TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 21, 2014) -
Editor's Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
Toronto-based WeedMD.com, ("WeedMD.com" or the "Company"), an innovative medical marijuana producer with a unique business plan, is pleased to announce that it is in the process of completing a $3 million financing round to launch a new plant in Aylmer, Ontario to produce affordable, high quality medical marijuana that exceeds stringent new Health Canada regulations. The plant, which will create many quality jobs in south west Ontario, is on the site of a large former Imperial Tobacco factory. WeedMD.com has already secured a pre-approval licence from Health Canada to produce 2,500 kg of medical marijuana a year. In marketing its product, the Company will put special focus on long-term care facilities, many of whose patients plan to use medical marijuana. Bruce Scully, CEO of WeedMD.com, has extensive experience as a long term care facility executive. The Company's state-of-the-art web site will empower patients and doctors to order medical marijuana securely and for the public to obtain information about the evolving medical marijuana market. WeedMD.com is pursuing a number of exciting strategic partnerships to ensure its position as a leader in the marketplace.
WeedMD.com's launch takes advantage of new government regulations stipulating that all home growers must cease their activity by April 1, 2014. This will force approximately 42,000 medical marijuana users to find new sources for legal product. For WeedMD.com and the other companies capable of meeting the rigorous standards to become a licensed producer, this is a big business opportunity. Health Canada estimates that Canada's "legal marijuana supply industry" could reach $1.3 Billion in sales by 2024. While this is certainly encouraging news for the potential manufacturers, it poses a legitimate concern for users: price. Under the previous regulations, medical marijuana could be purchased directly from Health Canada for $5 a gram. Until such time as there is significant competition in the marketplace, users must realistically expect that price to climb.
"Access and cost are just some of the concerns that licensed providers will need to address," says WeedMD.com CEO, Bruce Scully. "Quality and variety of strains are also key elements that must be given tremendous consideration if one hopes to meet the needs of licensed medical marijuana patients" Scully adds: "Further to this is the issue of discretion. Recent studies have only lent more credence to the assertion that marijuana is a legitimate form of medicine. However, one cannot deny the fact that there is still some element of a social stigma that users must contend with and for them, respect for their privacy is a truly valid concern. WeedMD.com's mission isn't to meet some user concerns; we strive to meet them all."
WeedMD.com has already secured a pre-approval license from Health Canada to produce 2,500kg of medical marijuana per year. The Company has begun converting Imperial Tobacco's former plant in Aylmer, Ontario into a medical marijuana production facility. According to Scully, "it is a good feeling to know that we're transforming a facility that contributed to the decline of our nation's health into one that will ultimately provide relief from illness." Phase 1 consists of a 25,000 sq. ft. structure completed with retrofit, which is currently underway. WeedMD.com ultimately plans to expand this production facility to more than100,000 sq. ft. in 20,000 sq. ft. increments.
The Company is waiting for approval of its license from Health Canada's Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) before it can start producing product. Employment opportunities will be made available to growth production specialists, who will help provide daily care for the plants, and to client service representatives who will assist clients through the process of obtaining the necessary medical documents and to identify the strain of marijuana best suited to their needs. In order to meet the strict guidelines put forth by Health Canada, it is expected that many more jobs will be filled in the months and years to come. The facility will also maintain a lab for testing plants for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) levels prior to shipping product to clients.
WeedMD.com's Master Grower, Mario Meek, has already begun developing 10 strains for immediate production with plans to add 23 more varieties, including some award-winning strains, in the coming months. Under the new MMPR guidelines, patients no longer need a license to obtain these medical marijuana products. Instead, they will need to obtain a document from a licensed physician, which will then be submitted to a licensed provider, such as WeedMD.com, who will fulfill orders online or by phone.
WeedMD.com is in the final phases of developing their website, which will serve not only to process patient orders but will also serve as a resource hub for patients and doctors alike. One of the Company's goals is to help position marijuana as an acceptable form of medication. WeedMD.com's website will play a critical role in making information available to the public so that patients and doctors can make informed decisions regarding their health care. The website is not only secure; it also allows individuals to log on and ask questions of industry leaders anonymously. This is yet another demonstration of WeedMD.com's commitment to patient confidentiality.
Keeping prices low will be a major challenge for all producers under the new system. New regulations call for strict security and quality assurance measures that are expensive to implement. Considering the added expense of packaging, shipping, etc. and it is not surprising that patients are concerned about skyrocketing costs. As reported in the Vancouver Sun, John Conroy, a lawyer, stated "Thousands and thousands of patients are approved to use more than 10 grams a day that's $100 a day at the new rates. No one can afford that." Conroy went on to point out that 60 to 70 percent of approved patients participate in fixed disability programs and will be adversely affected under the new system. WeedMD.com hopes to alleviate patient concerns by developing programs to assist those with financial challenges. By educating the public, WeedMD.com also aims to increase pressure on insurance companies, encouraging them to accept medical marijuana as an "alternative medicine" so that patients can get coverage under existing or newly developed policies.
While the future of medical marijuana distribution is unwritten, WeedMD.com is holding the pen firmly in hand.
WeedMD.com represents an experienced group of industry professionals with a pre-approval under MMPR to produce and distribute medical marijuana for patients across Canada.
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