Two of Aleafia Health Inc.’s (TSX: ALEF) founding directors, chairman Julian Fantino and director Raf Souccar, have quit.
The former Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Fantino and former Royal Canadian Mounted Police deputy commissioner Souccar announced their resignations Tuesday, effective May 15, 2020, according to a company statement.
Twitter’s reaction to the news was swift and blunt: don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
“Their stench still lingers,” Tweeted Courtland Sandover-Sly, president of British Columbia’s Independent Cannabis Association. “Friends don’t let friends buy weed from cops.”
Julian Fantino and Raf Souccar have left their positions at Aleafia, but their stench still lingers.
Friends don't let friends buy weed from cops. https://t.co/NcAHkQvLEA
— Courtland Sandover-Sly (@C0URTLANDS) April 28, 2020
Other tweets weren’t so polite, suggesting Fantino “suck a caribou’s ass” and that he would be “missed like a kidney stone after it has left the body.”
Julian Fantino suck a caribou's ass.
— butthand (@d3str0y) April 29, 2020
Julian Fantino leaving Aleafia will be missed like a kidney stone after it has left the body.
— Buzz (@BuzzDankyear) April 28, 2020
In 2017, the law enforcement duo sent shockwaves through the budding cannabis industry when they did a complete 180 and transitioned from locking people up over cannabis offences, to touting the benefits of medical weed.
That move landed them a leading spot on VICE’s list of biggest weed hypocrites, a place on activist Jodie Emery’s list of former cops and politicians who swapped sides once they saw the financial and medical benefit of a regulated cannabis industry.
Fantino was a longtime outspoken opponent of cannabis throughout his political and police enforcement career. The 77-year-old served as Toronto’s chief of police from 2000 to 2005, and later as a member of Parliament with the federal Conservative Party for the Vaughan-Woodbridge riding in Ontario from 2010 to 2015.
Legalizing cannabis would be like legalizing murder, he said in 2004 according to the CBC.
While running for office in 2014, Fantino’s team distributed a flyer that read, “Legalization is an irresponsible policy that only puts dangerous drugs on the streets and in our communities, and sends the wrong message to children that recreational drug use is okay,” according to the Star.
In 2015 he tweeted, “I am completely opposed to the legalization of marijuana.”
I am completely opposed to the legalization of marijuana http://t.co/6xjeipzErR
— Julian Fantino (@JulianFantino) October 17, 2015
But while serving as Minister of Veterans Affairs from 2013 to 2015, Fantino’s staunch anti-cannabis stance was softened. After meeting with veterans who explained how beneficial cannabis was in treating their PTSD, chronic insomnia and other ailments, Fantino decided weed wasn’t so bad after all, reported the Star.
So, after being defeated while running for re-election in the 2015 federal election, he decided to take on the role of Aleafia’s executive chair in 2017.
Souccar, who once served as second-in-command for the RCMP, told the Star he arrested dozens of people for cannabis-related offences throughout his 34 years of policing.
According to Aleafia’s website, Souccar’s portfolio includes time served in drug and organized crime enforcement, national security, counter terrorism and former prime minister Stephen Harper’s security.
His transition to the cannabis market raised eyebrows beyond hypocrisy. Souccar was part of the independent task force that advised the federal government on how to legalize weed. That position could have given him insider information on the legalization process, which made it suspicious when his new company, Aleafia, incorporated just four months before cannabis legislation was revealed in April 2017, the National Post reported.
Souccar said he had no affiliation with Aleafia before January 2017.
Members of the independent task force haven’t been prohibited from joining the cannabis industry in the months and years afterwards.
Souccar warmed to weed after he learned medical cannabis could be prescribed to treat pain instead of opioids in 2017, the Star reported.
Aleafia shares have been on a slow but steady uptick since early April, recovering to $0.52 from it’s slump in March. Like most other cannabis stocks, however, Aleafia has fallen considerably since March 2019.
Top image via Deposit Photos