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Advocates, experts say pot seized not laced with fentanyl despite reports

Last Updated Nov 17, 2016 at 8:25 pm PDT

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Can smoking a joint lead to a fentanyl overdose? BC’s premier says Vancouver Police have seized marijuana laced with fentanyl, but advocates, experts and police say that’s actually not the case.

Premier Christy Clark participated in a news conference in Ottawa this morning following a meeting with federal ministers where she asked for a better coordinated response to the overdose crisis, caused mainly by the flood of fentanyl into western provinces.

The latest statistics released by the BC Coroners Service show 622 people have died of drug overdose between January 1st and October 31st. Fentanyl is the main cause.

While making her case, Clark claimed fentanyl-laced marijuana has been seized by Vancouver Police. “I think that regulating marijuana is even more important now when we’re finding fentanyl in marijuana. Vancouver Police did a major seizure. They found cocaine with fentanyl, heroin with fentanyl, methamphetamine with fentanyl and marijuana with fentanyl. One of my concerns with marijuana has always been that people don’t know what they’re getting in their product. Now this adds a whole new layer of urgency to that regulation.”

Finding pot laced with fentanyl would obviously be a serious safety concern as many more people use marijuana than drugs like cocaine and heroin, but VPD Constable Jason Doucette says that isn’t the case. “We don’t have any information of marijuana being laced with fentanyl.”

Vancouver Police said this summer they’ve found fentanyl in every type of street drug, except marijuana.

We have contacted RCMP and the provincial government to find out if there has been a seizure of marijuana containing fentanyl somewhere else in BC, but have not heard back.

Pot activist Jodie Emery says she hasn’t heard of anyone finding they’ve smoked fentanyl-laced marijuana. She says doing that would be bad for business. “Marijuana sellers, like any commercial product seller, want to have a happy customer base and they want clients who come back. No cannabis seller who’s decent would sell a dangerous, laced marijuana joint or bag of weed. it doesn’t benefit them to harm their customers.”

She adds pot smokers aren’t looking for the intense high fentanyl provides and would buy elsewhere. Emery says fentanyl is found in synthetic drugs, like cocaine and heroin, and marijuana is a naturally-occurring plant.

Emery suspects Clark may want to drive this idea to the forefront so when pot is eventually legalized as promised, dispensaries are seen as an unsafe option for distribution.