Health Canada has suspended CannTrust Holdings Inc.’s licences to sell cannabis and curtailed its ability to produce new plants after it was found to be growing cannabis in unlicensed rooms, the embattled company announced Tuesday.
According to a press release, CannTrust received a notice from Health Canada stating that its licences for “standard processing, medical sales, cannabis drugs and research issued under the Cannabis regulations” were being fully suspended, while its licence for standard cultivation would be under partial suspension. CannTrust will now be barred from growing new lots or batches of cannabis and from selling or distributing any products, but will still be able to “cultivate and harvest existing lots of batches” as well as trim, mill and dry that product, the release said.
Health Canada confirmed the decision in an emailed statement to the Financial Post and said that it was being taken “in order to protect public health and safety.”
“Health Canada inspectors have delivered the notices of suspension to CannTrust Inc. today, and are seizing and detaining all cannabis products at both sites,” a spokesperson for the regulator said.
The blow may not necessarily be a permanent one, according to CannTrust’s press release. CannTrust may see its licences reinstated “if the reasons for the suspension no longer exist or if CannTrust demonstrates that the suspension was unfounded.” Health Canada, the release said, suggested implementing a series of measures to address the public health and safety risks such as controlling the movement of cannabis in and out of their facilities, recovering the illicitly-grown cannabis and improving its inventory tracking.
Vaughan, Ont.-based CannTrust said it was reviewing the release with its counsel and that it has been working with Health Canada for months to address its concerns.
“Over the past two months, the Company has moved swiftly to assess and address Health Canada’s concerns, including areas of operational non-compliance,” CannTrust said in the release. “The Company remains committed to being in full regulatory compliance.”
The company will have 10 days to respond to the notice and argue whether it believes it to be unfounded.
The suspensions come after the health authority was tipped off by a whistleblower that CannTrust was growing illicit cannabis in multiple unlicensed rooms at its Pelham, Ont., greenhouse. Since then, the company has broadly shuffled its…