NEW YORK, July 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The exponential growth of the cannabis industry has put it on track to once again report record spending on lobbying in the U.S. capital. As of mid-year 2019, expenses on persuading members of Congress have already reached USD 1.6 Million compared to 2018's full-year expense of USD 2.7 Million, according to MarketWatch. The lobbying efforts come after Congress released a series of bills that would affect already enacted legislation, such as the STATES Act. The movement by cannabis advocates is aimed towards protecting states that have already legalized the use of either medical or recreational cannabis. However, in the light of the growing industry, lawmakers have become worried that the industry is beginning to compete against, or even merge with, other large industries such as big tobacco, alcohol or the pharmaceutical markets. In particular, cannabis has already tapped into the pharmaceutical industry because many medical institutions and health officials believe that cannabis can be effectively used as a medicinal treatment to a variety of conditions. For instance, numerous clinical trials have concluded that cannabis can be effectively used to treat symptoms associated with cancer, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Moreover, multiple large pharmaceutical companies have even added cannabis-based operations to further propel the growth of the medical cannabis market. Nevertheless, the industry is currently hindered by the lack of political support. Many national governments are hesitant about entering into the cannabis industry because of the stereotypes revolving around the plant such as its psychoactive properties. Nonetheless, a handful of countries have already taken the step forward and legalized the use of medical cannabis. Now, as more countries continue to legalize the plant, the sweeping movement is thought to have the potential to influence additional countries to explore opportunities within the industry. 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. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT), Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE: IIPR), Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTC: CURLF) (CSE: CURA), Acreage Holdings Inc. (OTC: ACRGF) (CSE: ACRG.U), MariMed Inc. (OTC: MRMD)
Medical cannabis has been prevalent in several regions for nearly decades now. Notably, the U.S. was one of the earlier adopters of medical cannabis, dating back as early as the 1990s when California became the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis. Now, more than half of U.S. states, including the District of Columbia, have legalized its medical use. Furthermore, countries around the globe such as Australia, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Thailand have all implemented either a full or partial medical program. Specifically, most regions are adopting cannabis-based oils for patients because of their potency and immediate delivery. However, in order to create potent oils, high-quality dried flower is required. For most large-scale licensed producers, it is challenging to produce premium cannabis because they are often more focused on volume. On the other hand, smaller cultivators produce significantly less in terms of output but are able to tend to each plant to ensure superior quality. The rigorous process of nurturing each plant is commonly known as cultivating "craft cannabis," which is an artisan profession similar to craft beer or craft coffee brewing. Similarly, craft cannabis cultivators aim to produce high-quality cannabis using the most organic and natural methods. Generally, craft cultivators avoid the use of artificial products such as pesticides to appeal to health-conscious consumers. Moreover, cultivators carefully hand-trim each and every single plant to maintain the cannabinoids within the buds, insuring a potent strain. While large corporations dominate the industry, small cultivators are able to compete because of their premium strains. Industry experts believe that the two marketplaces can coexist because large producers are geared towards providing mass volume and inexpensive cannabis, while smaller producers supply premium cannabis for passionate enthusiasts. "Craft cannabis growers operating with micro-cultivation and micro-processing licenses will ensure a better quality product and will be more likely to experiment with different strains. Not only will this benefit adult users, it could potentially benefit medical cannabis users as well, encouraging [sic] development of targeted and/or more effective symptom relief," according to Licensed Producers Canada, a centralized database of Canada's producers. "In short, despite the limitations in terms of marketing and direct-to-consumer sales, craft cannabis operators do have an opportunity to produce a quality product at a price point consumers will accept."
Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: CRFT). Yesterday, the Company announced that, "its wholly owned subsidiary, BC Craft Supply Co. Ltd ("BC Craft"), has signed a supply agreement with Canada's first licensed micro-cultivator applicant, Hearst Organic Cannabis ("Hearst").
Founded by Joël Lacelle in Hearst, Ontario, Hearst Organic Cannabis received its micro-cultivation licence from Health Canada on July 12, 2019. Under the new agreement, Hearst will supply BC Craft with its ongoing production to be sold as dried flower. BC Craft has agreed to process and package this flower before it is destined for licensed retailers.
'Joël and his team started with a shovel and navigated the licensing process in just over nine months,' said Jason Longden, CEO Pasha Brands. 'They represent the first truly craft producer to be licensed as a micro-cultivator in Canada, the first of many BC Craft intends to bring to market, so this agreement is historic.'
With Canada's current licensed cannabis producers only able to supply an estimated 15 per cent of what Canadians are consuming, Pasha is optimistic that this new supply agreement will help correct the cannabis supply imbalance. Each micro cultivator in Canada will be able to produce approximately 500 kg of cannabis per year. Canada has tens of thousands of craft producers operating in the illicit cannabis market and BC Craft is focused on helping as many small farmers transition into the regulated market as possible.
'Building Hearst and receiving my Health Canada licence has been a challenge, but I'm encouraged by the high demand for craft products,' said Joël Lacelle, Founder of Hearst Organic Cannabis. "I'm proud to partner with the team at Pasha and BC Craft as they have clearly demonstrated their passion for supporting all craft cannabis producers in Canada.'
Hearst Organic Cannabis will plant its first legal crop in August 2019 and harvest later in the fall.
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" and on the FSE under the symbol "ZZD". 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 Saxton, Pennsylvania, which comprises two buildings totaling approximately 266,000 square feet of industrial space. The purchase price for the Pennsylvania property was USD 13.0 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 Green Leaf Medical, LLC (Green Leaf Medical), which intends to operate the property as a licensed medical-use cannabis cultivation and processing facility. Green Leaf Medical has redeveloped approximately 103,000 square feet of the industrial space for medical-use cannabis cultivation and processing, with the remaining approximately 163,000 square of industrial space available for future redevelopment. As the pioneering real estate investment trust (REIT) for the medical-use cannabis industry, IIP partners with experienced medical-use cannabis operators and serves as a source of capital by acquiring and leasing back their real estate assets, in addition to offering other creative real estate-based capital solutions. "We are pleased to add multi-state operator Green Leaf Medical to our premier tenant roster," said Paul Smithers, President and Chief Executive Officer of IIP. "Green Leaf Medical has achieved tremendous success in Maryland in a short period of time, and is focused on replicating that model across a number of states, including Pennsylvania. We are thrilled to serve as one of their capital sources to allow them to continue those expansion initiatives and reach an ever-growing number of patients across the Northeast."
Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: CURLF) (CSE: CURA) is the leading vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator in the United States. Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. recently announced the opening of its 25th Florida dispensary at 610 Lake Minnie Drive, as the company continues to expand rapidly throughout the state. Curaleaf has the largest cannabis dispensary footprint in the US, with 48 dispensaries across the country. Curaleaf is commemorating the grand opening of Sanford's first medical marijuana dispensary by providing a sneak-preview to its newest product - Curaleaf Shatter, at the dispensary. Processed using the industry's cleanest, most medically precise extraction and purification methods combined with decades of horticultural experience, Curaleaf Shatter offers patients with qualifying medical conditions a new product option that physicians may consider for their patients. Curaleaf medical cannabis products are also available in the forms of capsules, oils, distillates, concentrates, vaporizer pens, pre-rolls, smokable flower, and topical creams. "In opening our 3rd Orlando area medical marijuana dispensary, we are proud to be able to provide patients in the communities of Sanford, Lake Mary, Lake Monroe, Longwood, Winter Springs, and Midway, Florida with access to Curaleaf's premium quality products and educational resources," shared Joe Lusardi, Curaleaf Chief Executive Officer.
Acreage Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: ACRGF) (CSE: ACRG.U), headquartered in New York City, is the largest vertically integrated, multi-state owner of cannabis licenses and assets in the U.S. with respect to the number of states with cannabis related licenses, according to publicly available information. Acreage Holdings, Inc. recently announced that on April 17, its subsidiary, High Street Capital Partners, LLC entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of Deep Roots Medical LLC ("Deep Roots"), a vertically integrated cannabis operator in Nevada, for a total deal value of USD 120 Million to be paid in common units and cash. Deep Roots marks Acreage's entry into Nevada, increasing the company's total state footprint to 20 (including pending acquisitions) - the largest in the US cannabis industry. With a population of three million, and tourism that attracts 43 million visitors per year, Nevada is estimated to generate nearly USD 800 Million in legal cannabis sales by 2022, according to Arcview Market Research. Deep Roots' vertically integrated operations include cultivation, manufacturing & processing, a wholesale and distribution business, and seven retail dispensary licenses. Kevin Murphy, Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Acreage Holdings, Inc., commented, "We continue to deliver on our shareholder commitments to aggressively expand our presence in the West. We could not be more excited for what we believe will become a leading operation in the state of Nevada, one of the most important states in the cannabis industry."
MariMed Inc. (OTCQB: MRMD) is dedicated to improving health and wellness with the highest quality hemp and cannabis products. MariMed Inc. recently announced that its MariMed Hemp subsidiary will acquire 70% of MediTaurus, LLC, owner of the international Florance™ brand of CBD health and wellness products and extensive intellectual property (IP) relating to cannabis formulations. The Florance™ brand is established in the U.S. and EU with online distributors, wholesalers, pharmacies and physicians. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. This is the first acquisition for MariMed Hemp, which was formed to optimize MariMed's strategic investment in GenCanna Global, Inc., the Kentucky-based producer of compliant, quality CBD derived from hemp. Bob Fireman, Chief Executive Officer of MariMed Inc., noted, "This transaction is extremely important for MariMed for three reasons: First, from an operational standpoint, the Florance™ brand jump-starts our MariMed Hemp division with an established, premium line of CBD health and wellness products and formulas in the U.S. and the EU, global licensing of MediTaurus IP; and a network of established European relationships. Florance™ provides a ready platform for new product introductions, including diversity of the uses of hemp including food, food supplements and topicals. MariMed will help rapidly scale up production, distribution and licensing partnerships throughout the major U.S. markets where MariMed operates and sells; Second, with MediTaurus and its co-founders, including Dr. Žiburkus, comes a wealth of expertise and research experience into the benefits and function of compounds found in cannabis and hemp. Dr. Žiburkus will be both a trusted advisor and continue his key roles of needed scientific research and balanced education of the medical community on the benefits cannabinoids offer for a variety of health conditions; Finally, MediTaurus is a perfect fit with MariMed's mission, values and corporate culture to unlock and introduce the known and yet-to-be-discovered health benefits of cannabis and hemp."
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