Jean Richer joins Up Cannabis

The former Acosta exec takes on a business strategy role as more marketing talent flows into the marijuana market.

Jean Richer has joined Up Cannabis as its SVP of sales and marketing.

Richer arrived in November from Acosta, where he served as SVP of strategic business development. He previously held a similar role at Mosaic North America for eight years before that, and has an extensive background in sales with Canada Dry Motts, AB InBev and the Independent Distillers of Canada.

In his role, he’ll be overseeing branding and market strategy, and said in a release that he looks forward to “helping build an educational platform for adult-use” cannabis.

When asked what his specific priorities will be, Richer told strategy he wants to position Up as “a truly ultra-premium cannabis brand.” He says he will assess the company’s agency relationship options and build the team he feels can deliver that premium positioning.

Up Cannabis and its parent company Newstrike got a bump in visibility in October when it was named Tragically Hip’s official medical marijuana brand on the same day lead singer Gord Downie passed away after a battle with a brain tumor.

Tokyo Smoke’s direct approach to uncertain regulation

Cannabis brands are currently waiting on the federal government to codify how consumer pot can be marketed in Canada ahead of its full legalization on July 1, 2018. So far, Ottawa has released only guidelines that legal growers have responded to with a counter proposal.

This period of legal limbo has not, however, slowed the flow of marketing talent to the industry. Ad agency KBS will lose its CEO Nick Dean to Emblem early next year, and former Molson Coors marketer David Bigioni moved to Canopy Growth in August.

“As the industry is so fast evolving, I’ll also be prioritizing brand guidelines that conform to regulations, to ensure that we’re doing things right the first time,” Richer says.