Pubdate: Fri, 01 Sep 2017
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Jacquie Miller
Page: A4


Former B.C. health minister signs on as vice-president at

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. He didn't run in the provincial election in May.

A veterinarian by training, Lake got into politics as a municipal
councillor and served a term as mayor of Kamloops. As health minister
he managed the province's response to the escalating opioid crisis.
Lake received the Canadian Public Health Association's National Public
Health Hero Award in May 2017, Hydropothecary said in a news release.

Lake said he has had a relationship with Hydropthecary cofounder Adam
Miron for more than 12 years. Miron had stayed in constant
communication with Lake about the fledgling business. When the
opportunity came to join the team, he jumped at it.

"It's a company I have great confidence in, in terms of their
professionalism and the quality of the people there and the
opportunities that exist for this company to expand," he said. "I
think they've got a very good base and reputation that sets them up
very well for the recreational marketplace."

The former health minister brings his science background and knowledge
of government policies and procedures with him to the new role at
Hydropothecary. He said he plans to move to Ottawa in the coming
weeks, but his wife will remain at their home in B.C., as she is a
faculty member at Thompson Rivers University.

Hydropothecary CEO and cofounder Sebastien St-Louis said "having one
of the highest profile politicians moving across the country to join
us is yet another sign of confidence" in the company. The markets
seemed to agree with St-Louis's sentiment as the company's shares on
the TSX Venture Exchange were up 13 cents, 10.24 per cent, in mid-day
trading to $1.40 a share.

"His knowledge of the cannabis industry from the political front lines
will play a key role in Hydropothecary's corporate social
responsibility efforts," said the release.

In a statement, Lake said that legalization of marijuana is the
biggest public policy issue Canada has dealt with since free trade.

His goal is to "ensure that the initiation of the framework around
recreational cannabis is done in a way that, above all, protects
public health, especially as it relates to young Canadians," the
statement said.

Hydropothecary, like many of Canada's medical marijuana growers, hopes
to supply the recreational market.

The company has big plans. Work is to begin this fall on a massive
250,000-square-foot greenhouse on its rural property about 40
kilometres northeast of Ottawa. Company officials estimate the
expansion will allow them to produce six times their current yield, to
25,000 kilograms of dried cannabis a year.

According to government estimates, Canadians will consume around
655,000 kg of dried cannabis a year when recreational pot is legal.

Fifty-six medical marijuana producers are licensed by Health Canada,
but Hydropothecary is the only one in Quebec.

Medical growers can now only sell by mail, and their products are
restricted to dried cannabis or oils. But the number of customers and
types of cannabis products are expected to expand dramatically over
the next few years as Canada ushers in legal recreational use.

The government has promised that recreational pot will be legal by
July 2018. The provinces still have to decide where marijuana will be
sold. Industry insiders say it's unlikely that stores will be open
across Canada by that date, but the federal government has indicated
that marijuana will be available by mail.

- - With files from Vito Pilieci.

- -----------------------------------------------------------


Terry Lake is perhaps the highest profile politician to take a job
with a cannabis firm, but others have served on corporate boards, including:

Mike Harcourt: The former NDP premier of B.C. from 1991 to 1996 and 
mayor of Vancouver from 1980 to 1986 is chairman of the board at True 
Leaf Medicine International Ltd., which has applied for a licence to 
produce medical marijuana.

Ernie Eves: The former Conservative premier of Ontario in 2002-03 became 
chairman of the board of Timeless Herbal Care, a medical marijuana 
company active in Jamaica, in 2015.

George Smitherman: The Ontario Liberal health minister from 2003 to 
2008, he is a director at THC BioMed, a medical marijuana company based 
in Kelowna, B.C.

John Turner: The Liberal prime minister in 1984, Turner was on the board 
of Muileboon Organics, which planned to establish a medical marijuana 
facility in Port Colborne, Ont., in 2014. Residents complained, and it 
never went ahead.
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