LiveWell Canada Inc, an innovative new cannabis company, is looking totake the emerging industry to new heights and develop new health and wellness solutions within the sector.

"We’re a cannabis and hemp company," Livewell President David Rendimonti told Civilized. "This gives us broader insights and opportunities to meet our customer’s needs. What sets us apart is our focus on prescription and consumer health, supported by data, discovery, science and technology."

He added that because early-adopters and pioneers have created a booming cannabis industry, Livewell has the opportunity to go beyond this foundation and make their mark on an ever-expanding market.

“We are focused on advanced research on CBD and other cannabinoids. We have some pretty big brains working at and with LiveWell – PhDs and other researchers as examples. Our researchers have just completed a major white paper and study on CBD that bests anything out there.”

How did you get into the cannabis space?

I have over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry and it was a natural evolution to explore the opportunity for health and well-being with new molecules. 

Perhaps more importantly, I have very personal experiences that forever changed my view and perspective on needs. My wife was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 24 years ago. I remember the morning she walked onto the back deck in her bare feet and came inside saying she could not feel the frost under her feet. Her next steps were an extensive search for a confirmed diagnosis and explorations for cure and symptom management. Quite simply, cannabis provided relief for her pain-related spasticity where other “solutions” did not. 

Recently, I lost a dear friend to cancer. It was his passionate search for care and relief, and our conversations, that confirmed the need for alternatives to help patients and families. I miss him very much. This is what keeps me here.

Walk us through a normal day.

On an average day I am meeting with our team on all aspects of our operations, investors, scientists, customers, strategic partners — we are partners with some of the industry’s biggest and brightest, such as Canopy Growth and Canopy Rivers. I live in the Toronto area, but our had office and operations are in Quebec and the Ottawa area, so I am on the road most of my time.

What has been your biggest lesson about working in cannabis, and in business in general?

As far as we have come in the past number of years, there is even more work to do establishing a safe and high-quality industry and further educating customers and stakeholders on all aspects of our industry and the opportunities it presents.

What do you see as your biggest opportunity?

Cannabidiol (CBD) from industrial hemp. This is one of the major cannabinoids present in both cannabis and hemp and is the molecule that does not get you high, while still holding promise for health benefit. It seems to provide relief for certain individuals suffering from several disorders — neurological, pain, anxiety and insomnia, as examples. According to one study, it could be a US$22 billion market by 2022. We believe it will far exceed that, and can exceed all the market opportunities for cannabis alone.

What sets you apart to make you a potential leader in cannabis?

With extraordinary teams, I have been able to leverage lessons learned from all experiences and then take calculated risks to innovate at an industry level. This has continually created No. 1 results in Canada and beyond.

We have an extraordinary team of talented professionals at LiveWell.

What is the most frustrating aspect of the cannabis industry today?

The ever-changing regulatory landscape is a challenge, but everyone in the space is dealing with that. Another frustration is the lack of an extensive scientific and clinical database, which is a direct result of the legal landscape. The industry has been handcuffed from doing proper research and trials because cannabis has been illegal.  

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the cannabis space?

Get out there and meet people in the industry to get the broadest perspective. Ask questions and seek answers. Don’t be afraid to ask leaders to mentor and guide you. We are always interested in talent that can deliver passion, performance, teamwork and leadership.

What are your biggest tips for branding cannabis?

Build trust with credibility, reliability and intimacy. Understand your customer’s needs and their experiences, the drivers, that engage their search for alternatives and choices. 

With respect to product, build it with care and from the ground up with characteristics that meet customer needs. It’s not about name, colour and package — this will naturally emerge with careful and deliberate consideration and preparation.

Be the one who can always answer “what’s next?”

Do you see any big changes coming in the future of cannabis?

Yup. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg of what this industry will become. As an example, CBD legalization and acceptance is moving at a rapid pace globally.  The World Health Organization has recommended that CBD not be a scheduled substance. Can you imagine what that would mean for demand for CBD? This will create a “once-in-a-lifetime” phenomenon supported by companies beyond the cannabis space. Big consumer packaged goods companies, big pharma and beyond.

Do you consume cannabis? And if so, what's your favorite way to consume?

Ask me after October 17.