To mark the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, we check in with some of the key players in the B.C. cannabis world. From pot growers to government officials to medical professionals, meet the people helping move the industry forward and keep British Columbians safe. Today’s subject is Grant Froese, CEO, Harvest One Cannabis
It didn’t take long for Grant Froese to get bored. After spending 38 years with grocery titan Loblaw Cos. in Ontario—most recently serving as COO—he lasted just over a year in retirement before jumping back into the saddle at a B.C. company this summer.
Harvest One Cannabis, based in Vancouver, employs about 60 people and consists of three entities. The company is licensed to cultivate and distribute medical marijuana through United Greeneries and its Duncan facility; Swiss subsidiary Satipharm makes medicinal cannabis capsules; and Florida’s Dream Water, acquired earlier this year, produces a liquid sleep aid that Harvest One aims to integrate into the cannabis market.
“I realized that I can’t just do nothing,” Froese admits from his home in Brampton, Ontario. “But I think the most important thing for me is that I enjoy building businesses. And there’s nothing more interesting and exciting than this industry, with all the different types of people that are in it.”
The new gig means that Froese flies to Vancouver every two weeks, and that’s not the only way he’s racking up mileage points. Harvest is making big strides in Europe, with an office in Dublin and retail contracts in London, plus Satipharm, whose offices are in Zurich.
Froese is embracing the change in roles. “I have the opportunity to build the business, put my stamp on it and build a culture that I want—not to say that Loblaw’s culture wasn’t great, because it was fantastic,” he says. “But a lot of people have said to me, ‘Why did you decide on Harvest One? Because I’m sure you had a few options.’ And that’s true. But what attracted me to Harvest One is that it’s multi-jurisdictional; we have businesses around the globe. It’s not just a cannabis company; it’s a cannabis company and a consumer goods company coming together.”