It is often said someone is “ahead of their time” when they have new ideas long before many
other people start to think in the same way. That would be a fitting description of Mary
Horvatincic and the company she has co-founded in BlueSky Organics.
While many people have jumped on the bandwagon in the wake of cannabis legalization,
Mary’s family is part of three generations who have been cultivating organic cannabis in the
form of hemp in fertile valleys of Croatia since the 1920s. She proudly recalls the memory of a
hemp spinning wheel that her grandmother used to spin hemp fibres into clothes for her
family. Hemp and cannabis are not just products of a business venture; it is part of who Mary is.
Mary has a proven knack for recognizing market trends. In the 2010s, she co-founded an
innovative electric boat company in the Okanagan called, Infinyte Marine, at a time when Tesla
Motors only had one model of an electric car. Mary also showcased her entrepreneurial skills
by pitching the electric boat company on Dragon’s Den.
Mary has stayed ahead of the curve and continues to provide visionary leadership with BlueSky
Organics as a leading nutrients supplier of the commercial cannabis industry. She has been a
pioneer in the organic cultivation movement since 1999.
It is the mission of BlueSky Organics to share their passion, growing expertise and to support
the organic growing movement. Awareness and education are paramount to creating a more
sustainable world in which cannabis will play a huge part in the social and economic landscape.
The goal is not just to strengthen the cannabis industry, but to build a better, organic world.
An impassioned believer that the processes of our agriculture will dictate the quality of our nutrition and the sustainability of our future, Tanner has long been an advocate for, and entrepreneur in, Canada’s vertical farming and aquaponics industry.
In 2005 he moved from New Brunswick to Alberta seeking new opportunities; which is exactly what he found. Wasting no time, he founded and established a construction company in 2007 that performed over 110 million dollars in projects in its first eight years. After 13 years he remains the founder and major shareholder in Field-Max Industrial that continues to operate in Alberta today.
His passion for business and his interest in sustainable agricultural practices have led him to become an investor and interim CEO of an indoor vertical aquaponics farm for over 5 years, and the executive producer of an award-winning environmental documentary: The Need To GROW.
His investments in agricultural technology and love for cannabis have culminated in the founding of Stewart Farms, where he is currently the CEO. Stewart Farms is constructing a state-of-the-art, indoor aquaponics facility with 100,000 square feet and 40-foot-high potential for vertical farming to grow organic, sustainable cannabis in St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
Tanner has a deep passion for our health and wellness industry and organic, sustainable and regenerative farming practices. These principals form the foundation of Stewart Farms and they are only just getting started.
Jodi McDonald is the President & Founder of Keystone Labs Inc. Keystone Labs was incorporated in 2005 and in August 2015, acquired a Health Canada controlled substance license to conduct cannabis testing. Jodi has a background in clinical and microbiology sciences and her passion is bridging the gap between analytical and microbial sciences and the medical cannabis industry to help improve the quality of medicinal cannabis products being used by patients.
Anoo Solomon is the owner of CannaProtect IPM Solutions which offers customized IPM consulting
services across North America for cannabis companies.
Anoo is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Cannabis. Dedicated Scientist and Educator providing full-spectrum application and consulting to ensure the healthiest and cleanest crops. She educates staff on the fundamentals of pathology and entomology to create universal awareness while working with the plants. She works with design and construction teams at the drafting phase of new and existing facilities to ensure all contamination risk factors and deficiencies are addressed to minimize crop loss. Anoo is well-versed in plant propagation, grafting, soil health and nutrition, plant production under field, greenhouse, garden and container conditions, food and agriculture legislation and regulations, Quality Assurance and Compliance, GMP, GPP and proper sanitation practices to mitigate contamination and HACCP planning.
She has extensive experience within the Canadian Cannabis Industry and comprehension of the Canadian Cannabis Act (formerly ACMPR)/Cannabis Regulations. She has worked for one of the largest global cannabis Licensed Producers on a multi-site scale as well as multiple start-up facilities.
In a laboratory setting, Anoo has implemented microbial testing for pathogens within the plant genetics. She has performed trials on the use of approved chemicals and their effects on cannabis under various environmental conditions.
Anoo teaches IPM, Plant Pathology and Entomology for the Commercial Cannabis Production Program at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Rudi is the co-founder and CEO of Habitat Craft Cannabis, leading strategy, vision and business
development. Rudi has a deep passion and a long history of building regenerative agriculture and sustainable protein businesses. Before Habitat, Rudi was the CEO of Turtle Valley Bison Co, raising and producing sustainable bison products. The realization was that running a ranch was as much about ensuring the health of the
ecosystem for the bison as it was about raising the bison themselves. With extensive
experience building profitable companies with a positive social mandate, Rudi Scheibel is dedicated to delivering consumers organic cannabis that is industry-leading in quality, price and sustainability.
Brittny Anderson, M.Sc.
Brittny, a co-founder and Director of Operations of The Cannabis Conservancy, grew up in Canada’s cannabis capital, Nelson BC. In 2018, she was elected to serve as a Councillor for the City of Nelson and is the Alternate Director for the Regional District of Central Kootenay. She has had a lifelong interest in the cultivation and legalization of Cannabis. Her interest in corporate environmental practices was reinforced while working in Canada’s oil sands with a small contractor at Suncor, the first company to develop the oil sands, which inspired her to pursue an internship on Vandana Shiva’s seed saving farm in India and an M.Sc. in Environmental Science and Policy. Brittny's expertise includes policy development and implementation, environmental education and scientific research. Before serving full time with The TCC she was the Environmental Technologist for the Regional District of Central Kootenay. Her professional focus includes resource conservation, resource recovery, and agriculture. She currently sits on the National Cannabis Industry Associations' Facility Design Committee.
Local Cannabinoid Company
Jennifer has indulged her love of science in many different roles – as a biology and chemistry teacher, as a scientific consultant for a plaintiff pharmaceutical law firm and most recently in quality assurance, compliance, licensing and regulatory affairs in the cannabis industry. Jenn was an integral member of the original Peace Naturals team that achieved the first new medical cannabis license in Canada under the MMPR/ACMPR where she acted as the Vice President of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs. She has helped many applicants with licensing, quality and compliance issues in her time as a consultant and now leads the team at Local Cannabinoid Company, a cannabinoid
extraction facility in Barrie, Ontario. Jennifer has been intimately involved in all aspects of the day to day operations of a licensed cannabis facility including Good Production/Manufacturing Practices, product specifications and release, licensing, Regulatory liaison with Health Canada, standard operating procedure development, education/outreach, research and development, curriculum development and training.
Andrew Freedman is the first real " Cannabis Sommelier & quot; his focus on pairing cannabis, beer, cocktail, wine and gastronomy are completely unique and original.
Andrew worked in the cannabis trade for over a decade. Noticing that there was a lack of
scientific language for describing cannabis he became very interested in blind tasting wine.
His expertise in growing and extracting cannabis led to a passion for viticulture and oenology.
He soon found himself living on a vineyard working as a cellar hand at an estate winery. While honing his palate he became a WSET 3 and one of few Canadian Wine Scholars.
Andrews passion for cannabis and wine led him to begin teaching what he had learned and
created " The Cannabis Sommelier" YouTube channel.
Andrew currently teaches seminars about cannabis and wine pairing, cannabis cocktails and
cannabis dining. Andrew is one of the first people in the world certified by the American Culinary Federation in Cannabis Cuisine & Edibles. Andrew also hosts and presents cannabis
dining events across North America.
Andrew has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter, LA Weekly, Hightimes, The Globe & Mail and many more.
Bill Vasilakakos was born into an agricultural family in Sparta, Greece. He split his time between Montreal and his home country where he gained extensive knowledge and experience in both large scale agricultural production as well as cannabis cultivation across Canada.
He applied his post-secondary education and experience as a Medical Cannabis Consultant to licenced MMAR/ACMPR medical patients across Canada since 2001. More recently Bill applied his expertise across Europe and gained the crucial
knowledge and experience that led him back to Canada and to his current position at BOAZ Craft Cannabis in Calgary.
Bill (Master Grower) is one part of the original “Boaz Team” with David Isaak (CEO/President), Bethan Rider (QAP) and Esther Isaak (CFO). Supported by some of the most amazing
and passionate people in the industry, they accomplished to smash Canadian records by being awarded a “Cultivation License” within
10 months, 22 days of submitting their application, followed by the ever so elusive “Sales Licence” just 11 months later.
His education, knowledge and experience have allowed him to create some of the most unique, interesting and exclusive cultivars on any market. He brings his unique approach to BOAZ
where under his direction, cannabis is grown to the highest quality standards which rival the best growers in the world at one of the lowest operational costs per gram in the country.
Now two years as Master Grower in the Canadian legal market, Bill has quite a few stories and adventures to share. Much happens along the road to navigating and adjusting to remain
within compliance in our ever-changing industry. He is looking forward to sharing his knowledge with like-minded individuals. Also, quite honored to have this opportunity to learn from and
brainstorm with some of this industry’s best and brightest individuals.
Laura Doell, B. Sc
Grow Summit Speaker Laura Doell is Director, ICM (Integrated Crop Management) at Sundial Cannabis, an indoor Alberta cannabis cultivator. Laura has over 20 years experience with greenhouses and IPM including indoor cannabis ICM. Doell has taught the fundamentals of IPM to everyone from Growers to crop workers and played an essential role in crop protection in cannabis including a past consultant role
with Tilray (Nanaimo) cannabis and various Sundial Cannabis facilities including: affiliated licensed nursery in Lethbridge, AB, Sundial’s research facility in Rocky View, AB and Sundial’s flagship facility in Olds, Alberta. Sundial’s flagship facility is fully built with 470,000 square feet of growing space in modular individualized rooms. Doell prevents and manages plant virus, plant disease and pest insects that potentially threaten crops. Laura has roots in SK, BC and AB. Experience includes:
Bachelor of Science Degree, major Plant Sciences from University of Saskatchewan.
University of SK greenhouses to begin, then Saskatchewan’s large commercial tree seedling greenhouses (PRT, Shand Greenhouses)
Assistant Grower, Origin O’ Organics, Delta BC (previously South Alder Greenhouses) (13 acres)
IPM Manager, Windset Farms, Delta, BC (68 acres)
Bio-control Consultant and Technical Rep for the Lower Mainland, BC with Biobest (previously The Bug Factory) (covering greenhouse operations from Delta to North Van and all the way out to Hope, BC…)
Fill-in Greenhouse Manager, Institute for Sustainable Horticulture, Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley, BC at the research greenhouse
Doell believes Science and Art rely on each other. During above mentioned time in BC, Doell also sold her own original paintings at Granville Island in Vancouver and fine art shows downtown Vancouver, BC. Robert Bateman chose Laura’s “Spirit in the Water” painting as a Winner of a Greenpeace Canada’s
“Save the Great Bear Rainforest” contest. Art can be viewed at “lauradoell.com”.
After moving to Vancouver Island and taking a few years off to raise enfant twins, Laura joined Tilray in Nanaimo - as a Production Consultant. After Tilray, Laura relocated with family to Olds, Alberta to build Sundial’s Health Canada compliant Integrated Crop Management department (ICM) from the ground-up
starting in early 2018 including over 28 new SOPs. Doell also developed the cannabis ICM curriculum for the Olds College in Alberta. Sundial grew from less than 30 staff to over 1000 staff in just over one year.
Doell is also a Security Cleared Individual and currently remains in this role with Sundial Growers
Jeff Ord is Cannabis At Work’s entrepreneurially spirited VP of Accounts & Relationships. Jeff has leveraged his unique ability to forge meaningful connections and built cannabis community from coast-to-coast. With a decade of experience helping small organizations grow, Jeff is passionate about creating space & place for people to become the best versions of themselves. Jeff has been hosting The Roll Call - a series of in person and online events designed to connect cannabis colleagues through conversations about gratitude.
Jeff previously served as the Executive Director of Freestyle Skiing Ontario where he led organizational transformation to service all levels of its community while also developing Olympic champions. Jeff also holds an MSc in Environmental Science, and was a partner in Envirotechnics Consulting, based in British Columbia, where he leveraged environmental monitoring contracts to help build capacity within northern First Nations communities. In his free time Jeff is an avid skier, surfer and traveler. He is also an active member of the global Burning Man community.
Kirk Tousaw is the CEO of Great Gardener Farms, Ltd., a cannabis company based on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He has been a cannabis policy consultant, lawyer and legalization advocate for decades. As a lawyer, Kirk won several ground-breaking cannabis cases, including a unanimous victory at the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Smith, establishing patient’s Charter rights to non-smoked forms of medical cannabis and as co-counsel in Allard v Canada, confirming a medical patient’s constitutional right to produce cannabis for their own use.
In recognition of his work and advocacy on behalf of medical cannabis patients and providers, Kirk was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on January 24, 2013 by Canada at the nomination of the late Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, chair of the Senate's Special Committee on Cannabis Policy.
Kirk is a father of four, husband of one and volunteers regularly coaching youth sports in his local community.
You can find Kirk @kirktousaw on Twitter and Instagram and Great Gardener Farms @greatgardenerfarms and
Thamy Sriskandakumar, PhD
Formulation Scientist and Scientific Advisor of CoTerra Labs
Thamy Sriskandakumar received her Ph.D. in Bioinorganic Chemistry from the University of British Columbia, Canada and M.Sc. in material chemistry from the University of Connecticut, CT, USA. Her diverse background in complex inorganic materials, metal-based nutrients and
metal interactions with biomolecules is the core strength. She is passionate about green chemistry approaches to solving critical pharmaceutical, environmental and agricultural issues.
Thamy brings success through a combination of technological leadership and multiple research and business collaborations from commercial labs, research institutes, government authorities to small startup companies globally.
Currently, Thamy is working with CoTerra Labs and OCION Water Sciences to expanding its formulation line and investigating the molecular mechanism of the products on specific pests’ control. Her research focuses on finding the correlation between micro metal nutrients and yield
increases as well as expressions of cannabinoids in the final products. She also works with international regulatory agencies such as Health Canada, EPA and EU to obtain broad applicability and recognition for the products. When Thamy was a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at UBC, she collaborated with CoTerra Labs and OCION Water Sciences. Her studies
investigated the chemistry and biological mechanism of Harvest Miracle from molecular level using state of the art synchrotron radiation techniques at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. Her understanding of the product led her now lead the research and product
development division of CoTerra Labs and OCION Water Sciences. Dr. Sriskandakumar has published her research work in international journals and given
presentations at national and international conferences. She performed her molecular research works at Canadian Light Source and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source.
Andrew Lauchlan is the owner/operator of “Free Bird Organics or FBO”, an organic craft legacy cultivation company located in Nelson, BC.
Integrity is a primary and fundamental core value in Andrew’s company and way of life. His aim is to pursue quality while always seeking to raise standards to produce a beautiful, efficacious and truly honest product.
FBO is passionately focused on the artistry of Cannabis Cultivation and being a leading supplier of Cannabis, both to the medical patients seeking medical and therapeutic benefits, and to the recreational connoisseur clients, looking for the taste and smoothness of high end organic flower and extracts.
Free Bird Organics hand selected high terpene and cannabinoid rich phenotypes and strains are grown indoors on state of the art stainless steel rolling tables that hold large cloth beds which contains organic living soil as the medium. FBO uses no-till organic agronomy methods. No pesticides are ever used! Instead, we work with nature and science to bring our plants to their full potential while inducing natural health and resilience via a strict organic regime.
“Our IPM (integrated Pest Management) system which entails a clean & efficient working environment, constant scouting, organic foliar teas and predator mites is but one of our secrets to producing such beautiful products.
FBO grows in Organic Living Soil beds, primarily using water, and naturally occurring organic inputs such as minerals, bacteria, fungi & sugars, to name a few. Cover crops of clover and the thousands of worms in the Living Soil beds are what is primarily use to add nitrogen to the plants.
Andrew was a former international Rugby player, having represented Canada around the world in the IRB Rugby 7’s circuit for over 5 years, and also played professionally in New Zealand and Australia. He was a forest fire fighter for 5 years, then became a commercial tree faller and ran a dangerous tree falling company as well as an arborist company for a number of years. He was a Crossfit competitor and owner of a Crossfit gym ‘Nelson PrimalFit’. He still trains daily, and is an avid skier, paddle boarder, soccer coach and player which he enjoys all of these activities with his wife and two daughters.
Remo is a grower and a medical cannabis patient, based in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada. Back in 2001, he became one of the first people in Canada to be allowed to grow cannabis at home and carry it on himself legally, for medicinal purposes. Since then, he has been teaching people to grow safely and legally and has been producing cannabis content on Youtube channel since 2006 (). Remo had been involved with testifying in the constitutional court case that protected the patients legal right to grow their own cannabis.
He has entered many cannabis growing competitions around the world and been awarded dozens of trophies for his skills.
In 2014 he came out with his own nutrient line based on his own growing knowledge and preferences, “Remo Nutrients”, which quickly gained traction due to his already established online presence.
The REMO brand was founded by Remo Colasanti, known online as “Urban Remo”, as he was one of the first people to ever start posting cannabis content online. As a medical patient and grower, he has been growing his own cannabis for decades and is world-renowned for his cannabis growing skills. In 2014 he came out with his own nutrient line based on his own growing knowledge and preferences, “Remo Nutrients”, which quickly gained traction due to his already established online presence.
Sandra Colasanti, Remo
Sandra’s involvement in the cannabis industry began in the 90s, when her husband, Remo “Urban Remo” Colasanti, was involved in a car accident that left him with a debilitating back injury. After trying many types of prescription drugs that just made him unable to function, he and Sandra looked into cannabis as a way of treating his symptoms and found that it not only helped with his back pain but also allowed him to function daily with a clear head. In 2001, when cannabis became legal in Canada for medical use, Remo (with the help and extensive research done by Sandra) became one of the first people in Canada to be granted a license to grow his medicine at home, possess it, and consume it. Sandra is now the president of REMO Brands Inc, which produces and sells their nutrient line, Remo Nutrients.
Sandra has been an incredibly vocal advocate for patients since then. This includes her involvement in the constitutional challenge in 2014 - the government was being required to create a program to have and provide more access to cannabis for patients. Their proposed solution was to have all medical cannabis come from large commercial gardens, which in turn would take away the patients’ right to grow their own medicine. The idea was that it would be safer and better if people weren’t growing in their homes. With a group of patients, Sandra decided to put together a constitutional challenge and fight them – she set out to prove, as she had been doing for the past 10+ years by then, that cannabis CAN be grown at home SAFELY and EFFECTIVELY, and that patients should be given the option to grow at home themselves or purchase from a commercial facility if they choose. Sandra, along with some other patients and advocates, created the MMAR Coalition Against Repeal, for which she worked as treasurer and donated hundreds of hours of her time and assisted in raising almost $250,000 for legal fees. They ended up winning (at least for now) – which resulted in patients being able to retain their right to grow their own medicine.
Av Singh, PhD, PAg
Cannabis Cultivation Advisor
Av Singh is one of the leading authorities on organic cannabis production. After completing his post-doc at the University of Minnesota on pasture-based livestock production, Singh worked at the Organic Agriculture Centre of Canada and served as the Organic and Small-Scale Farming Specialist in Nova Scotia, for over 15 years, and recently held the Just Us! Chair in Small Farm Sustainability.
Dr. Singh has authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers, chapters, and extension articles and has been an invited speaker to over 500 workshops, conferences, symposia as well as guest-lecturing at over 30 universities in Canada, the US, the UK, and India. Av has had the privilege of visiting over 2000 farms across five continents which has shaped his extension of holistic, system-based design solutions.
Emphasizing a union of traditional knowledge with science, Av works with growers to cultivate an appreciation of plant: soil interrelationships.
Currently, Av and his colleague Randy Flemming
serve as Cultivation Advisors within the cannabis
industry www.fs-cannabis.com. Av is also the
Commercial Science Specialist at Greenstar Plant
Products Inc. , the Chief Science Officer with Green Gorilla
the Chief Agricultural Scientist at BetraLif, the Chief Soil Scientist at CaliCann (Colombia) and formerly served as the Chief Agronomist with the American Cannabis Company, helping to develop the High Times Magazine’s STASH Award-winning super soil.
Av has recently been appointed to the Cannabis Quality Assurance (CQA) Standards Committee and is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, and was identified as one of the Top 50 Heroes shaping the Canadian Cannabis sector by High! Canada Magazine. Av serves on several Scientific Advisory Boards - Orion Cannabis; Bloom Genic; SolarGram; Infernotions; PlanC BioPharm;
ArcticPharm; EndoBiotics; 7 Farms Down; Cannabis Farms; Tailor-Made Extracts and Organic Grow Solutions. Av is a frequent speaker and advisory board member at MJBizCon, LIFT, O’Cannabiz, and the Grow Up Conferences.
Lastly, Av is also serving as the Vice-President of the Canadian Organic Growers and is proud to be a member of Slow Food Canada, Food Secure Canada and the National Farmers’ Union. Av is also a faculty member at Earth University (www.navdanya.org) in India where he delivers courses on agroecology and organic farming.
av @ fs-cannabis.com
Micheline Gravelle is a partner with Bereskin & Parr LLP. She is also the co-leader of the Cannabis practice group and leader of the Life Sciences and Plant Breeders’ Rights practice groups. Her practice focuses on assessing new technologies, preparing and prosecuting patent applications worldwide, and conducting due diligence analyses and providing strategic advice on patent portfolios. Micheline stays at the forefront of the life sciences industry, regularly contributes to various publications, and is a frequent speaker on the issues that affect IP in the industry. She is recognized as a top-tier professional in both national and international industry publications. In 2019, Micheline was recognized among MIP’s Top 250 Women in IP, and in 2017 as the Canadian Patent Non-Contentious Attorney of the Year by LMG Life Sciences.
Travis has been cultivating cannabis for 20-plus years in British Columbia and has been a strong advocate for pesticide-free, sun-grown, living soil production. He has been involved in the founding of numerous small cannabis businesses over the past decade, and teaches courses on cannabis cultivation and operations at Camosun College on Vancouver Island.
His current ventures include Levity Solutions, a multipurpose consultancy focused on cultivation and science, and Inside the Jar, a grass roots no-nonsense media company. He also has a handful of projects seeking federal micro-licensing, and works to impact policy through the BC Independent Cannabis Association.
Andrea Keddy, Koppert
Andrea Keddy has worked in the greenhouse industry for over 15 years, with 9 years specializing in biological control in crops. Raised in the East coast, she has lived and worked in the industry across Canada. She is passionate about helping growers develop IPM programs and teaching the fundamentals of pest management. With over 5 years direct experience in Cannabis crops specifically, she now manages the western Canada cannabis crops for Koppert Biological Systems and is excited to be partnered with industry leaders and producers as they grow forward.
Shannon Ross is a cannabis advisor at Community Futures Central Kootenay, in the heart of Canada’s legacy cannabis culture in Nelson, BC. She has twenty years’ experience in the cannabis industry and managing commercial organic farms. She is particularly passionate about sustainable agricultural practices, helping cannabis facilities improve production, reduce input costs and increasing profits while caring for the long term health of people and the planet.
Shannon and her team provide licensing and business planning support for the cannabis industry in the Kootenay’s. She is an advocate for the craft industry and the region’s cultivators, recognizing the areas unique culture, knowledge base and history. Shannon has been working in the field of health and wellness since graduating as a herbalist from Douglas College in 1997. She has extensive knowledge of organic farming and local food systems and envisions the holistic use of the plant as fibre, food and medicine, free from the stigma created by prohibition.
Currently, Shannon is developing a Cannabis Economic Task Force in the Central Kootenay region. Comprised of legacy stakeholders, Regional, Municipal and Provincial Government the task force will provide a regional strategy for cannabis sector economic development and policy reform. The task force strives to provide clear industry representation to inform the government on proposed changes that affect cannabis stakeholders and the industry. It is suspected that the task force will demonstrate the leadership of the Kootenay region between all levels of government and stakeholders to shape the future of the legal cannabis economy. She also is a member of Nelson’s Women in Cannabiz and the Kootenay United Cannabis Association. Coming from the legacy community Shannon understands the deep cultural thread of the cannabis movement and is an active advocate for a fair transition.
Goncalves da Silva
Dr. Anders Goncalves da Silva, Chief Bioinformatics Officer of Lighthouse Genomics, is passionate about finding ways to use genetic data to inform better decision making. Since receiving his Ph.D. from Columbia University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2007, Dr. Goncalves da Silva has used his skills to help inform decision making in conservation biology, fisheries management, wildlife disease monitoring and public health. He is currently applying his expertise in genetic analysis to Cannabis sativa.
Dr. Goncalves da Silva has experience designing, implementing, and accrediting Bioinformatics workflows and pipelines for public health. At Lighthouse Genomics, Dr. Goncalves da Silva brings the same high levels of standards needed for public health to the Cannabis industry. He leads the development of Bioinformatic workflows that are fully reproducible, traceable, and validated to ensure their reliability, accuracy, and precision. In addition to work in support of breeders, Dr. Goncalves da Silva is designing genetic identity authentication and certification to pipelines to support business processes and consumer access to a consistent product.
Traci Woodward is a Quality Assurance consultant in the Cannabis Industry.
Traci has worked in the Cannabis industry for more than 3 years, and previously in the regulated GMP Pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, working around the world, including several years
internationally in both England and Switzerland.
Traci has worked with both Aurora Cannabis and Flowr Corporation as the Senior Director of Quality, providing leadership and facilitating the implementation of strong internal systems to create consistencies, and ensuring premium quality product to the market.
Traci knows that with robust Quality Management Systems, Cannabis companies can most effectively evolve within this new industry, by ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and strategically improving business efficiencies.
Traci is a QAP and Certified Quality Auditor who has a Laboratory and Biological Sciences background. She also holds an MBA in Community Economic Development from Cape Breton University.
Dr. Steven Newmaster
Professor Genomics/Metabolomics; Director, NHP Research Alliance, University of Guelph, Canada
Abstract: Cannabis strains are not defined scientifically, nor have they been characterized and classified using scientifically validated methods. This presents a challenge for distributors, manufactures and retailers who seek to develop a system for measuring quality assurance and control for consistent brands with Cannabis ingredients. The risk of brand damage is considerable if you do not know how to characterize your ingredient. One solution involves the use of Omic’s based molecular biotechnology that enables a standard operating protocol to verify product identity throughout the supply chain to ensure all stakeholders that products are authentic. Genomic and chemical fingerprints provide retailers with criteria to measure reduced health risk while providing a chemical profile that is associated with strain traits. Consumers will be able to access evidenced-based tests that alleviate health safety concerns while providing confidence in the authentic, consistent brands they seek for a healthy lifestyle.
Biography: Dr Newmaster has been a botany & genomics professor at the University of Guelph, Canada for 20 years and currently the Director of the NHP Research Alliance. He conducts research on medicinal plants with more than 120 publications and $20 million in R&D funding. Currently he is leading international research on molecular diagnostic tools for NHP authentication in botanical ingredients used in food, nutritional supplements, medicinal plants and natural health products. His R&D has resulted in the development of policy on biodiversity, and International trade of botanicals including product authentication certification within the food and natural product industry within Canada, USA, Europe and Asia. He advises on the authentication of herbal products to regulators and is developing new QA/QC industry standards for testing natural ingredient authenticity. He is one of the founders for the world’s first ingredient identity certification program (TRU-ID/Purity-IQ), which has processed over 30 million natural ingredients in the USA, Canada, E.U and Asia. His current research focuses on Cannabis genomics and metabolomics. This research has resulted in development of the Global Cannabis Registry for cultivars, which is assembling genetic and chemical fingerprints that characterize Cannabis cultivars, define chemical traits that enable quality assurance systems and marker assisted breeding programs for consistent products/brands.
Alison McMahon is the Founder & CEO of Cannabis At Work. Founded in 2015, Cannabis At Work is the leading source in Canada for cannabis jobs, recruitment services, online industry training, and HR consulting services. Alison’s work has been featured in The Washington Post, The Globe & Mail, Huffington Post, Financial Post, CBC, Business News Network (BNN), Leafly and by many other media outlets.
Cannabis At Work has significant experience working in the regulated cannabis sector with Licensed Producers and Applicants, ancillary businesses and the retail sector. Cannabis At Work was the first to receive a government contract for retail staffing services from the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation.
In addition to recruitment services, Cannabis At Work also provided education to employers on cannabis legalization and advised on drug policy changes.
Alison was a term instructor for 5 years at the MacEwan School of Business in Edmonton, and she is a former board member with the Human Resources Institute of Alberta. She is a Mentor for the Leaf Forward cannabis incubator, and previously served on the Board of Directors for Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM). Alison is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) and holds a Bachelor of Human Resources & Labour Relations (B.HRLR).
Jon is an MMAR Grower & Hobby Farmer from rural Manitoba. He started cultivating cannabis & making concentrates in 1996.
In 2001, he opened his first retail hydroponic store followed by an online hydroponic wholesale store in 2003 selling growing supplies all across North America. This created an extensive network of growers and knowledge.
In 2006 Jon bought 100 acres and had the opportunity to cultivate another kind of grass for 5 years, Kentucky Blue Grass.
In 2012 Jon joined the MMAR program as both a patient and a designated grower & began growing cannabis legally for the first time. This provided a chance to conduct R&D with different grow supplies while being able to provide cannabis at no cost to patients.
In 2014 Jon was hired as a Master Grower in the licensed producer world and was blessed with the opportunity to cultivate cannabis at a commercial level for 5 years.
Presently he can be found doing R&D on his farm in his cannabis garden and enjoying life to the fullest, surrounded by furry friends on the farm.
As a lifelong cannabis champion and enthusiast, Sasha Okyere is a leading expert in cannabis extraction with a deep appreciation for sustainability and innovative solutions. Formerly the Vice President of Processing at Sundial Growers, Sasha has perceptively led cross-functional teams for over 20 years to design world-class processing facilities across numerous organizations. He is passionate in developing first-rate standard operation procedures (SOPs) and is dedicated to propelling businesses forward through continuous quality improvement. Sasha continues to serve as a multidisciplinary consultant in the cannabis industry, delivering industry leading expertise on processing, production, and product development.
Kieley Beaudry is a 25 year cannabis consumer and has been a cannabis educator and entrepreneur for the past 4 years. She co-founded Parkland Flower Inc in 2018 to start a micro-cultivation in Edmonton, Alberta. As she started going through the process of applying for a licence, she realized there were no organizations to support small operators in the space, thus founded The Alberta Cannabis Micro Licence Association to help fill that gap. With an incredible board of industry professionals from across Alberta, they work with the AGLC to help small operators navigate this confusing and ever-changing landscape.
If you’re a micro licence holder, applicant, or just interested in the craft cannabis sector in Alberta, this session is for you! Kieley will be discussing the challenges she and many other micro applicants have faced while entering this new industry.