My name is Freddie Pritchard, and I’ve been a Canadian Cannabis Activist in Canada for eighteen years. I have a long history with Cannabis– I’m the former owner of a compassion club in Windsor, Ontario (now closed by the WPD), I spoke on the panel at the Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs, I’ve been immersed in Health Canada and Cannabis for the fifteen years of its existence, and I’m proud to know almost all of the first Section 56 exemptees in this country.
I’m well-known and highly respected in the Canna community for my activism work, accuracy, and time spent fighting for patients’ access to safe and affordable cannabis. I have ten years of cannabis growing experience, have been a daily cannabis consumer for 33 years, and I run a weekly live show on YouTube that reports each week on everything that happens here in Canada about Cannabis.
One of the bigger projects I have been working on for over a year is on the topic of the large marijuana producers, their 10 recalls, and the illegal and legal pesticides and sprays they use. I did a series of shows with Cannabis Life Network where three of us smoke tested, and lab tested for THC and CBD contents, 17 different strains from six different large producers. The three of us standing in front of the camera combined carry 80 years of cannabis experience.
This was filmed and shot one year ago (July 2016) and a recall later came from Organigram, issued on January 9, 2017, for all 74 lots and went back a full 11 months! As well, Mettrum and Aurora had to issue a recall for carrying those Organigram products as well.
On January 9, 2017, Organigram Inc., a licensed producer of cannabis for medical purposes located in New Brunswick, began a voluntary recall of sixty-nine lots of product under a Type II recall, in addition to 5 lots of product under a Type III recall that was initiated on December 28, 2016.
The products that are being recalled include dried marijuana and cannabis oil that were produced between February 1, 2016 and December 16, 2016, and the affected lot numbers can be found below:
The results were from an illegal spray called Myclobutanil that when burned or combusted creates the extremely poisonous hydrogen cyanide!
The bottom line here was that in that YouTube episode above we smoked the myclobutanil and were right about it being sprayed with pesticides and chemicals. Until the recall, patients were smoking it, too.
In the instances of the 11 month recall by Organigram and more recently, a 15 month recall by Hydropothecary, the long-term recalls failed patients miserably as it’s clear all the Large Producer’s members/patients consumed it, whether through combustion, vaporization or in the form of a edible.
In other episodes, bad chemical tastes and black ash were readily apparent in most cannabis sampled, and even worse, some were from large, licensed producers of cannabis that have not been caught for myclobutanil.Now many patients since then have been suffering symptoms such as getting very sick/ill, experiencing nausea, and losing weight- I have reported on all the below stories on my show at the time they happened.
Presently there are 2 class action lawsuits, a third proposed, and the Veterans are getting together for possibly even another.
Part of being involved involved so deeply in the Medicinal side of Cannabis and having access to social media is I have been hearing from many patients for over 2 years now and they said the very same things reported in the stories below.
I’m not alone and as you can see below most patients do not trust their large producers, which have a 13 percent approval rating- the worst of all sectors! The difference among age groups lends weight to the view that the younger and more inexperienced do not know better when compared to the over 50 crowd that has that experience and has seen quality cannabis.
Just 13 per cent of roughly 1,500 people gave marijuana companies a rating of five or higher on a seven-point trust scale.
The Globe and Mail reported that while findings differ somewhat by age group, trust is an issue across the board: Just 10 per cent of people over 50 trust marijuana producers, while only 17 per cent gave a rank of five or higher amid the highest-trust group, those between the ages of 18 to 24.
In a Globe and Mailpiece on the Class Action lawsuits filed against Mettrum and Organigram for using banned pesticides, they spoke to Ms. Downton, a medicinal cannabis patient who after taking the product daily “began to suffer from severe nausea and vomiting within approximately two weeks after first consuming the Affected Product”.
According to reports, sick veterans have been urging Health Minister Jane Philpott to further probe tainted medical marijuana.
In another story, Robert Lamarre, a 59 year-old medicinal cannabis patient, says “I’ve been consuming all my life since I was 13 years old. I was never affected, got sick because of cannabis, never, never”. He says that when he started smoking the tainted Organigram product, he began coughing and experiencing other symptoms. “I lost 40 pounds in the space of 6 months”.
According to The Globe and Mail, the Nova Scotia man listed in the new proposed class action lawsuit allegedly became violently ill after consuming medical marijuana he purchased from Mettrum. This is the third proposed class-action lawsuit over pesticide-laden medical marijuana in Canada!
In a story from Now Toronto, Patty Wade was concerned because after starting one of Mettrum’s cannabis oil products she says she spent weeks feeling extremely ill with vomiting and nausea. Dawn Rae Downton, who is the lead plaintiff in the OrganiGram action, says she contacted Health Canada to report her adverse reactions, but the department later claimed to have no record of her report. Vomiting, dizziness, pain and dry-heaving are all part of what Downton says she experienced two weeks into her first batch of weed from OrganiGram.
For more information on the Class Action Lawsuit against Organigram and Mettrum by Wagner’s serious injury law firm, please click the following link.
However I need to bring your attention to these 17 approved sprays and their acceptable levels that can pass through testing, as they are approved to be sprayed on flowering and dried marijuana. As per the Heath Canada website, and as detailed out in the ACMPR regulations for the Large producers, it is clear that they cannot spray unless it is one of the 17 approved sprays.
I watched this list grow from 7 sprays to 13 and now 17 approved sprays.
As per section 18 of the ACMPR, licenced producers are not permitted to use additives in the production of fresh or dried marijuana, or marijuana plants or seeds intended for sale. “An additive means anything other than marihuana but does not include any residue of a pest control product or its components or derivatives unless the amount of the residue exceeds any maximum residue limit specified for the product, component or derivative under section 9 or 10 of the Pest Control Products Act.”
Licenced producers must also adhere to section 66 of the ACMPR which states that “fresh or dried marihuana or marihuana plants or seeds must not be treated with a pest control product unless the product is registered for use on marihuana under the Pest Control Products Act or is otherwise authorized for use under that Act”
Contrary to what a lot of politicians in the House of Commons have been saying lately while debating Bill C-45, and Bill Blair talking about how Cannabis is unsafe, and the need for a safe regulated supply of known potency, purity and providence- it is not true.
Those who grow Cannabis do not succeed if they spray in the flowering phase or on dried cannabis. That is why we don’t.
It is a practice not only frowned upon, but not generally followed by growers, for the same reasons a lot of patients do not like the Large producer Cannabis.
Black ash and chemical tastes. You can tell. Anyone that enjoys or knows cannabis can tell by the bad taste. The end result here is the seller does not receive much if any repeat business.
Now firstly and to be highly noted these 17 sprays are made for ornamental plants and food crops. NOT to be put on medicinal Cannabis and then combusted (burnt and inhaled). There is a drastic difference. Pesticides are designed to be washed off and broken down by the digestive system, which does not happen during combustion by medicinal users.
In the case of sprayed cannabis the medicinal users get hit with the handling of these chemicals, getting it on their skin, and then through combustion, they consume them because Cannabis does not get washed.
Last February on my show I reported that Warren Porter, a specialist in molecular and environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison agreeing with me.
This article from The Globe and Mailnotes that although myclobutanil is approved for use on some foods to control mildew, it is designed to be washed off while any remaining residue is metabolized by the digestive system so that it is not a threat to the body. The reason it is banned for plants that are smoked, including tobacco, is that the chemical enters the bloodstream directly through the lungs, without being metabolized.
Secondly these pesticide all come with massive percentages of Inert/other ingredients.
Inert/Other ingredients are used in pesticide products for a variety of reasons, including to help the pesticide stick to surfaces like leaves and soil. They are designed themselves to stick and leave their residues, to combat pests, molds and fungus. And some examples of Inert/Other ingredients are emulsifiers, solvents, carriers, aerosol propellants, petroleum products, fragrances and dyes.
In some cases the Inert/Other ingredients can be more dangerous then the active ingredients in the pesticides!
Thirdly these Inert/Other ingredients all come with signal words…..
CAUTION – means the pesticide product is slightly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or it causes slight eye or skin irritation.
WARNING– indicates the pesticide product is moderately toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or it causes moderate eye or skin irritation
DANGER – means that the pesticide product is highly toxic by at least one route of exposure. It may be corrosive, causing irreversible damage to the skin or eyes. Alternatively, it may be highly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. If this is the case, then the word “POISON” must also be included in red letters on the front panel of the product label
Now, of the 17 approved sprays, 11 carry a “caution” label which means they are toxic, but only mildly if absorbed through the skin, inhaled, and can cause slight eye or skin irritation.
The 11 approved sprays with a “Caution” label are listed below:
Botanigard 22 WP
MilStop Foliar Fungicide
Rootshield(R) WP Biological Fungicide
Vegol Crop Oil
Bio-Ceres G WP
The other six have a warning label which indicates it is moderately toxic if absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or causes moderate eye or skin irritation
Agrotek Ascend Vaporized Sulphur
Opal Insecticidal Soap
Kopa Insecticidal Soap
Rootshield HC Biological Fungicide Wettable Powder
Now, the warning labels all say toxic for handling, being inhaled, getting absorbed through the skin, and getting in the eyes, and on most of the labels are clear warnings that outline their toxicity.
I have assembled here all of the above pesticides labels and Inert and other ingredient information:
Now clearly we have mild and medium toxic chemicals of the pesticides’ “Active ingredients”, and a lot that are unknown with massive percentages of Inert/other ingredients. “Actinovate” is a whopping 99.96 percent inert/other ingredients and almost all the others have 80 percent or higher Inert/Other Ingredients.
None of these are designed for inhaling, combustion, vaping or edible ingestion- they then become poisons.
No testing has ever been done that can refer to the combustion and inhalation by humans these toxins.
Most people would agree they do not want these harmful pesticides on their food stuffs, but I can tell you, it should not be approved, 17 of them now, to be on cannabis for medicinal users, to be then consumed in any form.
So in recapping
Experienced cannabis smokers noticed chemical tastes, black ash, bad burn ability
Experienced growers do not spray on flowering of dried cannabis
Many product recalls, 2 very long term that failed patients, illegal sprays
All the approved pesticides are either mildly or moderately toxic, based on their own labels
They contain massive percentages of Inert/Other Ingredients
They are designed to stick to plants and leave residues
The pesticides are for non food and food crops not for combustion
Patients handle it and consume it
Recently, Health Canada took away the large producers ability to foliar feed.
Foliar feeding is a essential practice use by growers of all plants, to feed nutrients to the plant through its leafs.
Cannabis plants benefit greatly from this practice in the vegetative stage, before floral clusters form.
This cannot be confused with pesticide spraying and normally, growers use a mild nutrient solution and typically cease this practice in the flowering stage.
I remember 15 years go talking with Bruce Erickson who worked for the Office of Controlled Substances, Department of Health, and had a big hand in writing the MMAR regulations. I had asked him over the phone if he had ever talked to any activists or cannabis growers before writing the draft regulations. He said ‘he never did. How could we?”
In this article by the Financial Post, Anne McLellan recently said, “Black market marijuana growers should be included in the legal market as they can provide valuable expertise as it evolves”.
I have been through this for the 15 years medical cannabis has been legal here in Canada. I have watched and heard many patients suffer as they try to find reasonable and affordable access. I can’t help thinking that after all this time, through Section 56, MMAR, MMPR, and now the ACMPR, that Canada has never allowed real, quality cannabis to exist, nor provided reasonable or affordable access, for ALL patients.
In light of those falling ill, the sprays, and lawsuits it is getting worse. I would really like to be able to bridge that gap that exists between the cannabis world and Health Canada. Our knowledge and information has been pioneered and passed down for generations, and you need to talk to people like us.
If there is anything at all you would like to talk about please do not hesitate to get a hold of me
I would ask that Health Canada and the Large Producer consider the following very seriously……
– DO NOT allow the spraying of anything on cannabis in the flowering phase OR on dried cannabis, including ALL of the 17 approved sprays
– Only allow spraying pesticides in the vegetative growth stage and cease when flowering
– Allow foliar feeding in the vegetative stage and cease when flowering