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Licensed BC pot producer quits existing industry group, claiming lack of ethics

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Nanaimo-based licensed medical marijuana producer leaves the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association

CEO of Tilray says there should be no confusion between right and wrong

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – You’ve probably seen a medical marijuana dispensary pop up in your neighbourhood.

But as the industry continues to expand, a number of ethical questions remain unanswered and what are being called “questionable practices” by some are apparently running rampant.

One major licensed producer is giving up on the existing industry group because of what it says is a lack of ethics.

“There is a current industry group. And we’ve decided for a number of reasons — including some of the practices that we don’t agree with of paying kickbacks to physicians, either directly or indirectly, by some of the members of the current association — to leave the current association and establish a new association,” says Greg Engell, CEO of Nanaimo-based Tilray, a licensed producer.

He feels the increase in unethical behaviour has gone too far.

“A number of different either physicians, clinics or patient aggregator groups acting in the medical marijuana space have been requesting payments either directly or indirectly. To us, that’s very disturbing.”

Engell says the current industry group, the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association, failed to pass a code of ethics.

He says that was the breaking point for Tilray, adding there should be no confusion between right and wrong.

“The college of physicians in Ontario and British Columbia have explicitly prohibited these type of activities. So, they’re stating that physicians must not be charging patients or licensed producers.”

That means no charges for prescriptions or anything else related to a visit.

“[There should be no charge] for any activity associated with completing a medical document, including assessing the patient, reviewing their chart, educating or informing the patient about the risks or benefits around medical cannabis. It’s very disturbing to us that some companies are entering into these schemes,” says Engell.

Tilray will now spearhead a new group, the Canadian Medical Cannabis Council, to promote ethical practices.