Julian Fantino heads marijuana company after change of heart

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Julian Fantino heads marijuana company after change of heart

Post by Trooper on Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:53 am

Julian Fantino says he embarked on a ‘fact-finding mission’ to learn more about medical marijuana after serving as Minister of Veterans Affairs in the Harper government.

By SAMANTHA BEATTIE --- Nov 14, 2017

Once an outspoken critic of legalizing pot, Julian Fantino says he changed his mind after veterans convinced him of the benefits of medical marijuana in treating post-traumatic stress disorder and managing pain.

The former Toronto police chief was recently named executive chair of a GTA medical marijuana company.

Fantino told a news conference Tuesday for the launch of Aleafia in Vaughan that he supports legalizing pot, as long as children can’t access it, organized criminals don’t benefit and cops crack down on impaired driving.

He said he would use medical marijuana if it was prescribed to him by a doctor.

“For me, it would be a healthy choice,” Fantino said.

Fantino also worked as chief of the London and York Region police forces and commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police before he was elected to serve one term as an MP representing Vaughan-Woodbridge.

He said he embarked on a “fact-finding mission” to learn more about medical marijuana after serving as Minister of Veterans Affairs in the Harper government. He heard from veterans who he “cares deeply for” about how marijuana helped them cope with injuries.

“That enabled us to be more helpful to people who are not obtaining results from their medications, usually opiates,” he said. “The medical profession is becoming better educated and better informed and there are more and more people who are being helped greatly with medical cannabis.”

He was joined by former RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Souccar, who is Aleafia’s president and chief executive officer.

Souccar said he too was critical of medical marijuana, even when he was appointed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Marijuana Legalization Task Force in 2016.

“My thoughts were medical users of cannabis were individuals who wanted to us cannabis and hide it under the guise of medical purposes,” Souccar said.

But as part of the taskforce, he met with medical marijuana users and he realized he “couldn’t have been more wrong.

“I didn’t expect the types of people I met, people with jobs, people no different than any of us in this room. It brought about a huge change in me.”

The two former cops framed their business as one that will help counteract widespread opioid use and abuse. Instead of doctors prescribing patients opioid medications for pain, they can prescribe medical marijuana through companies like Aleafia, Fantino said.

Aleafia says it will connect patients with medically authorized cannabis and other health services at locations across the GTA. It does not dispense cannabis, but rather provides patients with assessments and suggests treatments.

“First and foremost, we are not in the marijuana business,” Fantino said, “We are in the health delivery system and that’s our focus.”

Change of heart

A look at Julian Fantino’s past public statements on marijuana:

“The evidence clearly indicates that organized crime is heavily involved in grow operations and the distribution of marijuana . . . I am also concerned about the apparent lack of scientific or medical certainty on the impact of marijuana use on humans and their activities.” — Fantino’s statement posted on the Sootoday.com, May 28, 2003

“My issue is not a morality issue. . . . To be frank about it, by making it easier to smoke pot we're also increasing the profits and the activities of organized crime who are very much involved in the grow operations.” — Fantino to the Toronto Star, Dec. 24, 2003

“Legalization is an irresponsible policy that only puts dangerous drugs on the streets and in our communities, and sends the wrong message to children that recreational drug use is okay.” — Fantino in a flyer distributed to Vaughan households by his MP office, July 30, 2014

“Today, Justin (Trudeau) admitted that his top and urgent justice priority is to change the law to allow the sale of marijuana in corner stores, putting our children at risk. Justin’s singular justice policy will make smoking marijuana a normal, everyday activity for Canadians and he wants to make marijuana available in storefront dispensaries and cornerstores just like alcohol and cigarettes. This is simply wrong, and puts the health and safety of our children and communities at risk.” — Fantino’s Facebook page, Sept. 30, 2015

“This is not like smoking cigarettes. This is also the type of drug that is mind-altering and does have an impact on cognitive ability.” — Julian Fantino to Global News, Oct. 15, 2015

“I am completely opposed to the legalization of marijuana.” — Julian Fantino’s Twitter account, Oct. 16, 2015

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/11/14/former-toronto-police-chief-now-heads-marijuana-company.html

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Re: Julian Fantino heads marijuana company after change of heart

Post by Trooper on Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:20 pm

Julian Fantino, who once compared weed to murder, defends opening medical marijuana business

Listen: http://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/as-it-happens/segment/14819880
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