McGill University professor Dr. Mark Ware, one of Canada’s leading cannabis researchers, is taking a leave from university life to work for Canopy Growth Corp. in Smiths Falls.

Canopy announced Monday that Ware would become its chief medical officer.

Ware was the vice-chair of a federal task force that studied the legalization of marijuana in Canada. The task force report has been the blueprint for legislation now before the Senate that would legalize recreational marijuana across the country. Medical marijuana is already legal for patients with medical authorization.

The federal government says it wants the recreational pot law to be in force this summer. However, the timing is unclear because it depends on what amendments are proposed by the Senate and whether the bill ends up bouncing back and forth between the two houses of Parliament.

Canopy, like most of the country’s medical marijuana producers, plans to supply the recreational market, too.

Canopy says the addition of Ware to its team will give the company a boost as it expands its global medical cannabis division.

Ware is an associate professor of family medicine and anesthesia at McGill University who has spent 20 years researching the role of cannabis in managing pain.

He was the executive director of the non-profit Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids for a decade, and is a longstanding board member of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines.

Ware will lead Canopy’s clinical research and help in medical education.

“His knowledge and expertise strengthen our ability to research and develop sophisticated cannabis medicines capable of improving patients’ lives around the world, while providing further clinical evidence as health care practitioners and governments are calling for,” said Canopy CEO Bruce Linton.

In a statement, Ware said the position will allow him the opportunity to further develop global cannabis research.