Meet Kim Wilson The Responsible Face Of The Cannabis Industry

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By Dr Julie Moltke

The Cannabis Industry Needs Transparency and Social Corporate Responsibility

During Cannabis Europa I had the pleasure to interview Kim Wilson, the inaugural Executive Director of The Global Cannabis Partnership (GCP). Wilson has extensive experience and training in corporate social responsibility (CSR). We spoke about how to keep the patients at the heart of the conversation in the cannabis discussion, and why transparency is so essential for any cannabis company that wishes to be ahead of the game.

1. I understand that your team at GCP oversees the development and implementation of the Responsible Cannabis Framework and advances the collective social responsibility in the industry. In your own words, what is the mission of GCP?

The global cannabis partnership’s mandate is to establish standards of responsibility within the legal cannabis industry worldwide. So for us, it is about moving beyond compliance to really elevate the standards and to demonstrate a commitment of responsibility, transparency and ethical behaviour to all stakeholders.

2. What are the major obstacles to overcome for the industry in terms of changing the public opinion about cannabis?

Firstly, when you move from an era of prohibition to one of legalisation, there is a stigma that exists. This means there is an opportunity to educate consumers on the products and lay a foundation that is rooted in facts, so that individuals can make an informed decision. During an era of prohibition, there was not a lot of research being done, but now that it is legal, it is an excellent opportunity for organisations in the cannabis space to use research to help inform their policies & programs, but also to help fund research. Research is so important. The more we know about the plant, the better informed the consumers will be. I think that research will have a significant role to play in this new legal world.

3. How do you think we can make sure that the Cannabis Industry keeps a patient-centred approach?

This was a question that came up a lot during Cannabis Europa, and I think that from a medical perspective, it is essential that when you legalise medicinal cannabis, you also need to provide education and access to patients. It is one thing to legalise it, but it also has to be readily available to patients.

The medical community needs to be informed and able to provide its patients with the most up to date information about cannabis and one way to ensure that this is done is through ongoing education.

4. What are the qualities that will distinguish a company from its competitors in today's climate?

Transparency, transparency, transparency. What will really distinguish you as a company is that you are transparent with your stakeholders. This means doing what you say you are doing. Corporate social responsibility is a company's commitment to doing things responsibly, transparently and ethically and their ability to demonstrate this commitment to their customers, their employees and their investors. The business practices need to align with the values of the company and this does happen come without effort. You need to invest in the CSR programs you create.

5. Why are events like Cannabis Europa important event for the industry?

Cannabis Europa was incredible for great content and speakers. Whether you are new to the industry or an industry veteran, it provided a learning opportunity through the delivery of valuable content. It was also a great networking and business building opportunity. I have no doubt that many business deals and partnership opportunities came out of the event. For me, when cooperation & collaboration happens with the intent of making the industry more transparent and responsible, it is a good day for all involved.

6. What do you see as your personal contribution to our community?

As the executive director of the Global Cannabis partnership, I feel proud to represent an organisation that is committed to elevating standards of responsibility within the cannabis industry. If we can help our members evolve their commitment to CSR and really make a positive contribution, that will be a good day. We have a lot of really engaged members who genuinely believe in the value of social responsibility, and these are the people who will change the face of the industry

How do you think companies in the cannabis industry can improve their CSR?