Marijuana Business Magazine April 2020

Marijuana Business Magazine | April 2020 100 IndustryPlayers | New Hires & Promotions A look at some recent hiring moves in the marijuana industry UN’s Top Anti-MJ Crusader Joins Medical Cannabis Firm Viroj Sumyai , president of the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) from 2017 to 2018, has been hired as president of Thailand’s leading medical cannabis company, Thai Cannabis Corp. At the INCB, which oversees international drug treaty compliance, Sumyai was highly critical of cannabis legalization for nonmedical use as well as “poorly regulated” medical programs. In his new role as president of 10-year-old Thai Cannabis, which has mostly acted as an informal adviser to Thailand’s government on medical marijuana policy, Sumyai is expected to boost the global credibility of the industry, especially in Asia. Oakland MJ Company Hires For CPG Experience Nug, a diversified cannabis business in Oakland, California, hired Alissa Berihu as its new director of product development. Berihu is the founding partner and co-formulator of Andalou Naturals, where she launched more than 200 products and guided her startup business through an acquisition by the publicly traded BWX Brands, a global beauty company. Berihu also previously served as new product manager for the Shaklee Corp., a natural supplement company, and brand manager for Zia Natural Skincare in Indonesia. Nug also hired Steve Lilak as director of sales. Lilak has held key executive positions at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, one of the largest alcohol distributors in the United States, grocery chain Safeway and wine and spirits e-commerce platforms Bounty Hunter RareWine & Spirits and Vinfolio. In 2018, he was appointed vice president of sales for California-based Jetty Extracts. Lilak then became the director of sales for CBD luxury lifestyle brand Toast. By Omar Sacirbey I t’s not clear why Michael Blum left a well-compensated, partner-level position as chief technology officer of electronic trading at Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs. What is certain is that he didn’t become New York- based PharmaCann’s CTO for the money. “It wasn’t the compensation that brought me here. It was the opportunity,” said Blum, who confirmed he’s receiving less now than at Goldman Sachs. “I feel like I’m being fairly compensated, given where PharmaCann is at. It was an opportunity to help build a company, build an industry, that brought me here. Not the compensation.” Blum passed on an earlier opportunity to join PharmaCann in 2017. Between 2016 and 2017, the electronic trading trailblazer worked at GETCO (now KCG Holdings), an electronic trading firm in Chicago, with several current PharmaCann leaders including CEO Brett Novey , Chief Strategy Officer Michael Chodil , board member John McCarthy , Executive Director and PharmaCann investor Stephen Schuler and Dan Tierney , head of Wicklow Capital, a Chicago venture capital firm that also invested in PharmaCann. After Virtu Financial, a New York City financial-services company, acquired KCG in 2017 and let Blum and other executives go, he explored joining his buddies who were already at PharmaCann. But cannabis still seemed too risky, while Goldman Sachs gave him an offer—including coming in as a lateral partner, something extremely rare in top-tier financial institutions—that was too good to pass up. At Goldman, Blum built a technology system that processes more than 5 billion transactions per day. But he kept his eyes on cannabis, watching more states launch medical and/or recreational programs. PharmaCann, however, had frozen hiring during its merger (announced Dec. 24, 2018) with California MSO MedMen Enterprises. When that merger collapsed last October, PharmaCann resumed hiring and soon reached out to Blum. This time, he said yes. “I want to make PharmaCann more efficient, and I want to try to help the cannabis markets become more efficient,” he said. Goldman Sachs CTO Joins PharmaCann Michael Blum