Canopy Growth alum McCarthy takes helm of Cannabis Council of Canada

Did you miss the webinar “Women Leaders in Cannabis: Shattering the Grass Ceiling?” Head to MJBiz YouTube to watch it now!


Cannabis industry veteran Paul McCarthy has been appointed president of the Cannabis Council of Canada, the country’s largest industry-supported lobby group.

McCarthy brings a “profound understanding of government workings and policy” to the organization, the Cannabis Council of Canada, also known as C3, said in a news release.

His appointment, effective immediately, comes approximately one month after the departure announcement of George Smitherman, C3’s longtime executive director.

McCarthy brings more than two decades of public sector experience to C3, both as a public servant and senior political adviser, including:

  • Policy adviser to the minister of industry.
  • Senior policy adviser to the minister of labor, housing and homelessness.
  • Senior policy analyst of Infrastructure Canada.
  • Director of policy for the minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defense.

McCarthy also worked for Canopy Growth Corp., a licensed cannabis producer, for a little more than three years starting in early 2019, according to his public LinkedIn profile.

His last positions at Canopy were head of corporate policy and head of international implementation.

“There is great potential for the cannabis sector to flourish in Canada,” McCarthy said in a statement.

“It can contribute to the country’s productivity and provide good-paying, sustainable jobs. That, however, can only be achieved through a reformed regulatory regime and the eradication of the illicit market.

“I look forward to working collaboratively with government and other stakeholders to make this industry the success story it can be.”

McCarthy already has a lot on his plate at C3.

Industry will be watching Canada’s federal budget closely for signs of support when it’s released April 16.

MJBizDaily recently reported that Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was warned last fall about systemic “financial distress” facing the country’s cannabis producers, including skyrocketing tax debt and widespread insolvencies.

According to the report, obtained through an access-to-information request and shared with MJBizDaily, “it remains the case that after five years of legalization, there are no licensed producers of legal cannabis products that are consistently profitable.”