Business in Vancouver explored Canada's first year of legalized cannabis, at the Business Excellence Series: Cannabis, One Year On event on October 9, 2019. Moderator, BIV's Kirk LaPointe, was joined onstage by panellists Peter Guo, BC Leader, Cannabis Industry Services, MNP LLP; Brandon Wright, CEO, Dynaleo; James Munro, Partner and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Practice Group, McMillan LLP; Chantel Popoff, Director of Operations, Valens. The panel explored what could be learned from this year, what can be applied to the next stage of legalization, and key pieces of advice for businesses to thrive in this environment.
BC Leader, Cannabis Industry Services, MNP LLP
Peter Guo is the B.C. leader for MNP's Cannabis Industry Services and Enterprise Risk Services. With industry experience in cannabis, biotech, pharma, technology, manufacturing, retail and government, Peter combines over 25 years’ expertise in finance, accounting, IT, governance, strategy and risk management. Peter assists MNP’s clients as they navigate through uncertainty by helping them seize opportunities, while effectively managing risks, threats and vulnerabilities.
Brandon Wright is known by government and industry stakeholders for setting standards in dosage control, product testing, and consistency. He is the CEO of Dynaleo, soon to be Canada's largest contract manufacturer of cannabis gummies, and the former CEO of Baked Edibles Inc, Canada’s most-respected commercial edibles producer pre-legalization. He has been focused on education, developing innovative standard practices, new products & processes, and regulatory affairs. Mr. Wright is an active participant in industry associations and regularly contributes to wider industry development.
Partner and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Practice Group, McMillan LLP
As part of his cannabis law practice, James advises both Canadian private and public clients with respect to a broad range of licensing, transaction, and corporate compliance matters. James co-founded the firm’s Cannabis Practice Group in 2016 and is currently the Co-Chair of the group. As part of his securities and corporate finance practice, James advises private and public clients in a range of industries in connection with venture capital financings, initial public offerings, private placements, public equity and debt financings, mergers and acquisitions, stock exchange listings, corporate governance, securities regulatory matters, and general corporate and securities law matters.
Director of Operations, Valens
In 2007, Chantel was appointed Director of Operations, then Director of Marketing for a fast-growing Western Canadian retail pharmacy chain. She was responsible for overseeing operations, financial performance, and marketing for 21 locations. The pharmacy chain’s success led to an acquisition in 2012 by Shoppers Drug Mart. In January 2013, Chantel took the opportunity to join a Canadian natural health food company for a more fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment, leading the operations and marketing of a national product launch. By late 2015, Chantel and her team had gained shelf placement in over 8,000 stores, while implementing standard operating procedures, financial reporting structure and national consumer and trade marketing programs to grow the brand and prepare the company for further growth. She was promoted to President of the company in 2016. Chantel was hired at Valens as Vice President of Valens Agritech, it’s cannabis processing and product development subsidiary. Through her impressive operational skills and ability to lead, Chantel was quickly promoted to COO of Valens Groworks Corp. to oversee operations in all of it’s wholly owned subsidiaries.
Editor-in-Chief, Business in Vancouver & Vice-President, Editorial, Glacier Media
Kirk has led Canadian broadcast, print and media organizations for more than three decades, holding the senior editorial roles at CTV News, Southam News and The Hamilton Spectator. He is a former Ottawa Bureau Chief and General News Editor of The Canadian Press, a former host on CBC Newsworld, the founding executive editor of National Post, the former ombudsman of the CBC, and a host on Roundhouse Radio. He has been Canadian Editor for Billboard Magazine and station manager of CKLN Ryerson, an advisor to the publisher of the Toronto Star, and publisher and editor in chief at Self-Counsel Press. Kirk is currently the Editor-in-Chief at Business in Vancouver and Vice-President Editorial, Glacier Media, and he teaches Ethics and Leadership as an Adjunct Professor and Executive-in-Residence at UBC's Graduate School of Journalism.