Aphria Inc. announced its first collaborative initiative with a major North American union.

The company is partnering with the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 625 as its primary provider of medical cannabis to members in Essex and Kent counties.

Local 625’s membership approximates 1,600 plus eligible dependents, who will have immediate access to full coverage for certain medical cannabis products under the Aphria brand.

This partnership will give LiUNA Local 625 members access to a range of fulfillment activities provided by a nationally recognized benefits administrator.

Natural Health Services, one of Canada’s leading patient-centric medical cannabis clinics, will assist LiUNA members with on-site cannabis education and physician services.

“Aphria is thrilled to be entering into a partnership with LiUNA, one of Canada’s fastest growing unions,” said Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria. “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to support patients and, in joining forces with Local 625, we’ll be able to provide some of the hard-working Canadians in Essex and Kent counties access to our high-quality products at affordable pricing.”

The program’s objective is to reduce usage and dependency on various opioids, which have reported negative side effects, by giving access to an alternate natural option for treating various chronic conditions.

 “The health and wellness of our members is of critical importance to LiUNA, and in launching this partnership with Aphria, we are taking a major step forward in improving the lives of our members,” says Rob Petroni, business manager of Local 625. ” Workplace injuries are far too often treated with opioids and their related effects, and medical cannabis will provide another treatment option.”