Executive Spotlight: Derek Smith – Resource Innovation Institute

What does the future of the regulated cannabis industry look like to you and your company?

Regardless of the segment, low cost of production and stakeholder expectations of sustainability will be central to successful business models.

How should entrepreneurs best position themselves for success in the regulated cannabis industry? 

Focus on establishing systems for adoption of best practices, particularly those that improve product quality while reducing input expenses such as energy and water.

What are you hoping to gain from your partnership with MJClick?

RII is looking to connect with cultivation executives and investors who are interested in assessing operations for resource efficiency.

What are the most significant hurdles you see the cannabis industry facing in the coming year? 

Lack of objective, peer-reviewed data associated with the actual energy and water savings resulting from various technologies and techniques.

How do you see your company adapting to the ongoing compliance issues related to a growing industry such as legal cannabis?

Energy and water requirements have been or are being established in Massachusetts, Illinois and California. Other states are preparing to follow.

Do you intend to educate your employees and make them aware of the medical benefits of cannabis?


What do you see the role of technology playing in the cannabis industry moving forward?

Driving lower cost of production.

As an executive, how do you feel about the possibility of your employees taking a THC infused medical cannabis product during work hours?

I am open to it for safe and suitable activities and if in moderation. 

Derek Smith has been a leader in triple bottom line ventures in the public, private and nonprofit sectors for 15 years. Most recently, he founded and led Clean Energy Works, a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization that facilitates residential energy efficiency upgrades throughout Oregon and Washington. He has directed energy programs for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and also created an award-winning sustainability program for a national retailer who was part of bringing to market certification standards such as Forest Stewardship Council and Marine Stewardship Council.

From his roots in Northern California and throughout his career, Derek has seen the power of industry partners coming together to develop market-based solutions to their collective climate challenge, and he co-founded RII to serve as an effective industry platform that fosters the collaboration and thought leadership needed to forge a winning future for the cannabis industry.

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