Profiles by Cannabiz Social Podcast - Terry Lake

 

In this week’s episode of “Profiles by Cannabiz Social”, we hear from Terry Lake, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility, Hydropothecary Corporation in Gatineau, Que. Hydropothecary provides naturally grown medical cannabis of the highest quality. 

Getting to this point in his career has been a long and winding road for Terry. He started in the radio-broadcasting industry as a reporter, went back to school and became a veterinarian, practiced at a private practice in Calgary and the lower mainland for about 15 years before moving to Kamloops to teach at Thompson Rivers University.  

Terry then became involved in politics and was the city’s mayor from 2005-2008, before entering provincial politics in 2009 when he became MLA for the area. He also served as environment minister for two years, and four years as B.C.’s health minister.  

This brings us to 2017 when Terry decided not to run in politics anymore and became interested in the burgeoning cannabis space. “A friend of mine, Adam Miron, Co-founder and Chief Branding Officer, Hydropothecary, called and said they were looking at the new adult-use market. Adam asked if I was interested in working for the organization. The rest is history, as they say,” Terry said. It’s interesting where life can take you if you’re open to new things and experiences. Everything is coming to together in this cannabis space. 

Terry describes his job as the “conscience of the company.” As Hydropothecary is producing a fantastic product for consumers across the country, they’re doing it in a responsible way. They’re cognizant of their environmental footprint – electricity, natural gas use, water, waste – and keeping a close watch on their social responsibilities, and making sure people use their products responsibly, have all the information needed.  

The government’s approach around communicating is a challenge because of severe restrictions on marketing and labelling. It makes it different for consumers of what will be a legal product come Oct. 17 to be able to make informed choices and brand types of products they want to use.  

“The restrictions counter our ability to fight the black market and counter our ability to inform customers make informed choices. We have to seek other ways ensuring people know about HEXO, our adult-use brand, and Hydropothecary, our medical-use brand. We do that through making sure the distributors and retailers know about our product and the way we operate.” 

Earlier this month, HEXO and Molson Coors Canada announced an agreement to create a joint venture focused around non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market. 

People like to be social, have beverages with friends, and having a cannabis-infused beverage as an alternative to an alcoholic beverage, is an enticing venture the modern consumer is really looking for.  

Coupled with Molson’s consumer awareness, and distribution capabilities, HEXO can bring their cannabis experience to create a line of cannabis-infused beverages something quite different in the Canadian market. Perhaps we will see a fruit or coffee-flavoured rink. All will have different combinations of THC and CBD.  

So, how, after so many years in different spaces and industries did Terry’s views on cannabis play a part in his current role? “Like a lot of people, particularly baby boomers, my thinking of cannabis has evolved over the years. For decades, I didn’t know much about cannabis. It wasn’t until many years later as health minister and the idea of legalization was put forward, I was asked my views and became more interested.  

After accompanying his daughter to a conference in New York, his eyes were opened to this very complex plant – its physiology, the effect, public policy going from illegal to legal. 

It’s Hydropothecary’s goal to be seen as an innovative and modern company with innovative products. Once legalization was looming, their growth curve accelerated. When Terry joined in September 2017, they had 50 employees, and now we have over 200 employees, and in a year, will have close to 500 employees.  

Terry think Canadians’ attitude towards cannabis will change even more rapidly down the road. Cannabis has almost always been talked about as Cheech and Chong mentality. Now we hear about pills, edibles, oils, wellness, CBDs.  

“I think Canadian consumers will be consuming cannabis in different forms for different reasons. Whether it’s for enhancement, wellness state, or medical. Attitudes will change and it’s going to displace some alcohol consumption we’ve seen. From a personal perspective, I can see the role of CBD into my lifestyle. I’m a runner and play recreational soccer and CBD may play a role in reducing inflammation.” 

Canada has a great opportunity and gift horse to lead the world in research and educate people on this intriguing plant. Now’s the time to take our technology and spread it around the world. 

Visit the Hydropothecary website