Retail Cannabis Forum

March 26, 2019

Please note this event has passed. See our event listing for current events.

Discover the Innovative Retail Business of Cannabis

Retail Council of Canada’s Retail Cannabis Forum will inspire attendees to explore retail opportunities and innovation in this new market, as well as discuss the challenges associated with industry regulations. Jump to agenda.

Who Should Attend?

The Retail Cannabis Forum is a must-attend event for anyone who is interested in learning about the opportunities and challenges for retailers in this highly regulated market. Supplier and industry partners will want to hear from Canada’s leading cannabis retailers and distributors to learn how they can better engage with this sector of the retail industry.

Register online or download fillable registration form.



The Toronto Congress Centre
650 Dixon Rd, Etobicoke, ON M9W 1J1 
South Building, Sutherland Room


$199 Retail Council of Canada Members
$99 Independent Retailer Members (Sales less than $10M)
$299 Non-Members
$99 Student


7:30 am Registration Open
7:30 – 8:00 am Breakfast and Networking

8:00 – 8:05 am


Opening Remarks

Sonny Brar, Vice-President Member Relations & Education

8:05 – 8:35 am

From Good to Great: Branding as a Business Strategy

When consumer decision making is differentiated by emotion and experience instead of price points and product features, a brand goes from good to great when it connects with customers on a deeper level. Hear from cannabis retailers who have set the bar high and are making an impact not only with their customers but with employees and the communities around them, proving sound business strategy is strengthened with great branding.

 Adam Coates, Chief Commercial Officer, WestLeaf Inc.

8:35 – 8:45 am


Member Update: Retail Cannabis Coast-to-Coast Regulatory Tour

In this fast-paced overview, Michael LeBlanc, RCC Senior Retail Advisor and retail cannabis subject matter expert will sweep across the nation with an update on the state of cannabis retail. Which provinces are ahead in terms of opening stores, what is the top line regulatory regime impacting retailers, what’s changed and what is to come. It might change tomorrow but understand it today!

 Michael LeBlanc, Senior Retail Advisor, Retail Council of Canada

8:45 – 9:25 am Rethinking Traditional In-store Experience

In an environment where regulation determines the feel and look of your brick-and-mortar business, you would think the result would be a sterile experience. However, leading cannabis retailers are rethinking traditional needs for brick-and-mortar and turning challenges with security, fixtures and store design, into new opportunities for a unique in-store experience.

  Lara Wood, General Manager, Cannabis NB

 Andy Palalas, Chief Revenue Officer, High Tide Ventures

 Steffen Schenk, SVP Customer Experience, mihi Cannabis

 Michael LeBlanc, Senior Retail Advisor, Retail Council of Canada (Moderator)

9:25 – 9:30 am


Retail Training in the Era of Cannabis

A recent U.S. survey indicated that cannabis retail employee’s influence more than 90% of consumers retail purchases. In the highly restrictive marketing environment, consumer education touchpoints are critical to both success, and survival. Learn how Canadian company Lift & Co. is setting retailers up for success with its recently launched CannSell, the mandatory retail training certification required for all cannabis retailers in Ontario and its implications for the market.


Shahbaaz Kara-Virani, Director of Sales, Lift & Co.

9:30 – 9:40 am Edible Cannabis Regulatory Update: Now What Are They Thinking?

Join Retail Council of Canada’s Avery Bruenjes, Policy Analyst, Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs based in our Vancouver office as she enlightens us with a quick and easy to digest overview of the latest thinking from the Federal Government and the Provinces on edible cannabis regulation.  How is the federal government regulating product rules and packaging? How will the provincial governments control the sale of edibles? When will it come to market?  Avery’s experience walking the halls in Ottawa and speaking directly with the regulators make this a do-not-miss session.

 Avery Bruenjes, Policy Analyst, Retail Council of Canada

9:40 – 10:15 am


Networking Break

10:15 – 11:00 am


Hitting the Border Wall: Hiring for Retail Cannabis

Recruiting top talent into senior and executive retail roles is always a challenge – double for retail Cannabis. Top candidates fear crossing the U.S. border and worse, the risk of a lifetime ban from America. High potentials are also concerned about stability and predictability in an industry that is still taking shape. Hear from retailers who are confronting these concerns and discuss innovative HR strategies.

 Eli Trinidade, Human Resource Director, Kiaro

 Marcie Kiziak, VP Human Resources, Alcanna

 James Jesty, President, The Friendly Stranger Corporation

 Christopher Kane, Chief Operating Officer, National Access Cannabis

Jackie Ross, Principal/Lead Recruiters, JRoss Retail Recruiters (Moderator)

11:00 – 11:30 am


Breaking the Stigma with Community Engagement and Social Responsibility

As the first G20 nation to legalize recreational use of cannabis retailers are challenged with stigmas that are a roadblock not only for potential customers but as legitimate businesses. Breaking the stigma plays a vital role in their ability to engage in communities and ensure industry partners know they are reliable and profitable to engage with. Megan Henderson interviews Nadia Vattovaz, CFO with Fire & Flower,  one of Canada’s leading cannabis retailers, who have designed their business with checks and balances Canadians are looking for and why this strengthens their strategic business plan.

 Nadia Vattovaz, CFO, Fire & Flower

 Megan Henderson, Executive Producer,

11:30 am Forum Adjourns

Watch this space for speaker and agenda announcements.


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