Health Canada suspends Bonify license after review finds it sold illegal cannabis

(This story has been updated to include a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. – Ed)

Health Canada suspended Bonify’s authority to sell marijuana after an investigation found the Winnipeg-based firm possessed, distributed and sold product purchased from an illegal source, the regulatory agency confirmed to Marijuana Business Daily.

“Following a review of recent activities by Bonify Medical Cannabis, Health Canada suspended the company’s authority to sell cannabis to protect public health and public safety,” Health Canada wrote in an email.

“As a result of this suspension, Bonify Medical Cannabis must immediately suspend sales of all cannabis for both medical and nonmedical purposes.”

The suspension occurred Feb. 4, with Health Canada citing noncompliance with the Cannabis Act.

The federal health department referred the matter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and notified the Canada Revenue Agency, as well as authorized cannabis distributors, of the decision.

Bonify has 10 days to appeal the decision.

According to a notice on Bonify’s website: “Product ordering is temporarily on hold.”

“This enforcement action reinforces the importance of Health Canada’s regular inspections of cannabis license holders to identify noncompliance and to protect the integrity of Canada’s legal cannabis production system,” the agency’s statement said.

Manitoba RCMP spokeswoman Tara Seel said police are assessing information obtained about the Bonify matter.

“The RCMP continues to conduct a review of this information and will determine the scope of a subsequent investigation, if any, upon completion of the review,” she said in an email.

The suspension follows a chain of events that has unfolded over the past several months:

  • Winnipeg Free Press first reported in December that Bonify allegedly bought illegal cannabis and sold it in government-regulated channels.
  • The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority (LGCA) of Manitoba seized Bonify’s cannabis products from retailers, calling them “illegal.”
  • A third-party investigation was launched by RavenQuest Technologies, which found that Bonify sold unauthorized cannabis products in Saskatchewan.
  • In December, Bonify recalled 52 units of product, saying it may not meet some of the microbial and chemical contaminant limits as specified by the Good Production Practices requirements in the Cannabis Regulations.
  • On Dec. 21, Bonify said it retained the management services of RavenQuest BioMed, including operational direction and oversight for Bonify’s 320,000-square-foot cannabis production facility in Winnipeg.
  • Bonify recalled roughly 5,883 units of product on Dec. 24 because of labeling errors and recordkeeping issues with production documents that may not meet the requirements under the Cannabis Regulations.

Bonify’s contract with RavenQuest expires March 31.

George Robinson, acting CEO of Bonify and RavenQuest’s CEO, said RavenQuest will request an extension with Bonify and then appeal the suspension.

“I think we have a very strong position,” he said. “It’s my sense that it’s favorable to us that this would happen.”

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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