Highlife Cannabis Co. has entered into an agreement to license its brand name and trade dress for a cannabis storefront set to be opened by G.R. Randy Barber, former chairman of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“AGCO”). Highlife had previously engaged Barber as a consultant on a contract basis in 2019, to provide guidance and direction in areas of compliance and regulatory affairs. Under this agreement, Barber will have authorization to utilize the Highlife brand name and intellectual property at a licensed cannabis retail store under his ownership and administration. Further, Barber will act as a strategic advisor to the Company, providing further assistance in navigating Ontario’s evolving regulatory landscape for cannabis.
Following a sixteen-year tenure in government relations and regulation at CallPro Canada (later acquired by IBM’s LGS division), Mr. Barber was appointed vice-chair of the AGCO in 1997, later ascending to the chairman position in 2001. In this role, Barber led a board of thirteen members and held approximately 300 disciplinary and public interest hearings across the province of Ontario in a given year. Following his time at the AGCO, Mr. Barber was also a member of the Parole Board of Canada, and later took another private sector role as vice president of government relations and regulations at Internet gaming firm Ontario Entertainment Technologies. Barber also served as a member of the Social Security Tribunal of Canada from 2013 to 2018.
Barber has met all eligibility criteria set out by the AGCO to qualify for an ROL (retail operator license) to operate a cannabis retail store in the province of Ontario. The ROL is a prerequisite to applying for an RSA (retail store authorization), which is presently being pursued from the AGCO by Barber. The RSA application requires the applicant to identify a suitable retail facility in which it will operate its proposed cannabis retail store. Following these steps, the store to be opened would operate under the Highlife banner.
This agreement between the Company and Mr. Barber is subject to provincial regulatory approval. Highlife is working closely with Mr. Barber, both to select a suitable location and facility for the proposed retail store and to submit the required RSA application.
Highlife CEO Eugene Konarev commented, “Having worked with Mr. Barber as a consultant to Highlife beginning in 2019, I am pleased to say that he has played an integral role in our journey to date. His insight and expertise when it comes to compliance and regulatory affairs is unparalleled, and we are delighted for Mr. Barber to be part of Highlife both as a strategic advisor, as well as an operator of a licensed cannabis retail store under the Highlife brand name. We consider this to be a significant vote of confidence in our brand and our vision here at Highlife, and we are honoured to have the opportunity to be part of Mr. Barber’s journey as he launches a cannabis store of his own.”
Mr. Barber added, “Working closely with Highlife as a consultant allowed me to learn a lot of great things about the Company and how they are far more than just a cannabis retailer; they are an ambassador of Ontario’s recreational cannabis industry. I have seen firsthand how Highlife listens and quickly adapts to the needs of the customer, in addition to offering a sleek, attractive, and efficient retail store experience, as well as advocating responsible cannabis use as a sponsor of the Don’t Be Sorry initiative. It is clear to me that Highlife’s business model has all of the necessary ingredients for success in this industry, and I am proud to put the Highlife brand name on the store I plan on opening, and to join them once again as an advisor.”
Highlife Cannabis Co is a privately-owned, recognized Canadian cannabis retail brand that emphasizes the in-store experience as an integral part of its identity. Highlife promotes the safe and responsible use of legal cannabis across Ontario through its campaign of education and awareness. Highlife approaches the recreational cannabis retail market with a commitment to putting the customer first and a retail model built around efficiency and scalability.