Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Fighting Stigma In the Cannabis Industry: How A Female Founder Is Pioneering Change

Last updated Tuesday, March 19, 2024 11:47 ET

The cannabis industry is highly lucrative and highly stigmatized. One founder is looking to break barriers and finally bring economic and medical benefits to society.

Burin, Canada, 03/19/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

Taylor Giovannini, co-founder and President of Oceanic ReLeaf.

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.

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 negatively 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.

In Canada, where legislation is moving slower than in the US, the public is still hesitant about cannabis. This is particularly true for older generations and it creates barriers for business owners that happen to sell cannabis. Due to the type of product they offer and the stigma that comes with it, banks and many other services that are vital for a growing business, are difficult to secure. The Canadian government is taking strides to ‘catch up’ with other countries’ cannabis markets. However, Trudeau has noted that Canada’s move toward legalization was due to a public health concern, and not to tap into a high-growth market.

Taylor Giovannini, the co-founder and President of Oceanic ReLeaf, a cannabis start-up offering medical, therapeutic, and recreational products, has provided her thoughts on the situation. In a press conference where Trudeau spoke with cannabis business owners, Taylor was forthcoming about her desire to see Canada reduce taxes and ease regulations toward this space. Her sentiments are justified as most operators say that Canada and each province take 50% total or more of their revenue from taxes.

Taylor has also advocated for legislative reform in the cannabis market as a member of the Cannabis Industry Forum. She is very passionate about sharing her thoughts with government officials and educating the public about the benefits of cannabis because of her role at Oceanic ReLeaf. “Just a few years ago, I had never tried cannabis and I didn’t know much about it,” Taylor says. “My partner Colin Escott, was a daily user and that was fine with me because I saw how much it helped him. It wasn’t until I tried to manage a family member’s chronic pain with hash brownies that I realized the true power of cannabis in a medical and therapeutic setting. Since then, the idea for Oceanic ReLeaf became a calling of mine.”

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 the company 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. Oceanic ReLeaf operates 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. Cannabis businesses in Canada are struggling to find financing, open bank accounts, and market their products. Taylor and her partner experienced these difficulties firsthand and were forced to find alternative support when traditional approaches failed. “Getting a bank account was an ordeal,” Taylor shares. “It took us a long time to find a provider that understood our business and its potential without judging the cannabis label it carried. It was also hard for us to use an innovative business model that involved selling coffee and other non-cannabis products in our stores. One thing that I have learned throughout Oceanic ReLeaf’s journey is that so much more change is necessary.”

Taylor’s perspective deeply resonates with all cannabis businesses in Canada, especially female-founded companies that don’t ‘fit’ the stigma of this sector. Despite ongoing obstacles to success, Oceanic ReLeaf has become an inspiration for other cannabis business owners, female founders, and consumers looking to connect with a lifestyle that truly elevates their health.

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

Media Contact:

Contact: Oliver Higgins

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Original Source of the original story >> Fighting Stigma In the Cannabis Industry: How A Female Founder Is Pioneering Change