420 with CNW – Three Things Likely to Affect Marijuana Stock Prices

While 2018 can be described as a huge year for marijuana in many ways, 2019 promises to yield even bigger strides for the industry. Investors who are planning to get in on the action this year should pay attention to three important factors that are likely to have an impact on the price of marijuana stocks. This article discusses those factors.

Changes to U.S. Marijuana Laws

There have been concerted efforts to get the U.S. federal government to modify its marijuana laws. So far, nothing has happened yet. However, the new House of Representatives that started its work at the start of this month seems poised to pass some legislation that will change the legal landscape for marijuana. Efforts are also ongoing in the Senate to build consensus around marijuana law reform.

Should any change be made, several companies are poised to register big wins since they will be able to attract more investors. For example, the passing of a law that recognizes the right of states to enact their own marijuana laws can ease the jitters of many potential investors in the industry. Needless to say, the rescheduling of marijuana at the federal level can cause major activity in the market for marijuana stocks.

Growth and Expansion in the Canadian Recreational Market

The Canadian recreational market is still in its infancy, but even then, the demand has overwhelmed the growers there and they are scrambling to step up their production in order to meet the huge demand.

Be that as it may, many more aspects of the market, such as concentrates and edibles, are yet to be legalized. The passing of the appropriate legislation for those other products will cause a significant stir in the market. The companies that have primed themselves to bring additional products, such as edibles, will command a huge share of the market. Savvy investors should therefore do their homework and identify the companies that have positioned themselves properly to jump in first once the door is opened.

Big Deals

In 2018, the marijuana industry saw some major deals between cannabis companies and entities outside the industry. For example, Constellation Brands concluded a big money deal with Canopy Growth. Cronos Group also received a huge investment from tobacco giant Altria. Those deals caused major price movements in the stocks of the two cannabis companies, and more deals can be expected this year.

Remember, last year ended when there were rumors that some beverage makers, such as Coca-Cola, were in talks with Canadian marijuana companies. Nothing came of those rumors, but don’t discount them just yet. Other companies are also poised to strike deals with big brand entities that are looking to get a foot into the marijuana industry. The investors who correctly identify and buy shares in companies that eventually put pen to paper will smile all the way to the bank when they ride the wave that will carry the stocks of those companies upwards as a result of the deals struck.

The marijuana industry has rightly been lauded as good for everyone (patients, the taxman, employees, investors and recreational users). Read the factors above correctly when making an investment decision and you too will join the ranks of those who are benefiting from the industry. That is what industry players like Youngevity International, Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) want for every investor.

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420 with CNW – The Most Expensive Cannabis Product is Sold in Las Vegas

In true Las Vegas fashion, the record for the most expensive cannabis product ever sold (so far) has gone to a cannabis dispensary where a restaurant owner bought a “cannagar” (a cigar that contains marijuana instead of tobacco) at $11,000.

This record-breaking purchase was made by Brandon Hawkins after he flew to Las Vegas from Los Angeles with the sole purpose of buying this specialty product.

The scene of this purchase was Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace found on tribal land. The cannagar was wrapped in a 24-carat gold leaf, part of the reason why it was so expensive.

Brandon Hawkins said that he was buying the expensive product on behalf of a business partner that wished to remain anonymous. The sale took place on December 28, just in time for Brandon Hawkins and his unnamed business partner to secure a unique way to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Hawkins paid for the product by handing Joe Delarosa (a budtender, who had been expecting him on that day) stacks of $20 bills. The two men shook hands, and the deal was closed.

Interestingly, this purchase took three months to arrange. First, Hawkins was intrigued by a similar cannagar that was bought in June 2018 at $10,000.

Hawkins had spent more than a decade working in Las Vegas before he moved to LA. One of his workmates during his stint in Las Vegas was Ranson Shepherd.

Shepherd co-founded Virtue, a Las Vegas cannabis grower. It was therefore no mistake when Hawkins contacted Shepherd after hearing about the $10,000 cannagar. Shepherd reached out to Leira, the Washington-based maker of the cannagar sold in Seattle.

Shepherd and Ariel Payopay (of Leira) agreed to form a partnership that would see the cannagars produced by Leira sold in Las Vegas. The sale of the record-breaking cannagar marked the official launch of Leira’s cannagar sales in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is likely to witness such high-end purchases more frequently when cannabis lounges open in the city. The tribe that owns Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace also received a gift of a smaller version of the cannagar purchased by Hawkins. The gift was from both Virtue and Leira as a token of thanks for what the tribe is doing to spur growth in the cannabis industry.

Does an $11,000 cannagar taste better than a cheaper version? Maybe yes, maybe no. However, this video explains that our minds trick us into believing that costlier products are of superior quality. So, don’t have any harsh words for Hawkins and his business partner! After all, that purchase is good for the industry because it is pushing cannabis culture in a whole new direction, exactly what industry players, including TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) and Therma Bright, Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) want.

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420 with CNW – Feds Plan to Spend $1.5 Million on Cannabis Research in 2019

The U.S. federal government has plans to give researchers $1.5 million to study the minor components of cannabis and the terpenes in the plant during the 2019 funding cycle. The money will go to researchers who want to study how cannabis components, excluding THC, affect pain management.

NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) published a notice asking researchers to show interest in studying terpenes and minor cannabinoids. The funding will go towards understanding how those minor cannabinoids and terpenes work to relieve pain either in isolation or in combination with each other.

The notice published by NCCIH stressed that such studies are important given the fact that addictive opioids are widely used to combat pain.

THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana, is known to have pain-relief effects. However, little is known about the analgesic effects of the minor cannabinoids and terpenes, and yet these could be useful alternatives as painkillers.

The federal agency also wrote that there was some research showing that cannabis could enhance the ability of opioids to relieve pain, so it is possible that cannabis constituents may be used in combination with opioids to manage pain effectively while using smaller doses of the opioids.

NCCIH then listed the cannabinoids it is greatly interested in. These include cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG) and several terpenes.

The agency is interested in finding out whether those cannabis constituents with analgesic attributes can be separated from the psychoactive ones without affecting the painkilling benefits of the analgesic elements.

Additionally, the agency listed a number of research areas for which applicants could apply for funding. For example, NCCIH will consider applicants who want to study how gender, sex and age differences impact the analgesic effects of minor cannabinoids and terpenes.

Secondly, the agency welcomes researchers who plan to focus on the analgesic effects of terpenes and minor cannabinoids on the different stages of pain, such as acute pain and chronic pain.

Another potential area of study is the effect of different dosage levels or methods of administration of terpenes and minor cannabinoids that have been found to have painkilling effects.

In total, 11 areas of research are included in the notice released for those who may be interested in securing federal funding for their research on cannabis.

Four grant recipients will share the $1.5 million. Interested groups or researchers were asked to submit their applications a minimum of 30 days before March 15. One can only guess that the 30 days before that deadline will be used to evaluate the applications and select those who will receive the research grants.

Such funding is a step in the right direction because it will enable the federal government to make marijuana policies and laws based on facts rather than conjecture. Industry players like The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) applaud the effort made to facilitate cannabis research.

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420 with CNW – Ontario to Select Cannabis Retailers Using a Lottery

Did you, in your wildest dreams, ever imagine that the start of your business venture would depend on the outcome of a lottery? Well, that is exactly the fate awaiting cannabis retail license applicants in Ontario, Canada. The provincial government led by the Progressive Conservatives has decided to use a lottery to select the first 25 private entities that will be allowed to open marijuana retail businesses.

Previously, the province had resolved to sell recreational cannabis in government-run retail outlets only. However, the change of government towards the end of the year resulted in a modification of that plan, thereby giving private players a chance to take part in the retail segment.

That change of government, and the resultant decision regarding how cannabis will be sold, led to a delay of the start of retail sales in brick and mortar outlets. For now, residents of Ontario can only buy cannabis from the online stores that have been operating since legalization took place on October 17.

The retail license applicants should not worry that the lottery equipment will be rigged. The system to be used during this lottery (that can make or break businesses) is the same system used by AGCO (Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario) to test all slot machines before they are installed for use in casinos.

This particular lottery comes at a steep cost for those who want to participate. First, they were required to pay $75 as an application submission fee. Additionally, the applicants also forked out $4,000 as a retail authorization fee in addition to another $6,000 as payment for a retail operation license. To crown it all, each applicant was required to present a $50,000 letter of credit to prove that they had the financial ability to operate a cannabis retail outlet.

The applications were submitted between January 7 and January 9. AGCO will select the winners tomorrow (January 11). This round of the selection process excluded LPs (Licensed Producers of cannabis) in order to prevent a single entity from controlling the retail market.

AGCO had also warned that only serious entities or individuals should enter this lottery because stiff penalties will be imposed on those who don’t open their businesses by April 1. For example, a fine of $12,500 will be imposed if they don’t open their outlets by that date. A similar fine will apply if the business isn’t operational by 15th, and then a larger fine of $25,000 will have to be paid if the month ends when a licensed business hasn’t opened its doors to the public. In short, prepare to pay a fine of $50,000 if April 30 finds that your retail business isn’t operational.

Meanwhile, the supply shortages don’t show any sign of ending, and that is why AGCO decided to issue only 25 retail licenses instead of the 40 they had originally wanted to issue. Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) and other players like Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) hope the supply issues get resolved so that offline retail sales can take off without a hitch in Ontario.

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420 with CNW – Cannabis Concentrates Could Be Bigger than Edibles in Canada

Canada is slated to legalize cannabis edibles sometime this year and the population is filled with excitement regarding these products. However, if the trend in the U.S. states where edibles are legal is anything to go by, then edibles will not be the biggest moneymaker. Something else, concentrates, will be king of the market.

For example, edibles fetched $685 million from the start of 2018 to October the same year in Oregon, Colorado, California and Arizona. However, the same period saw consumers spending approximately $1.4 billion on marijuana concentrates.

The bulk of that money spent on cannabis concentrates was for marijuana vape pens and cannabis oil cartridges. These items alone accounted for $972 million in the months referred to earlier as captured in the statistics collected by BDS Analytics.

In the cannabis industry, vape pens are the modern or better version of cannabis joints in the same way that electronic cigarettes provide a better way to get your nicotine hit when compared to smoking a combustible cigarette.

Cannabis vape pens are discreet, not smelly and they are user-friendly when compared to the hassles that one has to go through to roll and light a joint.

The other cannabis concentrates on which Americans in the states named earlier spent money were hash oil, wax and shatter. These particular kinds of concentrates are intended for “dabbing.”

Thus, the evidence from the U.S. shows that cannabis concentrates are likely to fetch more money than the edibles that everyone is excited about.

These findings are given further credence when one considers the responses of ordinary people to different cannabis products. Many people will be more willing to try a vape pen rather than taking a puff on a joint if those people haven’t consumed cannabis before.

Interestingly, data from Canada shows that people have been consuming marijuana concentrates for a while. For example, a 2018 survey of approximately 13,000 cannabis consumers revealed that 26 percent had ever used hashish while 19 percent admitted that they had ever used a solid form of marijuana concentrate.

People opposed to cannabis edibles claim that these products will dominate the market and open the gate to the misuse of cannabis. However, the data collected over time shows that even if edibles grow in popularity, they will always fall behind concentrates and the dried bud in terms of market share.

Industry watchers and participants like Sproutly Canada, Inc. (OTCQB: SRUTF) (CSE: SPR) (FRA: 38G) and SinglePoint, Inc. (OTCQB: SING) are waiting to see how events play out once edibles become legal throughout Canada.

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420 with CNW – Rhode Island Considers Using Medical Cannabis to Stop Opioid Dependency

The Department of Health in Rhode Island has scheduled a public hearing early next month to collect views about a petition that calls for cannabis to be used to help people wean off prescription opioids.

Prescription opioid overdoses were found to be responsible for the death of 336 people in 2016 while the number of such fatalities in 2017 was 323. From the start of 2018 to September 2018, the fatalities from prescription overdoses were 220.

The public hearing will take place on February 6 starting at 10a.m at the auditorium of the DOH. Thereafter the department will review the feedback that it collects from different stakeholders before reviewing the available medical literature on the use of medical cannabis instead of prescription opioids.

The Department of Health will also contact clinicians and different researchers in order to learn what their opinion is on this matter.

Finally, a definitive decision on the petition will be made by the Department of Health. The law stipulates that a final decision has to be made on such petitions within 180 days from the time that the petition was received. This means that a final decision should be made by April 15 since the petition was received in October last year.

If Rhode Island decides to approve the use of medical cannabis in the place of prescription opioids, the patients may most likely consume their cannabis as edibles. However, people will also be free to smoke it or apply it topically as an ointment.

The CDC estimates that countrywide, more than 72,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017 alone. That figure was 10 percent higher than the opioid fatalities recorded in 2016. There is no sign that this trend of opioid dependency and overdoses will slow down soon, so there is an urgent need to find ways to deal with the crisis.

The outcome of the petition in Rhode Island may well hold the key to turning the tide on this epidemic since there are indicators that cannabis can help people to deal with chronic pain. If Rhode Island proves that this is the case, then a major revolution will take shape starting with the states where medical cannabis is legal, and spreading to the others where medical cannabis is yet to be legalized. Who knows, the federal government may eventually rethink its position on medical cannabis.

For now, the focus is on the upcoming public hearing and the eventual decision that will be made. Industry players like Redfund Capital Corp. (CSE: LOAN) (OTC: PNNRF) (Frankfurt: O3X4) and Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) hope that the hearing and the analysis thereafter brings an outcome that is in the best interest of patients.

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420 with CNW – Three Medical Marijuana Issues That Iowa May Need to Revisit

Iowa legalized medical cannabis in 2014, but the rate at which the state has adapted to the changing realities of the industry is so slow that many have been left frustrated by how oblivious the state legislature is to the things that laypeople see every day. Of specific concern are the three issues below.

The Number of Licensed Dispensaries

The entire state of Iowa has only five medical cannabis dispensaries from which patients can legally acquire what they need for their health challenges. For example, Cedar Rapids doesn’t have any licensed dispensary within its borders and yet this is the second largest city in the state. How is it possible that no dispensary is located there and yet there is no local bylaw banning cannabis businesses from operating there?

This just goes to show that the authorities didn’t consider the demand for medical cannabis when passing the law that restricted the number of licensed dispensaries to just five. What they may not know is that such a limit can unwittingly encourage the black market to thrive in the state since the illicit supply can easily reach every corner of the state.

The Cap on THC Levels

The regulations in place limit how much THC medical cannabis can contain to 3 percent. THC is the cannabinoid that makes people “high”. The board overseeing the medical cannabis program voted unanimously to retain the 3 percent limit on THC for another year or two before revisiting the matter.

While it may be reasonable to set a limit on how much THC people consume when they buy medical cannabis, such a limit should not be so low that patients will be compelled to consume a larger quantity of cannabis in order to get the desired effects.

It would be better for the authorities to provide a rationale for that 3 percent THC limit and get feedback from experts and the public on the same before enacting it into law. As things stand, patients may be compelled to spend more money buying a larger quantity of cannabis since there is no cap on the quantity they can buy.

The Qualifying Conditions

Iowa is operating as though it is the first state to legalize medical cannabis and yet there are several precedents to learn from. California is reputed to have some of the strictest regulatory controls not just for medical cannabis but for everything else. However, California created a list of dozens of conditions for which medical cannabis could be bought long before recreational cannabis was legalized.

Iowa started by allowing medical cannabis for only epilepsy, then eased up a bit in 2017 to include a few more conditions. What is baffling is that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ADHD and bi-polar weren’t added to the list and yet nearly all other states include them among the qualifying conditions.

All in all, the board in charge of the medical marijuana program needs to be more foresighted and stop being reactive in its approach. Otherwise, the program will not attain its intended objectives. No one, including Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF) and Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE), would want this beneficial program to fail.

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420 with CNW – CARERS Act Seeks to Reform Federal Marijuana Law

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) together with other cosponsors have introduced a bill in Congress seeking to protect states that legalize medical marijuana from federal prosecution while making their own laws to regulate the medical marijuana industry.

The bipartisan bill will formalize the respect of the rights of states to pass laws and implement their own medical marijuana programs. Currently, only a Department of Justice spending rider passed by Congress prevents federal prosecutors from using taxpayer money to prosecute individuals who use cannabis for medical or recreational purposes in states where it is legal. That rider, at least hypothetically, doesn’t bar federal prosecutors from using resources from anywhere else to go after cannabis consumers.

The CARERS (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States) Act wants to remove any doubt that doctors, patients and caregivers risk federal prosecution for doing what is legal in their states.

The bill should not be mistaken to be a clever way of legalizing medical marijuana across the country. Rather, it just clarifies that the states that legalize medical marijuana will not be exposing their residents to the possibility of prosecution by the feds on charges related to possessing or consuming a federally illegal substance.

That threat of prosecution is so real that some states have introduced bills seeking to protect medical cannabis patients’ records from access by federal authorities. Missouri is an example of such states where bills are being considered in this regard.

Furthermore, the CARERS Act will allow doctors treating veterans to prescribe medical cannabis for the conditions which can be eased or treated by the use of medical cannabis. The bill seeks to insulate the doctors and their patients from any legal issues arising from the use of medical cannabis.

The Act will also grant greater access to scientists who would like to conduct investigations into the uses of marijuana. Currently, it is very hard to obtain approval for research, let alone access to high-quality cannabis for such studies.

Congressman Cohen said in a statement he issued that there is bipartisan support for cannabis reform across the country, but the federal laws aren’t in tandem with the wishes of the people because the laws continue to regard people who prescribe or use cannabis as criminals. His bill will try to bridge the gap between what the people want and what the broken laws currently state.

Marijuana advocates have a lot of hope in the current Congress that has just started business. Their hope hinges on the fact that the House is dominated by Democrats who have a track record of being progressive on matters of marijuana law reform. Industry players like Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) hope that this bill will succeed in the House and the Senate, and that many others will follow.

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420 with CNW – Ohio Residents Petition for More Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions

Toward the end of this month, a special committee will sit to assess the different petitions that Ohioans submitted calling for additional conditions to be included on the list of ailments for which one can obtain a medical cannabis card.

The meeting this month comes after the end of a window within which people could send in their requests for the conditions they want to see on the qualifying list for access to medical cannabis.

Medical marijuana became legal in 2016 and 21 qualifying conditions were listed in that law. However, the law also granted the Medical Marijuana Board permission to review that list and add more conditions once each year.

The sale of medical marijuana is scheduled to start sometime this month and already more than 4,000 residents have secured medical marijuana cards. According to estimates, three in 10 Ohioans could qualify for a medical marijuana card even if the list of qualifying conditions stays as it was when the enabling law was passed.

The window within which interested parties could submit their petitions for additions to the list of qualifying conditions started on Nov. 1 and ended at the stroke of midnight on December 31. By the close of the window, 110 petitions had been submitted.

Those 110 petitions are now with a committee of lawyers advising the medical board. The lawyers will select some conditions indicated in the petitions and submit their shortlist to a committee that will meet tomorrow (January 9).

That committee will decide which of the conditions on the shortlist can be forwarded to medical experts for additional review and benchmarking in other states where medical cannabis programs exist.

The experts will then report back to the committee so that a report is presented to the full Medical Marijuana Board for a final vote. The Medical Board should have made their final decision by June 30, 2019, so that the list of qualifying conditions can be updated thereafter.

Some of the conditions in the petitions received include insomnia, depression and anxiety. Others are opioid addiction, acne, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. However, it should be noted that some of the petitions mentioned conditions that already appear among the 21 qualifying conditions listed in the 2016 law.

Currently, 33 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. That notwithstanding, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 substance under federal law, so it is hard for scientists to study the plant and its derivatives in this prohibitionist legal environment.

Nonetheless, there are signs that the stringent controls will ease up a bit because already, the FDA has licensed a drug derived from cannabis, and permission was granted to a group of researchers at UC San Diego to import cannabis capsules from Canada for research purposes. Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) and Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) hope that the environment will become conducive soon enough at the federal level so that the industry in the U.S. can grow based on the findings of scientific studies.

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US President, Producers Envision ‘Green Acres’ with Signing of Historic Hemp-Legalizing Farm Bill

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Moments prior to signing a historic 2018 Farm Bill and effectively legalizing industrial hemp, President Donald Trump tweeted out a video of his performance at the 2005 Emmy Awards, singing the song “Green Acres.” Having already passed through the House of Representatives and the Senate, the bill was met with much fanfare across nearly the entire cannabis sector, including benefactors such as Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) (GGB Profile), Cronos Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON), Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED), Harvest Health and Recreation (CSE: HARV) and MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTC: MMNFF).

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

Trump’s signature was the last hurdle for the $867 billion bill. Now the market is gearing up for the massive potential of hemp-derived cannabinoids hitting stores. Among the benefactors of the passage is Green Growth Brands (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF), whose goal it is to become the leading retailer of…

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