In Canada, companies are licensed to sell… cocaine
Steph Deschamps / March 4, 2023
Canadian biotech company Sunshine Earth Labs announced Thursday that it has received a license from Canada's federal health agency to produce and sell cocaine.
The licensing agreement comes after a dramatic shift in the state's positions as it seeks to address a severe opioid overdose crisis that has claimed thousands of lives by decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of cocaine, heroin and other so-called hard drugs.
Ottawa granted an exemption from Canada's Criminal Code in January to the western province of British Columbia for a three-year pilot project. The goal: to combat the stigma associated with drug use that prevents some from seeking help.
In a statement Sunshine Earth Labs said it has received permission from Health Canada to "legally possess, produce, sell, and distribute coca leaf and cocaine," as well as morphine, ecstasy, and heroin.
A similar licensing agreement had been offered in February to another company Adastra Labs, which until then had only manufactured products related to cannabis extracts.
Adastra's license also authorizes it to produce psilocybin and psilocin, hallucinogens more commonly associated with mushrooms that produce effects similar to LSD.
British Columbia follows the U.S. state of Oregon (northwest), which decriminalized so-called hard drugs in November 2020.
The province is the epicenter of a crisis that has seen more than 10,000 people die from overdoses since a public health emergency was declared in 2016, accounting for about six daily deaths, out of a population of about five million.