#12: of 12 Cannabis Innovators We’re Watching That Are Killing It In All Things Weed
On Aleafia Health’s backstory.
The original idea behind Aleafia Health was to focus on providing Canadians with physician-led medical cannabis care and to produce outstanding products for patients. While the industry continues to evolve rapidly, that original founding mission is still very much the same. The only difference is that while the home base remains right here in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), we are becoming a much more global company.
Our facility in Port Perry was actually where everything began. The small indoor grow facility evolved into what is now an 86-acre outdoor cultivation site — the first of its kind in Canada. Today, we also have a greenhouse in Grimsby, Ont., a distribution centre in Vaughan, Ont., and our product innovation centre in Paris, Ont.
Everyone has an interesting story about why they got into the cannabis business. For me, I was an Ontario Hockey League (OHL) hockey player and briefly played professionally. I saw a lot of my former teammates have serious trouble with an opioid dependency to deal with all the injuries they suffered on the ice. I saw cannabis as a great opportunity to help get people off of opioids, and it’s what gets me motivated every day.
On the company’s innovation and technology.
There are two parts to our innovation story. First, we operate a national network of clinics, where patients can see a physician and get advice on whether or not medical cannabis products may be beneficial to them. That’s allowed us to build a really important database that can help inform our doctors on what types of products, cannabis strains and treatment methods work for a variety of patients.
We’ve established a great reputation in the medical space, and we are excited to share our products with a whole new group of people.
On the other hand, we’ve invested a lot of resources into creating some really advanced and novel cannabis products. The goal, whether it’s for a patient or a customer at a retail store, is to provide access to products that are consistent, enjoyable, and unique. For example, we’re incredibly proud of our Kin Slips, a cannabis-infused sublingual strip that’s placed under your tongue.
On working to legitimize and destigmatize cannabis.
The science of cannabis continues to evolve. We are just scratching the surface and there is a lot of exciting work being done by companies, researchers, and academics here in Canada. We feel we can contribute to advancing cannabis as an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals through the work we do.
We also believe that medical cannabis should be affordable and accessible. That’s why we are proud to provide compassionate pricing to those who need it, including low-income individuals and veterans.
On the future.
Our team is so excited about 2021. The previous three years have been all about building and receiving approval to begin operating our production facilities. Now we are seeing the fruit of this labour as we bring all of our exciting products to market. Some areas that are going to be a big focus for us next year include our exclusive partnership with Unifor. That’ll see us helping to provide medical cannabis to Unifor members with the goal of seeing members and their families receive insurance coverage for their medicine.
Aleafia is also taking a big step into the adult-use (recreational) market in Canada. We’ve established a great reputation in the medical space, and we are excited to share our products with a whole new group of people.
Finally, we are going to see a lot more of our products exported to international markets, including the European Union, Australia, and Israel. I think we as Canadians can be proud that this homegrown industry is thriving and a model for the world to follow.