Recently, Illinois became the 11th U.S. state, including the District of Columbia, to legalize cannabis entirely. Illinois’ decision came not too long after Michigan approved its own legislation to legalize cannabis back in November 2018, during the U.S. midterm elections. While only a fifth of the U.S. has legalized cannabis, the marketplace accounts for a majority of the global cannabis market share. Primarily, the U.S. is driven by a handful of states including California, Colorado, and Washington. And these three states, in particular, were among the first states to venture into the cannabis industry. Now, these states are responsible for collectively driving in billions of dollars in cannabis sales each year. In recent times, cannabis legalization has been on the agenda of many U.S. politicians whether for medical or recreational use. However, the U.S. Senate still remains uncertain on the matter. Nonetheless, states have been given the jurisdiction to legalize cannabis or decide to keep it regulated. Overall, the market has also been a prevalent force on the global scale, yet, most analysts tend to focus on the U.S. market because of the attractive opportunities the country presents. Barclays analysts have speculated that if the U.S. cannabis market was legalized today, it could be worth roughly USD 28 Billion. Furthermore, Barclays predicts that the market will grow to USD 41 Billion by 2028 on a pre-tax basis. Barclays had compiled data from a 2017 survey that indicated that approximately 26 million Americans above the age of 12 “were users of marijuana,” or nearly 10% of the total U.S. population. At USD 41 Billion, the cannabis market “could generate almost USD 28 Billion of tax revenues across all levels of government,” said Barclays. The firm examined data from Colorado, Washington and Nevada and highlighted that tax revenues from cannabis have already surpassed alcohol tax revenues, and in the case of Colorado, already exceeded tobacco tax revenues. While the U.S. is a major growth driver for the global industry, it is important to note that more and more countries around the world are also beginning to legalize cannabis, predominantly for medical purposes. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC:CRFTF) (CNSX:CRFT.CN), Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE:IIPR), Greenlane Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNLN), Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTC:PLNHF) (CNSX:PLTH.CN), The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTC:SPRWF) (TSX:FIRE.TO)
Notably, Canada became the second country to legalize cannabis back in late 2018 after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made it known that cannabis legalization was on his agenda. Ecstatic Canadians seized the opportunity and began to apply for licenses in order to operate a cannabis-related business. Despite having legalized cannabis, Canada still maintains strict regulations in regards to license approvals and operating hours. The legal barriers have caused demand to severely outweigh supply, and as a result, many growers have engaged in large-scale cultivation efforts to meet Canadians’ requirements. While large cultivators can produce tons and tons of flower each harvest, the major drawback is that the quality may be lackluster. Producing on a large-scale basis makes it challenging for cultivators to ensure high-quality products because it can be too costly to tend to each and every single plant. On the other hand, smaller cultivators have engaged in cultivating “craft cannabis,” which is similar to craft beer or craft coffee. For cannabis, craft cultivators are enthusiastic about producing premium high-quality cannabis that stand out among the competition. In order to ensure top quality products, craft cultivators stray from using artificial products such as pesticides to produce a more natural product. Moreover, cultivators tend to each plant to insure that mold or a bug infestation does not occur. Additionally, craft cultivators also hand-trim their buds as opposed to large-scale cultivators who typically use machinery. Hand-trimming plants can protect more of the bud, thus maintaining the cannabinoid content within each individual bud. As such, the attention and care that is involved within craft cultivation causes prices to generally be higher than the average selling price point. Despite the price, craft cultivators and large-scale producers are able to co-exist within the same marketplace because of consumer demands. Some consumers may prefer a cheaper product that may provide subtle effects, while other consumers are more interested in a premium product that boasts a strong potency. “Corporate and Wall Street interest in weed is only going to increase now that three more states have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana use – bringing the total to 33 [as of April 20, 2019] – while Canada recently became the second country to allow recreational uses of the drug,” said Ryan Stoa, Associate Professor of Law at Concordia University School of Law, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “A local, sustainable, and artisanal model of marijuana production can co-exist with Big Marijuana – much as craft beer has thrived in recent years alongside the traditional macro breweries. One reason is that whereas the illicit drug trade forced consumers to buy ambiguously sourced marijuana from street dealers, the legal market allows consumers to buy a wide variety of marijuana products from legitimate retail businesses. And more and more consumers are turning to edibles and extracts produced by highly specialized manufacturers.”
Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC:CRFTF) (CNSX:CRFT.CN) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CNSX:CRFT.CN). Earlier last month, the Company announced the “addition of three well-respected cannabis experts to the growing Pasha family: Scientific researcher Dr. Cris Felipe Alves, second-generation cultivator and consultant Travis Lane, and lifelong cultivator Kemal Morris.
As a solution provider to the craft cannabis industry, Pasha subsidiary BC Craft Supply Co. Ltd. (“BC Craft Supply”) aims to provide cannabis farmers with the tools to transition to new regulations governing the micro-cultivation licence category. These experts will assist farmers in making that transition.
‘I’m thrilled to have these experts join our team, and, with their support, I look forward to disrupting the market with craft products that will help solve Canada’s ongoing supply chain issues,’ said Patrick Brauckmann, Executive Chairman of Pasha Brands. ‘With these additions to the Pasha family, I’m confident that enthusiasm for craft products will continue to grow.’
Dr. Cris Felipe-Alves has worked in academic and commercial settings in Australia, Asia, and North and South America, and holds a B.Sc in Biological Sciences from the University of Brasília, and a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Nagoya University. While working as a senior scientist at a global diagnostics company, he led a team of researchers from discovery to R&D and sales of molecular tools designed to detect cancers non-invasively. During this time, he became interested in the potential for cannabis as a curative agent against several types of cancer. Since then, he has worked as an extraction specialist and a Quality Assurance Manager. He will act as the Senior Quality Assurance Person at BC Craft Supply.
‘Here at Pasha, I feel at home and am proud to be part of a brand house that has a focus on craft products,’ said Dr. Felipe-Alves. ‘I look forward to helping Pasha generate safe and efficient cannabis-based products that suit the needs of both recreational and medical consumers both in Canada and around the world.’
Renowned cultivator and consultant Travis Lane has been growing cannabis for more than 20 years. An organic, living-soil-based cultivator who has advocated for the facilitation of pesticide-free, sun-grown cannabis production, Lane has been involved in the founding of numerous small cannabis businesses over the last decade, including a successful chain of storefront dispensaries, a thriving online mail order service, and was a founding partner in one of the most successful hydrocarbon extraction brands in the country. Under legalization, Lane has divested from the illicit market to focus on multiple Cannabis Act license applications, as well as his work with Groundwork Consulting, focused on government relations and licensing for cultivation and retail, and Levity Solutions, a multi-purpose cannabis consultancy focused on assisting aspiring legal cultivators. He will act as a consultant for Pasha Brands and its subsidiaries.
‘The level of talent and expertise that exists in the prohibition-era marketplace is beyond impressive,’ said Lane. ‘These long-time innovators will represent a huge market factor once licensed, and I am proud to help Pasha facilitate this next wave.’
Kemal Morris is a lifelong cultivator who has had his hands in the soil ‘since before he could walk’. He watched his parents grow their own food – and cannabis – on Saltspring Island, British Columbia. Soon after Canada launched its first medical cannabis program in 2001, he spent 14 years learning the intricacies of breeding and extract production. In addition, Morris has spent the last four years launching a prominent Canadian Licensed Producer. He is passionate about patients and has connected hundreds of struggling patients with medicine. As the Master Grower for Pasha Brands’ owned Vancouver Island Licensed Producer, MedCann, Morris will act as facility designer, cannabis expert, educator and facilitator.
‘After completing a four-year term in the regulated industry, I am excited to work with Pasha,’ said Morris. ‘I finally have the opportunity to share all that I have learned with the cannabis enthusiasts I came up with, and I’m proud to be part of a company that is breaking the big business mold – affording a rightful place to the people who risked everything to create this thriving industry.’
About Pasha Brands: Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Pasha is a vertically integrated, prohibition-era brand house firmly rooted in BC’s craft cannabis industry, which boasts an international reputation. With proven capabilities in cannabis cultivation, genetic research and development, product processing, and retail, Pasha is uniquely positioned in the new legal cannabis market through its network of hundreds of craft cannabis suppliers under the Pasha umbrella. Pasha subsidiary, Medcann Health Products Ltd. is a Health Canada licensed cultivator and processor with a licence to sell medical cannabis products in Canada. Pasha and BC Craft are also developing a craft cannabis campus, which is dedicated to bringing craft quality into the newly legal cannabis market in Canada. BC Craft is driven to assist craft growers in obtaining security clearance and licensing to grow as micro-cultivators, specializing in education and compliance to bring growers into the regulated cannabis supply market. Pasha’s common shares trade on the CSE under the symbol “CRFT”. For more information, please visit www.pashabrands.com.”
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Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE:IIPR) is a self-advised Maryland corporation focused on the acquisition, ownership and management of specialized industrial properties leased to experienced, state-licensed operators for their regulated medical-use cannabis facilities. Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. recently announced that it closed on the acquisition of a property in Lansing, Michigan, which comprises approximately 145,000 sq. ft. of industrial space. The purchase price for the Michigan property was approximately USD 4.8 Million (excluding transaction costs). Concurrent with the closing of the purchase, IIP entered into a long-term, triple-net lease agreement with a subsidiary of Ascend Wellness Holdings, LLC (AWH), which intends to operate the property as a licensed medical-use cannabis cultivation and processing facility upon completion of redevelopment. AWH is expected to complete tenant improvements for the building, for which IIP has agreed to provide reimbursement of up to USD 15.0 Million. Assuming full reimbursement for the tenant improvements, IIP’s total investment in the property will be approximately USD 19.8 Million. “We are excited to team up with AWH again as their long-term real estate partner in Michigan,” said Paul Smithers, President and Chief Executive Officer of IIP. “AWH is very well-positioned, with a strong management team and balance sheet, as it ramps up its operations in Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, each of which presents a tremendous market opportunity. We look forward to supporting their continued growth and success for many years to come.”
Greenlane Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNLN) is a leading distributor of premium vaporization products and consumption accessories in the United States and has a growing presence in Canada. Greenlane’s customers include over 7,000 independent smoke shops and regional retail chain stores, which collectively operate approximately 11,000 retail locations, and hundreds of licensed cannabis cultivators, processors and dispensaries. Greenlane Holdings, Inc. recently issued the following statement regarding the city of San Francisco’s final vote for the temporary suspension of manufacturing, distribution, and sale of e-cigarettes in the city – pending the outcome of the FDA’s ongoing review of e-cigarette products. “Greenlane believes in sensible regulation and supports efforts to keep adult-use products out of the hands of minors. Like JUUL, we strongly support responsible legislation, such as raising the minimum-purchasing age for tobacco products, including vapor products like JUUL, to 21 years of age. We have always taken youth-use prevention seriously and Greenlane’s e-commerce platforms and retail stores are fully age-gated to ensure minors are not purchasing the vaporization and accessory products we sell. In fact, age-restriction is beneficial to our business as the vast majority of B2B customers to whom we sell e-cigarettes are age-restricted stores where consumers need proof of age to enter. The more difficult it is for people to buy e-cigarettes in non-age-restricted locations such as gas stations and convenience stores, the more we benefit from business that is driven into our age-gated channels. Should a ban of e-cigarettes be enacted in San Francisco or Northern California more broadly, Greenlane does not anticipate a material impact to its business, as sales in these areas represent an immaterial percentage of our total JUUL sales. JUUL continues to be a strong partner and we see significant opportunities to grow our JUUL business, particularly in Canada where sales increased more than 70% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter. We distribute a diversified portfolio of consumption accessories across multiple categories and geographies and are actively expanding our global reach. In addition to our sales in the US and Canada, which both continue to grow across our broader portfolio of product offerings, we currently support and ship products to customers in Europe, Australia, and parts of South America on a limited basis. We are keenly aware of the growth opportunities in these markets and as we continue to expand our marketing, supplier relationships, sales bandwidth and expertise, we anticipate capturing market share in the cannabis, CBD and liquid nicotine end markets in those regions by opening our own distribution centers, acquiring existing international distributors and partnering with local operators.”
Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: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 served an average of 2,011 customers per day in June at an average ticket of USD 88.87 from the Planet 13 Las Vegas Cannabis Entertainment Complex. “As we talked about on our last conference call, our stated goal is to drive sequential quarter over quarter growth from the SuperStore. In Q2 sales from the SuperStore increased 19.4% over Q1. The number of people who visited increased 29.7% over Q1, with 82.6% coming from out of state increasing the attractiveness of the SuperStore as an advertising partner for both cannabis and non-cannabis brands,” said Larry Scheffler, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Planet 13. “In June we onboarded a new credit card provider in response to sporadic outages during the month. We now have redundancies in place to ensure this problem isn’t repeated.”
The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTCQX:SPRWF) (TSX:FIRE.TO), is a global diversified portfolio of distinct cannabis companies, products and brands. The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. recently announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement under which Supreme Cannabis will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of privately-held Truverra Inc., to be effected by way of a three-cornered amalgamation between Truverra, Supreme Cannabis and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Supreme Cannabis. The Transaction is valued at 14.7 million common shares of Supreme Cannabis, giving the Transaction an approximate dollar value of CAD 20,000,000 as of the Company’s closing price on July 16th, 2019. Located in Toronto, Truverra is a private cannabis company, serving the Canadian and international cannabis markets through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Canadian Clinical Cannabinoids Inc. (“CCC”) and Truverra (Europe) B.V. “The recent introduction of Health Canada’s amended cannabis regulations creates a distinct opportunity for Supreme Cannabis to establish a leading position in the cannabis extracts markets. With the acquisition of Truverra, we secure a Toronto-based facility equipped to extract our high-quality inputs for concentrates and vaping liquids in the near-term,” said Navdeep Dhaliwal, Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Cannabis. “Truverra’s operations also provide an additional entry point into Europe’s CBD wellness market, where Truverra Europe has successfully launched multiple CBD products in various jurisdictions. Truverra’s Canadian and European operations are managed by a senior leadership team with a wealth of experience manufacturing and launching products in highly-regulated industries such as life sciences and pharmaceuticals.”
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