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Authorized cocaine selling claims in B.C. a ‘miscommunication’

Recent claims about licenses to sell cocaine and other substances by two BC companies that were later withdrawn represent a “failure” in communication that regulators will want to prevent, says a Canadian psychiatric lawyer and business consultant.

“To be honest, it was a little black from those press releases,” Michael Kidd, a regulatory communications specialist for the psychiatric industry, told CTV’s “Your Morning” on Monday.

A pair of BC companies argued that Health Canada allowed them to own, manufacture and sell drugs including cocaine and psychoactive drugs such as psilocybin.

Health Canada responded earlier this month, saying it stressed to Adastra Labs and Sunshine Earth Labs that they are only allowed to handle controlled substances for “authorized medical and research purposes.”

Both of them Adastra and: Sunshine Labs later retracted their statements and clarified that they are not allowed to sell these or any other controlled substances for which they are licensed to the general public.

“I don’t think it’s a blow, but I suspect the regulator will probably take it and look at some of the wording and communication around their own policies,” Kidd said.

“And more importantly, how is that communicated to companies in the public and private space … and what are they actually trying to do with these drugs, is it researching molecular compounds before actually manufacturing them?”

The initial news sparked outrage BC provincial legislature and confusion from Prime Minister David Aby.

“The short answer is I was stunned by the announcement,” Eby said. “I understand that this company is saying that Health Canada has given them some sort of approval. It is not part of our regional plan.”

Earlier this year, BC announced details of its three-year pilot program decriminalize possession small amount – 2.5 grams – illegal drugs.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said he was “as surprised as” Eby, adding that the federal government is “working very quickly” with Adastra Labs to “correct the misunderstanding” caused by the company’s announcement.

The latest developments come as advocates push for it more research in the use of psychedelic drugs, such as psilocybin, to treat mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Last month, some MPs joined advocates in calling on the federal government expand access psychotropic drugs as medical treatment.

“You shouldn’t be messing with Health Canada’s dealer licenses. These things don’t sell like hotcakes,” Kidd said.

“They have to be taken seriously, and what I think happened here is maybe a little bit of excitement, some miscommunication, and that’s a failure on the communication side of things.”

Watch the full interview with Michael Kidd at the top of the article. With files from CTV News Vancouver feature reporter Abigail Turner, reporter Becca Clarkson, multimedia reporter CTV News Vancouver Bhinder Sajan, CTV News Vancouver multimedia reporter Regan Hasegavan and The Canadian Press.

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