Throughout the process of legalization, there have been a number of companies that seemed to have it all: talent, great timing, momentum, and a successful niche. Then, through a series of unintended circumstances, the universe shifted and the same company found itself no longer in the game.
In July of 2018, Cannabis Retailer profiled Medigreen and wrote about the incredible potential of the CBD market. Medigreen was a known entity in CBD and seemed to be well on the path of joining the recreational market. Then suddenly it disappeared. Cannabis Retailer recently caught up with Soheil Samimi, the former CEO to discuss what happened.
Q: Can you please describe what happened with Medigreen?
Every story has some variances to it, but one distinction to make here is that the activities we were conducting, until [Health Canada] tabled the final set of regulations, did not involve any products containing THC.
All the LPs, their primary activities are to cultivate marijuana flowers and they are in the cannabis business. What Medigreen was focusing on at that time was only hemp-derived products that are non-psychoactive. This category in different countries, including in the US with the recent Farm Bill Act, gets treated differently than the cannabis product. However, In Canada, that’s not the case.
What many people in the [Canadian] industry were hoping for, getting closer to last October, was that the Government of Canada would qualify the non-psychoactive products under the natural health products section. That would have made [CBD products] more or less the equivalent of what would have been a traditional nutraceutical market.
Therefore, it would be something outside of the federal licensed production facilities and the stricter channels that are for cannabis distribution today.
Q: So did Medigreen want to join the nutraceutical market specifically?
The hope for anybody more focused in this genre was that when the regulations came into place, that [Health Canada] removed CBD from being treated as a controlled substance and have it governed under the Natural Health Product Act, which quite frankly, I think a year from now, that’s where we’re going to be. But that’s not how the regulations treated it off the bat.
What the broader industry would like is that [the consumer] can have a pain cream with CBD at the pharmacy store, just [as] openly as another nutraceutical item. Or if you’re in the beverage category [with] a product that has no THC, and has only hemp-derived CBD, it can be on the shelf next to other beverages.
Q: Do you believe this is where the CBD industry is eventually going in Canada?
I am still quite optimistic that in the next year to two years, that’s where the category will end up.
Q: Had Medigreen received a closure or suspension from Health Canada?
What Health Canada gave us was basically the equivalent of a letter saying that [it] considers this category not to be allowable under the rules at this time. Therefore [Medigreen] should refrain from conducting any more production and sales of these products.
Q: Is Medigreen officially closed and, perhaps, turning into something else?
Correct. We already have a roadmap to [another] deal in place. It’s just a question of executing through that right now, which is happening in good form.