Testing of cannabis seized from illicit retailers in BC has found that many samples contained contaminants that would not be allowed in the legal cannabis market.
As part of a pilot study, the B.C. Cannabis Secretariat sent 20 dried cannabis samples to a federally licensed lab in February 2021.
Twenty-four distinct pesticides were found in the illicit cannabis samples, along with unacceptable levels of bacteria, fungi, lead and arsenic.
“My message to people who choose to consume cannabis is simple: buy from legal sellers whose regulated product is subject to national requirements that are in place to protect you,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“In addition to the potential health risks, if you buy illegal cannabis, you could also be supporting organized criminal operations that pose a danger to our communities.”
Cannabis products from licensed producers are strictly regulated to ensure they are fit for human consumption, BC said.
BC carried out the pilot study with assistance from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health.