Search underway for new heads of three provincial cannabis wholesalers

The three biggest adult-use cannabis wholesalers in Canada are seeking permanent leadership after a string of unrelated departures.

The monopoly cannabis wholesaler and retailer in Quebec appointed an interim president to take over for the departing Jean-François Bergeron, the organization announced.

Paul Furfaro, director of branch operations since 2018, will take the helm of the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) on a temporary basis.

The task of recruiting a permanent replacement falls on the board, according to the SQDC’s news release.

“In the meantime, the company continues to carry out its strategic plan with diligence and efficiency, in line with its mission of protecting health,” the SQDC said.

Quebec joined Ontario and Alberta with recent changes at the top of their respective state-owned cannabis wholesalers and online sellers.

(Alberta and Ontario use a mixed system, where the private sector controls physical stores and the province manages wholesale and e-commerce; Quebec controls the entire supply chain after production.)

Change is also afoot at the Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis corporation (AGLC).

Niaz Nejad – previously the AGLC’s chief operating officer overseeing the gaming and cannabis operations – left the organization in mid-April “to pursue new opportunities,” a spokesperson for the AGLC said.

Steve Lautischer, who has been with the organization for the past 15 years, has been filling in for Nejad on a temporary basis as vice president for gaming and cannabis.

The AGLC also has an interim president and CEO, Kandice Machado.

Machado will remain in an acting capacity until the recruitment is complete – “anticipatively in the next couple of months,” the spokesperson said.

“Once the new (president and CEO) is appointed, they will determine next steps regarding the leadership recruitment for the vice president role (for for gaming and cannabis).”

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is on its sixth president in three years.

“An active search by the (board) for a permanent President & CEO remains underway,” an OCS spokesperson said via email.

Ontario, Alberta and Quebec were the first-, second- and third-largest cannabis markets in Canada in May, with sales of 103.4 million Canadian dollars ($85 million), CA$58.9 million and CA$48.3 million, respectively.

Matt Lamers is Marijuana Business Daily’s international editor, based near Toronto. He can be reached at