Health Canada announced it will reinstate Winnipeg LP Bonify’s sales license, which was suspended for eight months after an investigation revealed the company purchased 200 kilograms of illegal cannabis through a broker and sold it to Saskatchewan buyers.
Bloomberg, CTV News
- In late December, reports emerged Bonify had purchased and resold unregulated illicit cannabis as regulated product, causing Manitoba’s Liquor, Gaming, and Cannabis authority to suspend all Bonify sales and seize all of the company’s products on what premier Brian Pallister called “a black day” for legal cannabis. Employees alleged they were pressured to keep quiet about the illegal activity, and one employee sued for unlawful dismissal.
The Leaf, CBC Manitoba, CTV News, CBC Manitoba
- RavenQuest CEO turned Bonify CEO George Robinson celebrated the decision, saying, “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.”
Insiders were stunned by Health Canada’s decision. Lawyer Trina Fraser said, “Prior illicit conduct is often a basis for licence refusal…but once you get a licence you can engage in illicit conduct and still keep the licence?? If they get a 2nd chance, then pretty much EVERYONE should get a 1st chance.”
Twitter—Courtland Sandover-Sly, Trina Fraser
- Some noted the hypocrisy of Manitoba cannabis laws, which are tough even on the use of edibles in public spaces, while “soft as soft could be on Bonify selling 200kg of illicitly procured cannabis.”
Twitter—Aaron W. Anderson
- Others noted the first person to be sentenced under the Cannabis Act was an Indigenous man who received ten months in prison for possessing 80 grams of cannabis for the purposes of trafficking (2,500 times less than Bonify procured for the purposes of trafficking). Indigenous rights lawyer Jesse Donovan described this as evidence of “a two-tiered justice system.”