Following the 2019 CECF conference, its founder Andrew de Roy sat down with guests from Canada, Stephen Verbeek, Greg Gorzkowski, and Christian Borys, who shared their experiences from the world’s most advanced cannabis market and views on Poland.
On this episode of the CECF podcast we discussed:
- The next steps for Poland.
- The biggest landmines that Poland could face. Might talk of recreational cannabis help with legalisation or hinder it?
- Educated doctors in using cannabinoids in healthcare.
- From the Canadian perspective, what can Poland learn in terms of dealing with regulatory changes?
- How to educate regulators and lobby successfully.
- What hard-learnt lessons could Poland take from Canada’s experience?
Stephen Verbeek’s career began in the investment banking division of one of Canada’s premier banks before leveraging that banking experience with his knowledge of cannabis in co-founding the private equity firm Huxton Black LTD. Huxton Black operates as a hybrid robo-advisor portfolio management firm which raises capital and consults in the cannabis space, and Stephen serves as the Chairman and CEO of one of Huxton Black’s cannabis ventures called Hello Cannabis Corp. The company is now involved in 7 different projects across 3 continents after branching out from its original focus on educating physicians, unions, employers, and private corporations on the solutions surrounding medical cannabis programs. HelloCannabis has now rapidly grown to become one of Canada’s most exciting vertically integrated cannabis companies after signing a retail partnership agreement to build and operate legal cannabis stores in Canada. After 4 months of operation the retail store is the number 1 rated store in Ontario and sales have been increasing 9% week over week since inception. The team behind the retail operation is one of the few independent (non-LP affiliate) operators in the space that has proven with experience and irrefutable evidence to be industry leaders.
Greg Gorzkowski works as the Vice President of Strategy at Materia Ventures, a European focused medical cannabis production and distribution company with operations in Malta, Denmark, Germany, and the UK. Starting from a history of compliance, retail, and technology, Greg Gorzkowski started the cannabis program at Shopify, where he worked with companies including Aurora, TGOD, and Canopy Growth. Starting with direct-to-patient medical cannabis sales for licensed producers, eventually, the cannabis program evolved to include companies and provincial governments operating under Canada’s new adult-use cannabis regulations. Greg contributed to the companies wildly successful recreational cannabis launch in Canada which covered over 50% of all cannabis transactions on the first day of legalization. After Shopify, Greg went on to help build out the international program at Ample Organics leading seed-to-sale platform covering 70% of the licensed producers in Canada. Working with both regulators and private sector companies in Australia, New Zealand, Colombia, Jamaica, and Malta, Greg gained a vast knowledge around various regulations and the complexities that come with the international cannabis supply chain.
Christian Borys is the founder of Black Hawk, a Toronto based creative agency which has produced campaigns with Fortune 500’s, global NGO’s, venture-backed startups and built one of Canada’s first legal cannabis retail brands. He is also the CEO of Gatsby. Prior to founding Black Hawk, Christian had been an early employee at Shopify before embarking on an award-winning career in journalism and film, working with the likes of the BBC, VICE, Washington Post, The Guardian, Daily Beast, Al Jazeera, Channel 4 and the CBC.