The Cannabis Council of Canada (C3) caught up with Omar Akeileh and got a peek at a day in the life of the association’s freshly-minted intern, working remotely from his hometown out in Edmonton, Alberta.
A recent Masters’ graduate from the inaugural cohort of the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University, Omar spends his days and nights (sometimes!) working directly with President and CEO, George Smitherman, on several files; but a major component of his role at C3 revolves around sustainability, and the need to find solutions to an ever-lasting problem.
“From day one, the legal industry has faced a reputational problem around the amount of packaging waste, and a huge part of it is turning consumers away from legal products, significantly undermining the objectives of the Cannabis Act in eliminating the illicit market”, he notes.
Take the example of plastic, as Omar refers to a recently completed report this past summer that he and three of his colleagues put together for Health Canada on behalf of their coursework, that estimated that a standard 3.5-gram package of dried cannabis comes packaged in more than 70 grams of plastic.
Omar says that a central part of his role is figuring out practical solutions for the industry while working within the constraints of the financial, logistical and resource constraints that are present. Despite the lack of a current nation-wide policy approach, Omar is dedicated to ensuring that C3 serves as a crucial role in developing a cohesive response, in tandem with respective provincial and municipalities, while maintaining financial viability for licensed producers (LPs) and affordability for consumers.
“We must find a middle ground within all these factors so that the legal industry has a chance to displace the illicit market while maintaining the public health and safety objectives of the Cannabis Act”, Omar concludes.
As he makes the move out to Ottawa, he looks forward to being a part of C3’s advocacy efforts in the upcoming statutory review of the Cannabis Act in 2021 and is excited to be a part of an industry at a critical inflection point.
“Sky’s the limit”, he exclaims.
Indeed, it is.
Calls for Intern Applications
C3's Intern Program runs throughout the year and offers a progressive work experience with a modest honorarium.
Our next intern opening is for the February 2021-April 2021 period and we are seeking an intern with interest in governance and equity.
Prospective applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of interest and a copy of their resume/CV to firstname.lastname@example.org