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Winnipeg-based cannabis producer Bonify has licence reinstated by Health Canada

Winnipeg-based cannabis producer Bonify has had its sales licence reinstated by Health Canada, after it was suspended in February over an investigation that revealed the company sold illegal product at stores in Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw, the company announced Wednesday.

The third-party investigation into Bonify came after Health Canada recalled two of the producer’s strains in December over contamination concerns about products sold in Saskatchewan.

That investigation was conducted by George Robinson, who at the time was the chief executive of RavenQuest Technologies Inc. and now serves as Bonify’s chief executive officer.

Robinson’s investigation found three former Bonify executives, who were dismissed in December, hired an outside agent to buy what turned out to be illegal product.

In December, a number of front-line staff tried to speak out about the 200 kilograms of unlicensed cannabis that arrived at its 320,000-square-foot Winnipeg production facility but were pressured to look the other way, he said.

One of the dismissed executives later filed a lawsuit alleging he had been wrongfully dismissed by the company.

George Robinson, who handled a third-party investigation into the practices of Bonify, spoke at a media conference at the licensed producer’s Winnipeg facility in December 2018 after allegations about the illegal product first surfaced. (Ian Froese/CBC)

Robinson called the licence reinstatement “a landmark moment” for the nascent legal cannabis industry in Canada, which he said has already faced several high-profile compliance challenges.

“We are very excited to see full reinstatement of the sales licence to our client,” said Robinson.

“Having guided Bonify through corrective action vis-a-vis operational procedures, proper record-keeping, training and all other standard operational procedures within the Bonify facility, we now have the roadmap to licence reinstatement for non-compliant operators.”

Robinson said the industry needs new leadership that focuses on doing business the right way.

“The lessons from Bonify are clear: follow the rules, train your staff and run a clean, well-designed facility capable of producing high-quality cannabis without cutting corners,” he said.

“Today’s licence flip from ‘suspended’ to ‘reinstated’ represents a new direction for Bonify, for other non-compliant [licensed producers] and for the industry as a whole. A great day for Canadian cannabis.”

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