Inside CannTrust: Whistleblower reveals new video of alleged illegal grow room

Yahoo Finance Canada

The whistleblower who brought the illegal cannabis scandal at Ontario-based licenced producer CannTrust (TRST.TO)(CTST) to light has come forward with new video allegedly showing the company’s biggest unlicenced grow room in operation in January. 

Nick Lalonde worked at CannTrust from July 2017 to May of this year. The tips he provided to Health Canada led to an investigation that eventually saw the company’s licence suspended.

CannTrust issued a statement on July 8 acknowledging non-compliance with Health Canada regulations. Thousands of kilograms of cannabis grown in five unlicensed rooms were seized by regulators. Within weeks, chief executive Peter Aceto would be firedmore than one hundred workers would be laid off, and shares would crumble to penny stock territory. Last month, the company said it plans to destroy about $12 million worth of plants and about $65 million worth of inventory. It is unclear if those plants have yet been destroyed.

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Lalonde said the videos he sent to Yahoo Finance Canada on Monday were stored on a cell phone he used while working at the company. He said the device had been damaged, and he recently paid to have it fixed.

The nearly five-minute video shows RG8 or Range 8, according to Lalonde, the room where he claims to have been instructed to put up plastic walls to hide illegal cannabis in photos sent to Health Canada.   

A CannTrust spokesperson confirmed the video was shot on company property.

Screenshots of video from CannTrust whistleblower Nick Lalonde. (Provided)
Screenshots of video from CannTrust whistleblower Nick Lalonde. (Provided)

“Out of the five illegal grow rooms, that was the most important one. That was the biggest one,” Lalonde told Yahoo Finance Canada in a phone interview on Tuesday. “It was the most important range in the facility, and it's an illegal range.”

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