Former Toronto police chief gets into medical pot business
Two of Canada’s former highest-ranking police officers who spent at least part of their careers in drug enforcement are joining forces to open a cannabis clinic in the Toronto area.
Julian Fantino, a former chief of the Toronto, London and York police forces and former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, and Raf Souccar, a retired deputy commissioner of the RCMP, opened a flagship location of Aleafia, a medical marijuana health clinic, in Vaughan.
Fantino also served as a Conservative MP for the Vaughan riding for more than four years before losing his seat in 2015. During the 2015 federal election, Fantino campaigned against marijuana legalization.
“Days gone by, we all had a certain attitude and certain perception of things being what they are and what they were,” Fantino told reporters during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.
Fantino said his opinion on medical cannabis changed after seeing the effect the drug had on Canadian soldiers while serving as the Minister of Veterans Affairs.
Souccar served on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s marijuana legalization task force in 2016. He originally thought the health benefits of marijuana were a joke, but after a close inspection with the task force, he changed his opinion on the drug.
“As you can expect with my background as a police officer and specifically with the majority of my 34 years as a police officer in the area of drugs and organized crime, that use of cannabis for any purpose, medical or otherwise, was not something that I supported,” Souccar said.
Aleafia offers medical cannabis therapy, physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic services as treatment options as part of their “total health clinic.”
The clinic does not dispense or offer medical marijuana, but instead serves prescriptions for medical cannabis and offers customized treatment options.
Fantino and Souccar are part of Aleafia’s seven-member leadership team that also includes former Toronto Fire Chief William Stewart. Fantino will serve as the company’s executive chairman, while Souccar is the president and CEO. Stewart is the company’s director.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney