Fri, 3 March 2023 at 4:30 am GMT
Canadian biosciences company Sunshine Earth Labs announced Thursday it has been licensed to produce and sell cocaine, reflecting the federal health agency’s bid to improve safety conditions for the country’s addicts.
The licensing deal comes after a radical policy shift to address an opioid overdose crisis that has killed thousands, by decriminalizing small amounts of cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs.
Ottawa granted a criminal code exemption in January to British Columbia for the three-year pilot project, with the aim of removing the stigma associated with drug use that keeps people from seeking help.
Advocates have also been pushing for safer supplies of drugs to be made available to addicts who face a risk of dying from toxic drug poisoning linked to illicit street drugs.
Sunshine Earth Labs said in a statement it received permission from Health Canada to “legally possess, produce, sell and distribute coca leaf and cocaine,” as well as morphine, MDMA (ecstasy) and heroin.
Its announcement comes on the heels of a similar licensing arrangement offered in February to Adastra Labs, which had until now focused on crafting cannabis extracts.
Adastra’s license also allows it to produce and sell psilocybin and psilocin — hallucinogens more commonly known as magic mushrooms that produce effects similar to LSD.
“We will evaluate how the commercialization of this substance fits in with our business model at Adastra in an effort to position ourselves to support the demand for a safe supply of cocaine,” chief executive Michael Forbes said.
Nationwide the number of fatalities has surpassed 30,000.