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Robert W.E. Laurie founded Ad Lucem Law Corporation in 2013. Robert is an international lawyer qualified in England and called to the British Columbia Bar. Robert’s legal practice focuses on commercial business, government, regulatory issues, plus charter and constitutional legalities surrounding cannabis and psychedelic plant medicines. Robert has eighteen years of policy development and legal practice in corporate, commercial, and administrative law, plus licensing, regulatory, and constitutional charter experience concerning medical access to cannabis and psilocybin. As a lawyer in Canada, Robert works to reform drug laws. As a consultant, he devises regulatory, government policy, and business solutions for companies operating globally in the regulated food, cannabis, and psychedelic industries. Robert is Special Advisor to Gateway Proven Strategies (GPS Global), a Denver-based cannabis management consultancy firm operating globally. Robert serves as a board advisor to MAPS Canada, the Last Prisoner Project, and SPORE Denver. In addition, he is a legal advisor to the Heroic Hearts Project, a founder of the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy, and a director of the Ecuador Amazon Restoration Project.Robert has been working and advocating tirelessly as a lawyer to improve medical patient access to cannabis, psychedelics, and sacred plant medicines and facilitate drug laws to better society. Robert advised Dr. Bruce Tobin and the TheraPsil Alliance litigation team (first Section 56 CDSA medical exemption for psilocybin in Canada). He was one of the Decriminalize Nature Canada Petition drafters, part of a national campaign to decriminalize restricted plant medicines and fungi in Canada. His goal is to help provide more options for doctors and treatments for anxiety, depression, addiction, and PTSD. Robert is an acclaimed international speaker, presenting at conferences and events on the laws surrounding cannabis, psychedelic, and entheogenic medicines in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.I hope you enjoy our conversation.For more insightful conversations related to cannabis law, listen to our other episodes at If you're looking for a good text book on Canadian cannabis law, read Canada's Cannabis Act.If you need a cannabis lawyer, ask Russell for more information at https://cannabislaw.caLast, please sign Russell's petition for automatic cannabis expungements, which is due on April 19, 2022.
Keachea Dixon is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New York, the Province of Ontario, and the island of Jamaica. Keachea’s law practice focuses on helping entrepreneurs and small businesses with various issues in Commercial law, Cannabis law, Entertainment law, Real Estate law, Wills & Estates law, Intellectual Property law, and Technology Law. Keachea is a co-founder and Vice President of International Business Affairs for Cannabiziac, a global member-based company helping new and existing businesses and professionals with education, training, networking events, mentorship, and advocacy in the global cannabis industry.She also teaches for Cannabiziac’s Builder Incubator Program about the international cannabis market including topics like prohibition, decriminalization, plant touching, ancillary operations, and global trends.  Keachea is an active speaker, delivering valuable information at conferences around the world from Perth, Australia to San Juan, Puerto Rico to Toronto, Canada.Keachea is admitted to the Federal Courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, has a Master of Law Degree in Intellectual Property, Technology & Commerce from University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly known as Franklin Pierce Law Centre), is a certified mediator in the area of IP, Technology & Commerce, and was a NGO representative at the United Nations Department of Public Information.  Focusing on International Development, Keachea was a partner at Gordon Dixon & Company, and was in-house counsel for Dilieu Technology LLC, an IT solutions company.Keachea has counselled startup companies in the following industries: cannabis, fashion, film, music, marketing, publishing and technology. Ms. Dixon’s professional motto is “transforming lives one client at a time through the strategic use of justice”. I hope you enjoy our conversation.For more insightful conversations related to cannabis law, listen to our other episodes at If you're looking for a good text book on Canadian cannabis law, read Canada's Cannabis Act.If you need a cannabis lawyer, ask Russell for more information at https://cannabislaw.caLast, please sign Russell's petition for automatic cannabis expungements.
David Brown -

David Brown -


Generally speaking, David Brown writes about cannabis policy and industry stuff and lives in British Columbia. He likes plants. And his beard.More specifically, David Brown is a cannabis policy analyst, regulatory affairs specialist and content manager with, a Canadian cannabis industry news and information publication. David has worked in the cannabis industry for 10 years, first as a co-founder of LIFT Cannabis, which was a former news site for the medical cannabis industry. After a few years building LIFT, David joined Health Canada in the lead up to legalization with the regulation team working on writing the regulations that became law on October 17, 2018. David then worked on the 2.0 Cannabis Regulations, and eventually moved to Health Canada’s stakeholder engagement team doing outreach to provinces and municipalities, and in BC to First Nations, RCMP and schools about legalization. David left Health Canada in 2020 to form Stratcann to write stories about cannabis and the industry.I hope you enjoy our conversation.For more insightful conversations related to cannabis law, listen to our other episodes at If you're looking for a good text book on Canadian cannabis law, read Canada's Cannabis Act.If you need a cannabis lawyer, ask Russell for more information at https://cannabislaw.caLast, please sign Russell's petition for automatic cannabis expungements.
Nathaniel B. Erskine-Smith, MP ("Nate") is a Canadian politician and member of the Liberal Party, he is a Member of Parliament, representing Beaches-East York. Nate became the youngest MP to be elected in the Greater Toronto Area on October 19, 2015, after a successful grassroots open nomination in December 2014. He successfully retained his seat both in the 2019 federal election and in the 2021 federal election.Prior to entering politics, Nate was a lawyer at a Toronto commercial litigation firm,  and volunteered to do legal work for a range of clients and causes, which included fighting public interest matters in court, and research for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.Nate hosts a weekly podcast series, Uncommons: Canadian Politics with Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, in which he seeks out experts from his work and travels in Ottawa and Toronto to discuss on topics in the news and general matters of interest to the public. Nate is the co-chair of the federal government's All-Party Cannabis Caucus, and has introduced Private Member Bills regarding the decriminalization of all illicit drugs, including the former Bill C-22, which created an evidence-based diversion framework to ensure that police and prosecutors only proceed with criminal charges if it is inadequate to issue a warning or to refer individuals in need to health care services, which came out of his views that problematic substance use should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal justice one. In 2019, Nate seconded a bill introduced by NDP MP Murray Rankin for national cannabis record expungement, writing an op-ed for NOW Magazine to discuss his support for MP Rankin's bill, stating that only expungements would address the injustice of cannabis criminalization. We talk about his efforts in this recording.I hope you enjoy!For more insightful conversations related to cannabis law, head to For the latest on Canadian cannabis law, buy and read Canada's Cannabis Act.
Elizabeth Dipchand and Dan Pollack practise IP, corporate law and litigation at Dipchand LLP, a boutique law firm in Toronto.Elizabeth is the type of person who is driven to find intelligent solutions to problems that are not readily evident to others. As such, she regularly advises corporations on in-depth identification, acquisition, maintenance, management & leveraging and protection & enforcement of intellectual property and intangible assets. She enjoys speaking about these dynamic issues both publicly and privately, and now, on our podcast! In her litigation practice, Elizabeth represents clients in a variety of industries including, cannabis, pharma, SAS, wireless communications and mining with a variety of issues including misleading advertising, grey-goods/anti-counterfeit, and commercial litigation matters related to IP and intangible assets. Her solicitor practice features licensing, contract, and transactions, where she develops long-term legal strategies to leverage SMEs and larger corporations’ intellectual capital to assist in their growth. Clients regularly rely on her to coordinate their intellectual capital management and enforcement strategies worldwide.Elizabeth sits on the Board of Directors for the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada, and is a founding member of The Big Push, a women driven collective accelerating women-founded start-ups. She sits on the Board of Directors of G(irls)20, an organization dedicated to the advancement through leadership of girls and women globally, and for years has had the privilege of serving as a judge for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, Women of Influence’s premier national awards program. As well, Elizabeth sits on the Board of Directors for the Shaw Festival Theater, promoting the theatre's strong tradition of rebellious rabble rousing. Dan focuses his practice on one primary objective: to help creators and start-ups share their work with the world. His deep understanding of the complex legal issues that creatives and start-ups confront stems from 15+ years of cross-border experience at leading Canadian and US law firms, his own private practice, acting as General Counsel for an international image licensing agency, and as Legal Counsel for the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. Dan works with creators and creative agencies to protect and maximize their work value. Additionally, Dan serves as legal counsel for the two leading associations of professional image creators in Canada. Dan advises both emerging and established clients on various issues in his extensive private practice, including copyright acquisition, enforcement, litigation strategy, contracts, licensing agreements, and releases. He also regularly advises his clients on legal issues relating to marketing, social media, litigation, privacy, and corporate law.  In addition to creatives, Dan also advises start-ups and emerging companies that rely heavily on intellectual capital. His clients depend on his experienced generalist approach to their typically specialized issues to create a solid legal foundation upon which to grow. When Dan isn’t using his professional skills to help the creative community, he’s at home flipping through a collection of vinyl records that stands at 650 and counting!For more insightful conversations related to cannabis law, head to For the latest on Canadian cannabis law, buy and read Canada's Cannabis Act.
Stan Benda, Ph.D. is known as The Plant Lawyer.  We had a fruitful conversation that you may find very sweet.Stan practices law specializing in contracts concerning technology transfer / licensing with expertise in advanced technologies, especially agricultural biotechnology; novel foods (aka genetically modified); new plant varieties; plant breeders rights; stone fruits and in propagation, genetics, and licensing of cannabis. He also writes a blog, posting on legal issues concerning field crops, breeding, GM, regulation, new plant/crop varieties and food safety.  Twitter. Stan also advises agricultural lawyers for whom this is not their area of expertise, so they can ensure they maintain their client base and loyalty. I hope you enjoy this candid conversation.For more insightful conversations related to cannabis law, head to For the latest on Canadian cannabis law, buy Canada's Cannabis Act.
Paul Lewin and Jack Lloyd are Toronto lawyers and activists who practise in cannabis and psychedelics law at their firm, Cannabis and Psychedelics Law Group LLP.What a great conversation! Paul has represented clients across Canada for over 27 years, practising with Lewin & Sagara LLP, fighting for clients at all levels of the Ontario Courts, including the religious use of cannabis, challenging the medical cannabis doctor-as-gatekeeper rules, the constitutionality of the limited cannabis strain choice, the cannabis extraction rules, and the cannabis grower privacy laws, which ended privacy breaches by police of cannabis growers. From 2011 to 2020, Paul was on the Board of Directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada (NORML Canada) advocating for cannabis reform and lobbying politicians at all levels of government. Paul has spoken at cannabis events, moderated cannabis policy discussions and he has been interviewed dozens of times in the media on cannabis policy. Paul also advises doctors, lawyers, politicians and the police on cannabis laws and regulations, and the emerging psychedelic industry. Jack practices criminal and constitutional litigation relating to medical cannabis regulation at all levels of court in Ontario and British Columbia, and the Supreme Court of Canada. He also performs consultancy work relating to the cannabis industry and the emergent issues surrounding psilocybin for medical purposes all across Canada, excluding Quebec. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Jack was the editor at Green Candy Press, the world’s largest publisher of books about the cannabis plant and psilocybin mushrooms. He continues to edit select titles for Green Candy Press, including an update to  The Cannabis Breeder’s Bible, The Ganja Kitchen Revolution and Marijuana Chef Cookbook as well as the Psilocybin Chef Cookbook. In 2016, Jack edited The Psilocybin Mushroom Bible: The Definitive Guide to Growing and Using Magic Mushrooms, which was the first book on psilocybin mushroom cultivation released in over a decade. Jack is currently the President of NORML Canada, where he advocates for sensible regulations concerning cannabis in Canada.In this interview we also talk about Paul and Jack's most recent ruling R v. Howell 2020 ABQB 385, the first case to strike down the ACMPR as unconstitutional due to serious infringements of the rights of medical cannabis patients.I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. For more information about this podcast or Russell Bennett go to Cannabis Law, Barristers & Solicitors.
Henria Stephens is our incredible Student at Law at Cannabis Law, Barristers & Solicitors.Prior to law school, Henria worked in the Agriculture, Healthcare and International Development Sectors for nearly 20 years over three continents. She has worked in small grassroots organizations and large multinational corporations. She is a champion of justice and fairness and returned to law school to hone her advocacy skills.Before joining Cannabis Law, Henria volunteered at a social justice focused sole practitioner’s law firm, whose practice areas included Civil Litigation, Human Rights and Labour & Employment. She also attended The Michener Institute, and successfully completed Health Professional’s Introduction to Cannabis to better understand the medicinal and therapeutic uses of Cannabis.Henria also articles jointly with Lewin & Sagara, showing incredible commitment to the cannabis legal industry and her teammates. When not learning more about cannabis and psychedelics, Henria enjoys genuine connections, memorable meals and marvelling at the universe.
Tamar Friedman is a Toronto-based lawyer practicing in the areas of cannabis defence, police and State accountability, and civil litigation. This includes Charter litigation, public interest litigation, human rights law, and regulatory defence. Tamar received her licence to practise law in Ontario, Canada in 2016. She practiced as a civil litigator on behalf of the Province of Ontario from 2016-2018 where she specialized in human rights law, OPP defence, personal injury, and corporate/commercial litigation. Since 2018, Tamar has assisted self-represented litigants through her access to justice law practice, She also works with Charney Law, helping clients by holding police and the Crown accountable.Tamar is also the research editor for our book, Canada's Cannabis Act: Annotation & Commentary, 2021-2022 edition. 
Pete Young is a master grower from the old school.Originally from Long Island, New York, Pete began his journey as a cannabis grower at the age of 15 with a few plants on the rooftop of his friend's apartment to avoid having to buy cannabis from the street.When he moved to London, Ontario to study photography, he developed his talent for growing weed and provided seeds to Chris Clay's store in London, Ontario at the Great Canadian Hemporium. After Chris was arrested, he and his team changed the store's name to Hemp Nation, where Pete earned the title of Minister of Agriculture. After Chris Clay’s trial, Pete took over the store and rebranded it as the Organic Traveler with the slogan "There’s no need to panic, it’s organic!"Pete also founded the London Compassion Society, dedicated to providing high quality cannabis as medicine to people at reduced rates.On the road to legalization, Pete became a master grower with Indiva, a Licensed Producer in Canada. On Legalization Day (October 17, 2018), Pete and Chris rang the bell opening the stock exchange.You can pick up a copy of Pete's autobiography, The High Road: A Pot Grower's Journey from the Black Market to the Stock Market on Amazon.I hope you enjoy my conversation with Pete, one of the original growers who has tremendous respect for the plant.
Chris Clay is ahead by a century.I use the song title from the Tragically Hip on purpose. In the early 1990s, university student Chris Clay had a vision: cannabis must be legal. Chris wasn't alone, obviously. But his plan to achieve his vision was unparalleled: Chris opened Canada's first Hemp Store.Initially a booth at a London, Ontario flea market, Chris moved his table of hemp products and information, with the help of a government grant, to a London storefront that Chris called the Great Canadian Hemporium. Eventually, he changed the name to Hemp Nation. With a team of other 20-somethings, including Pete Young (who is the next featured CLIC podcast interviewee!) Chris sold hemp clothing, hemp personal hygiene products and hemp seeds. But Chris wanted to do something else: he wanted to help people grow their own. Influenced by Alexander Sumach and others, Chris began selling cannabis seeds, and did so for two years, never once attracting law enforcement attention. Until he did.After two raids by London Police, the second of which was for selling plant cuttings, and charges that could have given Chris four life sentences, Chris formally launched a constitutional challenge against the Narcotic Control Act (which became the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act during his case). Law Professor Alan Young (who was our first CLIC podcast interview) and criminal lawyer Paul Burstein (who is now The Honourable Justice Burstein) assembled a giant roster of expert witnesses to testify as to the harmless effects of cannabis and to dispel all the myths associated with cannabis. This myth-busting team went all the way to the Supreme Court (please see the case here: R. v. Clay, 2003 SCC 75 (CanLII), [2003] 3 SCR 735). Incidentally, Chris's case is explained in detail in the Preface to my book, Canada's Cannabis Act: Annotation and Commentary.Chris' case laid the scientific foundation for why cannabis must be legal, and gave our elected officials the comfort against the myths and racist rhetoric. Chris, Alan and Paul deserve the Order of Canada for lifting Canada out of the dark ages of an unnecessary and very harmful prohibition.On the day of legalization, Chris rang the bell opening the stock exchange. And post-legalization, Chris brought Hemp Nation back to life as Hemp Nation Outfitters, now a store on Vancouver Island. Check it out!I hope you enjoy listening to this interview as much as I did recording it.Engineering of this podcast was done by Jeremy Benning.Music was created and performed by Albert Wong.
Alan Young is the best.I am proud to have the Cannabis Law in Canada Podcast kick-off with a great interview with Professor Emeritus Alan Young, a retired law professor and lawyer. I met Alan when shooting my documentary, STONED: Hemp Nation on Trial in 1996-1997. He allowed me and my cinematographer, Jeremy Benning, access to the defence strategy room, defence witnesses and provided several engaging interviews with me. He is still as smart, funny and insightful as ever.Alan received his BA from York University, his LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School, and his LLM from Harvard University prior to be called to the bar of Ontario. Alan taught criminal law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University for over 30 years, while simultaneously challenging the state's authority to criminalize consensual activity, which included constitutional challenges to Canada's gambling, obscenity, bawdy-house and drug laws. For nearly two decades, Alan provided free legal services to those whose alternative lifestyles brought them into conflict with the law. He represented countless numbers of people suffering from AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis who were charged after using marijuana for medicinal purposes, and as a result of these cases, the Federal Government was compelled to create a regulatory program authorizing the use of medical cannabis. Alan was also responsible for an early constitutional challenge to the possession of marijuana offence (R v. Clay, [2002] SCJ No 88 (SCC)), which fundamentally changed the public’s perception of the harms associated with cannabis use. I was fortunate enough to film the story of this case and present it to Canada with a premier of STONED on CBC Newsworld and following on City-tv in 1998.Canadian Lawyer magazine recognized the contributions Professor Young has made to the law and named him one of the “Top 25 Most Influential” in the justice system and legal profession in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. He is the author of Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers and Lawyers and a playwright.My conversation with Alan was so much fun and enlightening. I hope you enjoy Alan as much as I do.Engineering of this podcast is by Jeremy Benning.Music was created and performed by Albert Wong.
In this foundational episode, host and Toronto cannabis lawyer Russell Bennett takes you on a journey from Stoned, his first documentary film that he produced and directed right after he became a lawyer to how he became a cannabis lawyer and founded his own law firm Cannabis Law, and the reasons why he made this podcast.Engineering of this podcast is by Jeremy Benning.Music was created and performed by Albert Wong.
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