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Cannabis Sector: Under the Investor Microscope

2019-02-14 10:00:43

February 21, 2019 Web-Seminar For Publicly-Listed Companies to Withstand Potential Challenges to Disclosures and Certifications

TORONTO, Feb 14, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Issues Central, Inc. today announced a web seminar for Thursday, February 21, 2019 for the Cannabis Sector entitled "Can Your Company Withstand a Challenge to Its Disclosures and Certifications?" These seminars are targeted at Directors, CEOs, CFOs and Senior Officers of Cannabis-related entities that are listed, or are planning to go public, on Canadian and U.S. stock exchanges.

"The Cannabis sector's high market valuations are putting many listed firms under intense market scrutiny," says Catherine Connally, President of Issues Central, Inc. "It's a green rush. Companies are racing to raise significant money in order acquire valuable assets, intellectual property and market leverage. It's a boom time. However, historically many industry booms have caused higher risks for investors and the management teams of listed companies."

The legalization of recreational Cannabis across Canada is spurring other countries, and many U.S. states, to examine their policies regarding health and wellness; expanded medical uses; jobs and tax revenue. It is also attracting large multinationals from the alcohol, tobacco, food and beverage, and pharma sectors to evaluate their participation in the sector.

"Amidst the sector's enthusiasm, it would be prudent for companies to assess their readiness, and the robustness of their processes, to provide the market with timely and accurate financial and qualitative information which fairly presents the status of the business," says Connally.  "A loss of confidence by investors, and wild swings in share price, will have serious consequences for the board of directors and senior management."


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Rapid Rise of Cannabis Related Tourism Helps Fuel the Market Growth

2019-02-14 09:00:00

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ -- Tourism is one of the major economic drivers for many countries. Many tourists travel aboard for vacations to see dazzling landscapes and bustling city-life and in turn, tourism drives revenue for many businesses such as food, retail, and hospitality, but now it is also helping bolster the cannabis industry. For example, countries such as Spain and Canada allow for personal consumption and sales of cannabis in licensed facilities. However, U.S. states are also expected to witness strong cannabis sales due to tourism. Colorado, which saw 82.4 million travelers in 2016, is among the very few regions to legalize cannabis entirely. A survey conducted by Colorado Tourism reported that the 12 million or approximately 15% of those travelers participated in marijuana-related activities. Among that group, it was reported that 5% traveled to the state specifically for marijuana reasons. The staggering number of visitors who traveled to Colorado and purchased cannabis-related products suggests that tourism is helping revenue growth in the market. According to data compiled by Grand View Research, the global marijuana market was valued at USD 9.3 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 146.4 Billion by the end of 2025. Additionally, the market is projected to register a robust CAGR of 34.6% throughout the forecast period from 2018 to 2025. Weekend Unlimited Inc. (OTC: WKULF) (CSE: POT), Emblem Corp. (OTC: EMMBF), Freedom Leaf Inc. (OTC: FRLF), GB Sciences, Inc. (OTC: GBLX), Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA)

Colorado's data suggests that other states such as California, Washington, and Nevada are also expected to see explosive sales. Cannabis dispensaries and distributors have focused on expanding their product line in order to meet the demand of their customer pool, including tourists. Various portfolios of products such as oils, tinctures, resins, consumables, and strains have entered into the marketplace to offer a wide range of selection. The introduction of new products is expected to help further drive cannabis sales from both tourism and locals. Bethany Drysdale, a spokesperson for Travel Nevada, the state's tourism board, compared pot to gaming in the state, according to Skift. "People don't come to Nevada just for gaming anymore as gaming is now legal in many other states," she said. "People won't come here just for marijuana. Colorado is surrounded by states where it wasn't legal and it made a lot of sense for them to capitalize on it."

Weekend Unlimited Inc. (OTC: WKULF) (CSE: POT) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: POT). Yesterday the company announced, "a Letter of Intent on 1 November 2018 to acquire R&D Pharma's Jamaican interests, has now entered into a definitive agreement with R&D Pharma, which is anticipated to close next week.

R&D Pharma ("RDP") is a Canadian company building a vertically integrated medical cannabis business in Jamaica. RDP has secured a Tier-3 Cultivator's License, which allows for full cultivation of cannabis plants on land of over 5 acres, which in this case applies to the 98-acre RDP property.

R&D Pharma Highlights include:


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Medical Applications for Cannabis Push Global Demand Ever Higher

2019-02-14 09:00:00

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ -- Many countries have legalized cannabis on some level, however, regulations regarding actually growing the plant are still largely enforced. These regulations are in turn causing shortages within many countries, which has prompted them to search for third-party cultivators and distributors elsewhere. Now, as a result, cultivators are beginning to lock in licenses and agreements to export cannabis internationally. The demand is mainly stemming from medical cannabis, however, regions like Canada are signing agreements for recreational cannabis imports as well. According to Verified Market Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 42.2 Billion in 2017. By 2025, the market is projected to reach USD 466.81 Billion while growing at a CAGR of 35.3% during the forecast period from 2018 to 2025. Overall, industry growth is being driven by the widespread global movement for legalization of medical use cannabis. On the other hand, regions like the U.S. and Canada are prevailing in the recreational sector. Biome Grow Inc. (OTC: BIOIF) (CSE: BIO), The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (OTC: TGODF) (TSX:TGOD), Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. (OTC: LBUY), Vivo Cannabis Inc. (OTC: VVCIF) (TSX-V: VIVO), Terra Tech Corp. (OTC: TRTC)

International demand is expected to grow even greater as the number of countries exploring the legalization of cannabis continues to increase. Countries such as Mexico, New Zealand, Italy, and South Africa are among many who are starting procedures to legalize cannabis. Likewise, the economic benefits of cannabis have caught the attention of large and recognizable global brands. Industries like that of alcohol and tobacco have already poured investments into the cannabis industry. "Certainly other countries will be watching Canada closely, looking to see what kind of outcomes will happen. It could be months or years though," said Patricia Erickson, Professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Toronto. "That's going to be the big driver for other countries — money."

Biome Grow Inc. (OTCQB: BIOIF) (CSE: BIO) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: BIO). Earlier this week the company announced, "a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU"or the "Agreement") providing Biome with preferential access to a high quality and low cost supply of Cannabidiol ("CBD") concentrate from CBD Acres Manufacturer Inc. ("CBD Acres").

The MOU is for a period of five years pursuant to which Biome may acquire up to 20,000 kilograms per year of sun-grown, hemp-based CBD extract from CBD Acres using its unique Nano lipid, solventless extraction process.

CBD Acres is founded by Canadian hemp farming pioneer, Mark Gobuty, who is also the founder of the Peace Naturals Project, Canada's first Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations licensed cannabis grower. CBD Acres is currently working with 4,500 acres of hemp farmland in Canada, including 1,000 acres of organic grow, which it expects to produce volumes that are equivalent to a 180 million square foot indoor cannabis production facility under the Canadian Cannabis Act.


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Cannabis Businesses Eye Latin America in Effort to Reduce Costs

2019-02-14 09:00:00

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2019 The cannabis industry is an attractive investment opportunity for entrepreneurs, however, entering into the market poses a challenge for many. In combination with federal regulations and high expenses, obtaining licenses and efficiently operating a cannabis business is difficult. For instance, the top industry players have recently reported their quarterly financial results and many reported overall net losses. In order to mitigate their losses, many began to establish operations in Latin America, specifically in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru. The LATAM region is a desirable target for many cannabis companies because of its robust cultivation potential and low-costs. Cultivators are able to grow and distribute high-quality cannabis for a significantly cheaper cost as opposed to operating in other regions like Canada. The inexpensive costs allow businesses to sell products back for a reduced price when compared to other global marketplaces. According to data compiled by BDS Analytics in partnership with Arcview Research, the South American legal cannabis spending is expected to grow from USD 125 Million in 2018 to USD 776 Million by 2026. Blueberries Medical Corp. (OTC: BBRRF) (CSE: BBM), PharmaCielo Ltd. (OTC: PHCEF) (TSX-V:PCLO), CannTrust Holdings Inc. (OTC: CNTTF) (TSX:TRST), MariMed Inc. (OTC: MRMD), General Cannabis Corp. (OTC: CANN)

Uruguay and Colombia, in particular, are where cannabis businesses are eyeing. Uruguay has completely legalized cannabis, while Colombia maintains lenient laws regarding the plant. According to data compiled by Cannabis Intelligence Briefing, the two countries are projected to witness legal cannabis spending at approximately USD 66.7 Million by 2027. "What we're seeing is a mix of local entrepreneurs, with diverse amounts of capital, finding a supplement in foreign capital," Diego Olivera, the General Secretary of Uruguay's national drug board, adding that he's seen substantial foreign capital interest, particularly from Canada and Latin American, via Benzinga. "[Investors] understand there are certain favorable conditions in Uruguay, including the general conditions the country offers for foreign investments, the educational level, the legal certainty, the macroeconomic stability and other dimensions that combine with the country's robust and complete cannabis-related regulations."

Blueberries Medical Corp. (OTC: BBRRF) (CSE: BBM) just earlier this morning the company announced breaking cannabis news that, "a leading Colombia-based licenced producer of medicinal cannabis and cannabis-derived products, has entered into a letter of intent (the "Letter Agreement") dated February 13, 2019 for a joint venture (the "Joint Venture") with Harmony and Life S.A.S., operating as El Manantial medical centers ("El Manantial"). The Joint Venture will further the development and commercialization of Blueberries' medicinal cannabis products through El Manantial's rapidly growing patient base and collaboration with El Manantial's team of physicians, pharmacists and technicians with deep expertise in a variety of medical areas. It will also provide a direct distribution channel to an established and rapidly growing patient by selling exclusively Blueberries' cannabis-derived products. The Company has also set out to build two BPE (Good Elaboration Practices) certified pharmacies in support of the initiative which will provide additional sales channels for Blueberries' products. Blueberries and El Manantial will also develop a treatment-focused medical education program designed to assist physicians in prescribing cannabis-based treatment plans to patients.

"Our joint venture with El Manantial provides an outstanding opportunity for Blueberries to develop medical products and acquire patients in the Colombian market", stated Christian Toro, Chief Executive Officer of the Company. "El Manantial is a respected leader in Colombia, and their focus on equitable access to medicine and patient care aligns with our goal of providing treatment to a broad spectrum of patients. The Joint Venture emphasizes communication with prescribing doctors and education of both doctors and patients which is expected to ensure that Blueberries is developing treatments that the medical community needs, and that a streamlined process is developed for the company to reach its patients."

El Manantial is among the fastest growing networks of medical centers in Colombia, currently representing over 7,000 patients and expected to grow to over 50,000 patients over the next 36-month period as four new centers are projected to come online. This is an important development in Blueberries' strategy to acquire patients and develop treatments with cannabis products, positioning Blueberries as a leader in the Colombian medicinal cannabis product market.


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Competition to Acquire State Cannabis Licenses Heating Up

2019-02-14 08:00:45

PALM BEACH, Florida, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ -- The 2018 Farm Bill officially signed into law... removed hemp from the federal controlled substance list and set off a frenzy at the state level to acquire production, growing, distribution and related licenses. Almost every state is besieged by persons and corporations to acquire these potentially lucrative licenses…as they also struggle to also create the regulations and procedures to be followed. Take North Carolina, for example: "According to a study done by NC State University, there are already over 500 hemp growers in North Carolina. All of these growers are licensed and follow strict regulations that could mean testing their plants for THC levels. If the levels rise above the 0.3 percent, the entire crop has to be destroyed by law. Any hemp plant containing 0.3 percent or less of THC, the product in marijuana that is considered to be the illegal part of the plant that gets users "high," can be grown legally in the United States."  And although there are regulations to follow, the Farm Bill also made it easier for the cannabis licensees to do the ordinary things that all other business take for granted.   Active companies in the cannabis industry includes:  CROP INFRASTRUCTURE CORP. (CSE:CROP) (OTC:CRXPF), Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTC: CHOOF), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA), 1933 Industries Inc. (CSE: GIF) (OTC: TGIFF), Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX-V: XLY) (OTC: CBWTF).

An article in FORBES had some advice for them too, as an industry insider commented: "The cannabis world is tremendous and it's really grown," he said. "It's mind blowing how many people are opening up businesses.   Of course, some of these small companies are hoping to grow to a point where they hope they can make their millions when a larger company buys them and the founders can cash out…. His advice to people who want to enter the industry, "Go into distribution if you want to double revenue. In retail it's always distribution. And you're talking about making straight money, the best margins are in cultivation and manufacturing. Those are the highest margin businesses. Manufacturing is all about the creation of the oil. All your cogs go down with distribution, like any other retail business."


(CSE:CROP) (OTCPK:CRXPF) (Frankfurt: 2FR)



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Strong Retail Brands Will Push Their Competitors out of the Cannabis Market

2019-02-14 08:00:30

NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ --

Cannabis companies are noticing a shift in the industry, with many businesses moving away from a cultivation-oriented focus and embracing the importance of branding. The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX-V:FIRE) (OTC:SPRWF), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB) (NYSE:ACB), Canopy Growth Corp (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC), Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (CSE:CURA) (OTC:CURLF) and Green Growth Brands (CSE:GGB) (OTC:GGBXF) have all been making forays into the realm of cannabis branding and building retail awareness.

Most experts agree that cannabis operators will need to focus on emphasizing retail experiences. The problem is that most companies have a production-oriented mindset, with a management team and corporate philosophy that shows. There are some exceptions to this, however, and those businesses that go against the grain already have a massive advantage over their competition.

A First in Cannabis Retail History

While cannabis companies have been opening up dispensaries all across North America, there has been a distinct lack of significant partnerships until today. America's largest shopping mall operator signed an agreement recently with Green Growth Brands (CSE:GGB) (OTC:GGBXF). Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG), an S&P 100 company that owns some of the country's top malls, will let the cannabis company open 108 retail stores across their retail centers.


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Vertical Integration Offers Profit Potential Within Growing Cannabis Industry

2019-02-14 08:00:30

DENVER, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ -- As the cannabis industry continues its impressive growth, acquisitions are leading to greater vertical integration.

Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ:YGYI) (YGYI Profile) is following the vertically integrated model, having recently acquired a company specializing in cannabis processing machinery. Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) is expanding its Canadian production facilities through the acquisition of another grower. Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch Inbev (NYSE:BUD) (OTC:BUDFF) has partnered with Tilray to produce cannabis-infused drinks. In addition, tobacco companies are investing in the sector, providing extra funds for companies such as Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON) (TSX:CRON). Specialist companies such as cannabis real estate finance company Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (NYSE:IIPR) are also looking for entry positions in the industry.

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

Cannabis Companies Turn to Vertical Integration

As the global cannabis industry continues to grow — with North America taking a leading role —  companies are eager to find ways to improve their productivity and stand out from the pack. A wide range of companies covering the production, processing, marketing, and sales of cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) products are vying for a position in the space. So, what can give a company an edge?


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Harvest One Cannabis Signs Validation Testing Program Agreement with BLOCKStrain Technology

2019-02-14 08:00:22

All Harvest One Medicinal Products Sold Online to Begin Carrying BLOCKStrain-Verified Seal of Authenticity

VANCOUVER, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ - BLOCKStrain Technology Corp. (TSX:V: DNAX) (OTC: BKKSF) ("BLOCKStrain"), creator of the first Blockchain-secured, fully-integrated IP tracking platform for the cannabis industry, today announced that Harvest One Cannabis Inc. (TSX:V: HVT) (OTCQX: HRVOF) ("Harvest One"), a Canadian licensed producer of medical cannabis, will employ BLOCKStrain's proprietary genome tracking software to collect and register its cannabis plant DNA and strains.

By incorporating BLOCKStrain's cannabis strain authenticity and tracking platform - the Master Genome Strain and Clone Registration Program - into its sales program, Harvest One is expected to be able to confirm its medical cannabis strains are as labelled, providing its consumers with increased transparency and confidence about its products. Upon completion of the collection and registration of its strains, an initial 30 Harvest One products will carry BLOCKStrain's Seal of Authenticity, guaranteeing their origin and providing quality assurance.

"This agreement with Harvest One is a testament to the growing traction of our proprietary genome-to-sale software, which we expect to increase as more companies recognize the inherent and significant value in protecting the genetics and IP of their various strains," said BLOCKStrain's Chief Executive Officer, Robert Galarza. "We believe our unique technology will enable Harvest One to guarantee its strains and provide consumers with unparalleled assuredness about the products they purchase. This is of particular importance for medical cannabis when patients with specific conditions are relying on products to be of consistent quality and provide consistent results."

"BLOCKStrain's technology is intended to enable us to guarantee that our strain origins and content are exactly as labelled, providing medical consumers with a level of certainty they could not expect with similar, unverified products," said Grant Froese, Chief Executive Officer of Harvest One. "This increased level of quality control is in keeping with our mission build a global house of brands, providing lifestyle and wellness health products to consumers and patients in regulated markets."


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Liht Cannabis Corp. To Exclusively Use Leading-Edge Lighting Technology By Agnetix In British Columbia Cultivation Facilities

2019-02-14 08:00:01

KELOWNA, BC, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ - Liht Cannabis Corp. (CSE: LIHT) (OTCQX: LIHTF) or the "Company") has selected the innovative Agnetix liquid cooled LED lighting system for its British Columbia, Canada cultivation facilities.

Agnetix will provide its high powered LED lighting technology for our projects in British Columbia, including the newly announced 486,000 sq. ft of high-tech indoor cultivation facilities.

Using the Agnetix system's unparalleled power, advanced controls, and monitoring features, Liht expects to improve its yields while saving over 50% on energy costs vs. traditional systems.

"Our cutting-edge facilities draw a tremendous amount of power for lighting and HVAC systems. With the Agnetix system, we expect to see an immediate cost reduction in our energy bill and a more efficient operation" said Richard Huhn, Director of Liht "We have also logged very positive plant-health results using these lights and we are excited to start the new grow."

"This unique, highly-efficient technology aligns perfectly with Liht's vision to deliver low-cost organic cannabis to the world." Said Dr Ihor Lys, Founder/CTO of Agnetix.


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Green Growth Brands Launches Seventh Sense eCommerce Website

2019-02-14 08:00:00

A full line of CBD-infused personal care and beauty products are available at ShopSeventhSense.com

COLUMBUS, OH, Feb. 14, 2019 /CNW/ - Green Growth Brands, Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) (GGB or the Company) is pleased to announce the launch of ShopSeventhSense.com. The eCommerce site will allow consumers access to hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) personal care and beauty products under the Seventh Sense Botanical Therapy brand.

"We have the most comprehensive assortment of CBD-infused personal care and beauty products of anyone in the CBD industry," said Peter Horvath, CEO of GGB. "Sales through our digital channel are a huge component of our strategy. Our digital presence is harmonious with our bricks and mortar strategy. The site expands our reach and will drive subsequent purchases for our customers who have shopped at our Seventh Sense shops or our assortment at DSW."

Seventh Sense Botanical Therapy products include CBD-infused body lotion, muscle balm, body wash, bath salts, sugar scrub, bath bomb, lip balm, and face oil. Fragrances available currently include eucalyptus spearmint, hemp patchouli, chamomile green tea, citrus blossom, cedar jasmine, orange bergamot and dewy green. ShopSeventhSense.com will ultimately offer over 300 SKUs of Seventh Sense high quality personal care and beauty products. Price points currently range from USD$7.50 to USD$39.50.

"We created Seventh Sense Botanical Therapy products because when we looked for these types of products in the marketplace, there simply weren't any," added Horvath. "We wanted to create world-class products that were made with high-quality, hemp-derived CBD. We are proud to share them with our customers, and now we are making it easier for them to enhance their everyday self-care routine with our new online offering."


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