Clint Younge, former CEO of MMJ Canada, and current President and partner for Company X, has garnered a great deal of attention and acclaim over the past few years for his efforts in humanitarian organizations touting the benefits and importance of medical marijuana programs in helping individuals suffering from poor mental health. Despite his compassion and attempts to fight for individuals whom all too often aren’t given a platform to have their voices heard, Younge has been involved in a lengthy legal battle following several raids and seizures by police at a number of MMJ dispensaries.
Last Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, court proceedings finally came to a close with Younge pleading guilty to charges of possession of cannabis extracts, edibles and flowers with intent to distribute, and paying a $7000 fine.
It’s worth noting that Younge did everything in his power to spare his employees from incurring any charges, and while that chapter has come to an official legal close, the experience has left an indelible mark which will be inexorably carried through the next phase of his life.
“I felt like a bit of a failure because I let down so many patients. It was a touchy topic. Anything involving the patients is hard,” says Clint, attempting to fight back tears. “And [the judge] told me, ‘Don’t don’t feel like a failure. You’re very good man.’ I just wish my past leaders of Canada got this right years ago, because nobody should be sitting here, going through what I went through. And nobody should have even been challenging it. The fact of the matter is that these topics shouldn’t even be spoken about. It should have just been blended in…a whole synergy of everybody being happy to hit every aspect of the industry without criminal entity being brought in to the picture. So, yeah, it was a tough day. But the fact that everything was recognized…the recognition of your hard work…it helped me get closure with MMJ.”
The compassion and drive which motivates Younge is a direct reflection of the hardships which he had to face while growing up in Stoney Creek, Ontario.
“I was kind of like the poster boy for ADHD at eight years old,” recounts Younge. “I would do treatment programs when I got older, but as a kid, it was just a lot of doctor facilities, and a lot of test runs, and overmedicating.”
Younge‘s experiences with medication at a young age and into adulthood would ultimately lead him to western Canada, where he met Eric Burris from the Green Cross Society.
“If it wasn’t for Eric, I don’t know if I ever would have really approached the industry the way I did. It was my first experience, technically, in a real medical capacity,” says Younge.
“Eric taught me integrity before greed, which was huge. It was just a key component that, now that I’m so embedded in the industry, you don’t see a lot of people have. It’s a money-driven industry. With a lot of patient access and patient awareness, compassion is left out.
“It’s something that I kind of thrived off of, and I used it as a platform to shoot myself to the next level in mental health and cannabis, which I don’t know if I ever would have gotten into. It’s because of the number of sick people that I had seen coming into the Green Cross. It was an eye-opener for me. That moment of, wow, these people are really sick.
The Integrity Before Greed ethos propelled Younge through his burgeoning career in cannabis and continued upon moving back to southern Ontario where he would ultimately take on the role of CEO of MMJ.
“Essentially, my philanthropy and humanitarian work far succeed anything that I’ll ever do in cannabis. MMJ was the platform that I used to raise awareness for multiple different things,” Clint says emphatically. “Cannabis…I love cannabis, but I always had a soft spot for mental health. I always thought that if I could use something that had a lot of eyes on it – and cannabis happens to be the most talked about topic in the world – what better way to raise awareness about mental health than that? Just have an amazing brand that can fuel the fire for so many different causes that aren’t being talked about.
“MMJ allowed me to take full control and do what I needed to do, and they were very profitable from it. But at the same time, I got to have my message and my vision implemented. All the way through design, to me building a mental health organization, to doing Collective Care which raised over $200,000, to the fundraisers that we did over that time.
“That, to me, was the only way I wanted to go about it. Build a major brand on compassion and love and giving back. I knew that when you did the right thing, the universe would eventually bring you the finances that it deemed you deserved through your hard work. But I never wanted to lose sight of what I believed in, which was helping people. So I never talked about money. I don’t care about it. And I maintain that even now with Company X. It’s a CBD regulated industry. You’re not allowed to talk about it as a medicine, but I still want to build a great compassionate brand.”
As President and partner for Company X, Clint Younge is proudly kicking off the next phase of his personal journey in the ever-expanding (and changing) cannabis industry. His excitement for what’s to come is evident in the way in which he describes what’s coming next.
“We know exactly what Company X is doing. Our facilities and our assets are regulated. We have a vision, and we’re executing that vision,” exclaims Younge. “We haven’t slowed down once since we kicked it off at Spannabis. We end up winning 1st place at the silver cup at Spannabis for our indoor CBD, Sugarberry, which was a great kickstart to the company.
“We’ve got contracts in Asia and distribution all through Europe. We have four hectares of outdoor with 280,000 square feet of greenhouse and have 60 to 80,000 square feet of indoor with accessibility to a really high end lab that’s on its way to being Swiss GMP certified. I’m the least educated on the team in a schooling manner. All these guys are just brilliant human beings. It’s worked out really well so far, and we deal with everything as one big unit. I think people are going to really be surprised at what comes out of Company X in 2020.”
Younge‘s passion for the implementation and advancement of mental health initiatives will continue to be the driving force as he propels Company X into the future. So, too, will the benefits of hindsight. Everything that came from his efforts at MMJ – including the legal fallout – has served to lay a foundation for what will certainly prove to be an impressive endeavor with Company X.
In Clint Younge’s own words:
“The capabilities [Company X has] because of our assets will be 20 times bigger than what MMJ ever could have been. The fact of it is that I had a roof put over my head with MMJ, so we got it as big as it possibly could get. The sky’s the limit with Company X. The fact that, as a European company, we have such amazing important/export laws makes it very easy for us to become a global entity. We’re doing work all over the world already in Asia, and partnering with people in Canada. So, my ultimate goal of wanting to raise awareness for people who aren’t well with mental health, and building a global brand; I’m actually able to do that now with Company X, and I’m excited about it. I’m really pumped to see what the future holds because although there will always be a special place in my heart for MMJ, Company X will be the biggest CBD brand in the world once we’re done with it.”