High Times magazine loves its annuals—there’s the Seed Bank Hall of Fame, the "best of" categories, Strongest Strains on Earth, and many more. The publication is the veritable flag bearer for enter-year-here listicles.
On Wednesday (March 27), the counterculture rag published its second annual list of the top 100 influencers driving the international cannabis industry—a title bestowed with a digital nod and an award ceremony. It’s a blend of mostly North American c-suiters, breeders, advocates, scientists, and business heads defining economic trends, creating cool products, and pushing for policy change. This year, there was a noticeable spike in the number of Canadians—or at least Canadian companies—that made the cut for 2018’s most influential.
Securing a second consecutive mention are the founders of two of Canada’s largest federally licensed producers (LP)—Aurora Cannabis CEO Terry Booth and Canopy Growth Corporation CEO Bruce Linton. And while Brendan Kennedy is American, the president and CEO of Tilray Canada, a Nanaimo-based cannabis LP, also was a repeat mention.
Mettrum Health Corporation founders Billy Levy and Peter Miller, which was acquired by Canopy in early 2017, weren’t Tweed Marijuana’s only associates to make the list either. The Ontario LP’s partners, Don Morris and Aaron Yarkoni, founders of Amsterdam-based DNA Genetics, also made the cut. They’re known for producing world-renowned cannabis genetics and have a strong foothold in the Canadian market.
Also recognized was John Fowler—the president, founder, and director of The Supreme Cannabis Company, which is based in Toronto. Fowler is also the vice chair and director of the Cannabis Council of Canada, a leading coalition of cannabis producers licensed under Health Canada’s federal Cannabis Act.
“He is a pioneer in the cannabis industry and fierce advocate for patients-rights. The success of this sector and the opportunities it has created for Canadian businesses and consumers would not have been possible without trailblazers like John. Congratulations John and thank you for your infectious passion," said Navdeep Dhaliwal, CEO of Supreme in a release.
As weed-infused beverages are projected to be one of the hottest items in the Canadian market when legalized later this year, the director of West Vancouver-based Hill Street Beverage Company and founder of Toronto’s Cronos Group Paul Rosen made the list. Cronos’ president and CEO Michael Gorenst was also awarded the title.
President and general counsel for Origin House, a Toronto brand accelerator representing over 50 cannabis products and companies, Afzal Hasan also made the cut. In the past, he has worked with Vancouver-based law firm Cassels Brock and Blackwell, the Ontario Securities Commission, and the United Nations.
“As the cannabis industry evolves, it is becoming clear that consumer brands and distribution will lead the market and create long-term gains; We're pleased to have identified this early on and it has largely been due to Afzal's vision and commitment," said Marc Lustig, CEO and chairman of Origin House in a release.
Noticeably missing from this year’s list are celebrities-slash-CEOs Snoop Dogg, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, and Willie Nelson—all of whom have cannabis production companies.
This year, the list ditched its eclectic definition of “influencer”, instead opting for a strong legally-approved business focus. High Times also chose not to have categories highlighting activism, sports, writers, and social media influencers.
Notable non-Canadians that made the list include the former president of Mexico, retired professional boxer Mike Tyson, Damian Marley, comedian Doug Benson, California’s governor Jared Polis, Cypress Hill's B-Real, founder of the Emerald Cup Tim Blake, and the cofounder of Dope Magazine David Tran.
The nominees were recognized at the High Times 100 Gala in Los Angeles on March 27.