British Columbia-based Adastra Holdings Ltd. (CSE: XTRX) (FRA: D2EP) announced in late February that it has obtained permission from the federal government to begin selling cocaine and psilocybin, drawing a clarification from regulators that sales would only be allowed to pharmacies, hospitals, and researchers.
Adastra said in a release that Health Canada – the federal agency which governs the nation’s cannabis industry – granted it a “dealer’s license” in August last year, with final approval received on Feb. 17 to “legally possess, produce, sell, and distribute” both cocaine and psilocybin.
There are some limits, however. The license only grants the company the ability to sell up to 1,000 grams of psilocybin and allows it to “interact” with just 250 gams of cocaine, but it can import coca leaves with which to “manufacture and synthesize” cocaine.
“We proactively pursued the amendment to our Dealer’s License to include cocaine back in December 2022. 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,” Adastra CEO Michael Forbes said in the release.
The company aims to be a “licensed cultivator, tester, extractor, and seller of controlled substances, including psilocybin and psilocin, under its Controlled Substances Dealer’s License,” according to the release.
Adastra already has a cannabis footprint in the concentrates market, with its brand of Phyto Extractions available in hundreds of stores across Canada.
But cocaine and psilocybin won’t be joining those products as commercially available, CBC reported.
Health Canada clarified to the news agency that the permission given Adastra is “to sell for scientific and medical purposes only,” which means it can only sell the substances to hospitals, pharmacies, and researchers.
“They cannot sell products to the general public,” the agency told the CBC, adding that the new permission comes with “very narrow parameters.”
“If the strict requirements are not being followed, Health Canada will not hesitate to take action, which may include revoking the licence,” the agency warned in a statement to the CBC.
British Columbia Premier David Eby told reporters this week he was “astonished” at the news and would be contacting Health Canada about the matter. Eby said the federal government granted Adastra the permission without consulting the provincial government first.
“It is not part of our provincial plan,” Eby said of Adastra’s new permission.
Adastra isn’t the only company looking for permission to dip their toes into the psychedelics realm. Nasdaq-traded Lucy Scientific Discovery filed a similar request with the Canadian government just last month to manufacture both cocaine and heroin, on top of its existing permits to make and sell psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, and mescaline.