For the past few years, cannabis has emerged as a popular substance in both medical and recreational circles. “Despite age-old stigmas surrounding the plant, cannabis products are becoming easily accessible and well-received as countries globally change their regulations. In the United States, cannabis is a booming industry. Numerous states have already legalized medical cannabis or are taking it a step further by decriminalizing recreational use. These changes are bringing economic benefits in the wake of COVID-19 for state and Federal governments. Additionally, research into cannabis use has further strengthened society’s interest in the plant. Studies have shown that cannabis has abundant healing properties that can be used to treat chronic pain and seizures and even address mental health symptoms,” says Taylor Giovannini, Co-Founder and President of Oceanic ReLeaf.

While the public has become more open-minded toward cannabis, it is still crucial for businesses in this space to educate consumers. “Experimenting with cannabis is an intimidating journey for many, especially because cannabis has been labeled in society as a ‘gateway drug’ or a highly addictive substance. Thankfully, research and changing regulations are reducing this stigma. However, cannabis businesses are still up against significant odds when trying to grow, sell, or market this product,” Taylor says.

Taylor has advocated for legislative reform in the cannabis market as a member of the Cannabis Industry Forum.

Based in the sleepy, coastal town of Burin in the Newfoundland province, Oceanic ReLeaf has been a disruptor in the Canadian cannabis industry. The bootstrapped startup quickly made waves as it expanded rapidly during the pandemic. “We were growing so fast, but it was sustainable as Colin and I were taking a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach to acquiring facilities, partnering with growers, and all of that,” Taylor notes. “It was really exciting when we opened our first retail store because it was a first for the local community, but also the first retail drive-thru in all of Canada. I think these differentiators early on were what enabled us to attract investment and open nine locations in 24 months.”

Oceanic ReLeaf was founded in 2016 and started its application with Health Canada under ACMPR within that year; now, it holds all licenses with Health Canada. The startup has a primary focus on medical, therapeutic, and recreational cannabis applications because of the dire need to provide equally effective alternative solutions to serious conditions. Oceanic ReLeaf is partnering with medical researchers to make this happen. “Cultivating strong relationships with these professionals will enable us to offer authentic products to consumers who may be unsure about trying cannabis. Overall, Oceanic ReLeaf aims to bring positive change to rural communities through employment and health research. We operate as a vertically integrated cannabis company supplying its own nine retail brick-and-mortar retail stores, spreading high-quality products throughout the country, and now providing medical cannabis to the burgeoning German market.”

Oceanic ReLeaf is optimistic about the future, but overarching challenges remain. “One thing that I have learned throughout Oceanic ReLeaf’s journey is that so much more change is necessary,” Taylor shares.

Looking toward the future, Oceanic ReLeaf plans to strengthen its presence internationally. The startup aims to redefine cannabis as an inclusive, stigma-free substance that can heal countless conditions.

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