Khiron Life Sciences Corp (CVE:KHRN) Participation in National Cannabis Roundtable
Khiron Life Sciences Corp (CVE:KHRN) (OTCMKTS:KHRNF) (FRA:4KH) Chief Compliance Officer and Former DEA Agent, Matt Murphy joins James via Skype to discusses compliance and security programs on the cultivation site and team in Latin America, along with participation in the National Cannabis Roundtable (“NCR”). As part of its leadership role in LatAm, Khiron is at the forefront of implementing rigorous, DEA-level security protocols at its cultivation site in Bogota, Colombia. With Matt’s experience, Khiron can ensure consistent regulatory standards across all operations and all jurisdictions. Earlier this year Khiron joined the newly formed NCR, which focuses on advocating for a rational legal framework for cannabis reform in the US. Khiron will work alongside the NCR’s Honorary Chairman, John Boehner, former Speaker of the House.
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James West: I’m joined now by Matt Murphy, Chief Compliance Officer of Khiron Life Sciences, trading on the TSX Venture under the symbol KHRN. Matt, welcome back.
Matt Murphy: Thanks James. It’s a pleasure to be with you again, I very much appreciate it.
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James West: You bet. Matt, there’s a lot of uncertainty in minds of investors, arguably, about the ability of security to protect the interests of cannabis companies in not just Latin America but the entire world. And in your position as former DEA head of compliance and diversion, you’ve got some very specialized knowledge in that regard, and in fact, you’ve joined a roundtable consisting of some members and former DEA guys. Tell me about what you’re doing to mitigate the risk of security as it pertains to cultivation sites and everything in Latin America, as well as this roundtable.
Matt Murphy: Sure. So in regards to the security and compliance that Khiron is undertaking as we evolve and expand our operations globally, I have brought on several former high-level DEA investigators, managers that worked with me or that I knew from my time with DEA. These former high-level DEA management personnel have significant amount of experience working in countries where Khiron will be operating soon, or is operating now. For example, Larry Holifield is a former country attache for Mexico, which means he was the highest ranking DEA agent assigned to Mexico. He lived in Mexico for approximately four years. He was also assigned to Guatemala and has experience in Uruguay, all places that we expect to be in. Obviously Mexico is a place where we have a country manager, we have significant opportunity as soon as things become clearer from a regulatory perspective there.
The reason this is important is because Larry has extensive relationships with former generals in Mexico, the former Attorney General in Mexico…so as we expand and evolve into Mexico specifically, we know because of Larry’s relationships and his ability to leverage those relationships, that we will be able to be doing business there with the right people, people that are vetted, people that are experienced, people that are trusted. People that Larry and our former colleagues in Mexico worked with when they were assigned there, some that are still assigned there.
So these things are very important to me as Chief Compliance Officer in charge of the security for Khiron, and that’s just one example. Another example would be, we just hired Trevor Devine. Trevor’s a former DEA agent, just retired in the last month. He is a pilot; he is able to fly many different aircraft, both fixed-wing and rotary. He is also a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps, has extensive experience in moving logistics, moving personnel. He answers directly to General Maddis when he was active in places like Europe and central command and places like that.
As we speak, Trevor is deployed to Afghanistan, working over there with our military, with our marines, and with our contractors that are assigned there, working there. When he finishes up that assignment on August 5th, he will report to Khiron. He will report to me, and he is going to be working with Henry Tibaduiza, Khiron Security Director, to ensure that as we move our high-value product, which obviously is medical cannabis right now in Colombia, as we move our product from our grow site in Dorma (phon) which is approximately four, four and a half hours from Bogota to Bogota and other places, facilities, labs, in Colombia, and as we move our product to pharmacies in Colombia.
Trevor will be working closely with Henry and others in Colombia to ensure the safety of our transportation routes, ensuring that our logistics is properly tracked and traced, ensure that we are operating in a safe manner, and ensure that we are operating with the right people, obviously, in Colombia, where we’ll be moving product very soon.
We also brought on James Connelly. Jim Connelly is a criminal investigator with DEA that I’ve known for over 30 years; we were actually at college together. Jim has extensive experience with criminal investigations, special operations, and he was a country attache in the Bahamas. He also was a supervisor of a strike force. He also is a retired special agent in charge out of the Boston office, as was I. Worked very closely with Jim, and he’s going to help us ensure that, you know, we are vetting the right people, we are vetting people properly, that we are doing business with the right people throughout Khiron’s operations.
So we’re very, very excited about the addition of some of my former colleagues, because DEA, as an agency, operates in just about every country where the US has an embassy, and based on that, and based on our relationships with our counterparts in those countries, with our former colleagues in those countries, we have an extensive ability to draw back on those relationships to ensure that Khiron is operating in a safe manner, a compliant manner, and it just makes sense as the industry evolves to different countries, as Khiron evolves with it, as we go different places, we have people in those places that we can call. Some are friends, some are just former colleagues, but you know, we’re all on the same page, we all did the same thing for a long, long time.
So I’m very excited about that, and in regards to the National Cannabis Roundtable, Khiron joined the National Cannabis Roundtable, which is an entity headed up by our Chairpersons John Boehner, former Speaker of the House. The goal of the National Cannabis Roundtable is to bring common-sense Federal regulation to the cannabis industry in the US, as things start to move forward, and hopefully Federal legislation legalizing cannabis is imminent.
We would like to see prior to that, though, Safe Banking Act legislation passed so that cannabis companies in the US will no longer need to move money and product in, you know, Brinks trucks; they’ll be able to utilize banks and financial institutions to do banking like other legitimate businesses in the US and other countries are allowed to do.
James West: So be able to use the electronic banking system?
Matt Murphy: Yeah. I mean, we want to use whatever is legally available to other industries should be legal available to the cannabis industry, specifically right now in those states where cannabis is legal. And obviously, the hope and the goal is that cannabis is legal in every state; it’ll probably happen some time around the next election, I would think, because I think every candidate that has spoken about cannabis legislation is favourable towards it.
So what that looks like, you know, nobody knows right now. But hey, if we can at least get the banking law changed so that Federally, these companies could use banks, it would be a huge help, and it just makes sense, as you or anybody else that is involved in the industry knows, and we’ll see. I mean, there are a lot of initiatives that the NCR is working towards, and the group works closely with legislators in the US, and obviously with somebody of John Boehner’s stature, that is very helpful. Kevin Murphy from Acreage is a member and is, you know, working closely with John Boehner to assist in getting things done. So I’m very excited about that. It’s given me and Khiron, I should say, an inside look into how things work, and we are leaders in the industry at Khiron, and we expect to be in the US in a big way when Federal legislation changes the law. And you know, we already have a joint venture with Dixie, as you know, so we’re not shy about entering the US and there’s no reason to be, because it’s a huge market that we want to exploit when the time comes, and we want to be ready to move forward.
James West: You bet. All right, Matt, that’s a great update. Thank you very much for your participation as usual. We’ll leave it there for now, and come back to you soon. Thank you for joining me today.
Matt Murphy: All right. Thanks, James, look forward to talking to you again.
James West: You bet.