As the cannabis market continues to expand around the globe, research has confirmed that cannabidiol products are growing in popularity as well. Cowen & Co. analysts noted that nearly 7% of Americans are already using CBD-based product, clarifying that most consumers are using CBD as a supplement. Primarily, legal CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which falls under the cannabis family, while marijuana-derived CBD must comply with seed-to-sale state laws, which makes it illegal to transport products across state lines. However, hemp-derived CBD products are perfectly legal throughout almost every U.S. state as CBD is generally more accepted when compared to THC as it does not provide consumers with psychoactive effects. Despite the biological difference between THC and CBD, the two compounds are linked to providing similar therapeutic benefits. Clinical trials and research have suggested that CBD can suppress consumers’ illnesses or symptoms associated with cancer, anxiety, chronic pain, and depression. Moreover, clinical trials have led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Epidiolex to treat two forms of childhood epilepsy. As a result, Cowen projects that CBD users will grow to 10% of U.S. adults or 25 million consumers by 2025. Consumers in the U.S. can easily find CBD products at their local stores and even pharmacies now. The growth of the CBD marketplace also compliments the THC marketplace, fueling recreational cannabis sales as well. The U.S. dominates the cannabis market as it accounts for the majority of the global share due to its early adoption. Furthermore, in combination with Canada’s recent legalization, the North American region is already positioned to witness exponential growth. According to data compiled by IMARC Group, the North American legal cannabis market was valued at USD 8 Billion in 2017. By 2023, the market is projected to reach USD 35 Billion while registering a CAGR of 28% from 2018 to 2023. AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC:AREVF) (CNSX:AREV.CN), Valens Groworks Corp. (OTC:VGWCF) (CNSX:VGW.CN), The Supreme Cannabis Co Inc. (OTC:SPRWF) (TSX:FIRE.TO), Liberty Health Sciences Inc (OTC:LHSIF) (CNSX:LHS.CN), Choom Holdings Inc. (OTC:CHOOF) (CNSX:CHOO.CN)
Despite the impact CBD has made throughout the U.S., regulators are still maintaining strict control of the plant. For instance, earlier in 2019, New York City health officials ordered bakeries and restaurants to stop adding CBD to their beverages and food, while Maine and Ohio have curbed CBD sales. However, the FDA recently held a hearing to receive public feedback and opinion about CBD regulations. Under current FDA regulations, it is illegal to add CBD into food supplies or market it as a dietary supplement. However, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he is open to hearing positive, large-scale data and research regarding the efficacy and safety of the compound. Cowen also noted that the majority of consumers between the ages of 18 to 34 are using liquid extracts, which accounted for 44% of the market, followed by topicals at 26%, capsules at 22% and beverages at 19%. “It’s critical that we address these unanswered questions about CBD and other cannabis and cannabis-derived products to help inform the FDA’s regulatory oversight of these products,” Gottlieb said. “Especially as the agency considers whether it could be appropriate to exercise its authority to allow the use of CBD in dietary supplements and other foods.”
AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC:AREVF) (CNSX:AREV.CN) is currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CNSX:AREV.CN). Earlier last week, the Company announced that, “BC Bud Depot becomes Canada’s first cannabis company to receive genomically-verified certification for the identity of genetic assets, based on whole genome analysis provided by Lighthouse Genomics Inc. (“Lighthouse”), which has the industry’s most scientifically rigorous and authoritative identity certification process.
Lighthouse has issued certification documents to BC Bud Depot for the master plants of ten genomic varieties, or Genovars TM, which are unique clone lines associated with the individual plant tested in the certification process. The BC Bud Depot Genovars TM are elite lineages selected for traits desirable in master breeding stock used for producing seeds and new cannabis varieties.
The certificate of genomic identity provides the documentary basis for sales and licensing of genetic assets. Plants from downstream generations can be rapidly tested by genotyping to prove or disprove their identity as a match to the certified Genovar TM . Each certificate is digitally notarized with a link to a time-stamped record of the certificate’s digital fingerprint.
Matthew Harvey, Founder and Lead Breeder at BC Bud Depot, stated ‘This certification is a long-awaited game-changer for us as a company and for the industry as a whole. It allows BC Bud Depot to demonstrate the uniqueness and authenticity of our strains in precise and scientific terms. In the emerging global trade in cannabis Genovars TM, there is an advantage for participants to be able to have support, trust, and transparency in all transactions. Standard practice of using a strain name and chemical profile is not enough to establish identity compared to the absolute certainty of basing identity on the genetic code. These first ten certifications from Lighthouse are evidence of valuable genetic IP that we created and control.’
Mr. Harvey went on to say, ‘Each Lighthouse certificate includes a visual rendering of the certified cannabis genome, comprised of 900 bars in a radial pattern. Each bar represents a variable base pair of nucleotides in the DNA sequence, the colour indicating whether the pair is the same, entirely different, or one part different from the Purple Kush reference genome.’
‘Each plant we test yields a unique visual signature, which allows us to distinguish key data at a glance, for example, whether two tested plants belong to the same clone line,’ stated Harvey. ‘This is important in an age when genetic assets are subject to agreements between companies. Now we can verify exact genetic identity at a glance.’
Mike Withrow, CEO of AREV states ‘this initiative by BC Bud Depot to catalogue its genetic assets at a genomic level will inform the breeding of optimized new strains and will position AREV to lead in the global marketplace for cannabis genetics. AREV is proud to participate in scientific initiatives to propel the advancement of science. The cannabis genome is incredibly rich data with approximately 800 million base pairs per plant — and we’re going the extra mile to extrapolate maximum information by exploring that genetic frontier. With an expansive seed catalogue ranging from award-winners to rare landraces, AREV and BC Bud Depot are in a position to amass one of the most valuable and diverse databases of genetic information among companies in the industry today. This provides AREV through BC Bud Depot with the ability to breed a target composition for medicine and the recreational experience and to deliver a consistent product.’
About AREV Brands International Ltd: AREV Brands International Ltd. (“AREV”) produces and delivers functional compounds and ingredients from its innovative extraction systems. AREV is revolutionizing the current delivery method of terpenes, cannabinoids and flavonoids. These premium ingredients and formulations are used in products targeted for sale in the natural health, medical, functional food, nutraceutical, sport nutrition and bioceutical markets. AREV innovates through extraction to produce extracts from specific selected plant and exude from trees that address 5 areas of health including Anxiety, Pain Management, Insomnia, Central Nervous System Disorders & Libido.”
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Valens Groworks Corp. (OTCQB:VGWCF) (CNSX:VGW.CN) is a research-driven, vertically integrated Canadian cannabis company focused on downstream secondary extraction methodology, distillation and cannabinoid isolation and purification, as well as associated quality testing with three wholly-owned subsidiaries located in and around Kelowna, BC. Valens GroWorks Corp. recently announced that it is the first third-party cannabis extraction company in Canada to receive organic certification for cannabis oil production from Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd. for its proprietary CO2 and ethanol extraction processing methods in accordance with the Canadian Organic Standards. The certification gives Valens the ability to produce certified organic cannabis oil from hemp and cannabis biomass that is organically cultivated and certified. Valens will now be able to immediately begin offering certified organic cannabis oil processing to The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX:TGOD.TO) from their certified organic cannabis and hemp under the multi-year extraction agreement announced March 11th, 2019. “We expect to see increased demand for organic cannabis and hemp products in the future,” says Tyler Robson, Chief Executive Officer of Valens GroWorks. “With certified organic processes in place, Valens is now in a position to work with these cultivators to bring certified organic cannabis oil-based products to market, an achievement which demonstrates our commitment to supporting our current and future clients’ needs.”
The Supreme Cannabis Co Inc. (OTCQX:SPRWF) (TSX:FIRE.TO) is a global, diversified portfolio of distinct cannabis companies, products and brands. The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. and Blissco Cannabis Corp. recently announced that they had entered into a definitive arrangement agreement under which Supreme Cannabis will acquire, by way of a court-approved plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia), all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Blissco not already owned by Supreme Cannabis. The Arrangement is an all-stock transaction with a total value of approximately CAD 48 Million. “Blissco has built a distinct and authentic premium wellness brand. Through our strategic partnership and prior investment in the company, we developed a deep understanding of the business and a high level of confidence in the senior management team. This transaction will allow Blissco to focus its business around the production and commercialization of cannabis oils and topicals for the premium wellness consumer,” said Navdeep Dhaliwal, Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Cannabis. “Blissco shares our vision, mission, and values. Through this transaction, we will combine best-in-class processes, commercialization, marketing and brand building expertise, and skilled management, ensuring we continue to achieve our vision to improve global well-being with cannabis.”
Liberty Health Sciences Inc (OTCQX:LHSIF) (CNSX:LHS.CN) is the cannabis provider committed to providing a trusted, high-quality cannabis experience based on our genuine care for all cannabis users and a focus on operational excellence from seed to sale. Liberty Health Sciences Inc. recently announced that it opened its 14th Florida dispensary in Cape Coral’s South Cape business district on Friday, May 10th. This is the first medical facility to open in Cape Coral and Liberty’s second dispensary to open in Lee County. Located at 1321 SE 47th Terrace, Cape Coral, FL, the new dispensary will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The 3,380 sq. ft. facility includes innovative shopping displays that engage and educate patients, two private consultation rooms and a large waiting room where patients, physicians and community members can learn about the benefits of medical cannabis. The dispensary is also equipped to offer drive-through services for its patients. “We anticipate strong patient demand in the Cape Coral area, which is supported by a large population of potential patients living in Southwest Florida who can take advantage of our exceptional customer service and educational resources,” said Victor E. Mancebo, interim Chief Executive Officer of Liberty. “There are many retirees living in our service area who can benefit from our products and Cape Coral is also one of the fastest growing cities in Florida. Already patients and the city of Cape Coral are embracing our presence and we are excited to provide the community with our premium medical marijuana products.”
Choom Holdings Inc. (OTCQB:CHOOF) (CNSX:CHOO.CN) is an emerging adult use cannabis company whose mission is to establish one of the largest retail networks in Canada and the United States. Choom(TM) recently announced that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“AGCO”) issued a Retail Operator Licence to Lisa Bigioni, and issued a Retail Store Authorization for her Choom-branded cannabis store in Niagara Falls, Ontario, which is expected to open in May 2019. In accordance with the AGCO’s requirements, Ms. Bigioni, as a licensed operator, may finalize her store set-up, including ordering and receiving cannabis product and cannabis accessories into her store ahead of opening for business. The AGCO will also conduct a pre-opening inspection to ensure the store is ready to open for business and sell cannabis products to the public in accordance with all applicable regulations. Choom and Ms. Bigioni have entered into various definitive agreements, including a licence agreement under which Choom provides its trademarks and branding for the retail store, and an option agreement pursuant to which Choom has the option to acquire, subject to the approval of the AGCO, the retail store after the completion of the lottery process, which expires in December 2019. “This is a very exciting time for Choom as we help Lisa to open her store in Niagara Falls using the Choom brand,” states Chris Bogart, President & Chief Executive Officer of Choom Holdings Inc. “With our expertise in the cannabis retail channels, we are delighted to work with Lisa as she looks forward to opening and operating her Choom-branded store in Niagara Falls. The Niagara region represents a tremendous opportunity for her cannabis retail store, with well over 400,000 people living in the regional municipality and welcoming over 14,000,000 visitors a year.”
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