Another example of egregious government overreach has come to my attention, this time regarding an investigation into longtime cannabis industry scapegoat, Ben Ward of Wayland Group (WAYL.C) fame.
The Ontario Securities Commission has named Ward in an investigation which alleges “fraudulent conduct” by management of the Canada Cannabis Corporation of which Ward was a party to.
By the fall of 2016, Ward, Strang and Serrano had resigned from CCC, leaving behind a company depleted of all investor funds without ever having engaged in the cultivation or distribution of cannabis.
–The OSC statement of allegations
Let me begin by saying this investigation is a witch hunt. Ben Ward is an esteemed businessman in the Canadian public markets and a man I have a great admiration for. Why? The man knows how to make deals.
In 2018, Ward was named as a ‘Top Deal Maker’ in the 40 under 40 category by The M&A Advisor.
Ladies and gentleman, I would like to remind you that such an esteemed organization as the M&A Advisor doesn’t simply give these accolades away. To be a top 40 under 40 deal maker, one must posess a certain je ne sais quois, and Ward has always pursued his business interests with unmatched verve.
Wayland Group’s international expansion, for example, was the talk of the public markets during the company’s peak. Under Ward’s deft leadership, the company established a beachhead in the land Down Under for a mere CAD$4.8M, with an additional $24M promised granted certain milestones were reached.
Tropicann, the company Wayland acquired, is a proponent of the ‘less is more’ tradition of doing business: The company has no online presence to speak of, most likely a viral marketing campaign of sorts to garner interest in a Where’s Waldo-style hunt.
Does it matter that we never discerned where in the world Carmen Sandiego was? Not a bit, dear reader! What mattered was the critical thinking and arithmetic skills we acquired along the way.
Knowing little about the Australian company Wayland invested millions of dollars in may be Ward’s way of helping teach cannabis enthusiasts how to perform due diligence research, a sorely underdeveloped part of retail investors’ skill set.
Though acquiring a company with a cannabis license in Australia won’t transfer said license to the purchaser, I have no doubt the Australian arm of Wayland group will begin cultivation any day now and show the many naysayers online what for.
Now, about this business with the OSC. Allow me to remind you, dear reader, that our nation was founded on the notion that all accused–no matter how they may be viewed in the public discourse–are innocent until proven guilty.
Ben Ward is accused of falsely claiming to have a doctorate. He is accused of falsifying his company’s sales, defrauding investors and leaving Canada Cannabis Corporation a desiccated ruin under his watch, then promptly flitting off with his belly full as a blow fly might after gorging itself on fresh dung.
Poppycock! Trumped up charges! I have never even heard of this so-called Ontario Securities Commission before this laughable investigation and character assassination.
So what if Ward has shuttered his many social media outlets and (allegedly) fled to the morally ambiguous financial shelter some refer to as Switzerland, fading into less than the reflection of an echo online?
Given the awful, dreadful, nightmarish slander that man has been subjected to in the public discourse, I can fault him nothing.
Some of us, believe it or not, still hold firm in the notion of due process.