Ottawa-area pot firms beef up executive teams

Former B.C. health minister joins Gatineau’s Hydropothecary as corporate social responsibility vice-president

With their expansion plans in high gear, two of the region’s marijuana firms are strengthening their executive teams with several high-profile appointments.

Gatineau’s Hydropothecary (TSX-V:THCX), which is planning to start construction of a new 250,000-square-foot greenhouse this fall, says it’s hired former B.C. health minister Terry Lake as its new vice-president of corporate social responsibility.

Dr. Lake led the province’s health ministry for four years, during which time he was recognized with a Canadian Public Health Association's National Public Health Hero Award for the government’s response to the fentanyl opioid crisis.

Additionally, he was involved with various recreational and medical cannabis initiatives in British Columbia.

“It is exciting to be part of a company at the forefront of change in public policy,” Dr. Lake said in a statement. “My prime objective 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.”

Hydropothecary also appointed former Hill+Knowlton Strategies vice-president Pierre Killeen as vice-president of corporate communications and government relations.

Tetra Bio-Pharma

Meanwhile, in Gloucester, Tetra Bio-Pharma – which is developing a prescription marijuana drug product that it hopes will be covered by provincial and federal insurers – is making two executive appointments of its own.

The company recently hired Anne-Sophie Courtois as vice-president of marketing and Bernard Lessard as chief financial officer.

“They will be playing a key role as Tetra imminently initiates its commercial activities and generates revenues in 2017,” said CEO Bernard Fortier in a statement.

Dr. Courtois has more than a decade of experience working in the European and North American pharmaceutical industry, including serving as director of marketing and scientific affairs at the generic division of Jamp Pharma and the medical division of Orimed Pharma. Both are based in Boucherville, a suburb of Montreal.

Tetra said Mr. Lessard has helped several life sciences firms raise capital and holds “considerable political connections with the Quebec government.”

In a separate announcement this week, Tetra said it’s signed an agreement that will see the Ottawa company offered the intellectual property created within the cannabis health research chair from the University of New Brunswick.

"Tetra shares the same values in terms of gaining a greater and more objective understanding of the medical benefits that can be brought about by cannabinoids, which are key components of the active ingredients found in cannabis,” Mr. Lessard stated. “The more research is done … the faster treatments will be made available to improve the quality of life of patients around the world.”

RockGarden

Elsewhere, Carleton Place-based RockGarden – which is looking to raise $8.2 million from investors – said this week that it received a Health Canada licence permitting it to start cultivating marijuana.

Once it’s secured the funding, the company plans to start construction of a 20,000-square-foot production facility that would allow RockGarden to produce 2,080 kilograms of dried flowers annually.

The company was co-founded by president and CEO Deborah Hanscom, an Ottawa lawyer, and chief operating officer Andrew Rock, the former production manager of Canada’s largest legal marijuana grower, Canopy Growth Corp.