Anne McLellan is engaged by the law firm Bennett Jones LLP, that describes itself as a ‘very entrepreneurial law firm’ that wants to be the ‘go to’ law firm for licensed producers (LPs) of marijuana in Canada.
This is what should disqualify McLellan for the appearance of a conflict of interest. But then Justin Trudeau was first introduced to “legalization” by Tweed Marijuana licensed producer cofounder Chuck Rifici, who has gotten rich as a consequence of his investment in his LP, and who has been agitating for all competing dispensaries and cannabis sellers to be arrested and shut down. Rifici is also the chief financial officer of the Liberal Party of Canada. McLellan’s place of employment openly seeks licensed providers to represent while she maintains impartiality on this task force.
And it’s not just the chairperson of the Task Force who is facing a conflict of interest. A long list of Liberal Party insiders and government officials connected to the cannabis economy has been circulating around social media:
- Chuck Rifici, is currently the CFO of the Liberal Party of Canada. – founder and former CEO of Tweed
- Mark Zekulin, CEO of Tweed – former senior adviser to former Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan
- Norman Inkster, Independent Director at Mettrum – former head of the RCMP
- Dr. Joshua Tepper, Independent Director at Mettrum – formerly Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Health , Senior Medical Officer for Health Canada,
- Tom Shipley, Director of Quality Assurance, Tweed – formerly worked on toxicology research, while at Health Canada,
- Mike Harcourt, Chairman of True Leaf Medicine Inc – former B.C. Premier
- Kash Heed, strategic consultant with National Green BioMed – Former B.C. Solicitor General and former West Vancouver police chief
- Herb Dhaliwal, Chairman, National Green BioMed – former Vancouver MP and federal cabinet minister.
- Neil Belot, Board of Directors for Aurora – was a public servant in several ministries within the Ontario government
- Brian Wagner, Company founder and CEO of NHP Consulting (consults for prospective LP’s) – Brian was invited to play a strong role in Health Canada’s Program Advisory Committee
- Tim Humberstone, ABcann Director / Senior Person in Charge – former twenty year member of the RCMP included roles in Municipal/Federal Drug Enforcement and with the Joint Forces Organized Crime Agency. Tim has also received extensive training by the RCMP in providing expert court opinion in the fields of cannabis trafficking and production techniques.
- Ivan Vrana, founder of Aslan Ross Consulting / speaker mmpr summit – Previously Mr. Vrána worked for the Federal Government for over 15 years. He worked at the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, Finance Canada and in various senior policy positions at Health Canada. At Health Canada he was in charge of the team that developed the policy rationale which led to the implementation of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. Mr. Vrána is also a regular Lecturer at both Carleton and Concordia universities and teaches a course that examines the internal communication tools governments use to development and implement public policy.
- Sandy Pratt, Chief Financial Officer, Emerald Health – Worked at Deloitte (auditing firm involved in the senate scandal), Vice President of Business Development and Executive Financial Officer of the Royal British Columbia Museum, a Crown corporation.
- Shane Morris, VP, Scientific Affairs and Stakeholder Relations Hydropothecary CEO (now Canadian Cannabis Corp.) – Since 2000 Shane has been in a range of leadership roles within the Federal Government, from Treasury Board of Canada’s senior advisor (Cabinet Operations) on regulatory affairs to director of policy leadership and Reporting for Resources Canada’s major projects management office.
- George Smitherman, THC BioMed – former Ontario Liberal Deputy Premier with more than 30 years in public policy fields at the Municipal, Provincial and Federal Level, where roles as Senior Advisor, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure and Ontario’s Minister of Health were held.
- Jake Ryan, Director of Security: Tilray – former RCMP Intelligence Officer and federal criminal investigator overseeing all aspects of Tilray’s security protocols and operations.
- Ernie Eves, Chairman, Timeless Herbal Care, a Jamaican medical marijuana company – former Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario
- Kim Derry, a promoter of marijuana facility THC Meds Ontario Inc. – Deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service under Mr. Blair.
- John Reynolds, advisor to Vodis Innovative Pharmaceuticals Inc – former MP with the Progressive Conservative, Reform and Canadian Alliance parties
- Senator Larry Campbell, advisor to Vodis Innovative Pharmaceuticals Inc. – former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and Vancouver mayor. And sitting Senator.
- Barry Daniel, Wildflower’s head of security – Former Abbotsford police chief.
- Cam Battley, Aurora Senior Vice President, Communications and Medical Affairs – Former Legislative Assistant to the Canadian Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, where he was responsible for developing legislation and steering it through the House of Commons, as well as negotiating with Opposition parties and stakeholder groups.
- John Turner, medicinal marijuana applicant in Ontario (With Kash Heed) – Former Prime Minister of Canada.
Even police officers have been getting into the game.
These establishment-type operations never seem to get raided, though – regardless of public harm.
LORI CULBERT, VANCOUVER SUN 08.22.2015
Heed, who is also involved with a second medicinal marijuana applicant in Ontario with prime minister John Turner, thinks the future is bright for applicants with good people and good business plans.
Public servants and former politicians are buying into legal pot, raising concerns of cronyism and conflict of interest
Apr 13, 2017
Former prime minister John Turner joined the board of a company called Muileboom Organics in 2014 as it was poised to become a major commercial enterprise in Ontario, although he later backed out due to public outcry against the operation.
Updated: August 31, 2017
A medical marijuana company in Gatineau has snagged a high-profile former politician to work for its growing operation.
Terry Lake, who until a few months ago was B.C.’s Health Minister, will take a job as vice-president at Hydropothecary Corp., the company announced Thursday.
Lake served eight years in the B.C. legislature, and was health minister in the Liberal government between 2013 and the spring of 2017.