Special report: Leading ASX-listed cannabis play Creso Pharma celebrated a coup this week after snagging a senior US food industry executive to lead its US operations.

Creso (ASX:CPH) appointed the former head of supply chain for Frito-Lay Canada and Head of Supply Chain for a large Division of Nestle USA, Mr John Griese, as Chief Operating Officer for the Americas.

Most recently Mr Griese headed up operations for Bloom Farms, a well-known Californian producer of cannabis products.

California is the world’s biggest cannabis market with a value expected to reach $US7 billion — although there are acute shortages hampering the market, the Los Angeles Times recently reported.

The total US market for all cannabis products is about $US50 billion — a number expected to grow to $US75 billion by 2030, says research firm Cowen & Co.

The senior appointment comes as Creso plans an aggressive expansion into the US after its acquisition of Canadian medicinal cannabis producer Mernova Medicinal in February.

Creso Pharma develops a range of cannabis and hemp-derived therapeutic, nutraceutical, and lifestyle products with wide patient and consumer reach for humans and animals.

Mr Griese will oversee completion of a large 1850 sq m Mernova medicinal cannabis growing facility and accompanying licences — now in its final phases.

He will also manage Creso’s Latin American expansion including the proposed acquisition of a Colombian cultivation facility.

Canada grows to $US6.5 billion industry 

Mr Griese will also be heavily focused on bringing Creso’s full range of products to market in Canada — which is expected to grow to a $US6.5 billion industry across all cannabis products by 2020, according to research by one of Canada’s biggest banks CIBC.

Just last week the Canadian Senate voted to legalise recreational marijuana, driving up the value of Canadian cannabis stocks by 8 per cent in the week leading up to the vote.

“Canada is a key market for the cannabis industry and offers great opportunity for growth,” said Creso’s CEO Dr Miri Halperin Wernli.

“John’s appointment will help establish our presence in Canada, providing Creso with the knowledge and expertise needed to continue to grow our presence in the region.

“He is a highly technical, hands-on leader capable of developing strategy and implementing operations at the grass roots level.”

Mr Griese said Creso’s ambitions “fit well with my skill set and my experience in the cannabis market in North America. Creso’s products are well suited to meet the growing demands of consumers in these countries.”