Exclusive Interview with National Access Cannabis CEO Mark Goliger
National Access Cannabis (TSXV: META) (OTC: NACNF) is continuing to grow its medical business in Canada and on an international scale, moving into the recreational space with a newly launched brand, and building pharma business through the company NAC Bio. CEO Mark Goliger, an experienced executive from the healthcare sector, spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about his company’s current footprint, impending recreational legalization in Canada, and plans for international expansion.
NAC in the Medical Space
The company helps its growing base of 20,000 patients gain access to medical cannabis through seven brick and mortar clinics throughout Canada. NAC has reduced the number of clinics from 11 as it has shifted its model to support pharmacies. The company is already working with 73 pharmacies in Canada, and likely more over the next 18 months, according to Goliger.
Unlike some other companies in the cannabis space, NAC intends to continue growing its medical side of the business. Goliger expects much of that growth to come through partnerships and joint ventures with dominant industry players in a variety of markets.
Recreational Strategy and the META Brand
NAC’s recreational division, the recently launched Meta Cannabis Supply Co., is aiming to obtain the maximum number of provincial licenses. In British Columbia, companies are allowed eight licenses each, and NAC is pursuing that through the recently opened application process. In Manitoba, the company has provincial retail agreements and a master license for 10 locations. The company will be setting up an additional four locations with First Nations partners. In Alberta, the company has 25 store licenses secured through the recent acquisition of NewLeaf, and the remaining 12 allowed licenses will be under the META brand. NAC also plans to pursue the maximum number of licenses in Ontario once the licensing process begins.
The META brand is designed to be inclusive. Rather than being targeted at a specific demographic, the brand aims to welcome everyone from first-time users to people who first enjoyed cannabis in the 1960s and 1970s. Goliger envisions launching more internal brands as time goes on.
Goliger sees the recreational market in Canada as a shorter-term opportunity. NAC aims to maximize its footprint in that space, but when looking at the value of medical cannabis on an international scale he sees a longer-term goal. NAC will focus on playing a downstream role in medical cannabis distribution through both clinics and pharmacy distribution in international markets. Right now, the company is actively developing business in Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. Goliger also hopes to expand into South America and the Caribbean.
NAC entered a $35 million loan agreement with a First Nations band, which is going toward capital expenses. The company has used $25 million thus far to fund the approximately 30 different locations under various stages of construction across Canada. Looking forward, Goliger expects the company will never stop pursuing other potential avenues of funding.
Oct. 17 is looming large as a significant date in the Canadian cannabis space, but Goliger is viewing it as a starting line rather than a race to the finish. NAC will focus on gaining that maximum retail footprint in Canada while also carving out a place in the international medical cannabis space.
To learn more, visit the NAC website. Listen to the entire interview: