Thebaine Poppy Test Plots Continue To Show Positive Results Near Lethbridge : B93.3 FM : Lethbridge's #1 Hit Music Station : Lethbridge News, Alberta
B93 FM Lethbridge

Home /Local News Feed /
Thebaine Poppy Test Plots Continue To Show Positive Results Near Lethbridge


LETHBRIDGE:   More trial plots of thebaine poppies were in the ground outside of Lethbridge again this summer -- a lot more. The results continue to be positive.


A-P-I Labs were granted Federal Government permission a couple years ago to grow the thebaine poppy plants, which can be used to make pain killers like codeine and other derivatives such as oxycodone.


They complete the first test crop last year and learned poppy cultivation is well suited to this area. This year, the test plots (in an undisclosed area outside of Lethbridge) were 100-times larger. The plant's growth characteristics continue to show higher levels of seed production and alkaloid content than industry standards.


Glen Metzler, Director of A-P-I Labs, says they have seen good branching in the plants and a lot more pods here than are typically seen in other grower areas. He thinks it's because we are a farther northern area than the climates that are growing the poppies in Asia and Europe.


Metzler says they haven't yet reached the commercial production stage yet, since there are a number of different components that have to be addressed when introducing a new crop. He says that includes practical matters, "Becasue the seed is very small, anything close to that would be a canola seed, so there is some modication of equipment that we're looking at so that we're in a situation where farmers that have traditional equipment could use that or farmers that have specific types of equipment could be seeding this and then also harvesting it. It's a matter of how we scale the program up so that it has a commercial application with farming practices that we currently use in western Canada".


Metzler says A-P-I Labs are still in the research phase, however discussions continue with various levels of government including Health Canada, for regulation changes to allow commercial production of thebaine poppy.


According to Metzler, "The test plots are clearly proving poppy production is possible in our climate". However, he says going forward with commerical production will depend on how fast regulations on the government side can be dealt with. He noted, "The Alberta government has struck a task force now, as well, to begin moving this (commerical production) ahead. We are getting good response out of Ottawa and this issue is that this hasn't been done before and everyone has to be cautious, considering what you're dealing with. things are moving but they are moving in a careful, controlled manner so, as far as a time line (for commercial production) it's pretty hard for me to say"


Metzler went on to say, "We will just keep growing and in the next two to three years, I would imagine that we'll be in a position where commercial potential would be something we could look at".


Next year, A-P-I Labs will scale-up testing plots again, to allow for further testing, both for the poppy content and to ensure data they have so far is consistent and to allow for possible equipment trials.


Right now, Canada imports most of it's codeine from other countries which produce the poppy. If poppy production reaches the commercial state, it could help local farmers earn five to seven times what they get from traditional crops.


It should be noted, the public is in not at risk of drug trafficking issues related to the growing of thebaine poppy. This specific type of plant is an ""opium mutant poppy", which means the raw plant can not be used to produce narcotics in a kitchen lab. Thebaine poppy can only be converted into codeine, morphine or oxycodone in an elaborate facility which is beyond the financial means of drug dealers.


Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 at 4/18/2014 4:17:06 PM
Source: Dori Modney (On Twitter - Dori_Modney) -- Country 95 News
Latest News Articles

Local Producers Bring Home Canadian Cheese Awards
Friday, October 25, 2013 : 4/18/2014 4:17:06 PM
Heart Patients Have Access To Life Saving Device
Friday, October 25, 2013 : 4/18/2014 4:17:06 PM
Another Strong Spring for Soil Moisture Levels in Southern Alberta
Friday, October 25, 2013 : 4/18/2014 4:17:06 PM
Lethbridge College Offers New Communication Program
Friday, October 25, 2013 : 4/18/2014 4:17:06 PM
Unique Software Program Wins Master's Students Innovation Category at Microsoft's Imagine Cup Canada
Friday, October 25, 2013 : 4/18/2014 4:17:06 PM
Home /Country 95.5 FM News



B93.3 FM
Home Promotions
Station Blogs
On Air Events
Other Links
Contact Us Alberta Equity Scholarship Program
Legal Notice Advertise with B93.3 FM
Privacy Policy  
Connect with B93.3 FM