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From Big Pharma to the cannabis industry: Q&A with PharmaCann’s Chris Diorio

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Women's Cannabis Chamber of CommerceBig Pharma to the Cannabis Industry: If marijuana business entrepreneurs are wondering whether pharmaceutical professionals might be interested in jumping over to cannabis, the answer is a resounding yes.

Take Chris Diorio, a 25-year pharma industry veteran who recently made such a move, becoming director of research and development for PharmaCann of New York.

PharmaCann has a cultivation and processing site and four vertically integrated dispensaries in New York, as well two grow sites in Illinois, where the company is headquartered.

Diorio’s path to PharmaCann started simply enough during a dinner with two former colleagues, one who previously worked with Diorio at Pfizer and the other a former retail pharmacist. Both were working at Bloomfield Industries, a PharmaCann competitor in the cannabis industry.

Intrigued by that initial conversation, Diorio did some investigating and learned the marijuana is attracting a growing number of pharma professionals. He also discovered cannabis companies that take the right approach likely will have no problem poaching talent from pharmaceutical companies.

Marijuana Business Daily spoke with Diorio about his move to work at a cannabis company, his perceptions of the MJ industry and what companies in this sector can do to lure a top pharma talent.

How did you end up at PharmaCann?

I just dropped (CEO) Teddy Scott a note and said, “Hey, if you’re around, I’d like to chat and see what’s going on over here.” And he said yes.

Fast-forward: We had dinner and I wanted to see what they were really doing and how they were different than what I envisioned a cannabis company would be. It went along with a similar vision to what I shared in the pharmaceutical industry, bringing something that’s beneficial for patients in a whole new light.

How did the company address any doubts you had about entering this industry after coming from Big Pharma?

They said that basically everyone else in the company had the same basic thoughts and questions. They also said to consider what is the upside and the positives of being in a new emerging industry.

Looking back five or six years ago, this wouldn’t have been something I would have even been considering, and many other people probably felt the same way.

But as mentalities have shifted and states have started legalizing, to get in on the ground floor with an emerging business was also very exciting and a good opportunity. Read entire interview at Marijuana Business Daily 

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