Canada asks regulated cannabis labs for help in COVID-19 testing

Health Canada is working to identify lab capacity across the country to assist with COVID-19 testing, and the agency has reached out to certain federal cannabis license holders for help, Marijuana Business Daily has learned.

Canada is currently experiencing a COVID-19 testing backlog.

In Ontario alone, 10,965 people have coronavirus test results pending.

In a message to licensed cannabis researchers and labs Thursday afternoon, the federal health department said it is working to understand “the needs and related questions.”

“If you have lab capacity within your facility and are interested in assisting, please notify us by email,” Health Canada asked in its own email, which says it was sent by Acting Director General Joanne Garrah.

The message says the country is looking to identify laboratory capacity in various sectors, including at licensed cannabis sites.

As of mid-March, there were 272 active cannabis research licenses in Canada plus 111 analytical testing licensees.

John Coleman, president of British Columbia-based Anandia, confirmed the authenticity of the email.

Coleman said Anandia will help in any way that is possible to support the effort, but he needs to see details about what exactly is needed from a testing perspective.

“The hope here is that we can all band together and do what we can to help stem this,” he told MJBizDaily.

Anandia is a wholly owned subsidiary of Aurora Cannabis operating independently.

Health Canada did not immediately return queries from MJBizDaily.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at [email protected].

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.

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