Pubdate: Wed, 20 May 2015
Source: Metro (Ottawa, CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Metro
Author: Haley Ritchie
Page: 7


Allan Rock's Wife Says They Are 'Not Close' To a Licence

Documents obtained by Metro show Allan Rock and his family are behind 
a business venture that is seeking Health Canada's approval to grow 
"premium medicinal marijuana." The family has registered two 
companies - RockGardens Medicinals Inc. and an Ontario numbered 
company. University of Ottawa president Allan Rock and his family are 
behind a budding new business venture - now all they need is a 
licence from the federal government to grow medical marijuana.

Corporate documents obtained by Metro show Rock, his wife Deborah 
Hanscom and their two children have started a business called 
RockGarden Medicinals Inc. On its website, the company says it aims 
to become "a trusted supplier of premium medicinal marijuana."

But before they can do that, Health Canada needs to grant them a 
licence to grow medical marijuana - something Hanscom, who is the 
company's chief executive officer, says is still up in the air.

"Right now we're not close to having a licence to produce, and 
there's other applicants in the community in our position," she said.

Hanscom, who uses medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, says 
obtaining a licence is taking longer than expected because Health 
Canada is still getting its rules and regulations sorted out.

"Everyone needs to keep a site available; there's a cost to keeping 
people who will be your professionals, keeping shareholders 
interested in the uncertainty," she said. "It's not easy."

That has left the company in limbo. "We're just working through it," 
Hanscom said.

The family incorporated two companies in 2013 and 2014, records show.

One of them - an Ontario numbered company - lists Rock as its 
president and one of its directors. Until March 2014, that numbered 
company was called RockGarden Medicinals Inc.

His name does not appear on the corporate filings of the second 
company, RockGarden Medicinals (2014) Inc.

Both companies list 259 McLeod St. in downtown Ottawa as their 
business address. Property records show Rock and Hanscom bought the 
property in March 2014.

Hanscom says the numbered company owns the building where RockGarden 
Medicinals hopes to eventually grow medicinal marijuana.

The other company handles RockGarden Medicinals' business operations, she said.

Hanscom says her husband - who held the justice and health portfolios 
in the Liberal government of former prime minister Jean Chretien - is 
not involved in the marijuana-growing side of the business.

"He's not involved in the business, but other members of our family 
are involved; that's where the name comes from," she said.

"I, together with one of my kids who went through Algonquin 
horticulture, and my daughter who is also a lawyer, we decided to go 
down this road."

Rock - whose term as president and vice-chancellor of the University 
of Ottawa comes to an end next year - did not respond to a request 
for comment on Tuesday.

Hanscom says she has enjoyed the experience of starting a 
medical-marijuana business, even if it never gets off the ground.

"I don't know if the yellow brick road will ever have an ending," she 
said. "It's been a great experience but it's still a real work in progress."

Health Canada has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Medical marijuana has come into the spotlight in Ottawa recently.

Health Canada has granted licences to two companies in Gatineau and 
Smiths Falls, which have begun to grow and distribute medical 
marijuana to licensed Ottawa residents.

Then there's BuzzOn, the recently shut-down "vapour lounge" in 
Vanier. The City of Ottawa slapped the business with a $3,000 fine 
and a cease-and-desist order last week over building-code violations.

"I think it's the last thing the city needs and certainly the last 
thing that part of Vanier needs," Mayor Jim Watson said shortly after 
the lounge opened.

That prompted outcry from medical-marijuana users in the city, who 
say they have a legal right to medicate in public. The owner of 
BuzzOn has said he wants to reopen the business as soon as possible.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom