The government of Canada has tabled legislation legalizing and regulating the sale, possession and use of cannabis. While the benefits and drawbacks of legalization have been debated for years, the complexity of doing so has become clear now that legalization is imminent. Join our panel of experts in Toronto for a discussion about what this means for the evolution of the cannabis growing industry, the medical challenges and opportunities, and what lawmakers have considered and should consider when designing a cannabis legalization framework.
This event took place April 20, 2017, in Toronto, ON.
Sunny Freeman, MJ’08 – Business Reporter, Financial Post
Sana-Ara Ahmed, MedRes’10 – Anesthesiologist, Chronic Pain Medicine Specialist, Medical Cannabis Specialist
Jonathan Page, BSc’91, PhD’98 – President & CEO, Anandia Labs; Adjunct Professor, Botany, UBC
Raf Souccar – Deputy Commissioner, RCMP (retired) and member of the Prime Minister’s Marijuana Legalization Task Force
Sunny Freeman is an award-nominated Financial Post Business reporter who covers the resources beat, including mining, forestry and marijuana. Sunny graduated from UBC in 2008 with a Masters in Journalism. Previously, she was a business reporter at The Toronto Star, Huffington Post Canada and The Canadian Press and has also worked at The Vancouver Sun and the Tyee.
Dr. Sana-Ara Ahmed is a specialist in Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine in private clinical practice in both Toronto & Calgary. She received her M.D. from the University of Saskatchewan in 2006 & completed her Anesthesiology residency training in 2011 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC before eventually joining St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto as a Staff Associate Anesthesiologist in 2012. After completing a Fellowship in Medical Education from the University of Toronto, Dr. Ahmed taught junior physicians at St. Michael’s Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute simulation lab in Toronto until 2014. Recently, Dr. Ahmed has expanded her clinical practice into private holistic chronic pain management and has established a niche in the use of medical cannabis for pain management in both Ontario & Alberta and is an established CME medical educator for physicians and allied health professionals regarding the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain. She is a west-coaster at heart and loves the mountains, yet still feels the pull of urban life in Toronto bringing her back frequently to enjoy the city life and the Raptors.
Jonathan is the founder of Anandia Labs, a cannabis testing and genetics company based in Vancouver, and an Adjunct Professor in the Botany Department at the University of British Columbia. He has spent his scientific career deciphering the genetic and biochemical secrets of medicinal plants, including the production of THC and other cannabinoids in cannabis. He received his PhD from The University of British Columbia (1998), undertook postdoctoral training in Germany (1998-2003) and directed a lab at the National Research Council’s Plant Biotechnology Institute (2003-2013). Jonathan co-led the Canadian team that published the first cannabis genome and his work has helped elucidate the biochemical pathway leading to the major cannabinoids. His passions are building a strong science foundation for cannabis, and turning Anandia Labs into a world leader in cannabis science.
Raf Souccar has over 37 years of experience in law enforcement. He retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 2011 as the Deputy Commissioner responsible for Federal and International Policing. In that capacity he was responsible for several areas including but not limited to Drugs and Organized Crime, Financial Crime and Counter Terrorism.
Raf has emerged as a leading expert on legalization through his global travel and study of foreign public policy measures. He has passed on this knowledge to successive Ministers of Justice as well as through testimony before Parliamentary and Senate Committees.
During the summer of 2016, Raf was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Marijuana Legalization Task Force. Following extensive consultations with various stakeholders across Canada and internationally, the Task Force completed its work on November 30th 2016 and submitted recommendations to the Government of Canada.
Raf is a recipient of many awards including the RCMP Long Service Medal, the Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces presented by the Governor General of Canada as well as the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.
Mr. Souccar holds a Bachelor of Administration and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa and has completed the Director’s Education Program at the University of Toronto School for Business.