Cannabis Essentials

Cannabis Essentials: Grow your skill set, cannabis photo in the background

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Our unique suite of cannabis courses provides you with essential skills for success in Canada's hottest new industry!

Designed and delivered by industry experts, our three courses prepare you with the business, regulatory, and plant science fundamentals that will help you start your own business or join an expanding team.

CZEN 420 The Business of Cannabis

Downtown Campus – Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
Brampton Campus – Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Building on Ryerson’s expertise in entrepreneurship education, this course includes industry guest speakers who will discuss a range of topics, including financing for cannabis businesses and the complex regulations pertaining to the cultivation, processing, distribution, marketing, and selling of cannabis. Students will also create a business plan and participate in a site tour.

New for Fall 2019

CZLW 420 Cannabis Law for Business

Downtown Campus – Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Taught by cannabis legal expert Rick Moscone, this course provides an understanding of the cannabis industry’s complex regulatory environment, which is essential for strategic business decision-making. Students will interpret important legislation from a business perspective and examine how to effectively bring cannabis products (including edibles) to market by considering various issues, including marketing and advertising, intellectual property, and import/export.

CKBG 420 The Science of Cannabis

Downtown Campus – Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Grounded in plant anatomy and physiology, this introductory-level course provides students with knowledge of the science of cannabis and its direct application to law and business. Cultivation practices are examined, including plant breeding, genetics, and environmental elements (lighting, water, climate, and pest control). To understand cannabinoid therapies, concepts in pharmaceutical chemistry and medicine are also introduced.

  • People who are seeking entry- or intermediate-level functional positions in the cannabis industry and want to increase their employability
  • Entrepreneurs seeking the essential knowledge and skills to start their own legal cannabis business

Our cannabis course offerings are taught by instructors who are industry experts and working professionals in the cannabis industry. This ensures course material is current and relevant.

In addition to your instructor’s expertise, you will learn from our impressive industry advisors (listed below) who have helped design our suite of courses. Many of these senior leaders visit our courses as guest speakers, offering real-world insight into the opportunities and challenges faced when working in this highly regulated, fast-changing industry. Face-to-face Q&A with diverse industry experts is a valuable learning opportunity and unique networking experience.

All of our courses emphasize applied learning. Assessments include a business plan (CZEN 420), a marketing plan (CZLW 420), and translating scientific writing into common language (CKBG 420).

In The Business of Cannabis (CZEN 420), you will:

  • apply entrepreneurship principles, such as opportunity identification and evaluation, lean methods, and bootstrapping, to the business of cannabis
  • understand the history of cannabis prohibition and the path to legalization (including the major legal decisions affecting the industry) in order to better understand how industry regulation is expected to evolve over time
  • understand how a typical cannabis business is financed
  • identify the trade-offs between financing options and the basic rules governing cannabis accounting under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
  • gain exposure to marketing regulations

In Cannabis Law for Business (CZLW 420), you will:

  • become familiar with the federal Cannabis Act and the opportunities available for a cannabis business in Canada, including cultivation (standard/micro), processing (standard/micro), and marketing and distribution businesses
  • understand how to strategize marketing effectiveness in a highly-regulated environment
  • examine provincial and municipal cannabis legislation and how it intersects and compliments the Cannabis Act, including an examination of indigenous matters
  • develop strategies around protecting intellectual property for a cannabis business
  • understand how CBD-infused products and hemp production are regulated under applicable legislation
  • understand the regulatory framework of the emerging marketplace for cannabis edibles, including various product categories such as vaping and beverages

In The Science of Cannabis (CKBG 420), you will:

  • understand basic cannabis nomenclature, general botany, and taxonomy, as well as the evolutionary role of cannabis in medicine and society
  • understand cannabis plant science, including:
    • cannabinoids/terpenes
    • psychoactive versus non-psychoactive properties
    • propagation
    • genetics
    • product formulations
  • be familiar with medical cannabis applications, including:
    • medical-specific regulations
    • DIN versus Authorization to Possess
    • dosing
    • future outlooks for medical cannabis
  • Rick Moscone, Partner, Fogler, Rubinoff LLP
  • Steve Naraine, Founder, Æther Research
  • Brad Poulos, Lecturer, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Ryerson University
  • Neev Tapiero, Lecturer and Author of CannaBiz: Big Business Opportunities in the New Multibillion Dollar Marijuana Industry

The following contributed their expertise to the course development of CZEN 420: The Business of Cannabis.

John B. AirdJohn B. Aird, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Olli Brands, Inc.

John receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto’s Trinity College in 2003, and started his career as a senior advisor in the Office of the Premier of Ontario. He is a career entrepreneur who has been working in the Canadian medical cannabis industry since its infancy. Since 2014, John has successfully assisted numerous applicants in becoming licensed producers under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. From 2016 to 2018, John acted as a management consultant for Aphria Inc., overseeing Corporate & Regulatory Affairs along with certain international business development activities. In 2017, John acted as Managing Director for Nuuvera Canada – which is now owned by Aprhia – and played an integral role in developing their domestic and international strategy. John is a former director of the both the Canadian Cannabis Association (CCA) and ARA – Avanti Rx Analytics, one of the only Canadian GMP-certified cannabis laboratories. John is the co-founder of two Canadian businesses – Olli Brands Inc., a cannabis-infused tea and edibles company, and Cannoe Corp., a premier independent cannabis retailer.

Alex BlumensteinAlex Blumenstein, CEO and Co-Founder, Leaf Forward

Alex helps early-stage cannabis companies grow – sometimes grow cannabis, but most of the time, grow their businesses. Prior to founding Leaf Forward, Alex held a senior role at an Ontario-based licensed producer of cannabis; dabbled in politics, helping to elect the mayor of Toronto; ran a public affairs strategy firm; and worked at the Embassy of Canada to the United States in Washington, D.C. Alex spends a lot of time on his bike, riding mostly short, sometimes medium, and occasionally long distances.

Rami ChalabiRami Chalabi, Partner, Business Law Group, McCarthy Tétrault LLP

Rami Chalabi is a partner in McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Business Law Group in Toronto and a member of the firm’s national Cannabis Group. He has a dynamic corporate commercial practice and is an expert in guiding businesses through complex transactions. Rami advises a range of clients across the cannabis industry and is resolute in helping them identify and pursue strategic growth opportunities. He works to actively forge business partnerships between Canadian companies looking to expand domestically and internationally, and foreign entities looking to take advantage of Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis. From emerging companies to large publicly-traded issuers, Rami is trusted by his clients to understand their business needs and defend their interests with pragmatic and strategic counsel. In addition to his expertise in cannabis law, he has extensive experience acting in a broad range of industries including mining, real estate, technology, financial services, media and telecommunications, and healthcare.

Rachel ColicRachel Colic, Founder & President, YCREATIVE

A brand strategist since 2004, Rachel Colic has blazed her reputation by digging deep to understand the ‘why’ that fuels consumer behaviour. Armed with meticulously researched and finely crafted insights, Rachel develops fully integrated brand experiences for customers, and exponential growth for businesses.

Rachel is a frequent writer and speaker on strategic branding, marketing to women and using cannabis as medicine. As chief strategist for YCREATIVE, a brand strategy and design agency specializing in the cannabis industry, Rachel works closely with Licensed Producers, cannabis start-ups and ancillary businesses throughout Canada and the United States.

Rachel is also the founder of Eves of Eden, a cannabis lifestyle and education brand for women in Canada; co-host of The High Friends podcast which is in its second season of sharing stories of women who unapologetically love cannabis; a mentor and advisor for Leaf Forward, Canada’s first cannabis business-accelerator program; Host and Producer of the newly launched cable television program Cannabis TV, which broadcasts modern cannabis education for curious Canadians every week on the CHCH network; and the founder of The BLOC (Boss Ladies of Cannabis), the global database of executive women in the cannabis industry.

David CôtéDavid Côté, Director of Retail Strategy, Canopy Growth Corporation

David serves as the Director of Retail Strategy at Canopy Growth Corporation, the first cannabis company in North America to be publicly traded, and the only cannabis company that is a member of a major global stock market index. He is credited with developing the operating model for franchising Tokyo Smoke and Tweed stores, and oversaw the planning and roll-out of Tokyo Smoke’s first retail cannabis stores across Canada. As a skilled leader and strategist, David is celebrated for his ability to enable organizational goals of brand awareness and product distribution. He earned both his Bachelor of Business Administration (HBA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western. David also brings a wealth of experience from the quick-service restaurant, consulting, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries, having spent time at Restaurant Brands International Inc. (RBI), Accenture, and SC Johnson. Today, he is applying this unique set of skills and knowledge in retail strategy to Canopy Growth’s plan to be the number one cannabis company in the world.

Alison GordonAlison Gordon, CEO, 48North Cannabis Corp

Alison is a veteran of the Canadian cannabis industry, bringing unique experiences and relationships to her role as Chief Executive Officer of 48North. As a skilled marketer, she is celebrated for her ability to shift public opinion and consumer behaviour, and has been named one of Canada’s Top 10 Marketers by Marketing Magazine. As co-founder of Rethink Breast Cancer, Alison is credited with growing a new generation of young breast cancer supporters, compelled by her ground-breaking communication and pharmaceutical expertise in the healthcare realm. Today, Alison is applying her skills to 48North’s business plan in this new era of the cannabis industry. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Cannabis Canada Council.

Bryan HendinBryan Hendin, Founder and President, Apollo Applied Research and Apollo Cannabis Clinic

Bryan Hendin is the Founder and President of Apollo Applied Research and Apollo Cannabis Clinics in Canada. Bryan is an experienced entrepreneur who thrives in dynamic environments and industries where he proves that entrepreneurial success is defined by one’s ability to evolve, adapt, and pivot, even in the face of adversity and skepticism. Bryan has founded two specialized health practices since 2012, including co-founding Allevio Healthcare; a world-class pain management center in Toronto. In 2013, Apollo was nothing more than a concept, fueled by Bryan’s intense passion to clinically prove the anecdotal evidence of patients who told him cannabis worked for their pain. To date, Apollo has worked with over 20,000 patients across Canada, as well as conducted clinical trials on the effectiveness of medical cannabis for PTSD, chronic pain, and sleep. Apollo continues to provide leadership in an emerging industry as one of Canada’s leading medical cannabis clinics treating patients nationally for their chronic health conditions. Apollo has been described as “illogical until it was brilliant” to the credit of Bryan’s tenacity.

Chris JonesChris Jones, Associate, Origin House

Chris Jones is a cannabis industry professional involved in strategy and finance who is shaping ideas with stakeholders and thought leaders across the sector, and who has played a key role in multiple cannabis-related strategic partnerships and acquisitions. Before cannabis, he led business development at a boutique law firm in Toronto; he also had roles with two global construction companies in Canada, where he successfully bid on RFQs and RFPs for multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects. In 2013, Chris graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Law and Business, from Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management and will complete an MBA degree from McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business in the fall of 2018. Chris’ business background, coupled with his extensive experience in the business and legal fields, are formidable assets in helping develop and advance the future of cannabis products and the industry’s emerging medical and health innovations.

Michael KadonoffMichael Kadonoff, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Braingrid

Michael Kadonoff is leading Braingrid through a period of strategic transformation and accelerated growth, serving in roles across business development, investor relations, people management, as well as acting as the dynamic thought leader for the company.

Before founding Braingrid in 2012, Michael worked as a professional hardware designer at GE Grid IQ on the premier design team for energy grid automation and control products. He is an avid inventor and a passionate energy reform visionary.

Michael earned a BEng from McMaster University.

Justin KosalkaJustin Kosalka, Co-Founder and Director of Operations, Beleave Kannabis Corp.

Justin Kosalka is one of the founders of Beleave Kannabis Corp. and is currently its Director of Operations. He earned both his master’s degree (MASc) and bachelor’s degree (BSc) from Ryerson University. Justin is experienced in analytical, materials, and synthetic chemistry; his interest lies in combining his three areas of expertise with medical marijuana, and he is always looking for new and interesting research opportunities in the field.

Mike LickverMike Lickver, Executive VP, Auxly Cannabis Group Inc.

Mike Lickver is the Executive Vice President of Strategy of Auxly Cannabis Group Inc., a vertically integrated Canadian cannabis company. Prior to joining Auxly, Mike was a corporate and commercial lawyer at a large international Bay Street law firm where he co-founded the cannabis practice in 2013 and helped grow it into a global leader. As one of Canada’s leading advisors in the cannabis industry, he has represented a variety of global industry participants and has played a key role in a wide variety of domestic and international corporate and commercial transactions. Mike speaks frequently at conferences across the globe on topics related to the cannabis industry and is also the Canadian editor for the International Cannabis Law Journal. Mike is also an adjunct professor at Western Law where he teaches “Cannabis Law and Practice,” a course he designed and developed, and is the first of its kind in Canada. Mike also sits on the Board of Directors of Dixie Brands, Inc., the Arts and Culture Committee for the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, and has previously acted as a director for various not-for-profits and privately held cannabis companies. Mike earned his Law (J.D.) and MBA degrees from the University of Western Ontario and the Richard Ivey School of Business.

Jennifer MaccaroneJennifer Maccarone, Chief Quality Officer and VP, Regulatory and Governmental Affairs, UP Cannabis Inc.

Jennifer Maccarone is a regulatory and quality-assurance specialist with over a decade of significant compliance experience in the drug, natural health product, medical device, and medical cannabis sectors. Jennifer is particularly proud of having a 100% compliance rating in more than 100 separate Health Canada audits – a track record unmatched in the industry. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Laurentian University and specialty post-graduate degrees from the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is also an accredited ISO auditor.

Shawn MonizShawn Moniz, CEO, Cannvas MedTech Inc.

With nearly 20 years’ experience in Customer Relationship Management for leading Fortune 100 international brands, Shawn excels at delivering data-driven CRM solutions to enhance the consumer experience. As Vice-President of CRM Strategic Solutions across three organizations including Klick Health, the world's largest independent health marketing agency, Shawn leveraged his technological expertise to deliver patient-focused solutions to dozens of pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca, Astellas, Pfizer, Takeda, AbbVie, Shire, Novartis and others. During his time at Pitney Bowes, a global technology company, Shawn focused on account growth with clients such as NBA, Air Canada, John Hancock, Yum! Brands, Tim Hortons, Kraft, and SiriusXM Radio. In 2018, Shawn co-founded Cannvas MedTech after his father had trouble finding credible information on cannabis as an alternative therapeutic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and Cannvas has quickly evolved into a leading cannabis education and analytics company.

Steve G. NaraineSteve G. Naraine, Founder, Aether Research

Steve has a vast amount of practical and theoretical experience in the field of cannabis research and cultivation. Being recognized as an innovative and industry leading researcher, he has been fortunate to collaborate with international experts on various initiatives. Steve has been an invited lecturer at several universities and organizations, including the International Pharmaceutical Academy. Currently, Steve is the Chief Science Officer of CannaVida, while continuing his own research at his firm, Aether Research. As a researcher, his focus is on cannabis morphology and systematics. His published work has been in collaboration with Ryerson University, University of Vermont, and Agriculture Canada. Steve has given advice and consulted on topics ranging from cultivar selection, extraction techniques, products, cannabis evolution and ecology, good manufacturing practices (GMP), standard operating procedures, and international regulations.

Harrison NewlandsHarrison Newlands, Business Development, Fire & Flower

Harrison Newlands is a cannabis industry executive and private and public market investor. He is currently serving as the Head of Business Development for the Canadian Retailer, Fire & Flower, and has co-founded and negotiated financing for numerous other cannabis-related companies. Harrison’s expertise is in business development, strategy, and financing, he also carries extensive professional knowledge of the North American cannabis market. Harrison has a distinctive ability to evaluate business opportunities both within Canada and globally. Lastly, he is a Director and Board Member of the Newlands Family Foundation.

Karen Yves QuintoKaren Yves Quinto, Director of Extractions, Weed Me

As Weed Me’s Director of Extractions, Karen contributes industrial-scale experience from one of the top 10 pioneering medical licensed producers in the country. Prior to the cannabis industry, she worked in the Hazardous Air Pollution Laboratory at Environment Canada, extracting global air pollution samples for the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention. This experience transitioned her into the position of Extraction Technologist for MedReleaf Corp., now a subsidiary company of Aurora Cannabis. As Director of Extractions, Karen is responsible for building the analytical and extraction labs of the facility, as well as spearheading the research and development of her department.

Robyn RabinovichRobyn Rabinovich, VP of Business Strategy, TerrAscend

Robyn Rabinovich is a business strategy professional with extensive experience in the cannabis space. Her knowledge supports her ability to evaluate strategic business opportunities within Canada and across the globe. Robyn obtained her International Business Degree from Dalhousie University.

Breanna RoycroftBreanna Roycroft, VP, GrowWise Health

Breanna is the Vice President of GrowWise Health, one of Canada’s leading Cannabis Education Services. She oversees the development, implementation, and expansion of cannabis education programming and service delivery across Canada. Breanna has over 10 years of experience working in the health and education sectors, both here in Canada and around the world. She is a passionate advocate for patients’ rights, and strives to develop healthcare programming that empowers individuals with the tools and knowledge they need to advocate for themselves.

Brigitte SimonsDr. Brigitte Simons, VP of Laboratories and Operations, Molecular Science Corp

Dr. Brigitte Simons is a business development executive in support of leading-edge laboratory services and data management tools for the development of safe cannabis, bridging her expertise within analytical science, pharma drug development, and environmental testing. Brigitte has a professional track record for laboratory testing instrumentation, software, and sample contract design for Canadian federal agencies, such as Canadian Food Inspection, Health Canada, Agriculture Canada, and Environment Canada. She spent over six years working in the Drug Toxicology and Analysis Division at Health Canada in a mass spectrometry testing facility. She has completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the Clinical Sciences Hospital of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute within the famous National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Maryland, USA. With over 15 years of experience operating mass spectrometers, Brigitte managed the sales for full laboratory services, covering clinical, forensics to product health, and environmental safety for the federal and provincial Canadian government. Prior to working abroad, Brigitte received her Ph.D. in Chemical Biology at the University of Ottawa in a joint chemistry program with drug pharmacology at Health Canada. Brigitte is now the Vice President of Laboratories and Operations at Molecular Science Corp.

Michael VerboraDr. Michael Verbora, Chief Medical Officer, Aleafia

Dr. Michael Verbora is an expert in cannabinoid therapy and has completed over three thousand consultations on cannabinoid therapy. He is a global speaker, researcher, and expert witness on cannabinoid medicine. He has spoken to the European Parliament about cannabis policy and design. He serves on the Ontario Medical Association as an executive for the medical cannabis interest group. He is an active member of Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC), and Doctors for Responsible Access (DRA). Michael is passionate about advancing the science on cannabis therapy and reducing the stigma around cannabis patients and use.

Peter WojewnikPeter Wojewnik, Vice President, dicentra Cannabis Consulting

As Vice President, Peter Wojewnik oversees all client service operations and directs corporate business development strategies to ensure dicentra Cannabis Consulting continues to expand its global presence. His constant focus is the long-term business growth of his clients. Peter is responsible for assessing the needs of clients and working with the dicentra team to ensure that optimal solutions are delivered.

Peter has a solid understanding of business and industry trends that allows him to understand his clients’ needs and ensure that the services dicentra provides contribute directly to the growth and prosperity of their businesses.

His educational credentials include an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, completing a double major in Psychology and Biology. He earned his MBA degree, with a specialty in International Business Development, from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. He is presently a member of key U.S. and Canadian trade associations and often contributes articles on regulatory and business matters to leading industry publications.