Compass Cannabis Clinic, opening sometime in December, is set to become Red Deer’s first medical cannabis provider.
Compass Cannabis President David Martyn views Alberta as the “premier market in Canada” for the cannabis industry and that Central Alberta will significantly contribute to that market.
“It is a market that we feel is under-served in terms of this niche,” he said. “There are similar clinics within Calgary and Edmonton, but there hasn’t been anything done in Red Deer to this point.”
Martyn said around 66% of Compass patients are 65 and older and 75% are over 50 years old.
“We think it is a fit in terms of the changing demographics within Central Alberta, particularly with our patients who are made up of a growing senior base. They are under served both on the education side, as well as on the doctor side of it,” he said.
Compass will at first serve the medical aspect of cannabis distribution, however there are plans to expand to recreational retail once federal legislation is in place starting in 2018.
“We do have a team in the office that is working on compliance with various provinces,” Martyn said.
“We intend to submit for recreational licenses in Manitoba and we view Alberta as having that opportunity in 2018. There are certain things we know the government is going to require for the legal business model we are putting in today. There will be unknowns in terms of municipalities and things of that nature that we will deal with as they come.”
Martyn said that research into medical cannabis is in its infancy due to it previously being an illegal substance, however, results have been positive.
He stressed that results are internal case studies and not the current viewpoints of Health Canada.
“What we are generally finding is that a lot of doctors are viewing this as a strong alternative to addictive opioid substances, particularly for pain relief,” he said.
One of the challenges with a lot of opioid prescribed pills is that you generally have to go on several weeks of treatment and over that period, the body can become addicted to them.
“You may be healing the pain in one capacity but causing an issue in another capacity. That has been one of the more popular reasons for a doctor to prescribe medical cannabis.”
He added they have also seen results in patients with chronic pain issues, as well as patients with anti-inflammatory issues.
He said that accessing cannabis through licensed producers rather than the black market means that the consumer knows what they are purchasing.
“Health Canada heavily regulates and tests this industry. In general, the product is very well-tested and well-supplied. There are no unknowns to what you are receiving and it is very much laid out like a medication in the sense of THC percentage, CBD percentage, etc.”
He added that prices will range from low-end to high-end products and many different products will be available.
“In instances where people might be facing pricing issues, a lot of our producer partners have compassionate pricing,” he said.
If you would like more information about Compass Cannabis, you can log on to compasscannabis.ca.
Martyn added, “Even if you don’t care about legalization coming through, everyone benefits from a strong economy and I believe that Alberta has a done a good job of setting up its system to benefit the province as a whole.”