Technology has become a major growth factor for nearly every major industry around the globe. The advancements within the tech industry have allowed companies in various sectors to simplify their business operations while delivering optimal service. One industry of notice that has benefited from the rapid evolution of technology is the cannabis market. Entrepreneurs and investors are eager to introduce the idea of technologies such as blockchain into the industry. For instance, there are many different types of tech already within the industry such as tracking and verification systems. Specifically, tracking and verification platforms allow users and business operators to track the product from seed-to-sale, and the information provided will allow consumers to understand where their product originated from as well as its growing process. Furthermore, verification platforms also enable consumers to validate the efficacy and legitimacy of the product they purchase. And while counterfeit products and understanding may be a concern within the cannabis marketplace, companies have developed technological platforms in order to help educate consumers. Furthermore, as the industry continues to grow, innovators are working to develop new, state-of-the-art technology to completely reshape the scene. According to The Verge, claims of “machine learning” and “automation” are becoming popular within the cannabis industry. For example, a Massachusetts-based company, Bloom Automation, has developed a robot that can automate the cannabis trimming process, eliminating the need for humans. The technological advancements ongoing within the cannabis marketspace are expected to accelerate the industry and provide safer and cleaner products for consumers. According to data compiled by Verified Market Research, the global marijuana market was valued at USD 42.20 Billion in 2016. By 2025, the market is expected to reach USD 466.81 Billion while registering a CAGR of 35.3% from 2018 to 2025. AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC:AREVF) (CNSX:AREV.CN), iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC:ITHUF) (CNSX:IAN.CN), Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT) (TSX:NEPT.TO), Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTC:PLNHF) (CNSX:PLTH.CN), Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTC:CBWTF) (TSXV:XLY.VN)
Currently, the cannabis industry uses technology in a myriad of ways, and revolutionary advances are furthering the possibilities for the emerging market. For instance, cannabis businesses owners are leveraging blockchain technology to enhance their business-to-business or business-to-consumer strategies. Stasha Smiljanic, Digital Marketing Manager at WiRe Innovation, highlights that the rise of blockchain can help create supply chains within the cannabis marketplace, which can provide better transparency. As a result, supply chains will cut the need for a third party, leading to increased cost savings. “By creating a sort of business cluster, it can help to organize day-to-day business activities. When it comes to buying and selling, there are so many different elements in between each step. Blockchain can connect breeders, seeders, packagers, delivery services, and anything else that will be visible for all counterparts,” said Smiljanic. “Blockchain could be the spark that will start an entire revolution.”
AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC:AREVF) (CNSX:AREV.CN) is currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CNSX:AREV.CN). Yesterday, the Company announced that, “it has contributed DNA samples from select BC Bud Depot genovarsTM to the inaugural batch run on the world’s first BeadArray genotype chip to be designed specifically for the cannabis genome. The Illumina Infinium HTS microarray, designed and wholly owned by Lighthouse Genomics Inc., allows up to 96 samples to be economically tested in a single batch run. Through its holding BC Bud Depot, AREV has entered into a Letter of Intent to undertake genetic quality screening of all BC Bud Depot strains and genovarsTM. This advancement in genomics technology provides BC Bud Depot access to what is now the world’s most efficient and cost-effective method of gathering quality, targeted data from the cannabis genome.
Under the terms of the LOI, BC Bud Depot will receive preferential pricing on Lighthouse sequencing, genotyping and consulting services for a period of one year, subject to renewal upon mutual agreement of both parties. During this period, BC Bud Depot will test and provide consultation on new services or technologies offered by Lighthouse Genomics. Initial services are to focus on mapping genetic diversity of the BC Bud Depot catalogue, creating genetic profiles of unique individuals and co-developing data-handling protocols for BC Bud Depot’s genetic screening and cannabis breeding program.
‘The Lighthouse cannabis array provides us an efficient tool for screening a vast number of plants for their genetic value,’ stated Matthew Harvey, Founder and Lead Breeder at BC Bud Depot. ‘We have been anticipating the completed manufacture of this custom cannabis array, as it is specific to our needs of producing genetic intelligence for our breeding programs. It draws our focus to those unique plant genomes holding especially high potential for enhancing the genetic quality and diversity of our cannabis gene pool.’
The Lighthouse array provides 40,000 data points per sample relating to high-interest single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and can be used to determine which samples warrant deeper analysis through the whole genome sequencing program that BC Bud Depot has already initiated, as previously reported. Whole genome sequencing provides accurate data covering approximately 800 Million base pairs of DNA, the entire cannabis genome. With this data, AREV can overlay mass spectrometry data from crops to investigate linkages between plant metabolite profiles and genes associated with the production of specific cannabinoids and terpenes. From there, BC Bud Depot can stabilize a gene by a non-GMO method referred to as haploid breeding.
According to Dr. Gina Conte, Chief Scientific Officer of Lighthouse Genomics, the 40,000 SNPs targeted by the array were selected to include SNPS ‘annotated to be involved in cannabinoid, terpene or secondary metabolite biosynthesis, as well as genes involved in flower production.’ In addition, she notes, the array targets genes ‘well-distributed across the genome’ with a high degree of ‘PC loading,’ or SNP variability, to enable ‘reliably distinguishing a practically infinite number of varieties.’
Mike Withrow, CEO of AREV Brands, stated ‘This new technology empowers AREV and BC Bud Depot to investigate the state of cannabinoid and terpene synthase genes, including the likelihood that plants will breed true for genes that regulate the production of compounds used in extractions and oils. Using the most advanced cannabis genotype array known to exist worldwide helps AREV and BC Bud Depot to continue our mandate of leading as pioneers in the development of novel genomes tailored to precise medical needs and consumer experiences.’
Timothy Harvey, CEO of Lighthouse Genomics, stated ‘This inaugural batch run is an historic moment for Lighthouse. We are extremely pleased that BC Bud Depot has chosen to join us in this venture. The collaboration enables us to customize our bioinformatics software to render genomic data to suit their specific industry needs. That BC Bud Depot is able to use these tools for a competitive advantage is a testament to the diligence and prowess of their breeding programs.’
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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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 CBD For Life, a top-ranked, national CBD brand in the U.S. which the Company agreed to acquire on March 29, 2019, has entered into an agreement with Urban Outfitters, a lifestyle-oriented general merchandise and consumer products store with 245 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The agreement places CBD For Life products in Urban Outfitters’ e-commerce platform and top 6 retail locations in the U.S. The CBD For Life products are expected to launch in the select Urban Outfitters stores later this month. “Our partnership with Urban Outfitters represents a major step forward for CBD For Life, placing us in one of the United States’ most successful retail chains that also serves as a tastemaker for the rest of the retail market,” said Julie Winter, Chief Operating Officer of CBD For Life. “With the backing of iAnthus, we look forward to further growing our footprint and making our products top of mind for consumers around the world.”
Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT) (TSX:NEPT.TO) specializes in the extraction, purification and formulation of health and wellness products. Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. recently announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of SugarLeaf Labs, LLC and Forest Remedies LLC, a registered North Carolina-based commercial hemp company providing extraction services and formulated products. Through SugarLeaf, Neptune establishes a U.S.-based hemp extract supply chain, gaining a 24,000 sq. ft. facility located in the important U.S. Southeast region. SugarLeaf’s cutting-edge cold ethanol processing facility with a processing capacity of 1,500,000 kg uses hemp cultivated by licensed American growers consistent with federal and state regulations to yield high-quality full and broad-spectrum hemp extracts. The U.S. market for hemp is developing rapidly and represents a significant opportunity for the consumer products industry. “With Neptune’s Canada-based operations ramping up production and the cannabis industry growing exponentially around the world due to an evolving legal global framework, now is the time to establish a state-of-the-art supply chain in the U.S. marketplace,” said Jim Hamilton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neptune. “SugarLeaf’s capacity, efficient production of high-quality extracts, and strong supplier relationships, combined with our existing competencies in customer relationships and science-based formulations, creates a strong value proposition to U.S. brands who want to offer differentiated products to consumers. Neptune’s objective is to be a world’s leader in extraction, purification and formulation of value-added cannabis and natural health products. We warmly welcome the SugarLeaf team to Neptune.”
Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTCQB:PLNHF) (CNSX:PLTH.CN) is a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Nevada, with award-winning cultivation, production and dispensary operations in Las Vegas. Planet 13 Holdings Inc. recently announced that it had launched its third wholly-owned brand, Leaf & Vine, following the significant success of its Medizin line of connoisseur focused products and the TRENDI line of compact, easy-to-use disposable vape and concentrate products. Leaf & Vine products will be available on Superstore shelves today April 3, 2019. “We have designed Leaf & Vine specifically for a more casual social experience. Using a hand-selected variety of strains with a higher CBD content, Leaf and Vine is perfect for a fun night out or to spice up a conversation over dinner,” said Larry Scheffler, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Planet 13. “Planet 13 has a proven model for designing, launching and selling branded products. The TRENDI brand we launched in November is now the number one selling concentrate brand in Nevada. With a customer-focused approach to product development, a commitment to ultra-premium quality and the world’s best showroom floor for new and innovative products, Planet 13 possesses a brand development and sales platform that is irreplicable in the cannabis industry today.”
Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTCQX:CBWTF) (TSXV:XLY.VN) is a vertically integrated cannabis company with diverse operations across Canada and Uruguay and a platform spanning the entire cannabis value chain. Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Robinsons Cannabis Inc., has been granted standard cultivation and processing licenses by Health Canada pursuant to the Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations. The licenses give Robinsons the ability to begin cultivation at its fully constructed 27,700 sq. ft. facility in Kentville, Nova Scotia, which was purpose-built to produce high-quality cannabis. Led by experienced head grower Andrew Robinson, Robinsons is uniquely positioned to capture the attention of luxury cannabis consumers, with operations built on a devotion to uncompromising quality and a premium cannabis experience. Robinsons products have consistently ranked the highest in terms of cannabinoid content, terpene content and overall quality when independently tested against 5,000 products supplied by various growers licensed in accordance with Canadian cannabis regulations. Hugo Alves, President of Auxly said: “This is a big milestone for one of our key subsidiaries and member of the Auxly family. We know that Andrew and his team are going to produce some of the best cannabis flower available in Canada and we can’t wait to share it with Canadian consumers. Robinsons is all about an unwavering commitment to quality. We hope to show cannabis connoisseurs, who to date have been generally disappointed with the flower offerings in the market, that passionate artisans operating in the regulated industry can produce an incredible product that reflects their pride and craftsmanship.”
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