The cannabis community is at odds with one another over the role of licensed cannabis producers for medical patients.
In a Facebook post, “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery said the “The LPs produce great cannabis.”
The government’s licensed producer program authorizes over two dozen companies to manufacture and sell medical cannabis to patients that receive a physician’s approval.
Opponents of the system, like Freddie Pritchard, took issue with Emery’s comments and said the licensed producers’ cannabis isn’t held to as high a standard as independent growers.
“They are THC capped, it’s too expensive for [the] quality,” Pritchard wrote in response to Emery.
Pritchard also accused the government licensed producers’ cannabis as being irradiated, diluted and fraught with delivery issues, all problems, he said, that turn off medical patients from using the service.
Emery disagreed, and said the LPs are producing cannabis in excellent conditions and that the community should embrace the government sanctioned growers.
“Anyone that produces cannabis is to be commended. The more cannabis the better,” Emery wrote. “They produce some great cannabis which has elevated the grey and black market cannabis so everyone has seen more high quality cannabis available in Canada right now over the last few yeas than any time previous. And it’s only going to get better.”
“I know dozens of [Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations] holding Canadian citizens who quite like what Tilray, Bedrocann and other LPs produce. There are quality people involved in the LPs and the dispensaries.”
In June, Nanaimo-based licensed producer Tilray shed a third of its employees due to what CEO Greg Engel saw as unfair competition from non-government approved channels.
“Dispensaries continue to operate and compete outside of the same type of rigorous regulations (medical marijuana) licensed producers are required to abide by,” Engel said.
In March of 2015, Tilray issued a recall to hundreds of medical cannabis patients in B.C. after their product was contaminated with bacteria.
“The proliferation of illegal dispensaries has had a significant impact,” Engel said. “Many of the dispensaries are now simply acting as recreational distribution points.”
President of licensed producer CanniMed Brent Zettl said medical marijuana users risk issues with quality if they buy from outside the licensed producer system.
“True patients that want to have a safe and prescribed, properly dosed material, if they’re really interested in having that as such, they need to get it from somebody who’s got some system of accountability, including safety and the way it’s produced and the way it’s measured,” said Zettl.