enough support from other board members, including two of Edward's sisters and his mother, Loretta. Read the full story here.

Police say a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin on a movie set near Santa Fe, N.M., killed the film's director of photography and injured the director on Thursday. The director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said. The director, Joel Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he's being treated for his injuries. A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. A police spokesperson said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged. Read more on this story here.

Now for some good news to start your Friday: A Stratford, P.E.I., man is having some fun with the province's proof-of-vaccination requirements in an original way: he's had his Vax Pass printed on a T-shirt. Jason Doucette says his Facebook blew up after he posted an image of himself wearing the shirt, which shows his name and when he got his two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. He got the idea when he was on his phone trying to get the pass online. "I said, you know, 'what am I going to do here? Am I going to laminate it? Am I going to have a screenshot in my photo album?'" Doucette said. "Then I said, 'wouldn't it be funny if I put that on a T-shirt?'" Though he got the shirt just for fun and doesn't expect any reasonable business to actually accept it, Doucette said he plans to start wearing it in public. He said he's just trying to "keep it light" and have a little laugh during what's been a difficult period for a lot of people. Check out Doucette's shirt here.

First Person: Interviewing the Governor General in my language felt like reconciliation

"Reconciliation is real and I felt it that day," writes CBC North reporter Pauline Pemik, who interviewed Canada's new Governor General — in Inuktitut. Read Pemik's column here.

Front Burner: Kids at the centre of anti-vaxx movements

What can our knowledge of the anti-vaccine movement — a phenomenon that's been around for decades — teach us about how to improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake in kids? 

It's a timely question. On Thursday, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will get 2.9 million doses of Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine, shortly after Health Canada gives their approval.

Jennifer Reich is a sociologist who studies vaccine-hesitant and anti-vaccine parents, and she joins us to explain how to reach this group.

Today in history: October 22

1945: The Canadian Citizenship Act receives its first reading in the House of Commons. Until the act became law in January 1947, individuals born in Canada and naturalized immigrants were classified as British subjects. The new law gave legal recognition to the terms Canadian citizen and Canadian citizenship, and described who was and who could become a citizen.

1958: Blanche Margaret Meagher is appointed Canada's first full-time resident ambassador to Israel. She was the first Canadian woman to be appointed to an ambassadorship

1962: The world faces the prospect of nuclear war when American President John F. Kennedy announces the United States would impose a naval blockade around Cuba. The announcement followed the discovery of Soviet missiles on the Caribbean island.

2002: Canadian author Yann Martel wins the Booker Prize for his novel Life of Pi, about a boy adrift in a small boat with animals.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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