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Decades ago cannabis was illegal in essentially every country, now, Canada and Uruguay are the leading countries who have moved to legalize cannabis entirely. A handful of other countries such as Australia, Columbia, Germany, and the U.S. are also major cannabis marketplaces, even though they have not legalized cannabis entirely yet. However, cannabis remains a Schedule 4 drug under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which is the strictest regulation. Nonetheless, the rapid emergence of cannabis has prompted many companies to seek entry into the industry, which is seeing investments pour in from various sectors such as alcohol, tobacco, and most recently, the pharmaceutical industry. CVS Health, a major international pharmaceutical chain, recently entered into the cannabis industry by offering hemp derived CBD-based products in its stores. Due to regulatory conflict, CVS announced that it will only sell the products in specific U.S. states such as Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee across 800 stores. CVS also said that the chain is carrying CBD products now to help these select states meet consumer demand for alternative care options. CVS’ initiative to add a cannabis derivative on its shelves is yet another major milestone for the industry, adding credibility to the benefits of cannabis by highlighting that its hemp derivative offers consumers therapeutic effects. As more sectors continue to enter into the cannabis marketplace, the industry will develop into a global, disruptive scene. According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023. Furthermore, the market is projected to register a robust CAGR of 37% throughout the forecast period. CLS Holdings, USA Inc. (OTC:CLSH) (CNSX:CLSH-U.CN), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB.TO), iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC:ITHUF) (CNSX:IAN.CN), Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ:NTEC), AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTC:AXIM)

CVS’ Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo mentioned in an interview with CNBC that he’s received feedback from many CBD consumers, saying that it has helped them manage medical conditions such as pain, arthritis, and other ailments. Furthermore, international agencies like the World Health Organization have conducted studies regarding cannabis and concluded that current research is sufficient enough to reevaluate the current international control of the plant. Last year, the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECCD) met several times to discuss the matters of cannabis. The biggest takeaway is that the ECCD noted that pure cannabidiol or CBD can be effective in treating certain medical applications such as childhood epilepsy, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved Epidiolex as a treatment. Additionally, the ECCD also mentioned that cannabis helped patients manage side effects of conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, dementia, and muscle spasms. However, the ECCD also highlighted that more research and studies are required in order to fully understand cannabis and its effects. As clinical trials continue to release positive results, cannabis can inch closer to becoming an approved and registered form of medicine in the future. “Medical marijuana is an early sign of the change in the view of cannabis,” said Jordan Waldrep, Portfolio Manager at USA Mutuals Vice Fund, “The legalization of medical marijuana and cannabis-derived drugs represents a significant change in thinking for the societies that have chosen to allow its consumption by patients. Then, as patients see benefits and more research is done, the concerns on the potential for high abuse or severe safety concerns come into question as well, thus opening a path to recreational marijuana over time.”

CLS Holdings, USA Inc. (OTCQB:CLSH) (CNSX:CLSH-U.CN) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CNSX:CLSH-U.CN). Earlier this month, the Company announced that, “it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire an 80% ownership interest in CannAssist, LLC. This agreement, along with the previously announced option agreement to acquire In Good Health, marks a continuation towards CLS’s goal to become a significant entity in the rapidly growing Massachusetts market.

CannAssist has entered into a contract with the City of Leicester and has applied for a state cultivation grow license. The planned Leicester 86,000 square foot facility is expected to produce its first harvest in Q1 of 2020. This facility is expected to produce 28000 pounds of flower along with 240,000 grams of extract. Once fully operational, total revenues from the facility are anticipated to exceed $100 million. CLS anticipates generating substantial positive cash flow from the grow facility.

Massachusetts has a population of 6.9 million people as compared to 5.6 million people in Colorado. Massachusetts is also centrally located to the dense population of New England with a less than 100-mile drive from Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire and Vermont. The city of Denver currently has approximately 364 dispensaries compared with the entire State of Massachusetts, which currently has less than 50.

Jeff Binder, Chief Executive Officer of CLS Holdings USA, commented, ‘We are extremely excited to enter into this agreement. The market dynamics in Massachusetts are compelling for large scale cultivation. The current cultivation in Mass is approximately 800k square feet, while demand is expected to exceed 8,000,000 square feet. This opportunity fits into our stated objective of entering markets that are on the cusp of implementing a robust adult use market’.

About CannAssist: CannAssist has entered into a contract with the city of Leicester and has applied for a state cultivation grow license. It plans to build a facility that upon completion will have 86000 square feet of cultivation space making it one of the top 3 facilities in the state. The company expects to begin operations and realize its first harvest in Q1 of 2020.

About Oasis Cannabis: Oasis Cannabis has operated a cannabis dispensary in the Las Vegas market since dispensaries first opened in Nevada in 2015 and has been recognized as one of the top marijuana retailers in the state. Its location within walking distance to the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Las Vegas in combination with its delivery service to residents allows it to efficiently serve both locals and tourists in the Las Vegas area. In February 2019, it was named “Best Dispensary for Pot Pros” by Desert Companion Magazine.

In August 2017, the company commenced wholesale offerings of cannabis in Nevada with the launch of its City Trees brand of cannabis concentrates and cannabis-infused products.

About CLS Holdings USA, Inc: CLS Holdings USA, Inc. (CLSH) is a diversified cannabis company that acts as an integrated cannabis producer and retailer through its Oasis Cannabis subsidiaries in Nevada, and plans to expand to other states. CLS stands for “Cannabis Life Sciences,” in recognition of the Company’s patented proprietary method of extracting various cannabinoids from the marijuana plant and converting them into products with a higher level of quality and consistency. The Company’s business model includes licensing operations, processing operations, processing facilities, sale of products, brand creation and consulting services.”

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB.TO), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 500,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 24 countries across five continents, is one of the world’s largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced that it has commenced sales of cannabis oils to German pharmacies following receipt of all necessary approvals from the Canadian and German regulatory authorities. Pedanios 5/1 drops have become the first extract derived oil product compliant with the German monograph for in-pharmacy preparation. Aurora is the medical cannabis market leader in Germany. The Company has supplied the German market with dried cannabis flower via Aurora Deutschland (formerly Pedanios) since December 2015, and with Canadian-grown Aurora products since September 2017. Aurora has established a strong brand as a trusted supplier among prescribing physicians, dispensing pharmacies, and German patients. As one of the few companies able to sell oils in this rapidly growing market, Aurora is well positioned to establish brand leadership in the European derivatives market. “Having established early mover advantage in selling cannabis oils in Germany, we are exceptionally positioned to extend our market leadership and accelerate the growth of our European operations,” said Neil Belot, Chief Global Business Development Officer. “As our global production capacity continues to ramp up, we are able to strategically allocate more product from our EU GMP certified cultivation facilities to this higher margin market that continues to be significantly undersupplied.”

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX:ITHUF) (CNSX:IAN.CN) owns and operates best-in-class licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities throughout the United States, providing investors diversified exposure to the U.S. regulated cannabis industry. iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. recently announced that it has opened its second New York dispensary, located in the Dutchess County town of Wappingers Falls. The dispensary will operate as “Citiva Hudson Valley” under iAnthus’ “Citiva” New York dispensary brand. The 2,600 sq. ft. dispensary is located at 1147 Route 9 in Wappingers Falls, a short drive from Beacon Train Station on the Metro-North Railroad, Marist College, Vassar College, and a collection of New York historical sites. The retail location initially will offer more than 30 locally-sourced, lab-tested products, including vape cartridges, tinctures, capsules, and powders, dispensed by highly-knowledgeable patient care representatives. “The opening of our Citiva Hudson Valley dispensary is a major milestone for iAnthus, as it marks the 20th dispensary opened by the Company,” said Hadley Ford, Chief Executive Officer of iAnthus. “2019 will be full of catalysts and exciting developments for Citiva, including the much-anticipated completion of our cultivation facility in Warwick, New York, and the opening of dispensaries in Staten Island and Chemung County.”

Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ:NTEC) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing drugs based on its proprietary Accordion Pill platform technology. Intec Pharma Ltd. recently announced the dosing of the first patient in a Phase 1 pharmacokinetic (PK) study of AP-THC, its proprietary Accordion Pill(TM) platform containing synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the primary cannabinoids contained in cannabis. The Phase 1 PK study is a single-center, single-dose, randomized, open-label three-way crossover study to investigate the PK, safety and tolerability of AP-THC in up to 18 normal healthy volunteers. “We are very pleased to be advancing our medical cannabinoid development program as we believe the Accordion Pill’s gastric retentive technology is ideally suited to extend the absorption phase of THC, with the goal of a slower rate of rise and more consistent drug plasma levels after oral delivery. The combination of the slower rate of rise with sustained and consistent plasma levels is expected to lead to an improved therapeutic effect and reduce the adverse events that are correlated with rate of rise and peak THC plasma levels,” said Jeffrey A. Meckler, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Intec Pharma.

AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTCQB:AXIM) is a world leader in the research and development of cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. recently announced the issuance of a Notice of Allowance for a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on a method to treat atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, using a topical cream containing cannabinoids – specifically cannabidiol (“CBD”) and cannabigerol (“CBG”). The USPTO granted this allowance from AXIM’s patent application 16/106,524, filed on August 21, 2018. With this patent allowance, AXIM has formulated a topical cream for relief of itching, pain and inflammation that often accompany atopic dermatitis. All creams formulated under this patent will contain cannabinoids and utilize AXIM’s proprietary combination of CBG and CBD. AXIM’s topical cream is projected to be one of the first CBG products available on the market. “As AXIM moves forward with its long-term business strategy, this patent allowance offers the opportunity to bring another one of our innovative products into the pipeline for both pharmaceutical and nutraceutical markets,” said John W. Huemoeller, Chief Executive Officer of AXIM Biotech. “This patent allowance expands our intellectual property portfolio and makes room for us to build treatment options for consumers suffering from varying medical conditions. Through the formulation of one of the first CBG products available to consumers, AXIM remains a leader in cannabinoid research and development.”

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