Andrew Gordon is a fixture in British Columbia’s cannabis industry—a long-time advocate and community builder and current Chief Growth Officer at THC Canada, and Vice President of the BC Craft Farmers Co-op. Gordon has been in the cannabis industry since 2014, but his passion for supporting community began long before that.
Gordon previously worked in the NGO sector, raising money for non-profits, where he became curious about the model of social enterprise. “Through that discovery process, I came across the realization that a lot of the cannabis stores in Vancouver were operating as non-profits at the time,” says Gordon. This led to him complete a British Columbia Institute of Technology program in non-profit management.
In 2015, he was approached by friends who were applying for a municipal license to operate a cannabis store and needed help ‘getting their house in order.’ Gordon supported them on a volunteer basis to prepare for the application process. He also spent time in the store, interacting with patients, and fell in love with it. “My contract with Canadian Blood Services was coming up, so I decided to pivot into cannabis retail and took on a role as community director,” says Gordon.
In 2017, Gordon was approached by Daniel Petrov, founder of Aura Cannabis, who wanted him to join the team and help build out what would become Kiaro, now a publicly traded retailer.
During his five years with Kiaro, Gordon served as Senior Vice President and as a Strategic Advisor to the Board of Directors. “We broke down a lot of barriers and assuaged concern and stigma,” says Gordon as he reflects on a store opening in Saskatchewan. “We built strong ties with the community and after six months were welcomed and celebrated, after no landlord would give you a spot.”
In 2022, Gordon was asked to join THC Canada—an opportunity he’s thrilled about. “I’ve respected the brand since day one and knew the owner Spensir Sangara back in the day,” he notes. “It was good timing and synergy and it’s the best brand in cannabis, in my opinion.”
Gordon is responsible for catalyzing the growth of the company. This includes a store opening in Toronto planned for December. “It is a tremendous location on Blue Jay Way,” he explains. “It’s a challenging market, but I think our location, vibe, and brand will resonate.”
An Industry Advocate
Gordon continues to be an active industry advocate. He helped found the BC Craft Farmers Co-op and the annual BC Cannabis Summit and was one of the original directors of what is now the Retail Cannabis Council of BC (RCCBC).
You have to reduce the stigma, and show the benefits of cannabis.
Gordon says his work in the non-profit sector taught him a lot about engaging stakeholders and creating momentum through a shared understanding. He also has a deep appreciation of what’s required to build relationships and become part of the community, like when opening a new store. “You have to build social license, bringing stakeholders together. You have to reduce the stigma and show the benefits of cannabis and what it can do for the lives of patients and consumers.”
Gordon’s love for public speaking also serves him well in his job and advocacy work. “I like taking the hard questions. I take it as a challenge and love rising to the opportunity and facilitating purposeful, positive, and solutions-driven conversations. Plus, I love cannabis and the community, so it feels like easy work to me.”
He continues to look for ways to support the industry, including advocating for a reduction of tax regimes, evolution of the supply chain, getting cannabis recognized as a farm product, and reducing the complexity and costs of entering the regulatory market.