Cannabis legalization has spread around the world as, according to a study conducted by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the number of users has exponentially risen between 2007 and 2014. 2014 was the year that Colorado and Washington made headlines after becoming the first two U.S. states to legalize recreational cannabis. Before the states’ decision that year, only medical use was sanctioned in the few regions where cannabis had a presence. However, by the time the study took place in 2017, there were already 29 states and the District of Columbia that legalized medical cannabis and 8 states that legalized recreational use. The study discovered that adults between the ages of 26 and 34 witnessed a 4.5% increase in cannabis consumption and that daily cannabis use was primarily higher among adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Pia M. Mauro, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, noted that the increase in daily and nondaily usage among adults was predominantly due to legalization efforts, attitudes and risk perception. Currently, most people consuming cannabis use it for medicinal purposes. However, industry experts believe that as legalization continues to sweep throughout the U.S., the recreational market will eclipse its medical counterpart. Now, more and more people are willing to try cannabis if it becomes legalized. Moreover, as the cannabis industry continues to grow, retailers are working to introduce new and innovative products to their consumers. Now, producers have created cannabis-based products that appeal to both spectrums of users, whether they are frequent or infrequent users. Nonetheless, with the combination of the medical market and frequent recreational users, potent marijuana strains are expected to remain on top of the market demand. 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. Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC:BLOZF), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB.TO), Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT) (TSX:NEPT.TO), Origin House (OTC:ORHOF) (CNSX:OH.CN), Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (OTC:HRVSF) (CNSX:HARV.CN)
Even though cannabis was illegal until the 1990’s, states have since begun to rapidly change their stance on the legality of the plant. However, despite its widespread legalization, government regulators have voiced their concerns over the potential of cannabis abuse. Specifically, regulators focused on marijuana, which is in the cannabis family, and is known predominantly for its THC compound, which causes psychoactive effects on its consumers. Similar to abuse of alcohol, regulators were worried that consumers may commit some sort of act that could endanger themselves or others. And while there has never been a documented instance of a user dying from overdoses, it is proven that copious amounts of cannabis can have significant mind-altering effects which can impair the consumer and make driving, for instance, more dangerous. As a result, the marijuana breathalyzer was introduced. Government agents such as police officers can use the breathalyzer on someone who they may suspect is under the influence of marijuana. Specifically, the breathalyzer is used for consumers who are driving under the influence as a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health uncovered that driving while under the influence of cannabis is 1.65 times more likely to cause an accident. “We must thoroughly consider all aspects of a regulated marijuana program,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “including its impact on public health, criminal justice and state revenue, and mitigate any potential risks associated with it.”
Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC:BLOZF) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CNSX:BLO.CN). Just earlier today the company announced breaking news that, “developer of the Cannabix Marijuana Breathalyzer for law enforcement and the workplace, is pleased to report that Company scientists have developed proprietary methods resulting in the achievement of the highest â^9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) detection levels collected from human breath to date. Over the last several months, Company scientists have studied the unique chemical interactions of THC and cannabinoids in breath, and developed and evaluated novel methods to efficiently and practically capture and ionize THC and cannabinoid analytes collected from several different subjects. These analytes are typically found in extremely low quantities due to their relatively low volatilities, requiring an efficient sampling method. The Company’s newly developed methods and technologies for sample capture are an important milestone and represent a significant advancement in the field of human breath studies. These novel capture methods could have implications for both point-of-care and lab-based instruments that would provide real-time results from breath samples, targeting analytes of a wide range of volatilities. The Company continues to expeditiously conduct trial testing to evaluate the sensitivity and accuracy of the instrument and to collect data to determine variance among test subjects at its Vancouver and Florida development facilities using its FAIMS (field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry) THC detection device.
Growing Patent Portfolio:
The Company’s patent portfolio includes an exclusive worldwide license of University of Florida (“UF”) US Patent 8,237,118 in the area of breath analysis of controlled substances using Partial Ovoidal FAIMS Electrode (high field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry). Additionally, the Company has licensed patent pending technology from UF (US 16/082220) relating to using FAIMS detection, and has filed its own patent applications commencing in 2015.
The Company’s technology has significantly progressed since its original filings, and improvements have been made to every aspect of the instrument (in particular related to Company’s originally filed US and Canadian patent application Nos. 14/689434 and 2887841). New intellectual property and trade secrets have been developed that will ultimately supersede earlier patent applications. The Company’s intellectual property is growing and additional patent applications will be filed in due course. Additional applications that are already pending include Canadian and US applications directed to an intercept system (ignition interlock device) for controlled substances (Nos. 3041860 and 16/344578).
An ignition interlock device requires a driver to blow into an installed device confirming the driver is not impaired before the vehicle will start. Many countries are requiring an ignition interlock device as a condition for drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, especially repeat offenders.
The Company routinely receives official correspondence related to its pending patent applications from Canadian and US Patent and Trademark Offices. Such correspondence requires a formal response from the Company to refine the application to address any objections raised by the offices. Such official correspondence can be expected by the Company as it is normal for patents to be initially refused (even a few times) by the patent office. The Company is entitled to submit arguments and/or amend its claims in order to address the Examiner’s reasons for rejection to secure grant of a patent. As usual, Company patent lawyers review the merits of the Patent Office’s comments and prepare and file responses as required.
About Cannabix Technologies Inc. – Cannabix Technologies Inc. is a leader in marijuana breathalyzer development for law enforcement and the workplace. Cannabix has established breath testing technologies in the pursuit of bringing durable, portable hand-held tools to market to enhance detection of marijuana impaired driving offences on roads at a time when marijuana is becoming legal in many global jurisdictions. Cannabix is working to develop drug-testing devices that will detect THC- the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes intoxication- using breath samples. In particular, Cannabix is focused on developing breath testing devices for detection of recent use of THC, in contrast to urine testing for THC metabolite that requires an invasive collection and reflects usage, days or even weeks earlier. The devices will also be useful for other practical applications such as testing employees in the workplace where impairment by THC can be hazardous.
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB.TO), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 25 countries across five continents, is one of the world’s largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced that it had received Health Canada licenses for outdoor cultivation at two Canadian sites. The new sites in Quebec and British Columbia will be used for cultivation research to develop new technology, genetics and intellectual property in order to drive sustainable, high-quality outdoor production. Aurora purposefully chose the outdoor sites because they represent two different growing environments. The company will conduct research on cultivation techniques to further excel at growing cannabis in varying climate conditions and will examine approaches to environmentally sustainable cannabis agriculture. “Aurora believes in innovative operations and intensive research and we’re applying our approach to outdoor grown cannabis,” said Aurora Chief Executive Officer Terry Booth. “Our team plans to use these areas to ensure we are able to consistently grow the high-quality cannabis Aurora has become known for around the world. We’re proud to be a Canadian company and this is a further commitment to research and job creation in Canada.”
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 that its wholly owned subsidiary, 9354-7537 Québec Inc., has received a notification letter from Health Canada indicating that all requested license amendments have been approved. The scope of the amendment received from Health Canada permits expansion of cannabis operation areas to include an additional extraction room where Neptune will perform cold ethanol extraction. Ethanol extraction is faster and more cost-effective than the CO2 extraction currently used and will increase Neptune’s input capacity from 30,000 kg to 200,000 kg. This seven-fold increase in the Company’s capacity will accelerate production and enable the fulfilment of commercial commitments. Start-up activities will begin immediately, including the final stages of commissioning the equipment, and Neptune will ramp up commercial operations on a progressive basis during the second fiscal quarter. “Congratulations are in order as this announcement marks another milestone achieved by our team by successfully meeting the stringent Health Canada requirements,” said Jim Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer of Neptune. “The new regulations regarding cannabis edibles, extracts and topicals recently published by Health Canada are expected to result in significant additional demand for cannabis extraction and purification services. With our increased extraction capacity, Neptune is now well positioned to benefit from this rapidly growing market. In addition, our cannabis oil capsule technology provides the company a differentiated offering for which there is strong demand.”
Origin House (OTCQX:ORHOF) (CNSX:OH.CN) is a growing cannabis brands and distribution company operating across key markets in the U.S. and Canada, with a strategic focus on becoming a preeminent global house of cannabis brands. CannaRoyalty Corp. d/b/a Origin House recently announced preliminary unaudited revenue of approximately CAD 21 Million for the second quarter ended June 30th, 2019, at an approximate gross margin, excluding fair value items, of 17%. The California market has grown in 2019, with an increase in the number of licensed dispensaries since December 2018 and a more stable regulatory environment than in 2018. Origin House’s progress during the first six months of the year has primarily been driven by its focused strategy to capitalize on the statewide California platform it established over the past two years. Marc Lustig, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Origin House commented, “Origin House has continued to gain momentum as our team leveraged the California-focused platform we have built over the past two years to drive another quarter of record revenue along with steady progress on gross margin. As expressed previously, we strongly believe that 2019 will mark an inflection point both for the California market and Origin House as a whole and the numbers are proving this out.”
Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (OTCQX:HRVSF) (CNSX:HARV.CN), headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, is a multi-state cannabis operator (MSO) and vertically-integrated cannabis company. Recently, Utah’s Department of Agriculture and Food issued Harvest of Utah a notice of intent to award a medical cultivation license. Harvest of Utah received the highest score among all applicants. Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc., a vertically integrated cannabis company with one of the largest and deepest footprints in the U.S., will serve as the operator. The extensive selection process rewarded only eight of 81 applicants supporting Utah’s newly approved medical cannabis program. Harvest of Utah received top recognition achieving outstanding scores within the strict criteria guidelines by showing proof of financial viability, expertise in cannabis operations and demonstrating its commitment to the local community. “Utah’s rigorous evaluation standards highlight the state’s dedication to their community and we share in their vision to improve patients’ lives through cannabis. We are grateful to be a part of this milestone and be granted the opportunity to build exceptional operations that provide the most trusted and safe products,” said Harvest Chief Executive Officer Steve White. “The intent to award in Utah is a testament to our experience, knowledge and passionate staff. We are looking forward to playing a pivotal role in this next stage of providing greater access for the thousands of patients in Utah.”
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