The elevator doors on the 25th-floor of a downtown Toronto tower open directly across from CannaConnect’s sharply designed new office space. The medical cannabis education centre, which opened at the beginning of March, is the first to take up residency in the heart of Toronto’s electric financial district, pairing cannabis-aware physicians with a new clientele of Bay Street professionals.
A large work of abstract art hangs on a bright red accent wall beside the board room where CEO Lee Grossman and COO Shane Urowitz meet with the lawyers, financiers, creatives and tech professionals who gravitate to the centre with their questions about how medical cannabis can work with their existing health benefits.
“It’s an underserviced patient population,” Grossman says. “A lot of these young professionals have medical ailments, either diagnosed or undiagnosed. They deal with high stress jobs. They have trouble sleeping. They deal with anxiety. Cannabis can be used to counteract their day-to-day stressors.”
CannaConnect’s new location—its seventh in Canada—is a true Education Centre: drop-ins are encouraged or, better yet, the cannabis curious can take advantage of a one-on-one sit-down with one of CannaConnect’s cannabis consultants for free (CannaConnect’s one-year membership fee is waived at the 120 Adelaide St. location). Prospective patients are also invited to contact CannaConnect by phone or email.
Trained in-house, the cannabis consultants walk clients through their FAQs. “People’s questions are really everything from can I travel with my medication, how much can I carry on me, what is the difference between THC and CBD, how much oil do I need to use,” Grossman says. “It covers the gamut.”
Urowitz and Grossman, who have been operating CannaConnect centres since January 2015, focus on educating people how to get the most from their healthcare provider. They’ve found that often they know more about how cannabis is covered by a particular health plan than the insurance companies do.
“Medical cannabis is now considered a medical tax exemption with the CRA,” Urowitz says. “Even though it doesn’t have a drug identification number, it’s covered under healthcare spending accounts. Insurance companies right off the bat say, what’s the DIN number?” Because cannabis doesn’t have a DIN number, patients are often declined. But CannaConnect will help clients navigate their benefit plans to point out how cannabis is, in fact, covered by a majority of health plans, allowing patients to have their medical expenses covered.
Similarly, not all doctors are educated in cannabis’s medicinal applications. CannaConnect asks only for a patient to bring in supporting documentation of their ailment (such as anxiety or chronic pain) from a physician to link them with a member of their network of doctors. The appointment even takes place via tele-medicine and can scheduled within a week of initial contact. From there, it’s a matter of days for the patient to receive their prescription, either through Canada Post or Purolator.
“Because of the nature of their professions they can’t risk getting caught purchasing something from an illegal dispensary, and they want to do everything above board,” Grossman says of their downtown clientele. “This gives them an outlet to acquire it the right way.”
CannaConnect’s new downtown Toronto location is at 120 Adelaide St. W., Suite #2500. More information is available at CannaConnect.ca.