Article by Louis Pin, The Sarnia Observer
The latest cannabis company in Southwestern Ontario might be setting up shop south of London, but its research will be done in Sarnia.
Motif Labs is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Ian Haase and Mario Naric, a former Western University director and a one-time engineer at Imperial Oil respectively. They’ll work with staff and students at Lambton College to stretch the limits of a soon-to-open Canadian market for cannabis-infused edibles, projected to be worth $2.7 billion annually, according to New York-based accounting firm Deloitte.
Cannabis-infused edibles will become legal in Canada no later than Oct. 17 of this year.
The partnership with Lambton College is more than a year in the making, and some research on essential oil isolation has already begun, Naric said Monday. Researchers at the Sarnia school are using proxy plants as both the college and company have yet to obtain licences that would allow them to transition into cannabis research.
Those licences are expected by the end of the year, Naric said.
“We’re just at the beginning stages,” Naric said. “I think once Lambton (College) gets the licence and once we get the licence we can see that partnership growing immensely.”
Research at Lambton College is expected to include “different extraction techniques and developing a new market,” confirmed Medhi Sheikhzadeh, executive dean of research and innovation at the college. The school also intends to study the impact of cannabis on short- and long-term health.
“We are hoping to expand our (natural health product research) and also our cannabis research,” Sheikhzadeh said. “It fits with the expertise and infrastructure we have. It’s a sector that is growing, and Canada has a good opportunity to expand that sector nationally and internationally.”
Work is still underway at Motif Labs’s facility in Aylmer, a town just southeast of London, which is expected to employ as many as 20 workers when it opens this fall. According to a report by the London Free Press, co-founders Haase and Naric are already eyeing an expansion.
“There’s a lot more space for us to grow into,” Haase, a former director of student entrepreneurship at Western University, told Free Press reporters.