The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
Panelists: Lewis Koski, Shaleen Title, Will Stewart Moderated by Geoff Zochodne
Join us for an intriguing event that will shine a spotlight on what recreational marijuana legalization will look like in Canada later this summer. To get a look into the future, we will bring up from the United States leading figures who can speak to experiences in Colorado and Massachusetts as well as a Canadian expert to the Club to discuss the considerations that have gone into the regime set to launch here in Canada. The discussion will be moderated by Geoff Zochodne of the National Post and should provide one of the clearest perspectives on what we can expect in Canada later this summer when marijuana becomes legal for recreational use.
Co Founder and Senior Director, Freedman and Koski,Former Director, Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division
Lewis Koski was the Director of the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division during the legalization of marijuana. Lewis played a pivotal role building the first agency in the world to implement medical and retail marijuana policy, constructing innovative strategies to develop balanced regulations, launching the first marijuana inventory tracking system and finding solutions to some of the biggest challenges the State faced developing and implementing divisive mandates related to contemporary marijuana laws.
Lewis is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in formative marijuana policy. He is among a small group of government executives who have been intimately involved in the development and implementation of marijuana policy from the infancy of medical marijuana through the realization of legalization. Lewis’ leadership contributions and devotion to implementing marijuana policy thoughtfully played an important role achieving what has become one of the most fully developed marijuana regulatory frameworks in the world.
Lewis is currently a co founder and senior director at Freedman and Koski, Inc. where he works with government clients across the United States tasked with developing and implementing cannabis policy. He also works with ancillary companies and investment firms that are focused on helping government successfully implement cannabis policy.
Lewis holds a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on International Business and is a Doctoral Candidate in Public Administration with a focus on policy analysis and public participation in rulemaking. He also teaches a graduate level course called, The Marijuana Policy Frontier at the University of Colorado Denver.
Commissioner Shaleen Title was jointly appointed by the Massachusetts governor, treasurer, and attorney general to the Cannabis Control Commission in September 2017. She co authored the Massachusetts marijuana legalization referendum and has consulted on state and local marijuana policy around the United States. As an attorney specializing in marijuana regulations, she has provided regulatory expertise for leading marijuana consulting firms. Shaleen was a founding board member of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, where she led the drafting of the first state level model bill created to give states guidance to implement a process of reinvestment and reconciliation. She was also a founding board member of Marijuana Majority, and she previously served as a trustee for Students for Sensible Drug Policy as well as a board member of the Family Law and Cannabis Alliance and the National Lawyers Guild. Prior to joining the Commission, she was a co founder of THC Staffing Group, a cannabis recruiting firm focused on equality and inclusion. She holds a business degree, law degree, and graduate degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and was previously a part of the multistate tax group at Deloitte Tax. She lives in the Boston area.
VP Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Hiku Brands
Will is a leading public affairs figure on cannabis legislation in Canada. He has developed significant expertise in Canada’s legal cannabis space working with a variety of large ACMPR Licensed Producers and other leading companies in the sector. Before joining Hiku Brands, Will served as Managing Principal of one of Canada’s leading high stakes communications and lobbying consulting firms as one of the country’s leading public affairs advisors. He has been named as one of Canada’s top lobbyists for seven consecutive years under both the Federal Conservative and Liberal governments. Will was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canadian Public Policy. Prior to his time as a consultant, he was Chief of Staff to an Ontario cabinet minister serving in portfolios in both ministries and legislative branches. Will also sits on the advisory board of Lift, a cannabis education company as well as the Board of Directors of Young People’s Theatre in Toronto.
Reporter, Financial Post
Geoff Zochodne is a reporter at the Financial Post and has covered the banking and cannabis sectors. Prior to that, he covered Ontario politics as a journalist for Queen’s Park Briefing.