All bark, no bite

By David Wylie

Faced with unlicensed cannabis stores all over the province, the BC government has opted to wage an optics war.

The BC NDP’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced this week that cannabis seized from illicit stores contains contaminants that are not allowed in legal weed, as well as high levels of lead and arsenic

"My message to people who choose to consume cannabis is simple: buy from legal sellers whose regulated product is subject to national requirements that are in place to protect you," says Farnworth in a statement to media.

The province says the results show some illicit growers “may be engaging in practices that pose risks to both consumers and employees handling cannabis.” While the study suggests illicit weed poses a public health risk, the BC NDP announced no action.

Officials did not divulge where exactly the cannabis they tested came from, other than it came from Metro Vancouver.

The BC NDP has been under pressure for more than a year from legal retailers who say they're losing significant business to unlicensed stores.

Still, the government has largely ignored or deferred the issue.

In the Okanagan, unlicensed stores are open all over the Valley on First Nation land. That means they are in the uncharted legal waters of Indigenous rights when it comes to the sale of cannabis. Rather than risking a court battle if they enforce, the province appears to be choosing to play the public safety card. The slow game, however, may leave some cash-poor retailers to starve financially, as they wait for the government to help them.

“We don’t stand a chance if things don’t change,” one retail operator tells the oz.

Some are already on the verge of shutting down.

The BC Liberal Opposition pushed the BC NDP on the topic Thursday during committee, as some wondered whether health authorities should step in to close unlicensed stores and whether the province shares some liability by allowing unlicensed stores to continue operating when there are now documented health risks.

The pilot study is a partnership between the B.C. Cannabis Secretariat, which is the central coordinating body for non-medical cannabis policy across the provincial government, and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Twenty dried cannabis samples that had been seized by the provincial Community Safety Unit from illicit retailers in the Vancouver area were tested by a federally licensed analytical lab in February 2021. The lab found 24 distinct pesticides, along with unacceptable levels of bacteria, fungi, lead and arsenic. The lab results are available here.

The National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health also took part in the study, posting about it on their blog. They say there are limitations to the study, including it's a small sub-sample that's "not representative" of all illicit cannabis in Metro Vancouver.

"The 20 samples may have been produced by 20 different growers, or one. They may have been grown within Metro Vancouver or may have been sourced from elsewhere," says the centre.

The centre says it focused on flower, adding concentrates made from the bud could theoretically have much higher levels of contaminants after processing.

The bottom line from the province is 'buy illicit weed at your own risk' — but rest assured, they won’t lift a finger to stop it.

Share from the oz.

Facing questions

BC's Solicitor General faced a 1.5-hour-long interrogation this week, one day after organizing a press conference to drop lab tests showing contaminants in illicit cannabis are a public heath risk.

  • RELATED: BC chooses a public relations war over enforcement

Pictured bottom left counterclockwise, BC Liberal MLAs Greg Kyllo, representing the Shuswap, and Liberal Solicitor General critic Mike Morris, who represents the Prince George-Mackenzie riding, peppered the BC NDP Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth for an hour and a half Thursday about illicit cannabis.

Here is an excerpt of the official Hansard transcript of their exchange reprinted on the oz. for posterity:

[WARNING: Long read ahead]

Read the transcript

Millions of clones in Kelowna

Millions of cannabis clones will soon be propagated in the Okanagan before ending up in legal cannabis producer grow rooms.

A Kelowna company has received its Health Canada Nursery Cultivation licence to produce cannabis clones available for sale to the cannabis industry in Canada.

Klonetics Plant Science Inc. has a 25,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility in Kelowna where they will produce cannabis plants at an industrial scale. The company says it can provide 2.8 million ready-to-flower plants to the market each year, with capacity to reach over four million by 2022.

More details on the oz.


What's in store – Spiritleaf West Kelowna

We take you inside Spiritleaf West Kelowna, with owner Michael Adams.

"I got into the cannabis industry as I was winding down my Mixed Martial Arts professional career," he tells the oz. "Through training, and lots of injuries along the way, I was able to use cannabis to help me work through some of those injuries."

  • RELATED: Q&A with Spiritleaf West Kelowna owner Michael Adams

Adams says CBD products are very popular at his store, as well as craft cannabis, and topicals.

He recommends Okanagan-based LP PureFarma's Hemplixer 30, a full-spectrum oil.

As for craft cannabis, Adams suggests trying Gelato 33 by Lot 420 and BC Black Cherry by Flowr. It does change week-to-week, he adds.

"Craft consumers are always looking for the next big thing to come out," he says.

"Since we've opened up in 2019, we've seen the cannabis industry mature quite a bit. When we first opened up, the selection of products wasn't nearly as vast as it is now."

There are more drinks going into the summer season.

Adams says they do their best to learn each of their regular customers' tastes and needs so they can make good recommendations.

Watch here.

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Let's hash it out

By Katerina Bakalos

If there is one person who is passionate about hash it’s Tyler Pilgaard.

“You don’t have to be 50 years old to smoke hash!” says Pilgaard, who is a sales representative for Hybrid Brand Management.

We need to break the idea that hash is “an addition” to flower.

Read the full column on the oz.

Quick hits

💉 Does cannabis interact with a COVID shot? (Leafly)
💨 'Joints for Jabs': Washington state turns to weed giveaways to encourage residents to get vaccinated (USA Today)
❌ Once again Mississauga, Ont., denies cannabis stores from operating (insauga)
🔬 How cannabis extractors can ensure their organic products stay clean (mjbizdaily)
🦀 Scientists consider the lobster when it's high on cannabis (BoingBoing)

Chocolates by LYF

LYF Edibles is mixing things up with their chocolates. Not only do they have unique flavour combinations in the current edible market but they also have no sugar added. 

First up, we’ve got the NSA Milk Chocolate Coffee Quinoa squares. These pleasantly surprised me, especially because I am not particularly partial to milk chocolate, nor am I a coffee drinker. I thought the bitter notes from the coffee offset the milky sweetness of the chocolate nicely with the delightful crunch from the quinoa for texture. Two squares, with 5mg THC each, are in the package, making this a great little treat.

I had higher expectations for the NSA Dark Chocolate Almond 1:1 squares because one of my favorite indulgences is dark chocolate covered almonds. I was hoping for a strong almond taste and crunch but that was not quite the reality. However, I did still really enjoy this chocolate and its effect. The dark chocolate is classic, strong and bitter with just a hint of the nuttiness. These have 5mg of CBD along with the 5mg of THC in each square.

We picked these up for $4.99 each at a local retailer.

 Jenny Neufeld

See our past reviews


Neptune Announces Mood Ring Cannabis Product Launches, Including Flower, in British Columbia

The Valens Company Joins Cannabis Council of Canada, the National Organization of Canada's Licensed Producers

BC Craft Supply Co Introduces Grizzlers, Canada’s OG Legacy Pre-Roll Brand into Ontario and Alberta

Curaleaf's Select Brand And Rolling Stone Announce Strategic Partnership

Aurora Cannabis expands San Rafael '71 portfolio with the launch of three new proprietary cultivars for Canadian consumer market

Dad jokes

Do they allow loud laughing in Hawaii?
Or just a low 'ha'?
Why do pregnant cows have so much energy?
They're heavily calf-inated
It just occurred to me that the opposite of Artificial Intelligence is …
Real Stupid

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