Courtesy of Lift Magazine
The Hydropothecary, a Quebec licensed medical cannabis producer announced two significant new hires to their team today to help with government relations. Terry Lake, the former Minister of Health for British Columbia, and Pierre Killeen from Hill+Knowlton Strategies have both signed on with the Gatineau-based cannabis company.
Killeen is now the Hydopothecary’s VP of Corporate Communications and Government Relations, and Lake is the cannabis producer’s new Vice-President of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Both new hires have considerable experience that should likely serve the cannabis producer well as they navigate the changing medical cannabis program and the expected implementation of legal adult-use cannabis via passage of the Cannabis Act.
Lake served as BC’s Minister of Health from 2013 to 2017 and BC’s Minister of Environment from 2011 to 2013, as well as an MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson for two years prior. He also served as city councillor and then mayor for Kamloops BC. Killeen has extensive experience in business development and government relations, serving as, among many other positions, VP of Nanos Research, VP of Public Engagement with Thornley Fallis Communications, and VP & Deputy Audience Leader with Hill+Knowlton Strategies, where he pioneered the agency’s digital advocacy practice.
Lake, who served as BC’s Minister of Health under the former Premier Christy Clark during a rising opioid crisis, as well as at a time of unprecedented proliferation of cannabis dispensaries in the province, says he is excited to continue his work in public health in his new role with the Hydropothecary, and to help build positive relationships with important stakeholders.
“The move to legalize marijuana is the biggest public policy shift we’ve seen in Canada for a very long time. Working with Hydropothecary, there is great potential to have a positive impact on public health through legalization,” says Lake.
“I’m looking forward to developing and implementing strategies related to social issues, and ensuring that the environment and public health are core values in everything we do.”
As the former Minister of Health in BC, Lake saw firsthand the rise of the opioid crisis and says he’s interested in the potential for cannabis to help ease the problem.
“There is promising research that points to a marijuana substitution effect that will reduce the amount of opioids that people require. My hope is that the new legislation, together with the de-stigmatization of cannabis, will unlock a new wave of innovative research and financial support for trials investigating the science behind the medical use of cannabis.”
Although supportive of Vancouver’s efforts at regulating dispensaries, Lake has said that Health Canada’s medical cannabis program, the ACMPR, should be modified to to include over the counter sales in outlets like pharmacies but not dispensaries, instead of limiting it to the current mail-order system. Lake has also said in the past that recreational cannabis in BC should potentially be sold through government or privately-run liquor stores, although he has said it should be done through a separate counter.
Still, he says he’s sympathetic to cities like Vancouver and Victoria that have