Q & A: Barinder Rasode
Q: Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and Grow Tech Labs?
A: I come from a policy background as a former councillor for the City of Surrey and on the Board of the Fraser Health Authority. In 2017 I founded the National Institute for Cannabis Health & Education (NICHE), a non-profit organization that supports public policy and research to assist the academic community, industry, health advocates, law enforcement, and all levels of government to manage the transition to legalization of the cannabis industry.
In 2018 I founded Grow Tech Labs to invest in pre-legalization cannabis entrepreneurs and help them accelerate innovation in the post-legalization space.
Q: Coming from a political background, how do you think legalization of cannabis will change the economy?
A: Cannabis legalization in Canada has the potential to create a sustainable economy through the increase of small businesses, and job creation. Not just cannabis retailers, but also ancillary businesses. It will also create more opportunities for research.
Q: In your opinion, what do you think the struggles are for someone diving into the cannabis space?
A: The cannabis space is a brand new industry in Canada, with a volatile market. You're dealing with a lot of uncertainty and you don't have a road map you can follow. My advice would be for entrepreneurs to build a solid business foundation, find mentors who are pioneers in the industry, and stay up to date on government regulations in your space.
Q: What do you think the social stigma of cannabis will be in 10 years from now?
A: My hope is that within 10 years, the stigma of cannabis will have shifted. We'll have more medical research showing the benefits of cannabis on specific health conditions, a new generation joining our government with a fresh outlook, and the industry will have stabilized.
About Barinder Rasode
Home grown social influencer Barinder Rasode’s quintessential advocacy for Canadian values is nationally renowned. Her leadership, mastery of complex subjects, and innovation guide a plethora of issues that impact the everyday life of Canadians. A strong believer in creating cohesion and synchronicity, Barinder leads by example to propel a team’s natural strengths to levels of exceptionality that help shape objectives, narratives, and discourse.
Currently, Barinder is the CEO of Grow Tech Labs. Based in Vancouver, Grow Tech Labs will reaffirm British Columbia (BC)’s status as a global cannabis capital by attracting a new and diverse generation of sector leaders from across Canada and around the world through the delivery of world-class programs that are rooted in innovation, entrepreneurship and mentorship.
Barinder has extensive experience working with senior levels of government, stakeholders, and the private sector to find common ground to encourage respectful, informed dialogue on diverse issues to tackle emerging challenges facing Canada’s future.
She founded National Institute of Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE) to promote evidence-based research and education about cannabis, and formerly served as CEO and Board President.
A fierce advocate of women’s rights, Barinder is the Co-Founder and Advisory Committee Chair for a unique series of conferences, SheTalks, each featuring 16 inspirational women who share stories of leadership, transformation, innovation, and how to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world. Barinder also hosted SheTalks Radio, a weekly show that ran on Roundhouse 98.3 FM.
Previously, Barinder served two terms as an elected Councillor for the City of Surrey, taking leadership roles in public safety and transportation. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Fraser Health Authority, which provides governance and vision for the largest health organization in British Columbia. In her appointed role, she worked with senior management to establish overall strategic direction, review long-term plans, and ensure appropriate community consultation.
Among her many accolades, Vancouver Magazine ranked her as one of the 50 most powerful people in Vancouver.