DRESCHEL: Eisenberger an investor in marijuana grow-op

Opinion Oct 13, 2017 by Andrew Dreschel Hamilton Spectator

Don't expect Mayor Fred Eisenberger to wade into the budding issue of controlling the size and location of Hamilton's medical marijuana facilities.

Eisenberger has declared a conflict of interest because he's an investor in a local cannabis grow-op.

The mayor publicly declared his conflict at Wednesday's council's meeting in connection with some pot-related motions and correspondence.

He noted his "family are investors in a federally licensed medical marijuana company."

But in an interview, Eisenberger revealed he also has a direct financial stake in the legal production of marijuana.

"It's my wife and I and family," he said. "It was a recommendation that we would be wise to invest some monies there and we did."

There are currently three licensed producers of medical marijuana in the Hamilton area, but Eisenberger declines to reveal which one he sank money into.

"I just don't want to get into that territory. It's a local company, licensed company, that is in the medical marijuana grow operation."

Under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, council members must disclose direct or indirect financial interests in a matter under discussion and are banned from debating, voting, or attempting to influence a vote on the subject.

That effectively deletes Eisenberger from the coming council debate over whether to consult with senior governments about regulating the location and size of licensed grow-ops to preserve agricultural lands for food production.

Eisenberger says he's "pretty comfortable" with his investment, which he made about six months ago. He sees it as contributing to the "green economy."

"It's a very minor investment, I would say, but I certainly think that part of the economy has great potential."

Still, he admits that when he put his money down he probably didn't think about the "future ramifications" as thoroughly as he might have.

Now he's feeling a little repentant that he's unable to take part in the land use debate or whatever other related issues crop up.

"I kind of regret that, to be honest. I can't unwind that now unless I dispose of those (shares). Unfortunately, I can't. There's a time limit on it. I do kind of regret that but I do not regret being part of a growing industry."

If Eisenberger's investment suggests political sleepiness or myopia, there's no question he's at the forefront of an emerging "green rush."

Marijuana is already a billion-dollar business in Canada and with legalization scheduled for July, 2018, investment is booming across the country.

It's still illegal to grow and sell grass for recreational use. But individuals and federally-licensed companies are allowed to grow it for medical use.

Eisenberger is hardly the only high-profile name to be linked to legal production. Locally, well-known home developer and past Distinguished Citizen of the Year Jeff Paikin is chair of The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd, which produces medical marijuana at its greenhouse facilities in Ancaster.

But that's just the tip of the spliff when it comes to big names jumping aboard the licensed wacky-tabbacky wagon.

The Globe and Mail recently revealed that Julian Fantino, former cabinet minister in the Harper government, OPP Commissioner, and tough-on-drugs Toronto police chief, is chairing Aleafia Inc., a company that hooks up medical marijuana users with legal products.

Raf Souccar, a former deputy RCMP commissioner, is president and CEO of the same company. Before taking on the executive position, Souccar was a member of the task force which advised the Trudeau government on marijuana legalization.

The Tragically Hip have partnered with a licensed producer. Former prime minister John Turner has been linked to another company. So has former Ontario premier Ernie Eaves, former Ontario health minister George Smitherman, and former BC premier Mike Harcourt. The list goes on and on.

Eisenberger notes his clear and present conflict doesn't prevent him from discussing or voting on measures dealing with illegal grow-ops and pot dispensaries.

But in terms of legal operations that may be looking to expand their footprint or want zoning changes, he's completely blunted himself.

Andrew Dreschel’s commentary appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. adreschel@thespec.com 905-526-3495 @AndrewDreschel

DRESCHEL: Eisenberger an investor in marijuana grow-op

Opinion Oct 13, 2017 by Andrew Dreschel Hamilton Spectator

Don't expect Mayor Fred Eisenberger to wade into the budding issue of controlling the size and location of Hamilton's medical marijuana facilities.

Eisenberger has declared a conflict of interest because he's an investor in a local cannabis grow-op.

The mayor publicly declared his conflict at Wednesday's council's meeting in connection with some pot-related motions and correspondence.

He noted his "family are investors in a federally licensed medical marijuana company."

But in an interview, Eisenberger revealed he also has a direct financial stake in the legal production of marijuana.

"It's my wife and I and family," he said. "It was a recommendation that we would be wise to invest some monies there and we did."

There are currently three licensed producers of medical marijuana in the Hamilton area, but Eisenberger declines to reveal which one he sank money into.

"I just don't want to get into that territory. It's a local company, licensed company, that is in the medical marijuana grow operation."

Under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, council members must disclose direct or indirect financial interests in a matter under discussion and are banned from debating, voting, or attempting to influence a vote on the subject.

That effectively deletes Eisenberger from the coming council debate over whether to consult with senior governments about regulating the location and size of licensed grow-ops to preserve agricultural lands for food production.

Eisenberger says he's "pretty comfortable" with his investment, which he made about six months ago. He sees it as contributing to the "green economy."

"It's a very minor investment, I would say, but I certainly think that part of the economy has great potential."

Still, he admits that when he put his money down he probably didn't think about the "future ramifications" as thoroughly as he might have.

Now he's feeling a little repentant that he's unable to take part in the land use debate or whatever other related issues crop up.

"I kind of regret that, to be honest. I can't unwind that now unless I dispose of those (shares). Unfortunately, I can't. There's a time limit on it. I do kind of regret that but I do not regret being part of a growing industry."

If Eisenberger's investment suggests political sleepiness or myopia, there's no question he's at the forefront of an emerging "green rush."

Marijuana is already a billion-dollar business in Canada and with legalization scheduled for July, 2018, investment is booming across the country.

It's still illegal to grow and sell grass for recreational use. But individuals and federally-licensed companies are allowed to grow it for medical use.

Eisenberger is hardly the only high-profile name to be linked to legal production. Locally, well-known home developer and past Distinguished Citizen of the Year Jeff Paikin is chair of The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd, which produces medical marijuana at its greenhouse facilities in Ancaster.

But that's just the tip of the spliff when it comes to big names jumping aboard the licensed wacky-tabbacky wagon.

The Globe and Mail recently revealed that Julian Fantino, former cabinet minister in the Harper government, OPP Commissioner, and tough-on-drugs Toronto police chief, is chairing Aleafia Inc., a company that hooks up medical marijuana users with legal products.

Raf Souccar, a former deputy RCMP commissioner, is president and CEO of the same company. Before taking on the executive position, Souccar was a member of the task force which advised the Trudeau government on marijuana legalization.

The Tragically Hip have partnered with a licensed producer. Former prime minister John Turner has been linked to another company. So has former Ontario premier Ernie Eaves, former Ontario health minister George Smitherman, and former BC premier Mike Harcourt. The list goes on and on.

Eisenberger notes his clear and present conflict doesn't prevent him from discussing or voting on measures dealing with illegal grow-ops and pot dispensaries.

But in terms of legal operations that may be looking to expand their footprint or want zoning changes, he's completely blunted himself.

Andrew Dreschel’s commentary appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. adreschel@thespec.com 905-526-3495 @AndrewDreschel

DRESCHEL: Eisenberger an investor in marijuana grow-op

Opinion Oct 13, 2017 by Andrew Dreschel Hamilton Spectator

Don't expect Mayor Fred Eisenberger to wade into the budding issue of controlling the size and location of Hamilton's medical marijuana facilities.

Eisenberger has declared a conflict of interest because he's an investor in a local cannabis grow-op.

The mayor publicly declared his conflict at Wednesday's council's meeting in connection with some pot-related motions and correspondence.

He noted his "family are investors in a federally licensed medical marijuana company."

But in an interview, Eisenberger revealed he also has a direct financial stake in the legal production of marijuana.

"It's my wife and I and family," he said. "It was a recommendation that we would be wise to invest some monies there and we did."

There are currently three licensed producers of medical marijuana in the Hamilton area, but Eisenberger declines to reveal which one he sank money into.

"I just don't want to get into that territory. It's a local company, licensed company, that is in the medical marijuana grow operation."

Under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, council members must disclose direct or indirect financial interests in a matter under discussion and are banned from debating, voting, or attempting to influence a vote on the subject.

That effectively deletes Eisenberger from the coming council debate over whether to consult with senior governments about regulating the location and size of licensed grow-ops to preserve agricultural lands for food production.

Eisenberger says he's "pretty comfortable" with his investment, which he made about six months ago. He sees it as contributing to the "green economy."

"It's a very minor investment, I would say, but I certainly think that part of the economy has great potential."

Still, he admits that when he put his money down he probably didn't think about the "future ramifications" as thoroughly as he might have.

Now he's feeling a little repentant that he's unable to take part in the land use debate or whatever other related issues crop up.

"I kind of regret that, to be honest. I can't unwind that now unless I dispose of those (shares). Unfortunately, I can't. There's a time limit on it. I do kind of regret that but I do not regret being part of a growing industry."

If Eisenberger's investment suggests political sleepiness or myopia, there's no question he's at the forefront of an emerging "green rush."

Marijuana is already a billion-dollar business in Canada and with legalization scheduled for July, 2018, investment is booming across the country.

It's still illegal to grow and sell grass for recreational use. But individuals and federally-licensed companies are allowed to grow it for medical use.

Eisenberger is hardly the only high-profile name to be linked to legal production. Locally, well-known home developer and past Distinguished Citizen of the Year Jeff Paikin is chair of The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd, which produces medical marijuana at its greenhouse facilities in Ancaster.

But that's just the tip of the spliff when it comes to big names jumping aboard the licensed wacky-tabbacky wagon.

The Globe and Mail recently revealed that Julian Fantino, former cabinet minister in the Harper government, OPP Commissioner, and tough-on-drugs Toronto police chief, is chairing Aleafia Inc., a company that hooks up medical marijuana users with legal products.

Raf Souccar, a former deputy RCMP commissioner, is president and CEO of the same company. Before taking on the executive position, Souccar was a member of the task force which advised the Trudeau government on marijuana legalization.

The Tragically Hip have partnered with a licensed producer. Former prime minister John Turner has been linked to another company. So has former Ontario premier Ernie Eaves, former Ontario health minister George Smitherman, and former BC premier Mike Harcourt. The list goes on and on.

Eisenberger notes his clear and present conflict doesn't prevent him from discussing or voting on measures dealing with illegal grow-ops and pot dispensaries.

But in terms of legal operations that may be looking to expand their footprint or want zoning changes, he's completely blunted himself.

Andrew Dreschel’s commentary appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. adreschel@thespec.com 905-526-3495 @AndrewDreschel