Canada’s medical marijuana industry is showing signs of corruption, says one producer.
The CEO of Nanaimo medical marijuana producer Tilray says a lack of regulation is leading to doctors taking kickbacks from producers for referring patients or for issuing medical documents.
“The practice of providing physicians with financial incentives for these activities not only represents a violation of the professional standards by which physicians must abide, but also brings the entire Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) regime and its patients into disrepute,” said the company today.
Tilray says the situation has led it to part ways with the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association (CMCIA) and spearhead the establishment of a new organization called the Canadian Medical Cannabis Council (CMCC).
“We are tremendously disappointed to end our relationship with CMCIA but we have lost confidence in the association’s ability to effectively define and enforce standards of behaviour for our industry,” says Tilray CEO Greg Engel. “By failing to adopt a Code of Ethics that mandates a verifiable commitment to safety, transparency and avoidance of conflicts of interest, CMCIA is failing to serve the best interests of Canada’s medical cannabis patients.”
The company says the CMCC will be based in Toronto and will be open to all who abide by the group’s Code of Ethics.
On April 1st of last year, new rules were introduced that changed the Canadian government’s approach to marijuana and laid the groundwork for what many think is the inevitable legalization of the substance here. In the meantime, a half-step was taken. Under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), Health Canada no longer supplies marijuana to those with a proven medical need but instead has tasked licensed commercial producers to do so.