Chuck Rifici is a pioneer of the North American cannabis industry having created and managed opportunities that have positively impacted the Canadian landscape. Chuck has founded and been involved in the creation of some of Canada’s largest and most successful cannabis efforts. He is best known for having co-founded Canopy Growth Corporation (formerly Tweed Marijuana Inc.).
Today, Chuck is Chairman and CEO of Auxly Cannabis Group, a platform spanning the entire cannabis value-chain, minimizing risk while simultaneously maximizing exposure to multiple, geographically-diverse cannabis companies through a single source, and Founder and CEO of Nesta Holding Co., a private equity firm that creates wide ranging partnerships and brands within the cannabis industry. He is also the former Chairman of National Access Cannabis/Meta Cannabis Supply Co., a global leader in medical and recreational cannabis retail.
Chuck is a chartered professional accountant (CPA). He obtained his MBA from Queen’s University and holds a BASc in Computer Engineering from the University of Ottawa.
My relationship with cannabis dates back a number of years and looking back I can pinpoint a pivotal moments that sealed the deal for me. I knew there would be a future for cannabis in the business world back in 2010, when California voters considered legalizing recreational cannabis, the ballot failed by 2%, but I realized I almost missed the boat and I vowed that I wouldn’t miss that opportunity again. That’s what got me scanning for new regulatory changes in Canada, and ultimately, that gave me a head start on others. When the Harper government released the draft regulations (creating the MMPR, now ACMPR) on a Sunday, I spent the whole night reading and stopped everything I had going, so I could put all my focus into this. I don’t think I slept a full night again for 6 months.
Yeah it's a tough one, I mean there's been lots of interesting things, certainly being a Founder of Canopy, it's hard to escape that and its been positive for me and obviously they've grown to be pretty big but I think the second time is always sweeter and creating Auxly and pulling the team I pulled together there and as we ramp up for the next wave of products with infused products, vape pens, edibles I am really excited with what we put together and the team we built and so that is what I am most proud of right now.
In the next five years looking forward to the normalization of cannabis in Canada and the exeleration of global expansion and I guess what I mean about that is looking forward globally to the trade of cannabis where we start seeing countries being able to export large quantities of cannabis and cannabis molecules for both medical and recreational use and really see the industry grow as we see additional countries legalize. On the path towards that I am really looking forward to the next country to legalize federally whether that is Mexico or a Europeam country or maybe the United States, if we get an early surprise. I think once we have 3, 4, 5 countries, you know very quickly we are going to have 10 to 20, and then 40 -50. I think it's inevitable and that's the most exciting part.
Do you think that inevitable globalization of federal legalization will put more emphasis on the Cannabis Industry partner ecosystem?
Yeah I think as the industry grows and matures the nice part is you don't have to do everything, and as a company if you try to do everything, you're not going to be good at everything, you really can specialize to some degree and so its nice now, we see it today with oil processing liscences, we have people specializing in extraction, we have people who are pure play retailers, and as the industry keeps growing it allows businesses and entrepreneurs possibly be specialized and really go after a very specific market or market opportunity. I think it's exciting as it makes the business more accessable because you don't have to be a massive public company to get involved in the business. You can choose the piece you want to work on and there will people you can sell to and people you can buy services from to enable that business, so I think there will be more and more opportunity that is going to get created as the industry gets bigger.
It's funny I have never really been asked that before, or at least not for a long time. Let's see, for me, I am a big fan of people like Elon Musk and entrepreneurs taking huge risks. I find inspiration from people who tackle really big ideas and try to change the world. I think the Cannabis Industry is certainly not the most important thing in the world but doing our small part, and I think as Cannabis is Legalized in Canada and the industry grows, it allows for the dismantling of the drug war and all the negatives that can from that and so I really like that positive effect of everything we work on in the business.
I do. I like vape pens I think it's a great product. I think it will be the largest segment in the recreational space. Although I tend not to smoke too much flower, I am really excited for what we have coming with our Robinsons product in Auxly which we know tests very well against other products from their medical product and we are really excited to unveil that to the rest of Canadians when we hopefully get our sales license for that facility later this year.
Mr. Linton is the founder of Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) and co-founder of Tweed Marijuana Incorporated. Canopy Growth was the first cannabis producing company in North America to be listed on a major stock exchange (TSX, July 2016) and included on a major stock index (S&P/TSX Composite Index, March 2017). In May 2018 Canopy was also the first cannabis-producing company to list on another major stock exchange, the New York Stock Exchange. Bruce’s experience as a founder, CEO, and Board member across a wide variety of enterprises has influenced the positive start of Canopy Growth, which to date has enjoyed market support for capital raises of over $6 billion including a $5 billion investment by Fortune 500 beverage company, Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ).
Bruce’s focus has been driving the Company’s overall strategy including its Canadian and international expansion efforts as well as laying the groundwork for the Company’s future move into cannabis-based consumer products including cannabis-based medicines, with the founding of subsidiary Canopy Health Innovations, and into cannabis-based beverages, through a strategic partnership with Constellation Brands. After beginning his career at Newbridge Networks Corporation, he has since held positions that include General Manager and Re-Founder of Computerland.ca, President and Co-Founder of webHancer Corp, and part of the establishing team at CrossKeys Systems Corporation. He was also part of the leadership team for the NASDAQ/TSX initial public offering at CrossKeys. He is the past Chairman of the Ottawa Community Loan Foundation past Board Member and Treasurer of Canada World Youth, past Board of Governor for Carleton University, past President of the Nepean Skating Club, and past President of the Carleton University Students Association.
Mark is the President and Co-CEO of Canopy Growth Corporation. With Canopy since its inception, Mark has been a key driver of the Tweed and Canopy Growth vision, ensuring that patients and healthcare practitioners choose Canopy companies as their trusted source of cannabis for medical purposes. This includes overseeing medical and patient outreach strategy, driving operations and advancing corporate market strategy.
A graduate from the University of Waterloo in Mathematics, the University of Ottawa in Law, and the University of Cambridge in International Law, Mark has previously kept himself busy providing legal, political and strategic advice to high- profile local and international corporate clients, most recently as Counsel at the Ottawa-Washington international trade law firm of Cassidy Levy Kent. Previously, Mark has served as a Senior Advisor to the Honourable Dwight Duncan, the Ontario Minister of Finance, and has worked internationally at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Terry Booth is the Founder and CEO of Aurora Cannabis (TSXV-ACB), a producer of medical cannabis and cannabis oils under license from Health Canada. Based in Mountain View County, Alberta, with a 55,200 square foot purpose-built production facility, Aurora is one of the largest and fastest-growing Licensed Producers in Canada. The company is currently constructing “Aurora Sky”, a new highly advanced and automated 800,000 square foot production facility located at Edmonton International Airport. At full production, Aurora Sky will be the highest capacity cannabis production facility in the world, capable of producing in excess of 100,000 kg of high quality cannabis per year. The company has also acquired a third 40,000 square foot production facility in Pointe-Claire, Quebec. Aurora trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “ACB”, and has a recent market capitalization exceeding $850 million.
Terry founded Aurora in 2013 when the Canadian federal government created a new regulatory regime for the establishment of a national medical cannabis system. Investing $2.5 million of his own capital in start-up funding, he secured a 160 acre parcel of land in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and designed and built what is now widely recognized as one of the most advanced and efficient cannabis production facilities in the world. Terry has assembled a diverse and highly skilled team of experts from a broad range of disciplines to execute on the company’s business strategy and vision to build the world’s foremost cannabis company.
An entrepreneur and Alberta business leader, Terry has served as President/CEO of six other highly successful businesses, one of which, Superior Safety Codes Inc, has received an award as one of Canada’s top 50 fastest-growing companies.
Terry is a strong supporter of many charitable organizations dedicated to ending family violence and violence against women, including the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign. He also regularly participates in reading programs for first grade students.
Terry has four children and two grandchildren, and lives in Edmonton with his wife and youngest son. He coaches youth soccer and enjoys golfing and running.
Brendan Kennedy has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and member of Tilray's board of directors since January 2018 and has served as the Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors of our subsidiary, Tilray Canada Ltd., since 2013. Mr. Kennedy also serves as the Executive Chairman and member of the board of directors of Privateer Holdings, a private investment firm focused exclusively on the cannabis industry, since he founded it in October 2011. Mr. Kennedy served as Chief Executive Officer of Privateer Holdings from its founding until June 2018. Prior to founding Privateer Holdings, Mr. Kennedy served as the Chief Operating Officer of Silicon Valley Bank Analytics from 2010 to 2011 and Managing Director from 2006 to 2010.
Mr. Kennedy holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, an MS in Engineering from the University of Washington and an MBA from the Yale School of Management. We believe Mr. Kennedy is qualified to serve on our board of directors due to his role as a founder of our company, his deep knowledge of our company and his extensive background in our industry
Kim has 12 years of experience running successful businesses from real estate to finance. Several years in private practice as a lawyer, specializing in mergers, acquisitions, and securities for multi-million dollar companies. Bachelor’s degree in Multinational Business and Political Science from Florida State University. Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida.
About Trulieve Cannabis Corp.
Trulieve is a vertically integrated “seed-to-sale” company and is the first and largest fully licensed medical cannabis company in the State of Florida. Trulieve cultivates and produces all of its products in-house and distributes those products to Trulieve-branded stores (dispensaries) throughout the State of Florida, as well as directly to patients via home delivery. Trulieve also operates in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Trulieve is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol TRUL.
The cannabis industry is not the career path that I had planned, but I believe it has become my calling. I was an attorney by trade and had become involved in helping a group of well-established nurseries in the Tallahassee area with the legal process when the state of Florida opened its lottery for medical marijuana. The process was educational for me and an eye-opening experience for just what cannabis could mean for the patients and my home state in general. My growing passion for medical marijuana must have been evident as when we won one of the initial licenses the consortium offered me the role of CEO to lead the newly formed company.
Trulieve in general has had a lot off “firsts” in the State of Florida and we are proud of those accomplishments, as well as the role we have played, and the award received earlier this year, in regard to diversity. And, of course, the fact that we have been able to prove that you can grow a profitable cannabis business. Our greatest accomplishment, however, is really more of a subtle one and that is the loyalty we have gained from our Trulievers – it’s built on customer experience, our innovation and attention to patient needs, and our focus and drive to grow one patient at a time.
Since our RTO in September 2018, we have been focused on profitable expansion; growing Trulieve beyond Florida and into new markets while retaining our operational efficiencies and financial discipline. We acquired Leef Industries LLC, a licensed medical and adult-use cannabis dispensary located in Palm Springs, California, and entered the Massachusetts market with the acquisition of Life Essence Inc. in the fourth quarter of 2018. We recently obtained a special permit approval to start building our cultivation facility for the Massachusetts market and are anticipating our first store opening in Q1 2020. To further our expansion in the northeast, in May we announced the acquisition of The Healing Corner in Bristol, CT. And, we have stated that our future goal is to be in a total of six states by year end and start building out the Trulieve brand, products, and the customer experience that our Trulievers have come to rely on.
Howard Schultz immediately comes to mind as a CEO who has inspired me. As the CEO of Starbucks, Schultz took the relatively small regional franchise to a multi-billion dollar global brand. He saw the potential of great expansion built on connecting with customers and serving great coffee with a consistent customer experience no matter which store the customer visited. The smallest details do matter. And, as Schultz worked on building a base of loyal customers, he introduced the concept of “freedom of choice” in the type of coffee, size, type of milk. This philosophy rings true with me and we apply it in our stores, the number of SKUs we offer, and in our vision for expansion. That inspiration is in what we strive to deliver and be as a company today and, as Howard Schultz would say . . . onward!
Justin Gover has served as Chief Executive Officer of GW Pharmaceuticals since January 1999, shortly after the Company was founded. He has 23 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
As Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Gover has been the lead executive responsible for the running of the company’s operations, as well as leading equity financings, strategy and business development activities. In 2001, he led the company’s initial public offering on the AIM stock exchange in London, and in 2013 led GW’s initial public offering on Nasdaq. In total, he has led equity financing rounds which have raised over $1bn.
In 2015, Mr. Gover relocated to the U.S. to open the company’s U.S. headquarters in California.
Prior to joining GW, Mr. Gover was Head of Corporate Affairs at Ethical Holdings plc, a UK-based Nasdaq listed company, where he was responsible for the company’s strategic corporate activities, including mergers and acquisitions, strategic investments, equity financings and investor relations.
Mr. Gover serves on the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). He holds an M.B.A. from the INSEAD business school in France and a BSc (Hons) from Bristol University.
Social Media Links: Twitter Linked In Instagram
Mr. Lusardi is a pioneer in the U.S. cannabis industry and is credited with opening one of the first medical cannabis operations on the East Coast. Mr. Lusardi has almost a decade of cannabis experience through which he has cultivated bottom-up expertise in cannabis company implementation and management, as well as 20 years’ experience in finance, private equity and entrepreneurship.
He previously held executive positions at financial services companies including Liberty Mutual Group, Fidelity Investments, and Affiliated Managers Group. At Curaleaf, Mr. Lusardi has been instrumental in developing an organizational strategy focused on bringing the Company’s commitment to the advancement of cannabis science to all Curaleaf subsidiaries, and, ultimately, patients in need of medical cannabis. To support this effort, he raised over $500 million dollars to invest into the Company’s infrastructure, research and development, and staff. Mr. Lusardi continues to guide corporate strategy with a focused view on the continual improvement of best practices.
Mr. Lusardi has a B.B.A. from The Catholic University of America and a M.B.A. from Boston College
In his role as CEO for KushCo Holdings, Nick directs all business relations and financial strategy for the company. Nick also oversees the organization's senior management team. Nick has been integral in making critical strategic, growth, and financial decisions since the company's inception.
Nick holds a Bachelor of Science from Southwest Baptist University where he studied Sports Management and earned Academic All-American honors. While at SBU, Nick played small forward for the men's basketball team, leading the Bearcats to the Sweet 16.
John Fowler is the President, Founder and a Director of The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. Mr. Fowler is a pioneer in the Canadian cannabis industry, having spent more than a decade in the medical cannabis sector as a cultivator, influencer, patients-rights advocate and lawyer.
In 2013, Mr. Fowler founded Supreme Cannabis’ wholly-owned subsidiary 7ACRES. His vision: to create Canada’s leading premium cannabis flower brand, and to produce high quality cannabis on a commercial scale. Today, 7ACRES is one of Canada’s leading premium flower brands. Prior to his work at Supreme Cannabis, Mr. Fowler was an associate at Torkin Manes LLP in Toronto, where he practiced corporate and securities law.
Mr. Fowler is also Vice Chair, Adult Use, and a Director of the Cannabis Council of Canada, the leading organization of Canada’s licensed producers of cannabis under Health Canada’s federal Cannabis Act.
Mr. Fowler graduated with distinction from the University of Toronto, with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and sociology. He also holds a Doctor of Law from the University of Ottawa, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.