Health Canada recently sent cease and desist letters to several dispensaries across the country notifying them that they must shut down their operation or have their case forwarded on to the RCMP for "enforcement action." Here is a copy of letter to dispensaries (with the business names removed).
Subject: Illegal Sale and Advertising of Marijuana
The sale and advertising of marijuana is illegal. The (named dispensary) is advertising for sale marijuana contrary to the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and the Narcotic Control Regulations (NCR). You are encouraging Canadians to engage in conduct that could also expose them to criminal liability.
Health Canada is requiring:
1. You immediately suspend all activities with controlled substances. If the (named dispensary) does not immediately cease all activities with controlled substances, we will contact, within 30 days of the date of this letter, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for enforcement action as they deem necessary, and
2. Submit a written statement indicating that the (named dispensary) will not conduct any activities with these substances without a valid license. The original copy of your written response signed must be received in this Office by September 21, 2015.
With the passage of Bill C-17 (Vanessa’s law) on November 6, 2014, there are increased fines and penalties for regulatory offenses under the FDA, including a maximum penalty of $5,000,000 or 2 years in prison or both. Additionally, a person who knowingly makes a false or misleading statement to the Minister of Health or who knowingly or recklessly causes a serious risk of injury in contravening the Act or its regulations could face a higher fine or up to five years in jail, at the discretion of the court.
The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) define advertisement, as does the FDA and the NCR, to include any representation by any means whatever for the purpose of promoting directly or indirectly the sale or disposal of a drug in the case of the FDA, or a narcotic with respect to the MMPR and NCR.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) prohibits any person from engaging in activities such as production, provision, sale (including offering for sale, import, export, transport, delivering of controlled substances unless authorized under its Regulations).
In addition, in accordance with subsection 12(1)(a) of the MMPR, a licensed producer may possess, produce, sell, provide, ship, deliver, transport and destroy marijuana, including viable seeds. Therefore, you must apply to be a licensed producer to be authorized under these regulations to conduct the above-mentioned activities with marijuana.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1 866-337-7705 or by e-mail at CMC@hc-sc.gc.ca.
Office of Medical Cannabis