leadership team

The executive management team is responsible for the overall management of the business and the execution of the business plan. Their responsibilities are to oversee operations, fundraising, strategic planning, as well as capital expenditures and expansion and will report directly to the Board of Directors

Gianfranco Potestio

CEO & Co-Founder

Gianfranco Potestio is a Canadian business executive; he is Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Freedom Cannabis. Gianfranco is an experienced entrepreneur, investor and business leader with a solid track record. As CEO and co-founder, Gianfranco continues to provide leadership; he is building a strong bench of human capital to ensure the long-term success of Freedom Cannabis for its shareholders, stakeholders, management and employees

Troy Dezwart

COO & Co-Founder

Troy is a hospitality entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience as an owner and operator of clubs and live music venues. Throughout his career Troy has promoted or hosted thousands of world class artists; including Drake, Pitbull, Snoop Dog, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Billy Idol, Back Street Boys, Boyz to Men, Avicii, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, Dwight Yoakam, Kim Kardashian and many more. The Edmonton Event Centre was previously rated #1 Club Venue in Canada and #15 in North America by Billboard magazine. Troy’s experience with strategic planning, marketing and communications, and operations will help lead the company towards becoming one of the leaders in the industry.

Julie Girard Potestio


Julie Potestio is President and Co-Founder of Freedom Cannabis. Julie brings a wealth of experience and skill to her corporate leadership role. She has built and managed many successful companies and businesses. Her dedication to operational and organizational excellence will guide Freedom toward “best practices” to manage and grow the business

Dave Majeski

Advisor to the Board Of Directors

Mr. Majeski’s extensive career has spanned 47 years of continuous service with RBC in various capacities including Operations, Commercial Markets and Human Resources. During his time with the bank he worked in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and most recently in Edmonton as Vice President Real Estate and Construction Services. He retired from RBC in 2015. 

advisory team

Freedom Cannabis will be appointing a Fiduciary Board of Directors which will include some of the members of the Advisory Team and others in the coming months. This Board of highly respected directors will manage the consequential decision-making process in accordance with general securities procedures to protect the interests of our investors.

Richard kirby

Legal Advisor

Richard Kirby’s background is as lawyer and serial entrepreneur with an MBA from Cornell University.  In 2016, Richard co-founded Midnight Integrated Financial Inc. which carries on a broad range of innovative financial businesses ranging from private equity through to proprietary algorithmic foreign exchange and derivatives trading.  Richard has a passion for corporate strategy and corporate governance and he received his ICD.D designation in 2015.  Richard has been active in his community having sat on various boards including The Support Network, The Citadel Theatre, The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Young Presidents' Organization.  Richard was honoured to be recognized in 2011 by Lexpert as one of Canada’s Rising Star lawyers and in 2013 by Avenue Edmonton as one of Edmonton’s Top 40 under 40 community leaders.   

George Routhier


Freedom Cannabis has engaged George and his company, a leading industry consultant since 2012 that assists companies to navigate Health
Canada’s ACMPR licensing process. George assist his clients through the complexities of this process including the application, design, construction and operating procedures of cannabis production facilities. George has successfully secured 15 licenses on behalf of clients and is currently advising clients regarding 24 facilities under construction in every province including the first in Newfoundland. George has 25 years of high level experience with the federal government working within regulatory industries as well as 8 years consulting on the cannabis license process in Canada. He has also worked with a licensed producer holding the position of Director of Operations / Master Grower. He has completed Cornell University’s Good Manufacturing Practices Program, (GMP) certification. George has successfully navigated 7 applicants through Health Canada’s (ACMPR) producer and facility licensing process.


BSc Pharm, LLB


David joined the Alberta law firm of Parlee McLaws LLP as a lawyer in 1990 and has been a partner since 1999. His practice is focused on securities transactions and has developed valuable experience in numerous securities and corporate transactions. He has represented both issuers and agents for several public offerings, private placements and regulatory compliance matters for issuers listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, guiding them from the formative stages through various private placements and eventually to initial public offerings.

Edward j. Bereznicki

P.eng. MBA

Organizational Management

Mr. Bereznicki is a Senior Executive with over 25 years of proven management and advisory experience in the financial and energy sectors.  As Managing Director, Investment Banking with Raymond James Ltd., he acted for a wide variety of emerging and mid-market companies providing financial expertise in the areas of corporate finance, capital markets and M&A.  His experience in the energy sector spanned domestic and international Oil & Gas mid/upstream operations, large scale project development and financing, marketing/risk management, and Executive level management. Mr. Bereznicki holds a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta, and an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.  He is a Life Member of APEGA.

Bob Hahn



Bob has been a partner at Hahn & Houle LLP Chartered Accountants since 2004. Prior to that, Bob was an Assurance Partner at Grant Thornton LLP for 14 years. Bob has been a Chartered Accountant since 1982 and his practice focuses on accounting services, process improvement consulting, lean accounting and business valuation advisory services for construction, manufacturing and professional service companies. Recently, as an instructor for the ICAA, Bob taught in areas of Practice Management, Analytical Procedures and Quality Assurance. He has also been the Treasurer for numerous foundations and associations.

Bob has always had a desire for improving processes in business and in his life as well as the lives of those around him.  He is passionate about building a lean culture and empowering others to look around and ask: “How can things be done differently?’.

In his spare time between his role as office managing partner of an accounting firm and running a farming operation, Bob maintains an interest in Angus Cattle, Tennis, Border Collies, Sailing and Scotch.

Stephano Potestio

internal logistics

Stephano has 15 years' experience managing successful retail businesses. He is a versatile and charismatic leader.
At Freedom he is a subject matter expert in facility planning, workplace safety equipment, sanitation, growing equipment, climate control systems and industrial machinery. Stephano will also implement standard operating procedures for the facility as an RPIC.
His duties include, office management, industrial equipment design, waste product management, product packaging and distribution regulations.
Mr. Potestio will be part of the gardening team working with Mario and our team of gardeners as an RPIC and grower.


PEng, MArch


Thomas is one of the most uniquely qualified professionals in Canada with both an engineering degree and a master’s designation in architecture. Thomas has been awarded numerous premiers design awards throughout his career. His work designing plant and operation facilities for CanniMed Ltd, one of Canada’s leading producers of pharmaceutical grade cannabis, will prove to be invaluable to the development of our plant facility.

christy BENOIT


Strategic Planning

Christy graduated with a BSc(Pharm) from University of Alberta in 1999, practiced as a clinical pharmacist for 10 years in both community and hospital settings, was involved in research and taught at the Faculty of
Pharmacy at the University of Alberta. Applying the vast experience gained in
communication, service, wellness and business management, she has co founded and led multiple ventures including Oil Country Engineering, Pure Mosaic and the Mosaic Centre. Currently, Christy supports senior leaders in achieving their business goals through her role as a Business Execution Specialist with Results Canada. Her areas of focus are: strategy planning and execution, culture development and transformation, productivity improvement and “Lean” business practice and corporate social responsibility.

Bart Given

Brand Marketing

Since launching TORQUE Strategies in 2014, Bart and his team have worked with some of the most respected brands in Canada including Hudson’s Bay, TELUS, DHL, Live Nation & CIBC. TORQUE has successfully secured the rights for the HSBC Canada Sevens and 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships. Bart established record-setting investment for the Canadian Olympic Committee and Whistler Blackcomb among others – all totaled in excess of $200 Million. Bart previously spent over decade working in the realm of professional sports in Toronto. Most recently, spending four years as the Vice-President of Baseball Operations & Assistant General Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Bart sits on the Board of Directors for the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada

Nathaniel Garneau

IT Manager

Mr. Garneau's background is in Information Technology, Software Development and Quality Assurance across Healthcare, Energy and IT service Industries.
As Freedom's IT Manager , Nathaniel will provide leadership, strategy and best practices to our IT Operations and oversight to our security team and record keeping processes.
Mr. Garneau is a source of strategic guidance relating to enterprise resource planning, business automation, secure handling of patient data,  and process innovation.
Mr. Garneau is a Microsoft Certified Professional and an experienced IT Lead with a history of projects in
Solar PV, Banking, Legal, Manufacturing and Healthcare Specimen Tracking.
Drawing on his experience working with Western Canada's largest diagnostic laboratory group.
Nathaniel will implement, monitor and innovate our Quality Assurance and Information Technology procedures.

Mario Giannini


Mario is a 20+ year gardner who has been growing cannabis successfully under MMAR since 2003 in operations ranging up to 15,000 square feet. In 2001, Mario established a hydroponics specialty shop which has now expanded to two locations.
Mario can be found at the leading edge of the cannabis grow space, where he is well known for his expertise. In the industry he has been a source for equipment, supplies and consulting services.
Mario has been providing these services to twelve of the larger Western Canadian Licensed Producers for the past four years.

Rico potestio

Business development

Rico is a driven young entrepreneur with a passion for the cannabis industry and ten years' experience acting as a manager of retail and property management businesses.
He is a researcher and fact finder, at Freedom he is a subject matter expert in facility design. licensing, market research and investor relations.
His duties include, ACMPR/ cannabis act Application Review, Equipment Research, Feasibility Research, New Business Review, Legal Document Preparations, Accounting, Product Design and Quality Control Review.
Mr. Potestio has been integral to our laboratory strategy, planning and execution.
He is a red-seal chef with a diploma in Culinary Arts from one of Canada's most renown colleges, the NAIT Hokanson Centre of Culinary Arts.
Rico will continue to lead our special projects and business development programs.

Gianfranco Potestio

CEO & Co-Founder

John Frank is a successful business owner, investor, and director of many projects in Edmonton and abroad for over 35 years. He has been involved with a vast array of businesses such as; retail, commerce, telecom, international plastics, mining and resources, and real-estate. John is well positioned to lead a team of professionals into this exciting market.

Julie Girard

President & Co-Founder

Julie has over 20 years experience as an owner and manager of a variety of successful retail, commerce, and real estate operations in Edmonton. She also has experience developing operations manuals for her previous companies that became the industry standard for the companies' day-to-day operations. This invaluable experience will help Freedom Cannabis execute operation plans that are consistent and professional and will far exceed industry standards for their retail and growing facilities.

Troy Dezart


Troy is a hospitality industry entrepreneur with over 27 years of experience. He has owned many operations including restaurants, nightclubs, and live music venues. Most recently Troy operated a venue that was rated by Billboard Magazine as the #1 club venue in Canada. He has produced, marketed and hosted over 1500 live events with revenues exceeding 150 million dollars. Troy is finalizing plans to build a 45-million-dollar entertainment facility in Edmonton with Live Nation, the world’s largest promoter of live entertainment and the owner of Ticketmaster.