ncTakeOff to host discussion on cannabis industry in Niagara Jan. 25


Niagara College’s trailblazing Commercial Cannabis Production program and the region’s emerging cannabis industry will be the topics of discussion at a special event on January 25.

Organized by the College’s entrepreneurship hub ncTakeOff, the evening event will feature a panel of leaders involved in the sector offering an inside look into Canada’s cannabis industry, from economic to business opportunities, to the new program at NC. The event is open to College students, staff and faculty, as well as interested community residents.

Panelists will include MPs Chris Bittle (St. Catharines) and Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre); Bill MacDonald, professor in NC’s School of Environment and Horticulture (who will also be a coordinator for the new CCP program); Blake Landry, manager of economic research and analysis, Niagara Region Economic Development; and licensed producer Jennifer Maccarone, chief quality officer at Up Cannabis.

They plan to discuss the College’s CCP program, economic opportunities in the region, the legislation surrounding cannabis, and how the sector is expected to change once new legislation is in effect.

‘Why not have Niagara lead Ontario?’

Madison Fuller, project manager at ncTakeOff, said the event was organized in response to the announcement of NC’s new CCP program – the first of its kind in Canada – which will begin this September. She felt many people were interested in learning more about the curriculum and objectives for the program, and wanted to show students how they can connect their curriculum with innovation and entrepreneurship.

“There are many aspects of this – from political legislation, to opportunity for economic growth – and it’s important to have an open dialogue,” she said. “As NC’s entrepreneurship hub, we want to be able to facilitate conversations surrounding new and exciting business opportunities in the region and properly educate students on different business trends.”

Due to the licensed cannabis producers who have set up shop in Niagara, the region is already experiencing the beginning of economic growth, noted Fuller. With the region already leading the wine and beer sector, Fuller feels the same opportunity exists for commercial cannabis production.

“I’m hoping Canada will be a leader in the industry through legislation and responsible implementation of the legislation, so why not have Niagara lead Ontario,” she said.


‘This is a very professional industry’

MacDonald, who has been consulting in the cannabis industry for the past four-and-a-half years, is looking forward to participating in the panel discussion. With NC taking the lead in educating future cannabis producers, he feels it is important to discuss the topic, and feels it is important to clear up misinformation about the legalization of cannabis.

“Medical cannabis has actually been legalized since 2001 and now recreational cannabis will be legalized in July 2018. “Most people only think of THC when discussing cannabis but the medicinal properties are immense,” he said.

He noted that cannabinoids, of which THC is one, are the active ingredients in cannabis and there are more than 100 known cannabinoids that have been discovered. “These have the potential to have therapeutic benefits on many conditions such as Parkinson’s, seizures, and other medical conditions,” he said. “We are entering an exciting time.”

Among the key information he hopes to pass on is how the industry is highly regulated by Health Canada.

“The standard that growers must attain as far as quality assurance are extremely high; security around growing the crop is also extremely high – much more so than any growing industry I’ve ever seen,” he said. “This is a very professional industry.”


Event details

The Discussion on the Cannabis Industry in the Niagara Region will take place on January 25, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, Yerich Auditorium. Register to attend this free event on Eventbrite here:



Share this article