Canada’s Health Minister, the Honourable Jane Philpott, says the rumours of fentanyl-laced cannabis in Canada are unfounded.
Minister Philpott brought up the point during a senate legal affairs committee discussing aspects of Bill C-37. The bill seeks to further strengthen the government's response to the opioid crisis in Canada, amending the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to address, among other things, the fentanyl crisis.
During discussion, Senator Betty Unger brought up concerns with cannabis being mixed with fentanyl, and that cannabis is used as a gateway drug to introduce young people to opioids. In response, Minister Philpott said that there is no evidence of cannabis being found with fentanyl in Canada. Unger is a Conservative senator from Alberta, appointed by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“I have a separate but related concern, and that is that fentanyl is being mixed with marijuana. The marijuana at parties is used to convince young people that this safe drug can be used and then fentanyl-like substances are being mixed.
“So I understand the government is doing this rapid response here to this crises, but I’m concerned that legalizing marijuana is going to create another crisis. And we know that marijuana very seriously adversely affects the brains of young people, up until the age of 25…”
The Senator was then interrupted by the chair who asked her to clarify her question as it relates to Bill C-37. The Health Minister responded:
“There have in fact been rumours of the possibility of cannabis that has been laced with fentanyl. In fact there is zero evidence. Very important that everyone understands that, and we have confirmed this with chiefs of police, law enforcement officials across this country, there is zero documented evidence that ever in this country cannabis has been found laced with fentanyl. So it’s very important that we make sure that that message is clear.”
The Manitoba Government posted a tweet in February that had a picture of a bag of marijuana, with text that reads "Think recreational drugs are safe? Think again. Fentanyl may be found in marijuana and a small amount can kill you."
Philpott went on to say that there is concern with cocaine laced with fentanyl, or fentanyl disguised to look like oxycontin, but that it’s also important to note that the rumours of the connection with cannabis are not true.
Rumours on the subject have floated for years, despite no evidence. BC’s Premier, Christy Clark, made headlines last November when she claimed that there were instances of cannabis being laced with fentanyl, which police refuted. However, the RCMP released a statement the same month saying they they had found marijuana “laced with fentanyl.”
Unger has a blog post on her website entitled ‘Top Ten Myths about Marijuana Usage and Legalization’.
Canada is seeking to legalize cannabis in order to strictly regulate and control its sale and consumption.
— Manitoba Government (@MBGov) February 28, 2017