By Mario Toneguzzi
Vancouver-based Namaste Technologies Inc. has been described as the Amazon of the cannabis space.
It calls itself the largest online retailer for medical cannabis delivery systems globally, distributing vaporizers and smoking accessories through 24 ecommerce sites in 20 countries and with distribution hubs located around the world. Namaste has majority market share in Europe and Australia, with operations in the UK, Canada and Germany and has opened new supply channels into emerging markets including Brazil, Mexico and Chile.
Now it is poised for further growth into cannabis sales.
Kory Zelickson, co-founder and COO of Namaste Technologies Inc., said Namaste, which began in 2014, recently acquired Cannmart Inc. - an Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations Production License applicant.
“We’ve created the first application in Canada that’s available for download on your iPhone or Android device called Namaste MD which is 100 per cent virtual patient acquisition,” said Zelickson.
“We’re the first company to fully digitize patient acquisition in compliance with Health Canada’s standards and regulations. We’ve created a portal where people can book a consultation . . . and through a video conference on their phone get their prescription. And then what we’re doing, instead of having those prescriptions for a particular patient go straight to a grower directly, we’re going to be one of the first retail businesses where we’re actually under our licence with Cannmart going to be buying in bulk from different providers and creating a marketplace for cannabis where a patient can come to source their cannabis from one location and have access to multiple providers from domestic growers and also internationally-imported cannabis too.”
Zelickson said the concept is a unique one in Canada because a lot of the medical cannabis market works where patients go directly to a grower.
“There’s no marketplace at this point. So that will be something very unique. The MD is the patient acquisition portal we’ve been launching already and starting to acquire patients,” he said.
“Namaste focuses a lot on the ecommerce site. So we said to ourselves we want to start getting involved in the direct sale of cannabis. Our interest wasn’t into cultivating. We see ourselves more like Uber. We have the service. We’re selling cannabis but we’re never going to possess it. We want to be very hands off. We don’t want to cultivate. We want to focus on the technology side.”
He said the company will be leveraging all its technology currently in place for its ecommerce platform into cannabis sales.
“So our focus in the cannabis market in Canada for now is going to be on acquiring patients at a very accelerated rate because we have a tool that no other company has to acquire patients as fast as we can. We’re going to be leveraging all of our data, all of our technology towards that end,” said Zelickson.
Namaste acquired Cannmart as a late-stage ACMPR applicant, with the intention of creating Canada’s most expansive marketplace for medical cannabis. It currently operates one of the largest global ecommerce platforms for cannabis delivery devices and plans to leverage its technology and consumer data with the end goal of acquiring medical patients.
NamasteMD will serve the company as a patient acquisition tool, allowing patients to connect with doctors and nurse practitioners in a safe and secure online environment from the comfort of their homes. NamasteMD was designed to streamline the patient onboarding process in comparison to traditional brick-and-mortar clinics.
Its vision is to become an all-inclusive online cannabis marketplace and create a platform that consolidates many of the best product offerings by the top ACMPR Licensed Producers in Canada.
“This important milestone represents an incredible achievement for Namaste and its shareholders. Receipt of the ACMPR Production License not only validates Namaste’s strategy but it serves as a critical component of the Company’s anticipated growth moving forward. We are very proud to have met our goal of receiving our ACMPR medical cannabis Production License from Health Canada as we look to explore the tremendous opportunities that exist in the Canadian cannabis market,” said Sean Dollinger, President and CEO of Namaste, in a statement.
The company said sales for the second quarter of 2018 were $5.6 million, representing a $3.7M or 195 per cent increase quarter-over-quarter. Gross profit for the second quarter was $1.9 million, representing a $1.2 million or 150 per cent increase quarter-on-quarter. For the first six months of the year, the company had sales of $10.6 million, representing a $6.6 million or 165 per cent increase year-on-year. Gross profit for the first six months was $3.6 million, representing a $2.1M or 140 per cent increase year-over-year. The gross profit increase relates primarily to the growth in revenue outside the United States, it said.
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.