The ex cops, politicians and friends of Bill Blair cashing in on legal weed

A not-so-short list of who's making a killing on legalization

Chuck Rifici

Former CFO of the Liberal Party of Canada and a founder and former CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. and Tweed Marijuana Inc., the country’s largest licensed producer. Made a killing when Canopy took over Tweed. He’s reportedly still a shareholder. Currently, CEO at Nesta Holding Company, “the premiere partner for companies within the cannabis space.”

Potential conflict of interest As the former overseer of the finances of the federal Liberal Party, Rifici’s connections to money bags contributors in the party run far and deep. No doubt he’s turning a few of them on to the big bucks to be made in the business of weed. 

Mark Zekulin 

President of Canopy Growth (also the company’s legal counsel) and former senior adviser to ex-Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan.

Potential conflict of interest Zekulin’s resumé includes a gig as senior policy manager for the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Boasts “high-profile local and international corporate clients” as counsel at the Ottawa-Washington international trade law firm of Cassidy Levy Kent.

Norman Inkster 

Former head of the RCMP and Independent Director at Mettrum Health Corp, which was acquired by Canopy Growth on January 31, 2017.

Potential conflict of interest Cop and corporate connections. Inkster is a member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. And served as a member of Investment Advisory Committee of Bay Street investment firm Westerkirk Capital Inc. until 2005.


Bill Blair in a previous incarnation as Toronto police chief. 

Kim Derry

Former Toronto deputy chief. 

Potential conflict of interest Lobbied his old boss Bill Blair, the government’s point person on legalization file, on behalf of marijuana facility THC Meds Ontario Inc. earlier this year to “get rid of goons” in the budding industry. Was part of the regime when he was a cop in Toronto that enforced a zero tolerance policy on pot. Also, see George Smitherman below.

George Smitherman 

Former Minister of Health is an investor and director of licensed producer THC Meds Ontario.

Potential conflict of interest Smitherman has announced he’s re-entering politics and running for Pam McConnell’s city council seat this fall.

Ernie Eves

Former Ontario PC leader and premier.

Potential conflict of interest  Eves has been conspicuous by his absence in news around   Timeless Herbal Care, a Jamaican medical marijuana company he joined as chair in 2015 and which has just inked a deal as one of three licencees approved to grow marijuana in Jamaica. 

Julian Fantino

Former Conservative MP, OPP commissioner and Toronto police chief, is pushing pot as executive chair of Aleafia Inc., a Vaughan-based referral clinic. The company recently entered into a $20 million financing agreement with Canabo Medical Inc, Canada’s largest physician led referral-only clinics for medical cannabis.

Potential conflict of interest After spending a career pushing reefer madness – Fantino once likened decriminalizing marijuana to murder – the former Toronto chief says he’s turned over a new leaf. It also just so happens that the director of communications at Canopy, the largest licensed marijuana producer in the country, is also a former underling of Fantino’s at Veterans Affairs.

Raf Souccar

Former undercover drug officer and RCMP deputy commissioner – and current president and CEO of Aleafia Inc.

Potential conflict of interest Served on the PM’s task force on marijuana. Close relationships in the RCMP with the organized crimes squads (biker, etc..) doing the major grow-op busts. 

Joshua Tepper 

President of Health Quality Ontario, which guides health policy in the province.

Potential conflict of interest Was listed as an independent advisor to Mettrum Ltd. between 2014 and 2016 while he served as HQO head.

John Reynolds 

Former Reform and Canadian Alliance MP. 

Potential conflict of interest Currently an advisor to Canada and U.S.-based medical and recreational marijuana business Vodis Pharmaceuticals Inc. Says he’s never smoked pot and doesn’t want to, which should tell you all you need to know about why he’s shilling for Big Pharma. 

Senator Larry Campbell

Former RCMP officer and Vancouver mayor, independent senator.

Potential conflict of interest An advisor to Vodis. Has declared that’s not a conflict, even though he’s a sitting senator, an we all know how loosey-goosey members of the upper chamber can be about questions of ethics. 

Mike Harcourt 

Former BC premier and mayor of Vancouver.

Potential conflict of interest Current chair of B.C-based start up True Leaf Medicine Inc. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved a share offering that will allow the company to crowdfund up to $10 million.

Herb Dhaliwal

Former Vancouver MP and federal cabinet minister.

Potential conflict of interest Currently chair of NG BioMed. The company donated $1 million to UBC last April to study the therapeutic benefits of pot as it awaits approval of its application to become a licensed producer of medicinal marijuana.

Kash Heed

Former BC solicitor general and former chief constable of West Vancouver police department. Headed up drug squad with Vancouver Police Department. 

Potential conflict of interest Elected Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2009. He was forced to resign a year later following an RCMP investigation into unspecified violations of the Elections Act. A consultant for various medpot companies setting up on the Lower B.C. mainland. 

Cam Battley 

Former legislative assistant to Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs back in the early 90s. Former director of communications for Eli Lilly and Company in Canada. The pharmaceutical giant’s U.S. parent developed one of the first marijuana-based drugs approved for nausea and vomiting in cancer patients from chemotherapy. 

Potential conflict of interest Recently appointed chief corporate officer for Aurora Cannabis, which just acquired CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. CanniMed is a sister company of the the country’s first licensed medpot producer, Prairie Plant Systems Inc., the government’s sole medical marijuana supplier for 13 years.

Neil Belot

Chief business development officer for Aurora Cannabis Inc.

Potential conflict of interest Former public servant in several ministries within the Ontario government.

Jake Ryan

Former RCMP Intelligence Officer and federal criminal investigator.

Potential conflict of interest Currently director of security for B.C.-based supplier Tilray.

Barry Daniel

Former Abbotsford police chief.

Potential conflict of interest Current advisor to B.C.-based Wildflower Marijuana Inc. 

With files from various published sources. | @nowtoronto

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