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Canada House CEO Larry Bortles: 'There Is So Much Focus On Recreational Legalization, But The Medical Space Still Needs Attention'

Although the physical conflict ends when soldiers return from war-zones, that's often when the psychological battle begins. Luckily Canadian veterans with PTSD and other combat-related conditions have an ally in the fight for mental health: Canada House Wellness Group - the parent company of Marijuana for Trauma Inc., Knalysis Technologies and Abba Medix Corp. 

Through strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, Canada House strives to "create a fully integrated cannabis therapy company" serving veterans and anyone else who can benefit from medicinal cannabis.

"Canada House has a rich history which began with the key objective of helping veterans gain access to medical cannabis to treat mainly PTSD as an alternative to mind-numbing opioids," CEO Larry Bortles told Civilized. "Our clinic network, Marijuana for Trauma was founded by two veterans who were also patients and wanted to make sure their colleagues were aware of this alternative and the funding available from the federal government. They assisted in completing paperwork, registration and educating about medical cannabis."

That dedication to veterans has remained the cornerstone of their business. In fact, the company is named after a safe space for Canadian soldiers.

"The name Canada House actually refers to a safe zone in any military area for Canadian soldiers to come and relax," Bortles added. "While we’ve expanded our patient base far beyond strictly military, this element remains a key part of our history."

And their future looks bright now that Canada is set to expand access to marijuana even further. To invest in that future, Canada House is sponsoring the World Cannabis Congress presented by Civilized, which takes place from June 10-12, 2018 in Saint John, New Brunswick. They hope the event will be a coming-out party for Canada as a world leader in the cannabis industry.

"Canada is leading the charge and patients are benefiting," Bortles said. "Let’s take our best practices and help other emerging markets charge forward."

WCC Shareable Image Canada House Wellness

What do you want attendees to take away from this event?

That we have so much more to learn about all aspects of cannabis, how can we work together to drive that learning forward to the benefit of all. 

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your sector of the cannabis industry?

The public markets reward grow operations and how much space you have to grow. This will soon be a very crowded space and marijuana will become a commodity. Companies like ours who deal in medical clinics, technology and more importantly, data, will eventually emerge to have a larger voice. Especially seeing as the only way to sell marijuana legally is to patients.

What’s one prediction you have for the marijuana industry five years from now?

That medical patients will demand that their benefits packages cover their medical marijuana treatments and that the need to validate a medical patient will be critical to ensuring affordable access to those who need it.

What is one change you'd like to see happen in the cannabis industry in the next year?

More collaboration and sharing of data to legitimize and prove the efficacy of medical marijuana.

What’s the most important thing happening in the global cannabis industry right now?

Gathering, sharing and consolidating data. There is a dearth of data in the industry around efficacy which needs to be filled. Everyone is aware of this and it breeds some healthy competition and also interesting partnerships.

What's the most exciting part about Canada moving toward legalization?

Canada’s move to legalize sets us apart as leaders in the space. Our research and product will be years ahead and we anticipate that other countries will seek our consultation and implement the best practices we have developed.

If you could change one thing about Canada's legalization regime, what would it be?

There is so much focus on recreational legalization, but the medical space still needs attention, especially in the area of insurance to cover cannabis as an alternative to opioids.

What makes Canada House different from other cannabis companies?

It’s unusual to combine three aspects of the cannabis industry as Canada House does. Our different areas of focus allow us to predict and pivot based on what we’re seeing in our respective contexts. The symbiotic relationship between our divisions also means that we can be insular, serving internal objectives, while also serving the respective markets of each business.

How do your three businesses operate towards a common goal? What benefits do they provide one another?

Our integrated model means that each of our businesses brings key knowledge to the table which benefits the whole. With the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes, we are well positioned as a collective to achieve that. We have a deep understanding of the needs of our patients, and the ability to meet those through best practices in education, technology and data, which ultimately translates into evidence-based treatment protocols benefiting our patients.


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