Hope for Health is an independent registered charity dedicated to providing compassionate coverage of medical cannabis costs in Canada.
As the first registered charity focused on medical cannabis in the world, our mission is to assist Canadians in overcoming financial barriers to medical cannabis access under the Cannabis Act. Through charitable donations, our core financial affordability program will focus on directly assisting patients with the overall costs of medical cannabis, without restrictions on the types of products or producer patients can choose to access from. We believe this will empower patients to effectively managing their health, while also offering autonomy to decide what works best for them. We believe in supporting patients to achieve an improved quality of life.
Hope for Health will also establish medical cannabis research partnerships across Canada, provide educational opportunities for health care providers and patients, and mobilize research from the academic community into the hands of people and organizations who can put it to practical use.
We believe affordability should not be a barrier to accessing medical cannabis for anyone who may benefit from its applications.
By alleviating the burden of affordability, patients can focus on improving their health and quality of life.
Centralizing people’s experiences navigating a complex health care system, autonomy is a core principle of empowering individuals to work with their health care providers to access the medicine which is right for them.
Many Canadians already face substantial burdens to accessing the health care and supports they need – they should not have to choose between basic necessities and accessing the medicine that works for them.
As the first registered charity focused exclusively on medical cannabis access, we are proud to lead a sustainable path towards compassionate access for all Canadians.
Driven by strong partnerships and passionate advocates, we work collaboratively across the cannabis sector to create a significant impact on the lives of Canadians, their families and our communities.
Board of Directors
Dr. Jenna Valleriani (Executive Director)
Dr. Jenna Valleriani has been involved in cannabis health and policy research for over 8 years in Canada. She recently completed a Post Doctoral Fellowship at the BC Centre on Substance Use and the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, working alongside the Qualitative and Community Based Research Team. Her program of research focused on marginalized communities in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and the instrumental uses of cannabis among people who use drugs and barriers to access. She is the founder of Valerian Consulting, as well as the CEO of the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE), a national nonprofit focused on the development of evidence based public policy, cannabis research and community engagement.
Dr. Valleriani holds a PhD from the University of Toronto, has published multiple manuscripts in peer-reviewed academic journals, and created one of the first Canadian-focused cannabis policy courses in Canada at UofT from 2014-2016. She is also on the advisory board for Grow Tech Labs, and a Strategic Advisor for Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy, leading many youth-centered initiatives in cannabis health and education. She was invited as an expert witness to the Senate of Canada regarding Bill C-45, The Cannabis Act, and has consulted with all levels of government, as well as internationally, on developing cannabis policy. Her public commentary on cannabis in Canada has been featured in over 100 national and international media outlets, including CBC Power and Politics, Publimetro México and the Globe and Mail, winning Author of the Year at Lift & Co.’s Canadian Cannabis Awards four years in a row.
Hugo is the Co-Founder and President of Auxly Cannabis Group where he has overall responsibility for driving the Company's strategic vision. A cannabis industry pioneer, Hugo has played a key role in shaping the regulated cannabis industry in Canada, including acting as counsel and advisor to many of the many of the industry's leading companies (Aurora; Tweed; Supreme; Harvest One; Beleave; Origin House), brands (Tokyo Smoke; Leafs by Snoop), industry associations (Cannabis Counsel of Canada) and patient advocacy groups (Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana). He is also the co-founder of Hope for Health, the world's first registered charity focused on providing access to medical cannabis and the advancement of knowledge relating to medical cannabis. Hugo is an adjunct professor at the University of Western Ontario Law School, where he co-created and teaches Marijuana Law and Practice, the first cannabis-focused course ever offered at a Canadian law school.
Prior to founding Auxly, Hugo was a senior corporate and commercial Partner at Bennett Jones LLP where he built the firm's cannabis practice group and advised Canadian and foreign clients in connection with private mergers and acquisitions, financings, public procurements, outsourcing transactions, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Hugo obtained his BA from Carleton University, where he won the Senate Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement and his obtained his Doctor of Law from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Rielle Capler
Dr. Rielle Capler, has been has been involved in the cannabis field since 1999, engaging in research, knowledge translation, service provision, organizational development, community organizing, and advising on cannabis policy nationally and internationally. Rielle received the Governor General of Canada’s Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal acknowledging her contribution to Canadian society through her work with medical cannabis, including her foundational work with the first medical cannabis dispensary in Canada. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the British Columbia Center on Substance Use at the University of British Columbia, and is a co-founder and advisory board member of the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers.
Glenn Fraser is the National Leader of Cannabis, as well as Food & Beverage Processing at MNP LLP. Glenn frequently partners with top CEO’s and industry leaders in both the Cannabis and Food and Beverage Processing sectors to identify problems and provide solutions to the unique and diverse challenges companies experience in these industries. Glenn Fraser is also on the Board of Directors at MNP, where he helps drive the firm's strategy and growing prominence in a vastly competitive field. In addition to his board role at MNP, Glenn is a member of the board of directors of Toronto Zenith Contracting Limited, and the Chair of Childhood Cancer Canada.
Throughout her career, Najla Guthrie has been hailed for both her revolutionary contributions to nutritional science and her accomplishments within the neutraceuticals industry. Her original research, which was conducted at the Centre for Human Nutrition at the University of Western Ontario, focused on the effects of citrus juices and their constituent flavonoids on breast cancer cells. Today, this study continues to generate media and scientific interest, and has marked Najla as an expert within her field.
Najla has since published over 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and has given numerous presentations at both the national and international level. During this time, she has also acted as a founding shareholder for KGK Science, transitioning from a neutraceutical medicines researcher to President and CEO. Under her leadership, the company has successfully established and executed a novel strategic plan, one which leveraged its research infrastructure and financed the development of patented in-house products. She is responsible for the co-development of KGK’s Diabetinol and Dermytol, as well as the commercialization and licensing of Sytrinol. Additionally, Najla has brought KGK’s integrated research and product development team to a world-class level, with the group receiving international recognition for its efforts in neutraceutical science and cannabis research. Currently, Najla is widely recognized as a global leader and sought after spokesperson in the neutraceutical trade. She is also a lobbyist for the advancement of policy changes in the supplement and cannabis industries.
Mandy became an ‘accidental’ advocate for safe access to medical cannabis when her son Liam had reached the end of his medical journey with conventional therapies. Liam suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy for which there currently is no cure and treatment options are extremely limited. Over the last six years after witnessing the incredible progress that Liam has made since starting cannabis as a treatment for his seizures, Mandy has become a vocal advocate for kids and cannabis. Helping other parents navigate the regulations in order to obtain safe access to medical cannabis for their sick kids. She spoke out against Health Canada’s regulations that required her son to smoke his medication, she was also granted intervener status in the R.v. Smith – Supreme Court Case, under the application for Santé Cannabis where she was able to outline in an affidavit what impact the restrictive regulations of dry form cannabis had on Liam’s life.
She previously sat on the Patient Advisory Board of Bedrocan Canada, where she brought a voice for parents and caregivers of pediatric patients suffering from devastating illnesses. Mandy is passionate about patients, especially kids, getting fair access to cannabis as a treatment for their illnesses. Mandy was a founding board member of Dravet Canada, a Canadian Charity dedicated to kids who suffer from Dravet Syndrome. Mandy and her family have raised over $360K for Dravet Syndrome research.
Dr. Shelley Turner
Dr. Shelley Turner, is an experienced and highly regarded medical practitioner. Raised in Gimli, Manitoba, and prior to earning her medical degree and rural residency in family medicine at McMaster University in 2006, she had worked with vulnerable populations for close to two decades in urban and rural centres as a nurse. In 2012, and moving closer to home, she began working intensively with patients living with addiction in Thunder Bay. In 2013, she began to focus her practice on specializing in cannabinoid therapies in accordance with the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), and subsequently the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), and now The Cannabis Act. Her medical operations have served as evidence-based data collection sites for cannabis research.
At present, Dr. Turner is one of the leading clinical participants in McMaster University’s CANNabinoid Consumption and Study (DATACANN). She is a proud member of the Pimicikamak First Nation in Cross Lake, Manitoba. She is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Ekosi Health Centre, an organization with a differentiated service and science-based approach for the ever-evolving medical cannabis industry. Ekosi, a Cree word, means “that’s good, this is the way forward.”
In her role as Chief Advocacy Officer at Canopy Growth, Hilary is responsible for driving patient advocacy efforts worldwide, executing the Company’s global corporate social responsibility strategy, and leading the implementation of best practices for diversity & inclusion. Recently, she championed an initiative focusing on the role of cannabis in addressing the opioid overdose crisis and other substance use disorders. Canopy Growth donated $2.5 million to the University of British Columbia, and the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction donated an additional $500,000 to establish the Canopy Growth Professorship of Cannabis Science which will examine the potential utility of cannabis in addressing the opioid crisis. She regularly consults with various government bodies, providing assistance with navigating and shaping legalization related to cannabis.
In 1997, Hilary founded the British Columbia Compassion Club Society (BCCCS), the first medical cannabis dispensary in Canada. In addition to providing medical cannabis therapies, the BCCCS offers subsidized natural healthcare services in its Wellness Centre, dramatically improving the health and quality of life for thousands of critically and chronically ill Canadians. She has been dedicated to serving patients for over 20 years and continues to be committed to breaking down the barriers to access to medical cannabis for all Canadian patients. Hilary is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award, acknowledging her for making a significant contribution to Canadian society for her work with medical cannabis.