Smitherman applying to become medical pot producer
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Monday, April 21, 2014 7:39PM EDT
Former provincial health minister George Smitherman is once again throwing his hat into the ring but this time, it’s to become one of Canada’s few licensed medical marijuana producers.
The former politician, who ran for mayor in the 2010 Toronto municipal election, has teamed up with retired deputy police chief Kim Derry and a GTA pharmacist to become one of about a dozen of Health Canada's licensed commercial operations.
“We’ve acquired a great piece of property in the Greater Toronto Area and we are working hard on an application that we hope will be successful,” Smitherman told CP24’s Karman Wong on Monday.
“I think that it is clear that medical marijuana offers a lot of relief for certain patients."
Health Canada recently changed the regulations for medical marijuana users and as of April 1, those who are prescribed the substance will now only be able to purchase it from licenced commercial producers.
It is estimated that the number of people authorized to possess marijuana in Canada is 37,000.
Smitherman said he expects it will be several months before Health Canada comes back with a decision on the group’s application.
“There are a lot of applications in but a lot of applications have been thrown out so it seems that there is a bit of a trend where maybe people aren’t submitting a perfectly good application,” he said.
“We are working hard to make sure ours is locked down solid.”
Smitherman called the venture a “risk” but said there is potential for it to be profitable.
“It is an entrepreneurial play,” he said.
“You have to produce a product but you also have to market it and sell it. So I think that some people will be successful at it. We hope to be amongst those.”
Smitherman said his team brings a great deal of expertise to the table.
“(The pharmacist) has spent his post-doctoral work studying extraction from plant life to human benefits so he was very, very interested to do this and convinced me that we should team up,” he said.
“Fundamentally we think it is a good opportunity and there is a tremendous capacity for marijuana to be used in a way that can help people with pain, with nausea, with low appetite and the like.”