Industry updateUnifor and Aleafia Health team up in push for medical cannabis coverage

Canada’s largest private-sector union Unifor is teaming up with Ontario producer Aleafia Health Inc. (TSX: AH) to fight for medical cannabis insurance coverage for patients.

Two years into legal recreational weed, medical cannabis patients still don’t receive the same level of care as patients taking other medications. Not only is this disenfranchised group subjected to similar prices as the adult-use market, but coverage from insurers remains spotty.

Read more: Over 90% of Canadian cannabis patients want policy change: survey

But on Friday, Aleafia said Unifor is going to bat for patients by working with local unions to recommend insurance coverage in collective bargaining agreements for the reimbursement of medical weed.

In turn, Aleafia will provide the union giant’s members with access to education, training, physician-led consultations, treatment and occasionally medical cannabis products.

Unifor represents 315,000 workers across Canada, while Aleafia sells to over 10,000 registered patients.

“This is a landmark agreement, with a union and a medical cannabis company coming together to provide dedicated support through medical marijuana clinics across the country while challenging the stigmas associated with cannabis,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias said in a statement. “Partnering with Aleafia Health allows us to fight against Canada’s opiate crisis, and improve the lives of patients suffering from chronic pain.”

Aleafia says increasing medical cannabis coverage could improve the health of Canadian workers and provide cost savings. Most notably by reducing the reliance on traditional pharmaceuticals.

“This is a significant moment for the cannabis industry, and an important breakthrough for medical cannabis accessibility in Canada. Every day, our team of medical professionals see the benefits of cannabis in the lives of our patients,” Aleafia Health CEO Geoffrey Benic said.

The two parties have signed a binding letter of intent that outlines some terms of the agreement. Details of the transaction will be settled following due diligence between the enterprises.

Top image via Deposit Photos

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