Thursday, January 12, 2023 | 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

*reception immediately follows

Lift Cannabis Business Conference (LCBC) is the premiere gathering of Canada's top cannabis business leaders, subject matter experts, innovators and regulators. Each speaker and panel offers leading-edge education on the most important issues facing Canada's cannabis business sector today.

This year's conference agenda is packed with strategy-focused, advocacy-oriented, business and community leadership sessions intent on meaningful change and sustainable growth in the cannabis industry.


Introduction & Welcome

Lift is excited to be returning to its west coast home at the Vancouver Convention Centre. After a two-year hiatus, and we are pulling out all the stops to make the Vancouver 2023 Lift Cannabis Business Conference and Lift Expo outstanding events for the cannabis community.

Land Acknowledgement: Dennis Thomas-Whonoak, Elected Councillor, Tsleil-Waututh Nation (People of the Inlet) 

Welcome: Lindsay Roberts, Senior Vice President, Lift Events & Experiences

Conference Chair: Rosy Mondin, Director, Cannaworld Ventures and Executive Director & Founder, Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada

Session I

  • Canada’s economic development goals for the cannabis industry – plus, current federal, provincial, territorial and municipal cooperation
  • Prioritizing responsibility, while supporting opportunity, innovation and growth – what is it going to take to achieve
  • G2B collaborations – what Health Canada, Innovation Canada and Canadian businesses are doing now to drive prosperity
  • Canada and the World – what Canada can teach other nations about legalization and what Canada is learning from other countries

Eric Costen, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister & Lead, Cannabis Industry Sector, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Session II

Two independent Canadian cannabis reports emphasize the primary challenge facing large-scale and small-batch cannabis producers in Canada: taxes. The Cannabis Council of Canada/EY Economic Analysis, and Stand for Craft, a Canadian craft cannabis advocacy group, both published reports demonstrating how Canada’s regulations and excise taxes are making it difficult for Canadian cannabis producers to be economically sustainable. In this three part session, learn the updated results and conclusions of these studies from their authors, followed by an in-depth panel discussion.

  • Federal and provincial governments need to do their part to combat illicit contraband. Unregulated products remain widely available in the marketplace presenting health risks to consumers. However -
  • Regulated products including taxes are not competitive with untaxed contraband products. Current taxation is dis-incentivizing the shift to regulated products and healthier consumption.
  • The present economic environment of the regulated cannabis industry is not sustainable. Too many companies remain unprofitable and on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • Discuss required changes to achieve the objectives of the Cannabis Act and build a vibrant and sustainable legal cannabis industry in Canada.

George Smitherman, CEO, Cannabis Council of Canada

  • How Canada’s regulations and excise taxes are obstacles for smaller cannabis producers to be economically sustainable.
  • Approaches to help craft producers and processors do better than just "break even."
  • Avoiding insolvency by identifying early signs and triggers, plus assessing your business strategy to pivot toward profitability.
  • Pathways for craft producers, small batch farmers and micro-producers to compete effectively - including with the illicit market.

Dan Sutton, CEO, Tantalus Labs

Urgency and excellence in government advocacy and lobbying are more important today for the Canadian cannabis industry than ever before, pre- or post-legalization.

Canada’s foothold as the world leader in cannabis is slipping away, and the nation’s cannabis industries are paying the price in losses and insolvency.

It is time for a ‘Team Canada’ approach, to: 

  • Address debilitating taxes as businesses struggle (while in only a four-month timeframe and reported in May 2022, BC alone received $112.74 million in federal excise duty payments, while also collecting $91.3 million in PST on cannabis sales).
  • Leverage processes to bolster business sustainability – through innovation, research, and skills development – to fundamentally achieve industry change.
  • Increase access to medical cannabis.
  • Combat the negative effects of the illicit market and ensure public safety.

Moderator: Charlotte Bowyer, Head of Advisory, Hanway Associates
Omar Khan, SVP Corporate & Public Affairs, High Tide
Deepak Anand, Cannabis Industry Management Advisor, ASDA Consultancy Services
George Smitherman, CEO, Cannabis Council of Canada
Dan Sutton, CEO, Tantulus Labs

Session III

How capital is being raised in cannabis has changed across the globe; this is no longer a marketplace for beginners. In this two-part session, financing experts will share what it takes to raise capital via traditional means and proven alternative methods, as well as put a spotlight on novel financing approaches.

  • Market analysis update - advantages and disadvantages of investing in cannabis industry in 2023
  • Growth trends by business model – who is succeeding? Commodity-scale producers, craft producers, small-batch farmers or processing manufacturers?
  • Exporting (and importing) – what are the international challenges and opportunities
  • After four years of legalization, what will the industry look like in 4 more years?

Sid Rajeev, VP Head of Research, Fundamental Research Corp

  • Market analysis update to be provided, including advantages and disadvantages of investing in cannabis industry in 2023.
  • The business models that are attracting attention: craft, micro-processors, small farmer, commodity-based, mass-market, white labelling, importing or exporting? 
  • Examining international legalization and local, regional and worldwide political considerations that influence investment. Plus, will BC be a Pacific gateway for emerging Asian cannabis markets?
  • Finally, weighing the pros and cons of going public in 2023, plus accessing publicly-funded grants and funds, such as Scientific Research and Experimental Development credits.

Moderator: Steven Conville, CEO, Kronic Relief
Anna Serin, Director, Listing Development, Western Canada & US, Vancouver Branch Lead, The Canadian Securities Exchange
David Goldstein, CEO, Stoke Inventory Partners
Gagan Grewal, Founder & CEO, Mindset Beverages
Sami Majadla, CEO, CertiCraft

LCBC Lunch is Generously Provided by:

NextWave Insurance

Kelli Hunt, SVP, NextWave



Session IV

There are ways of executing a business consolidation effectively and efficiently to avoid pitfalls and generate a combined powerhouse of know-how and expanded output. This is true whether the companies are international conglomerates or boutique companies that excel in their niche market. In this session:

  • Managing and due diligence for IP, patents, trademarks, classification and more.
  • Optimizing tech transfers, including identifying the value chain, valuation, and adding value.
  • Due diligence required in the context of international cannabis considerations
  • Tech transfers during partnerships and collaborations

Moderator: Jason Moscovici, Partner, Biochemist, ROBIC LLP
Holly Palmer, SVP & Managing Director, EY-Parthenon
Michael Sharp, Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property, Aurora
Marcelo Pomeranz, Associate, Cooley LLP USA

Session V

The future of plant-based medicine is in personalization and legacy medicine processors will need a digital infrastructure that can be achieved through blockchain. Cannabis can be a start, including:

  • Establishing a transparent and secured network.
  • Collecting behavioural, lifestyle and health data about customers and from clinical trials.
  • Delivering sustainable product lines tailored to individuals from both a health as well as taste perspective
  • Minimizing the impact on the environment

Dr. Everton Flemmings, Founder & President of iValley Nutraceuticals, Head of International Policy & Government Relations and President of the International Advisory Board, Plant Based Sciences International

Session VI

In this spotlight presentation, learn from BZAM’s creative team – who are behind fan-favourite brands BZAM, -ness and TABLE TOP – on how to create lasting brands. 

  • Is compliant and standout cannabis branding possible? How?
  • Rebranding and launching new brands in a crowded marketplace
  • Creative approaches for flavour-focused or lively cannabis brands (that don't appeal to youth)
  • Why ‘cheap weed’ doesn't mean budget branding 

Katherine Webb, Partner, Webb Creative
Matt Webb, Partner, Webb Creative

Session VII

Time and time again, a brand rep will stop by a retail store with 10 different strain cards, a few T-shirts and a rehearsed pitch regarding the new products coming down the pipe. But there are much better ways:  

  • How to engage and build long standing, trusting relationships with retailers 
  • How to follow up productively without being overbearing 
  • Partnerships/Collaborations - ie: in store, social, experiential, etc. 
  • Educational strategies that work

Moderator: Brytany Melville, Founder, The Grown Group
Spensir Sangara, Founder, THC Canada
Jaclynn Pehota, Executive Director, The Retail Cannabis Council of Canada
Stacey Duffy, Director of Retail, All Nations Consulting
Rob Cherry, COO, Independent Retailers Cannabis Collective

Getting safe weed into consumers hands at a fair price from an honest and knowledgeable retailer is what legalization was all about. But is that what Canada’s ‘cannabis industry’ produced today?

Growers, processors, distributors, retailers, both legal and legacy, and pretty much most of Canadians - especially cannabis enthusiasts and patients - don’t really think so.  

  • Mending a fractured cannabis business and retail marketplace – aligning online, independents, legacy shops, franchisees, lottery winners, government stores and corporate chains, while eliminating predators. 
  • Capitalist and collective - creating an economic environment that establishes a positive and prosperous interconnected industry that protects the public and supports businesses
  • New distribution methods, including a review of current delivery services, Canada Post, plus assisting indigenous and small-scale producers.
  • The economic benefits of a cohesive, inclusive ‘industry’ culture – and relegating prohibition-style regulations to the past

Moderator: Joyce Hayne, Publisher, Cannabis Retailer
Andrea Dobbs, Owner, Village Bloomery
Cory Waldron, CEO, Mood Cannabis Co and Director, RCCBC
Jaclynn Pehota, Executive Director, The Retail Cannabis Council of Canada 
Nathan Mison, Chair, Independent Retailers Cannabis Collective and Principal, Diplomat Consulting

5:00 - 6:30PM | Industry Reception