We're excited to have Tweed President, Mark Zekulin, join us on the panel at our upcoming Lift Cannabis Forum. Here, Mark shares with us how he got involved in the industry, his role at Tweed, and what's surprised him most about his work. Don't forget to get your tickets to the forum here.
Describe your background before you got involved with Tweed
I have a degree in Mathematics from Waterloo, a law degree from Ottawa U and an international law degree from Cambridge. I practiced law in Ottawa before coming to Tweed. I have also worked in the political world as a Senior Advisor to the Ontario Minister of Finance, the Honourable Dwight Duncan. On the personal side of things I have two young children and a wife named Linsey.
Was Tweed your first foray into the medical cannabis industry?
Tweed was definitely my first foray into the medical cannabis industry. I can remember filing our application and the media storm it set off; touring the Hershey factory before we agreed to buy it. It was exciting times - a lot like the current excitement as the sector and our company push forward into extracted oils.
What appealed to you most about getting involved in this industry?
The newness of the industry was the biggest draw; the ability to create something that had never been done before. The existing supply and demand model was thrown into chaos when the MMPR was introduced and there was something about that that I couldn't stay away from. The more research we did and the more patients we encountered, the more we also truly understood how medical marijuana is impacting people’s lives. Its a rare opportunity to do something groundbreaking, exciting, and all the while feeling good about it.
What does your day-to-day look like at Tweed? What sort of things are you responsible for?
As the President of Tweed Inc. I oversee the operations in Smiths Falls at our 168,000 sq. ft. indoor growing facility. This includes everything from production to fulfillment to ensuring our customer service is the best in the business. My day starts with a production meeting at 9:00to ensure that we're growing high quality products that our customers want and need, then it's over to a marketing meeting to make sure our outreach and communications efforts are focused where they need to be. From there it depends on the day, which is one of the biggest perks of the job, there's never a dull day!
What's surprised you most about the industry in Canada?
How intelligent and engaged our customers are. We have some people who work for us who are also patients and without them we wouldn't be able to keep up with the level of knowledge that's out there. Medicating with cannabis is often an alternative to another therapy so people that choose it are generally the types of people that enjoy researching things and developing their own knowledge level to the nth degree. In a fast moving industry, that's a good thing because the feedback you get comes from people who have done their homework.