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Julian Fantino and Raf Souccar launch medical marijuana-related business in Vaughan

Julian Fantino and Raf Souccar launch medical marijuana-related business in Vaughan
From CBC - November 15, 2017

Eight months before recreational marijuana is set to be legalized in Canada,two former high-ranking police officershave launched a new company that connects patients with medical pot.

Former OPP commissioner, MP and federal Conservative cabinet minister Julian Fantino and former RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Souccar officially launched their newbusiness on Tuesday. They welcomed media to their first clinic, a storefront tucked into a strip mall in Vaughan.

Both men spent decades battling illegal drug use in their law enforcement careers, with Fantino going as far as equatinglegalizing marijuana to legalizing murder while serving as Toronto's chief of police in 2004.

The duo had a change of heartafter being"persuaded by the science and by real life stories," Souccar said.

Aleafia Total Health Network, as the business is called, will connect patients to the "most effective product" for them and will work with universities and producers to research medical applications of the drug, according to the website.

The key word there is connect.Aleafia, which already has hundreds of patients, according to amedia spokesperson, will not actually have any marijuana on the company's premises.

"The purpose of the clinic is to do the assessments," and provide complementary treatments like physiotherapy,said Fantino on Tuesday. "We are not in the marijuana business. We are a healthdelivery system."

After being assessed, patients can go to "whatever licensed provider they choose" to buy weed, he said.

Bad 'optics' for Souccar

Fantino, who took a notoriously hard line against marijuana legalization in his past roles, and Souccar, who served as member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's marijuana legalization task force, have faced some criticism for their new venture.

British ColumbiaMP Don Davies, who serves as the federal NDP health critic, told CBC Toronto that Souccar's new business created the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Meeting patients was turning point

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