In wake of Namaste fiasco, Canadian cannabis firms urged to boost corporate governance

An skilled within the cannabis business is urging Canadian marijuana corporations to enhance corporate governance within the wake of an issue involving Namaste Technologies and different “unicorn” firms.

Toronto-based Namaste on Monday stated it eliminated Sean Dollinger as chief government officer and director and is commencing authorized motion towards him after a particular investigation.

The firm is looking for damages and disgorgement in reference to findings “related to the sale of its U.S. subsidiary, Dollinger Enterprises US Inc., in 2017, and subsequent transactions involving its assets and companies in which Sean Dollinger and Namaste’s head of marketing, David Hughes, have a beneficial interest, as well as breaches of fiduciary duty by Sean Dollinger and evidence of self-dealing.”

In a press release the next day, Dollinger stated he intends “to begin setting the record straight and clearing any misconceptions caused by the inaccurate allegations leveled against me.”

This cost and up to date situations involving Aphria and MedMen show the necessity for improved corporate governance throughout the sector, in accordance to Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based Ela Capital, a enterprise capital agency exploring rising markets within the cannabis area.

“The cannabis industry has been the Wild West,” he stated. “It is time for cannabis corporations to give attention to corporate governance.

“It’s time that both industry and the government look at regulations, corporate governance and social responsibilities.”

Sappani stated Canadian marijuana business leaders resembling Canopy Growth and Aurora have demonstrated a way of corporate governance and duty, however many different corporations within the fast-growing sector want enchancment on this space.

Some corporations in an rising sector similar to cannabis have demonstrated actions that may be “an absolute no-no in any established industries,” he stated.

In September, officers with Tilray confirmed in an e-mail to Marijuana Business Daily that it had “ended its relationship” with Namaste after a extremely publicized “pledge party” involving ladies wearing “sexy” nurse uniforms. The occasion was reportedly held for stockholders who promised not to promote firm shares for 90 days.

“Some of the corporate governance is questionable from the actions they have shown in public, whether that’s a press release, an action, an acquisition,” Sappani stated of the broader business.

“Everybody needs to be compliant with regulators, but some of these activities these companies are involved in are very questionable.”

Experts say that marijuana corporations – particularly these in search of to go public – should pay cautious consideration to corporate governance.

They word the next factors as essential to success:

  • Management and boards ought to be unbiased.
  • Real or perceived conflicts of curiosity have to be strictly prevented.
  • Executive pay is greatest tied to efficiency.
  • Creating an government committee of the board can show a fantastic choice.
  • Gender variety is vital.

Finance reporter Lisa Bernard-Kuhn contributed to this report.

Matt Lamers may be reached at [email protected]

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