NEW YORK, June 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Cannabis decriminalization and legalization laws have swept through numerous countries across the world, as a plant that was once completely prohibited in virtually every country is now being leveraged for its medicinal benefits. Now, countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the U.K, and parts of the U.S. have all adopted some form of medical cannabis legislation. However, despite the global spread of medical cannabis, the market predominantly revolves around the North American region. Primarily, Canada and the U.S. are the largest market drivers because of their early adoption as several U.S. states moved to legalize medical cannabis back in the 1990s. Currently, more than half of the U.S. states have legalized medical cannabis while 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized its recreational use. Meanwhile, Canada legalized medical cannabis back in 2001 and then fully legalized cannabis in late 2018, allowing access to adult-use cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. Furthermore, Mexico could potentially join parts of the U.S. and Canada if it moves to legalize cannabis as Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador mainly wants to legalize cannabis in order to eradicate the black market scene that has ravaged the country. In Mexico, the cannabis black market has led to many casualties because of the war on drugs. Moreover, consumers typically have no clue where their cannabis is grown and what is treated with during the growing process. As a result, more regions want to create a transparent process while offering its citizens access to a medical alternative. 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 growing at a CAGR of 28% from 2018 to 2023. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT), Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED), Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO), Charlotte's Web Hldgs Inc. (OTC: CWBHF) (CSE: CWEB), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA)
The medical cannabis marketplace controls the majority of the overall cannabis market share because of its widespread availability and accessibility. However, the recreational sector is growing at a much more rapid rate due to the expanding user base in the North American region. Additionally, due to legalization efforts and changing consumer trends, cannabis-based companies have introduced new products that are much more potent and cleaner. Cannabis flower is starting to become less popular among avid consumers, however, the cannabinoids found within the flower are still required to create other products such as oils, concentrates, and edibles. Now, more and more consumers are starting to use oils and concentrates over traditional flower because of their potency and ease. However, the potency primarily depends on the strain used as well as the extraction process. Fortunately, extractors want to use the best quality strain for their products, whether it's THC dominant or CBD dominant. And growers, some more generally known as "craft cannabis" producers, can manipulate the end result of strains based on the growing environment as well as the initial seed planting. Craft cannabis growers stress the importance of growing an all natural and premium product and tend to each individual plant to ensure the plant produces high-quality buds. Moreover, craft cannabis growers avoid using artificial byproducts such as pesticides in order to grow a more natural and healthier strain. Additionally, some growers alter the environment within indoor or greenhouse facilities to provide perfect temperatures, lighting, and humidity for optimal growing. And as a result, growers can produce a higher quality strain while obtaining a higher yield per harvest. For a large-scale facility, it is difficult to tend to each plant. On the other hand, smaller cultivators purposely grow small-scale facilities instead of producing large quantities as it allows them to spend more time per plant and cultivate with greater care. "Although there are many people who purchase cannabis on a budget, with the plethora of options available on the retail market, it's understandable that discerning consumers are willing to spend a bit more for a better product," said Lisa Rough, former Associate Editor at Leafly. "Remember: Craft cannabis does not necessarily require more funding to make a better product. Rather, it requires patience, care, and attention to detail."
Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: CRFT). Yesterday, the Company announced the, "appointment of Jamie Shaw as its new Chief Communications and Culture Officer.
Shaw brings decades of experience in management, messaging, and organizing in the cannabis and multimedia industries to her role at Pasha. Both effective and disruptive in her advocacy, she is the only court-certified expert in the dispensary industry in Canada, and was an expert witness in the Allard trial that won patients the right to grow for themselves. Shaw also successfully lobbied for dispensary regulations in Vancouver, Victoria, and other Canadian municipalities under prohibition, and has consulted at length with all levels of government on cannabis regulations. In addition to Shaw's extensive experience in the cannabis space, her transferable skillsets from years as a business owner and professional in the performing arts and creative industries make her invaluable to Pasha.
'In my role as Chief Communications and Culture Officer, I hope to assist Pasha in cultivating company-, industry-, and nation-wide respect for the growers, patients, and activists that got us here. I think its crucial to acknowledge the role civil disobedience has played—not just with legalization, but in all the other vital ways it has changed our world for the better,' Shaw said.
'I'm really excited to be embarking on this journey with a team of intelligent, passionate people that are united in their desire to bring the growers and products responsible for British Columbia's rich cannabis history and reputation for quality back into the limelight.'
Shaw is a founding partner of Groundwork Consulting, a co-author of the first Lift & Co. Retail Cannabis Training Course, a cannabis career training instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and sits on various boards and advisory committees, including the BC Independent Cannabis Association.
'From my perspective, the value Jamie brings to Pasha and BC Craft Supply Co. is immeasurable. Most cannabis and brand houses couldn't possibly find someone like Jamie to run culture and communications,' said Patrick Brauckmann, Executive Chairman of Pasha Brands.
'I'm thrilled that Jamie has chosen to bring her passion and knowledge of both cannabis and culture to Pasha. Her understanding and respect for the original cannabis industry, along with her love of history has given her a unique lens with which to see how inappropriate laws and backwards-thinking people have ruined lives on so many levels.'
Shaw's ability to simultaneously advocate for change and work within a shifting regulatory landscape has helped numerous applicants from the pre-legal markets see their way through municipal, provincial, and federal licensing. Having worked at the leadership level with clients and companies including Indigenous Bloom, MMJ Canada, the BC Compassion Club Society, and the former Canadian Association of Medical Dispensaries, Shaw has established herself as Canada's formidable expert when it comes to restructuring organizations and liaising with regulators in the cannabis space. Her deep understanding of legislation at all levels of government is sure to be an asset to Pasha and its brands.
The wealth of knowledge and experience Shaw brings will not only help to elevate craft cannabis in Canada, but also bring a unique side of the industry to create a strong platform that benefits craft growers, consumers, and shareholders.
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's subsidiary, Medcann Health Products Ltd., is a Health Canada approved licensed producer, which includes a cultivation, processing and sales license in a facility on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Pasha's common shares trade on the CSE under the symbol "CRFT". For more information, please visit www.pashabrands.com"
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Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED) is a world-leading diversified cannabis, hemp and cannabis device company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms, as well as medical devices through the Company's subsidiary, Storz & Bickel GMbH & Co. KG. Spectrum Therapeutics, the medical division of Canopy Growth Corporation recently shared an update on its efforts to develop and commercialize validated cannabis medicines through clinical trials. Demand for cannabinoid-based medicines is emerging around the world. With a highly experienced scientific team and the resources needed to conduct robust clinical trials, Spectrum Therapeutics is pursuing research to introduce products for the therapeutic areas of pain, mood and sleep and to gain access to new markets independent of medical cannabis laws. Spectrum Therapeutics is focused over the next 24 months to further the science of cannabinoids and provide evidence by way of clinical trials on what conditions medical cannabis can treat. This research includes product design and ingredient selection, formulation, and safety and efficacy testing towards the development of standardized cannabis drug formulations and dose delivery systems. Research activity is occurring in two main areas: registration trials and exploratory studies. "We believe that this strategic approach to global clinical research, in collaboration with outstanding investigators and institutions, and supported by our first-rate team of scientists, will generate innovative products for a number of indications with significant unmet needs," commented Dr. Mark Ware, Chief Medical Officer, Canopy Growth. "We are also pleased to announce the launch of our global pharmacovigilance program whereby every one of our 3000+ staff worldwide are trained in reporting adverse events. It's an important step towards establishing drug safety and will advance our efforts to provide patients with accepted, clinically validated cannabis medicines while transparently demonstrating the relative risks of cannabis."
Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) wholly-owned subsidiaries include Philip Morris USA Inc. (PM USA), U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC (USSTC), John Middleton Co. (Middleton), Sherman Group Holdings, LLC. Altria Group, Inc. recently announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire newly issued shares in Cronos Group Inc., a leading global cannabinoid company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The transaction represents a 45% equity stake in Cronos Group, at a price of CAD 16.25 per share, for an aggregate investment by Altria of approximately USD 1.8 Billion (approximately CAD 2.4 Billion). This investment positions Altria to participate in the emerging global cannabis sector, which it believes is poised for rapid growth over the next decade. It also creates a new growth opportunity in an adjacent category that is complementary to Altria's core tobacco businesses. Altria expects its investment to help Cronos Group accelerate its growth strategies and its R&D and intellectual property development. Additionally, Altria will provide expertise to help Cronos Group thrive in the growing global cannabis market. These services may include regulatory affairs, regulatory science, compliance, government affairs and brand management. "Investing in Cronos Group as our exclusive partner in the emerging global cannabis category represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Altria," said Howard Willard, Altria's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We believe that Cronos Group's excellent management team has built capabilities necessary to compete globally, and we look forward to helping Cronos Group realize its significant growth potential."
Charlotte's Web Hldgs Inc. (OTCQX: CWBHF) (CSE: CWEB) is the market leader in the production and distribution of innovative hemp-based cannabidiol wellness products. Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. recently reported its 2018 harvested hemp results. The Company reported more than a 10 times growth in harvested hemp compared to its 2017 grow season. The high-quality 100% U.S.-grown hemp will be processed through proprietary extraction methods to create whole plant hemp extract that will be used in Charlotte's Web products for sale in 2019 and 2020. "Charlotte's Web is one of only a few hemp CBD producers capable of supplying large volumes of high-quality hemp extract from its own supply chain that can meet significantly increasing market demand," said Hess Moallem, President and Chief Executive Officer of Charlotte's Web. "As the category and brand leader, our goal is to increase our market share and with this bountiful harvest we are able to satisfy our customer demands for 2019 and beyond. This incredible harvest ensures we can continue to produce our high-quality human nutrition products without being subject to constantly fluctuating market prices as is common with third-party sourced raw material. This allows us to have better control and predictability over our cost of goods sold and thereby our gross margins. In addition, these harvest levels will allow us to explore opportunities to supply future partners with our proprietary hemp extracts."
Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, the planet, product quality and innovation. Aphria Inc. recently announced an agreement with San Francisco-based PAX Labs, Inc. ("PAX"), a leader in the design and development of premium cannabis vaporization devices, that will enable Aphria to provide premium cannabis extracts in pods designed for use with PAX's innovative Era device and platform. The Company plans to introduce PAX pods for both adult-use consumers and medical patients, pending anticipated changes to the Cannabis Act to permit the sale of cannabis extracts for vaporization. "As Aphria continues to drive the evolution of the industry, we are thrilled to partner with a technology leader like PAX to provide a new avenue for consumers to integrate cannabis into their lives," said Irwin Simon, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Aphria. "We are excited to bring our premium cannabis extracts from Solei, RIFF and our flagship medical cannabis brand, Aphria, to the PAX Era device and platform.
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