A lot of excellent information was presented. Great resource material to follow up on. - Associate Vice-President, Financial Services
University of Saskatchewan
2nd Annual Event!

New Municipal Issues in Cannabis Regulation

Key Insights, Critical Information: A Specialized Forum For Municipal Regulators 6 Months In

April 16 - 17, 2019 · Toronto, Ontario
Featuring These Industry Experts

Whitney Abrams, Lawyer, Minden Gross

Whitney Abrams is a lead lawyer in Minden Gross LLP’s Cannabis Law Group where she provides regulatory and business advice to domestic and international cannabis stakeholders. She is also a litigator with a broad litigation practice. As a litigator, Whitney has conducted trials, motions, and hearings before the Superior Court of Justice, Small Claims Court, and various administrative tribunals.

Whitney is a prolific author and has had her writing featured in CannaInvestor Magazine. She is also a regular contributor to the online resource Canada Cannabis Legal (CCL) at https://canadacannabislegal.com/. She has been a presenter and a contributor to panels at Cannabis industry events and conferences as well as for local and international legal organizations. Whitney was called to the Ontario Bar in 2017 after graduating with a JD from Queen’s University in 2016. She earned her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) at Western University in Media, Information, and Technoculture in 2013.

Karen Andrews, Staff Lawyer, Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario

Karen Andrews was a library worker with Toronto Public Library for thirteen years while she also obtained her BA as a part-time student at the University of Toronto. For her second degree, Karen considered law, education or library science. She chose law because she wanted to meet someone who had seasons tickets to the Leafs. She graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1993 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1995. She has appeared before many boards, tribunals and courts including the Supreme Court of Canada. She also teaches in the George Brown Community Worker Program and she is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. Karen has only practiced law in the area of social justice because she likes the power, money and prestige.

The Honourable Darrell Dexter, Former Premier of Nova Scotia, Vice Chair Global Public Affairs, GPA Cannabis

The Honourable Darrell Dexter served as the 27th Premier of Nova Scotia and is currently the Chair of Global Public Affairs practice. Darrell is a senior member of the Global team, working with our firm’s public affairs experts across the country on a range of client matters and business development initiatives. As Premier, Darrell earned praise for controlling spending, launching a renewable energy strategy, and reducing small business taxes. Darrell oversaw ambitious new environmental policies and was presented with a Climate Leadership in Canada award at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. As Chair of the Council of the Federation from 2012-13, Darrell worked on key initiatives such as leading an economic trade mission to China, establishing the Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, and improving the flow of inter-provincial trade. A lawyer by background, Darrell also worked as a journalist and served in the Canadian Armed Forces before launching his career in public service, spending 15 years in the Nova Scotia Legislature as an MLA. In the course of his work as an elected official, party leader, Leader of Nova Scotia’s Official Opposition, and Premier, Darrell was engaged on critical issues and discussions related to energy and resource development, transportation, healthcare, the environment, infrastructure, and the economy.


Anita Dubey, Manager of Research Dissemination and Outreach at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Anita is the Manager of Research Dissemination and Outreach at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). She is dedicated to advancing awareness and uptake of research to inform and improve policies, programs and practices, and to applying new technologies and approaches to these efforts. With more than 10 years of experience in mental illness and addiction research, she also brings expertise as a former medical journalist, magazine editor and web developer to her work. Anita has an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the U.K.


Rodrigue Escayola, Partner, Gowling WLG

Rod is a bilingual lawyer with Gowling WLG, with vast experience in condominium law, representing condominium corporations, directors, owners and property managers. He is the founder and chief editor of www.CondoAdviser.ca, which has received three prestigious Clawbie Awards in recognition of its quality and relevance. He regularly publishes articles, gives interviews to mean-stream media and is asked to speak on condominium law issues. He also co-founded the Condo Directors Group, a not-for profit organization providing a forum to condo directors to network and learn how to better manage their corporations. Rod is a former director of the Canadian Condominium Institute for Eastern Ontario, where he served also as editor of their semi-annual magazine. He continues to act as a writer and presenter for the Canadian Condominium Institute for Eastern Ontario as well as for the Community Association Institute. Rod has been an elected director at his own condominium since 2009. Rod is a former military, with 18 years of service with the Canadian Forces.


Chris Gilpin, Superintendent – Director of Provincial Traffic, Marine and Trail Operations, Ontario Provincial Police

Superintendent Chris GILPIN began her policing career with the Ontario Provincial Police on June 2, 1986. Her first posting was Downsview detachment (now Toronto) and in January 1990 she transferred to Burlington detachment where duties were mainly traffic. In May 1994 she transferred to Brantford detachment (now Brant OPP detachment) performing general duties and in January 1996 she became a member of the Crime Unit as a Detective Constable. She was promoted to Detective Sergeant in April 2003 in charge of the Mt Forest Criminal Investigation Support Unit. In April 2007 she was promoted to D/S/Sgt in Criminal Investigation Branch in Orillia and promoted to Detective Inspector in May 2008 as a Major Case Manager. She was promoted to Superintendent in November 2014 and is currently the Director of Provincial Traffic, Marine and Off Road Vehicle Operations. In 2015 she became a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, presented by Governor General David Johnson.


Kathryn Holm, Chief Licence Inspector and Director of Licensing & Community Standards, City of Vancouver

Kathryn is the Chief Licence Inspector and Director of Licensing & Community Standards at the City of Vancouver. Her career in the public service over the last 15 years has spanned various leadership roles in health care and municipal government. She is also an active volunteer in her community, and recently chaired the board of Minerva BC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Master of Science degree in Business Administration, is a registered Professional Engineer in British Columbia, and is a Project Management Professional.


Dr. Pamela Leece, Public Health Physician, Public Health Ontario

Dr. Pamela Leece is a Public Health Physician with the Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention (HPCDIP) department at Public Health Ontario. She is an Assistant Professor cross-appointed with the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto. She also practices part-time as a Courtesy Staff in the Substance Use Service at Women’s College Hospital. Her current research focuses on public health approaches to substance use.


Signe Leisk, Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Signe Leisk is partner and head of the Municipal, Planning & Environmental Group at Cassels Brock. Signe’s practice encompasses all aspects of municipal, land use planning and environmental law, with a particular focus on land development. She has extensive experience representing both private sector builders and developers as well as municipalities and public institutions. Signe appears regularly before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (previously the Ontario Municipal Board) and the courts, with significant experience in mediation.

Signe is a sessional lecturer at the Ryerson School of Urban and Regional Planning, Master of Planning (Urban Development) program and has authored numerous articles on municipal and planning law. She is a co-author of three leading texts: Municipal and Planning Law in Canada, 2nd edition, published by Thomson Carswell, Canadian Forms & Precedents-Municipal Law published by LexisNexis Butterworths, and Canadian Forms & Precedents – Land Development, also published by LexisNexis Butterworths. She is ranked in The Best Lawyer in Canada 2019 (Municipal Law), Chambers Canada (Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use Ontario), and awarded Lexpert's Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 (2013), Urban Land Institute 2014 WLI Champion,  Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada 2014 ("Corporate Lawyer to Watch"), and the Precedent Setter Award, Precedent Magazine (2010).


Pamela Kaufman, Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Pamela E. Kaufman is a Scientist with the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU) and Assistant Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Her research interests focus on physical and social exposure to tobacco, cannabis and e-cigarette use in public and private spaces, and the impact of smoke-free policies on smoking and vaping. Dr. Kaufman was a member of the 2016 Smoke-Free Ontario (SFO) Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC); and chaired the SFO-SAC Protection Working Group. She currently holds a CIHR Catalyst Grant to investigate physical and social exposure to cannabis.


Mike McGuire, Director, Office of Medical Access, Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch, Health Canada

Mike McGuire is the Director of the Office of Medical Access within the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch at Health Canada. He is leading the team responsible for the implementation of the medical access program under the current Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations and the new Cannabis Regulations. He is also responsible for the licensing functions related to research, analytical testing, drugs containing cannabis, hemp and import/export. Mike joined the Health Canada team in May 2017 and brought with him nearly 10 years of experience in the federal public service working in regulatory programs, most notably at Transport Canada where he managed the national oversight program for aviation security. Mike holds an undergraduate degree from Carleton University and a graduate degree from the Institut d’Études Politques de Paris.


Andrew Parshad, President and Founder of Cannabis License Experts, Quality Smart Solutions and Quality IMPORT Solutions

Andrew Parshad has been actively involved in the consumer packaged goods sector in various capacities including research & development, quality assurance and regulatory compliance for the past 25 years. He founded Quality Smart Solutions in 2007 a compliance consulting firm serving over 500 clients worldwide with over 10,000 projects completed to date. He is the founder and president of Cannabis License Experts, Canada’s trusted cannabis licensing and compliance solutions provider that legalizes, legitimizes and licenses cannabis businesses. Their in-house experts includes the former Quality Assurance Person from Canada’s first licensed producer, Peace Naturals. His team has the experience of preparing and completing over 125 cannabis license applications to date under ACMPR and the Cannabis Act.


Dr. Karent Patte, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Brock University

Dr. Karen Patte is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University. She is the Mental Health Lead and Core Team member of the COMPASS study (www.compass.uwaterloo.ca). COMPASS is a 9-year longitudinal study (2012-2021) that annually collects data on various health behaviours and outcomes from 70,000+ grade 9-12 students and the related programs, policies, and resources at 120+ secondary schools across Canada. The study is designed to effectively guide and continually improve youth prevention research and practice. Dr. Patte’s research focuses on mental health, substance use, and other health behaviours and outcomes among youth within the school context.


Pamela Ponic, PhD, Senior Manager, Prevention of Problematic Substance Use,Centre for Health Promotion, Public Health Agency of Canada

Dr. Pamela Ponic is the Senior Manager of the Prevention of Problematic Substance Use team at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Her team is responsible for supporting upstream efforts to reduce risks and harms associated with problematic substance use, particularly among youth. Prior to her work with the Public Health Agency, she worked as an academic researcher in the areas of violence against women and children, trauma-informed approaches to policy and practice, health equity and the social determinants of health.


Michael Sherrard, Managing Partner, Sherrard Kuzz LLP, Employment and Labour Lawyers

Recognized as one of Canada’s leading employment and labour lawyers by Chambers Global®, Who’s Who Legal®, Legal 500® and Lexpert®, Michael is former Chair of the National Labour and Employment Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and the Labour and Employment Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association. He represents public and private sector employers operating in a wide range of industries.

Michael is frequently published and asked to chair or speak at international and national conferences. He is also the recipient of several awards including the Construction Institute of Canada’s Chancellor’s Award of Excellence, University of New Brunswick Alumni Award of Distinction, Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), Lester B. Pearson Award, and Canadian Franchise Association Volunteer Leadership Excellence Award.


Alanna Sokic, Consultant, Global Public Affairs, GPA Cannabis

Alanna Sokic is a key member of the Global Public Affairs Cannabis team in Toronto, where she coordinates the firm’s cannabis-related mandates across the country. Alanna works on complex public affairs campaigns, assisting clients through challenging and complicated issues. She is an active contributor to Canada’s burgeoning cannabis industry, having been named a ‘must-know’ professional under 30 by PostMedia Network. As well, she sits on the board of the Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance and served as a key member of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Cannabis Working Group. Alanna earned a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in Political Science and Communications Studies and spent a semester abroad at the L’Universite libre de Bruxelles.


David Somppi, Chair of Planet Youth Lanark County

David has lived in Carleton Place, Lanark County and worked as an electrical engineer in the Canadian high tech sector for 30+ years. David has served as chair of the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital board and as a member of the Champlain LHIN board. David is a founding member of the Lanark County and Town of Smiths Fall Municipal Drug Strategy Network, chair of the Carleton Place Municipal Drug Strategy Committee and a member of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group board. As chair of Planet Youth Lanark County, David is leading a project to implement the Icelandic Model for Substance Abuse Prevention in rural Eastern Ontario.


Alan R. Theobald, Acting Project Manager, Zoning, City of Toronto

Alan Theobald is a 40-year veteran of the urban and regional planning profession. He has a wide range of experience at the municipal level, including the rural Town of Caledon in Ontario, the mid-sized City of Saint John, NB, and the big City of North York prior to its amalgamation with the rest of Toronto.

Alan has been a Project Manager in City Planning since 2007, responsible for many of the land use zones in Toronto's city-wide zoning by-law. For the past 3 years, he has been on Inter-Divisional task forces dealing with "land use regulation disrupters", including short-term rentals (ex., AirBnb) and the legalization of Cannabis.

His professional planning education includes a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and Master of Science from the University of Toronto. Alan is a Registered Professional Planner and a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.


Marie-Claude Vachon, Manager of the Promotion Compliance and Monitoring Unit, Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch, Health Canada

Marie-Claude Vachon is the Manager of the Promotion Compliance and Monitoring Unit. She joined the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch in February 2017. Prior to joining the cannabis group, she was the manager for the Investigation Unit in the Quebec region and also the Regional Manager for the Atlantic region for the Tobacco Control Program. She has worked in compliance and enforcement for Health Canada since 2006.


Mat Vaughan, Principal Planner, Norfolk County

Mat Vaughan is a principal planner with Norfolk County specializing in rural land-use development with a focus on Cannabis land-use policy and on-farm diversified use land-use policy. Mat’s related work includes creating one of Ontario’s first municipal Cannabis Production and Processing Zoning By-Law land-use policy.


Jim Walker, Deputy Director, Central Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, Ontario Provincial Police

Detective Inspector Jim Walker is currently assigned as the Deputy Director of the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) for Central Region of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). He oversees the investigations that targets organized crime activity within Central Region, based upon the intelligence generated by frontline officers, uniform and specialized services alike. Detective Inspector Walker also oversees the OPP led Provincial Joint Forces Cannabis Enforcement Team. This team includes other Ontario police services, and their objectives have been to:

  • dismantle organized crime groups
  • eliminate illegal cannabis supply
  • remove illegal cannabis enterprises such as storefronts and online
  • target the proceeds of crime and assets

Detective Inspector Walker joined the OPP in 2001 after working 8 years as a Primary Care paramedic in Ontario. Detective Inspector Walker has held assignments within many facets of the OPP including; Provincial Anti-Terrorism, Covert Operations and the Drug Enforcement Unit. Detective Inspector Walker has been involved in drug enforcement investigations since his appointment with the OPP. He has held many roles within the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB); including general investigator, surveillance officer, affiant, agent handler and undercover officer. He is a court declared expert in the sale and distribution of marihuana through his involvement in covert drug investigations.


Matthew Zabloski, Business Strategist, City of Calgary

Matt Zabloski has worked with the City of Calgary for the past 9 years. During this time he has worked as a Planner with Planning and Development and as an Executive Advisor in Calgary Community Standards. For the past two years, as a Business Strategist with Community Standards, he has been the project lead responsible for coordinating The City’s response to the legalization of cannabis. Matt has also served as a member of the Technical Advisory Group for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ response to cannabis legalization and been a witness for the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology during their study of Bill C-45.


Tom Zworski, City Solicitor, Office of the City Solicitor, City of Victoria

Tom Zworski, City Solicitor, City of Victoria has over twenty years of local government experience as a lawyer and a manager. He provides advice on all aspects of municipal law and legal issues involving the BC’s capital city, including administrative, constitutional, construction, general litigation, and zoning and development law matters. He has appeared before all levels of BC courts and the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as before various administrative boards and tribunals. Mr. Zworski teaches municipal law at the University of Victoria law school and has spoken at local and national legal conferences and continuing legal education programs in BC and Ontario.





Cannabis legalization has arrived, with all the challenges it continues to pose to municipalities in Canada. Municipalities continue to be responsible for a smooth roll-out to the public, with significant work still to be accomplished. If you work on land use planning and zoning, business licensing, municipal workplace safety, enforcement relating to public consumption or impaired driving, you are feeling the pressure of these changes.

INFONEX's two-day program Municipal Issues in the Legalization of Cannabis, will be the ideal forum for discussing and sharing ideas with others to help you move forward without wasting time or spinning your wheels. A faculty of experienced government officials from all the relevant areas will share their insights on what's working effectively and what's not. U.S cities who have made the journey will draw on their experience to help you benefit from what they have learned along the way so you can avoid potential missteps and proceed in timely fashion.

You will learn what you can expect going forward, as well as lessons learned to date, including the impact on community and public health and safety. You will leave with a clear picture of what you are required to do, as a municipal employer, to keep municipal employees safe now that you have to worry about the potential effects of marijuana at the workplace. Experts from U.S. cities and large and small municipalities in a variety of provinces will explain how they are dealing with land use planning and zoning and business licensing (including government-run, private retail or a mixed retail model depending on the province's choice.) You will understand the enforcement issues relating to consumption and impaired driving and the complexity and potential problems involved in the supply chain.

This is a unique opportunity to hear from those most able to provide the important information, insights and strategies you need to meet the complex challenge ahead. Register now so you and your municipality have the necessary knowledge to reduce the risk and increase the potential benefits of this important change in national cannabis policy. Your up-front investment of time will repay you time and again as you move forward more decisively, confidently and knowledgeably than you otherwise would have. Register today!

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