June 27 Conference

In light of nationwide Cannabis legalization on October 17, 2018, there will be a lot to unpack and discuss what lies ahead in the cannabis industry.

In partnership with CrowdMatrix, Norton Rose Fulbright, Canadian Securities Exchange, and Puff Puff Post, The Cannabis Society hosted another insightful symposium on the future of Cannabis industry in Canada.

The roster of speakers is as follows: Lee Silverstone, CEO of 3Leaf Edibles; Jason Fleming, VP of Human Resources at MedReleaf; Anne K. Gallop, Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright; Andrew Wnek, CEO of Beleave; Michael Garbuz, Corporate Strategy and Legal Counsel at CannaRoyalty, Anthony Durkacz, Executive Vice President at First Republic Capital Corporation; Rubsun Ho, CEO of CrowdMatrix; Barrington Miller, Director at Canadian Securities Exchange.

The full-house event, hosted at Norton Rose Fulbright, kicked off with cocktails and networking then a brief introduction from the owner of 3Leaf Edibles—Lee Silverstone, a Canadian-owned and U.S. based company with over 40 locations all over the state of California. He sheds light on a niche market of the Cannabis industry—premium edibles.m

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He shared his vision of high-quality cannabis edibles that both medical and recreational users enjoy. The enthusiasm of his vision also translates in the samples of what premium edibles look like: aesthetically pleasing and health-conscious.

Silverstone highlights the importance of edibles:
-    Portable and discreet
-    Dose control
-    Smoke-free
-    Experiential 

He also projects that, in due time, the industry will mirror California in terms of retail and medical and recreational by-law regulations (dosage control).

 

Medical & Recreational Cannabis Uses in Employment Risks Panel

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A panel with Jason Fleming, VP of Human Resources at MedReleaf and Anne K. Gallop, Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright discussed the employment risks for medical and recreational cannabis users in the workplace.

The panel illuminates on the responsibilities of the Human Resources team and their cannabis user employees.

Anne K. Gallop reassures that the companies have the tools to deal with the risks of employees who use cannabis, whether it be for medical or recreational purposes. She also addresses the people who work at HR to look at their company policies.

“The most important thing here is to present the information, re-train your employees, and educate them in terms of workplace policies on cannabis consumption.”

As cannabis come in all shapes and sizes (tinctures, oil, edibles, flower, etc.), Anne Gallop proposes to treat cannabis consumption as alcohol consumption.

On the other hand, Jason Fleming adds to identify jobs that are at a higher risk in terms of Cannabis consumption. Fleming used the TTC and their “saliva swab test” to check their employees who work in “safety critical roles.”

“Though there is a number of challenges [in the saliva swab test], this is also effective.”

He also insists to not be overly aggressive in policing cannabis consumption, whether it be for medical or recreational purposes. The employees and employers must abide by the law. This is the only way to be safe for both parties.

Anne Gallop also shares the same sentiment as Jason Fleming. She suggests cannabis users ask where the company stands in cannabis consumption. Communication is key.

 

Going Public Panel

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This panel led by Barrington Miller, Director at Canadian Securities Exchange, alongside our speakers Andrew Wnek, CEO of Beleave; Michael Garbuz, Corporate Strategy and Legal Counsel at CannaRoyalty; and Anthony Durkacz, Executive Vice President at First Republic Capital Corporation.

On Cannabis legalization:
Michael Garbuz is optimistic about where Canada is headed on cannabis legalization. Not only will this open many opportunities in the business market but the political climate will also shift.

Anthony Duckacz also believes that federal laws will also shift.

On the other hand, Andrew Wnek believes that the Canadian society is “not really there yet,” and the public and private sector are underestimating how big this will affect the medical market.

On preparedness in each province:
According to Garbuz, everyone is doing the best they can to regulate the legalization as each province shall regulate in their own terms. He also There will be challenges in political, socio-economic, and especially legal facets, but Canada will be able to adapt to it.

Duckacz also agrees with Garbuz’ points. He also adds that there will be a shift in the supply chain as black markets will become less prevalent. 

On businesses achieving success in the cannabis market:
Wnek highlights product quality and understanding the product as there are varieties of cannabis on the market. Also, he adds that working with universities on research will amplify a company’s understanding of the product, especially in the medical market.

For Duckacz, branding and working on innovation is key. The Cannabis industry is a new frontier that will thrive in the Canadian market. He also adds “indoor” high-quality products. 

Along the same lines, Garbuz agrees with Duckacz on his point of view on indoor high-quality products. He also stresses on not just marketing to all cannabis users but to create a niche market and pricing spectrum.

The panel also briefly discussed the international market and how access to international cannabis can play in the Canadian cannabis industry. They all unanimously agreed that, at some point, international cannabis will affect pricing and distribution, but for now Canada should focus on getting the supply domestically.

Fireside Chat

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Rubsun Ho from CrowdMatrix conversed with Lee Silverstone from 3Leaf Edibles on a fireside chat about Silverstone’s successes and difficulties he treaded in the cannabis industry.

On “making it” in the business:
Silverstone addressed the challenges first before the success, and that challenges are all around. 

“Dosage is such an enormous issue in edibles and that this issue will also translate in the Canadian market, especially in the edibles business.”

He also emphasized the demand for Cannabis edibles in Canada and despite the huge market difference between California and Canada, the opportunity for edible cannabis business to grow in the Canadian market is feasible.

On market segmentation:
A typical consumer in the business, according to Silverstone, is 30+ but there is no clear segmentation because “it is hard to get data.” He also adds that consumer preferences and behaviours change all the time and the market hasn’t matured yet, so there is a big room for experiments.

On distribution:
Silverstone reveals that logistics are a very challenging aspect of the business. He projects that strict licensing in California will also reflect in the Canadian market and forewarns future business owners of this challenge.

On financing:
It was not very easy to acquire financing as some banks (in California) do not work with Cannabis business. There is a speculation that the Cannabis industry in Canada will also face the same challenge once the businesses roll in the country.

The event wrapped up and the remaining time was spent over some cocktails, private conversations, deal-making, and networking sessions for all attendees and panellists. 

 

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Thank you to our sponsors: 
 

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Dana Kulia