Cannabis Industry Changes As Marijuana Rescheduling Looms

As the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference returns to Chicago this Sept 27-28 for its 17th edition, gathering top CEOs, investors and leaders in the cannabis industry, let's scroll through the top leadership changes over the past few weeks.

Three Cannabis Firms Strengthen Their Boards With New Appointments

ZYUS Life Sciences Corporation ZYUS, a Canadian cannabinoid-based life sciences company announced in August that Wayne Brownlee, who was conditionally appointed to the company's board of directors, has successfully obtained from Health Canada security clearance required to serve as a director of the corporation.

In mid-August, California cannabis company Unrivaled Brands, Inc. UNRV appointed Matt Barron to its board of directors. In addition to vast experience in the cannabis sector, his diverse background spans roles as a start-up founder, healthcare operator and early-stage growth strategist.

CannaPharmaRx, Inc. (OTC EXPERT: CPMD) expanded its board of directors in August from three seats to five. The following experts joined the board of the Calgary, Alberta-based company.

  • Anthony Panek is a corporate mergers and acquisitions attorney and venture capital investor with expertise in capital raising, formation and growing businesses.
  • Adam Mindle is a transactional attorney with extensive experience in structuring, negotiating and documenting sophisticated joint ventures, secured financing and mergers and acquisitions related to real estate, healthcare and technology companies.
  • The third and final board position will be filled in the near future. Additionally, Mark Branson has chosen to step down from his current position on the board.

Four Companies Name Board Directors

Over the past month, three cannabis companies held their respective annual general meetings of shareholders, electing directors of their boards.

Shiny Health & Wellness Corp. SNYB wrapped up August by setting the number of directors at five, electing Micah Das, Brad Kipp, Mike Nadeau, Lyn Christensen and Meris Kott to serve on the board.

Shareholders of the Florida-based Cansortium Inc. TIUM CNTMF, which operates under the Fluent brand, elected five nominees to the board of directors, including Robert Beasley, Roger Daher, Mark Eckenrode, William Smith and John Mazarakis.

In mid-August, Aurora Cannabis Inc.'s ACB ACB shareholders elected seven nominees as board directors, including Ron Funk, Miguel Martin, Michael Singer, Norma Beauchamp, Theresa Firestone, Adam Szweras and Chitwant Kohli.

CanadaBis Capital Inc.'s CANB shareholders approved the election of Travis McIntyre, Nicole Bacsalmasi, Alex Michaud, Barbara O'Neill and Shane Chana to its board of directors.

New CFOs And COOs

CanadaBis simultaneously announced that it had tapped Garfield Richards, CPA, CA, to lead its finance department. Richards has over fifteen years of experience in public accounting, nine of which were at KPMG, a global public audit, tax and advisory firm, as a senior accountant and audit supervisor.

Nova Farms has welcomed Anand Shahi, CFA, as its new chief financial officer in mid-August.

Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp. CANN HERTF announced the appointment of Jasmine Paige as interim CFO around the same time in August.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc JAZZ recently said that Renée Galá, who oversees its finance department, has been promoted to president and chief operating officer effective Oct. 1.

Kaival Brands Innovations Group, Inc. KAVL a distributor of vaping products, wrapped up August by promoting Stephen Sheriff to the role of chief operating officer.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company SMG announced recently that president and COO Mike Lukemire stepped down on Sep. 3, 2023, and will retain his position as president until his retirement. In a related move, Nate Baxter, executive vice president of technology and operations, was promoted to chief operating officer.

CEO And Other Top Executive Appointments

British Columbia-based cannabis company Pure Sunfarms recently tapped Orville Bovenschen as the new president. Mandesh Dosanjh has stepped down from his role at Pure Sunfarms and has moved into a strategic advisory position, Village Farms International, Inc. VFF, Pure Sunfarms' parent company, said in August.

This week, Nextleaf Solutions Ltd. OILS OILFF (FSE: L0MA), a manufacturer and distributor of cannabis extracts, reported on the departure of CEO Paul Pedersen and appointment of Emma Andrews as interim CEO.

On Wednesday, cannabis company Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. CWBHF CWEB tapped William Morachnick to serve as its new chief executive officer, succeeding CEO Jacques Tortoroli, who resigned from his roles at the Louisville, Colorado-based company.

High Times, the iconic cannabis media brand, ended August by announcing yet another leadership change. Shaun Jarvis agreed to assume the interim CEO position, for which he will receive a salary of $120,000 annually. According to a securities filing dated Aug. 23, Jarvis, who has been on the board of directors since December 2022, will hold this new position until the company finds a permanent solution.

Meanwhile, on the heels of an announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended to the Drug Enforcement Agency that cannabis be rescheduled from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act, KCSA Strategic Communications is expanding its senior leadership team in cannabis and psychedelic practices.

The strategic communications firm that offers public and investor relations and social media services tapped Ellen Mellody to serve as senior vice president of its public relations team and Maria Brasco Wurmbach as senior vice president of its social media team.

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, the place where deals get done, is returning to Chicago this Sept 27-28 for its 17th edition. Get your tickets today before prices increase and secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis investment and branding.

Photo: Courtesy of geralt, lindsayfox Pixabay

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