We've gathered some of the brightest minds in the industry with decades of experience, notable pioneers of extraction technology, cannabis cultivation experts, as well as cannabis scientific researchers, and medical cannabis advocates.

Paul Pedersen, MBA

Co-Founder & CEO

With more than 12 years experience in starting and financing emerging growth companies (including NASDAQ: TWER), Paul has spent the last five years focusing on the cannabis space. Consulting with a variety of industry players, including Canada’s first licensed producer, Canada’s largest extraction/processor, and Canada’s leading seed-to-sale software provider has given Paul in-depth industry knowledge. Coupled with his business acumen, Paul provides a unique perspective in this field, making him a sought-after expert and regular feature within trade publications such as Marijuana Business Daily and Lift & co.

Ryan Ko

Co-Founder & VP of Operations

With 18 years experience in the Medical Cannabis industry, Ryan brings with him an extensive amount operational excellence (having managed large-scale MMAR cooperatives), coupled with instrumental intellectual property focused on extract technology and extraction processes that are crucial to Nextleaf’s proprietary solutions.

Charles Ackerman, CPA, CA

CFO & Director

Charles is a CPA, CA with extensive experience in corporate finance and financial reporting for high growth companies. Charles has successfully lead mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and private and public capital raises. He has served in a number of finance and corporate leadership roles developing and executing growth strategies, with private and public companies and family offices across Canada.

Peter Smith, LLB


Peter holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of British Columbia. Before this, Peter completed a Bachelor of Arts at Simon Fraser University and a Master's degree at Cambridge University. Upon completing his LLB, Peter accepted a clerkship with Justice Louise Arbour at the Supreme Court of Canada. From 2002 to 2003 Peter was an associate with Debevoise & Plimpton law firm in New York, focusing on project financing and public markets.

Ivan Casselman, PhD, FLS

Director of Research & Development

As an ethnobotanist, analytical phytochemist and plant geneticist, Dr. Casselman joined the Nextleaf team in December 2017. Bringing with him over 15 years' experience in the cannabis industry his background in developing herbal formulations, herbal authentication, and quality control of herbal products gives him unique insight into the potential for cannabis in a wide variety of commercial applications.

Krupal Pal, PhD, P.Eng

Lead Process Engineer

As a process engineer since 2005, Dr. Pal has worked applying fundamental chemical engineering and applied scientific principles to problems in many diverse fields, including oils and extraction technologies, biodiesel processing and petrochemical industry. Before joining Nextleaf in December 2017, Dr. Pal focused her career on process scale-up and process development in industrial research and development.

Alexzander Samuelsson, BSc

Lead Chemist

Alexzander has three years experience in the cannabis industry, consulting for various companies ranging from start-up to large scale. With a degree in chemistry, he has focused his background on innovation, research and education in the Medical Cannabis industry. Alexzander joined Nextleaf in October 2017.