A thriving pharmaceutical industry is growing poppies for medicinal use in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia, but not in Canada. This not only presents a large diversification option for the Southern Alberta agricultural sector but offers long term employment and growth opportunities for this and numerous other industries.
A new variety of poppy with high levels of thebaine can be used to produce prescription drugs such as oxycodone and codeine and does not contain the narcotic properties of traditional poppies.
With a thriving pharmaceutical industry growing poppy for medicinal use in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, Canada - as a major importer of these products – has not been involved in the growing of poppies. Additionally, Canada is the only G7 country that does not grow or process the raw materials for pharmaceutical processing. With 12.7% of Canadians (roughly 3.7 million people), reporting they used opioid pain relievers in the past 12 months, Southern Alberta has an opportunity to change this.
That the Government of Alberta:
- Communicate the importance of the thebaine industry to the Government of Canada; and
- Engage, invest in and provide support to this new emerging industry as part of the longterm strategy for Alberta’s economic diversification, including:
- a. Investigating artificial synthesized alternatives; and,
- b. Providing incentives to encourage the industry to locate and remain in Alberta.
That the Government of Canada:
- Support the creation of a new pharmaceutical industry by recognizing the potential of farming and processing of high-level thebaine poppy in Canada for the pharmaceutical industry; and,
- That applications be expeditiously reviewed and approved by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to help diversify the economy.