Pharmacies can now accept cannabis for destruction

October 2, 2019

This applies to both recreational cannabis and cannabis for medical purposes.

Health Canada’s guidance document for local destruction of post-consumer returns for controlled substances can be applied to legally-obtained cannabis. As with other local destruction of controlled substances, pre-authorization requests to Health Canada for destruction of cannabis are not required. 

Rules on handling and the destruction of cannabis only apply to legally-obtained cannabis, either recreational or for medical use. Pharmacists must not possess or accept returns for cannabis that they know was illegally obtained.

Due to the risk of diversion, destruction of controlled substances should be done on a regular basis, at least every three months, or whenever there is a significant accumulation. The goal of local destruction is to ensure the narcotics, controlled drugs, or targeted substances, cannot be recovered or reused. The destruction process may vary depending on the chemical or physical properties, but a change of state is recommended.

Pharmacists who do not want to destroy controlled substances on site are provided an exemption to sell or provide the substances to a licensed dealer who is licensed to destroy controlled substances.

ACP has Guidance for destruction of controlled substances and cannabis available on the ACP website.

Additional guidance from Health Canada can be found in the following two documents.


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