420 with CNW – Washington Legislators Make Another Attempt at Legalizing Cannabis Homegrows

Washington State still remains as the only state where recreational cannabis is legal but residents aren’t allowed to grow the plant for their own use. However, this may change if the two bills introduced in the state legislature are passed, thereby allowing adults to grow a maximum of six plants for their own use.

Previous attempts to pass similar bills have met with failure, so it isn’t a foregone conclusion that the attempts this year will bear fruit.

The key difference this time round is that the two bills have bipartisan support, at least when the list of sponsors is analyzed.

One advocate of growing cannabis at home, John Kingsbury, revealed that he has been approaching numerous legislators to ask them to support the new bills. Many revealed that they couldn’t sign their names against the bills, but promised to vote in favor of the bills should they ever reach the floor of the legislature.

This new set of bills seeks to eliminate the restrictions that were proposed by regulators at the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) in 2017 when proposals to allow people to grow cannabis at home were first suggested.

Those restrictions included a cap of four plants for homegrows. The LCB also wanted people to obtain a mandatory license from the state if they wanted to grow cannabis at home. There was even a suggestion that mechanisms should be instituted to track a cannabis plant throughout the state!

The new bills propose that adults can grow a maximum of six plants and there will be no need to obtain a permit or to track the plants grown by each adult.

Critics of plans to allow residents to grow their own cannabis claim that allowing such a practice would expand the black market for marijuana and that it will be hard to regulate the industry.

However, those in favor of the proposals counter that Washington is learning from the experience of other states and can therefore pick what to apply and what to avoid. For example, the six-plant limit is a valuable requirement since it sidesteps the mistake made by Colorado when it initially allowed residents to grow up to 99 plants, a move that allowed this legally grown crop to end up on the illicit market.

Additionally, the legalization of homegrows would curb the black market since residents would resort to consuming their own produce if retail outlets and medical cannabis dispensaries ever developed shortages.

The cannabis industry, including Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) and Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD), is watching how the bills will be debated and voted on, if they get to that stage.

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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 – Study Finds That Veterinarians Want Cannabis Legalized for Pets

A recent survey has discovered that the majority of veterinarians want the laws on marijuana relaxed for both pets and humans. Many of those who participated in the survey felt that they were fairly informed about the medicinal use of marijuana, but they lamented that state veterinary associations or boards aren’t providing guidance to keep their members informed about how to handle the subject of cannabis for pets with clients.

The study, whose findings were released in Frontiers in Veterinary Studies (a respected industry journal), had more than 2,100 certified veterinarians sharing their views.

The researchers observed that just under five in 10 of the practicing veterinarians who took part in the survey revealed that they didn’t feel at ease discussing marijuana with pet owners. This hesitation was more noticeable among the veterinarians who had recently graduated, and were therefore new to the field.

Only eight percent of the respondents said that they had never been asked by a pet owners about CBD products for pets.

A significant proportion of the respondents (66 percent) admitted that they would never recommend marijuana for dogs while approximately five percent revealed that they routinely recommend CBD to dog owners.

Two key reasons were given to explain why the veterinarians were uncomfortable recommending marijuana to pet owners. First, 65 percent of the veterinarians felt that more research on the subject was needed. Secondly, 53 percent were reluctant because of the legal issues surrounding marijuana.

CBD was either recommended or discussed for pain management, fireworks or storms phobias, seizures or anxiety.

A huge majority (82 percent) of the study participants said that CBD should be removed from Schedule 1 while 70 percent of the respondents want marijuana rescheduled from where it is currently classified (Schedule 1).

The authors of the study wrote that the existing laws, and the polarization between marijuana advocates and those opposed to it, have made it hard for veterinarians to feel at ease when discussing marijuana with pet owners.

The authors therefore called on state veterinary boards and state veterinary associations to be more forthcoming with actionable guidance to veterinarians so that these professionals aren’t on their own when responding to queries from their clients.

The voices from different groups (alcohol retailers, mayors, etc.) are getting louder in their demands for marijuana law reform at the federal level. This survey of certified and practicing veterinarians is yet another addition to those calls. How long will the federal government wait before it listens and acts accordingly? Participants in the industry, such as Supreme Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) and Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) hope that federal action is seen sooner rather than later so that even players outside the U.S. don’t have a cloud hanging over their heads.

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420 with CNW – Row Over Patents Threatens to Delay Thai Medical Cannabis Legalization

Thailand is in advanced stages of legalizing medical cannabis, but a row over the patent applications filed by foreign cannabis companies may jettison the process that was expected to culminate in a law being passed in January 2019.

Local businesses and activists feel that the granting of those cannabis patents will make the foreign companies control the cannabis industry in the country and deny scientists a chance to conduct needed research on the plant.

Chokwan Chopaka, a cannabis legalization activist, compared the patent applications to someone wishing to patent water and all its uses. Thai law doesn’t allow anyone to acquire a patent for any plant-related substance.

Civic networks and researchers are threatening to take legal action against the government in case the patent applications are approved.

Singapore and Malaysia, Thailand’s neighbors, are just getting started on the debate to legalize medical cannabis, so Thailand would be a kind of pioneer in the Southeast Asian region if it passed the appropriate legislation early next year as expected.

Such an action would be a major undertaking, given that the Asian region has been known to have some of the harshest penalties for possession, distribution and consumption of marijuana. For example, the death penalty is routinely handed out and implemented in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia in case someone is convicted for trafficking marijuana.

Similarly, thousands of people have been killed in the Philippines in a drug war that intensified when President Rodrigo Duterte started cracking down on narcotics in 2016.

However, marijuana hasn’t always been illegal in Thailand or the region. Traditionally, it was used as a medicine for sore muscles for Thai field workers for thousands of years. Thai women also used it to ease labor pains.

Those who are familiar with the word “bong” may be surprised to discover that this word (referring to the water pipe used when smoking weed) has its origin in the Thai language. Marijuana only became illegal in Thailand in 1935.

The move to legalize cannabis, at least for medical purposes, is therefore seen as the Thai community returning to its roots of using the plant as a medicine.

Furthermore, Thailand already earns a lot from medical tourism. Adding cannabis to the treatment options available to its visitors will therefore boost the medical tourism industry.

Another major plus for the upcoming cannabis revival in Thailand is the favorable tropical climate of the country which can make it cheaper to grow cannabis when compared to the marijuana grows in other countries, such as Canada.

What is left is for the government to handle the controversy brewing over patents well so that the interests of the indigenous firms are protected without locking foreign companies out. The two need each other if the industry is to develop and thrive to its full potential.

Cannabis industry players, such as Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) and Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF), in areas where the sector is thriving can only hope that any sticking issues are resolved early so that the industry in Thailand takes off without any baggage to weigh it down.

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420 with CNW – Supply Shortages Could Delay Issuance of Cannabis Retail Licenses in Alberta

The seemingly endless supply shortages ever since recreational cannabis was legalized have started having a domino effect on the Canadian pot industry. The latest news is that the province of Alberta will not issue any more cannabis retail licenses for up to 18 months, unless the supply shortages are addressed by the licensed producers who are mandated to grow and avail cannabis to the recreational and medical cannabis markets.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) commission made the announcement, adding that the matter was out of their hands.

So far, 65 retail stores were approved and started operating. The province had promised to increase the number to about 250 stores within a year after legalization. However, the ongoing shortages have thrown a spanner in the works, and it may not be possible to hit that target.

Matters may worsen on the supply side if Ontario starts retail sales at the beginning of April next year as planned.

The moratorium on new licenses is biting the business community hard. This is because many of the potential retailers had already leased expensive premises for the retail stores, and now they are continuing to pay rent yet they aren’t operational. For how long can they keep making these rent payments before closing for good?

It isn’t clear what recourse the staff who had already been hired will have in light of this extended delay for new stores to open.

It seems the only winner in this situation is the black market, because consumers keep resorting to the illicit market in order to get what they want. Black market dealers are having a field day meeting the needs of a market that was blown wide open after legalization on October 17.

Meanwhile, Alberta is getting jittery because the delays in licensing new operators may drive investors to Ontario. That capital outflow would take needed tax dollars with it. Alberta is the only province that has so far put a halt on the issuance of new retail licenses.

Their position is understandable given that it makes less sense to bring more retailers on board when the current ones cannot even get half the cannabis that the need to satisfy clients. In fact, it has been widely reported in the local press that buyers are so desperate for recreational cannabis that they are maintaining 24/7 vigilance in order to be first in line when a new consignment of cannabis is delivered to a retail store. The supply chain should have been planned better to avoid such an extended shortage. Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) and Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) aren’t happy about the bad rap that the industry is getting due to these persistent shortages.

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420 with CNW – Canadians Unhappy About Plastic Packaging of Cannabis

Canada legalized recreational cannabis on October 17 and the ongoing shortages aren’t the only thing that is having Canadians concerned. Many have expressed their displeasure regarding the amount of plastic packaging that comes with each gram of marijuana that they buy.

Some keen consumers have even measured the total weight of the plastic packaging and they found that a gram of cannabis could be packaged in as much as 70 grams of plastic! That amount of packaging raises concerns since plastic is not biodegradable.

Furthermore, Canada currently lacks a program targeted at recycling the plastic waste generated by the cannabis industry. This creates the risk that all that plastic may end up in the ocean, especially in communities that live close to the shore.

Some Canadians have even taken to social media to post the pictures of the packaging materials that come with the cannabis that they buy. The views and comments that such pictures attract show that concerns about plastic packaging aren’t isolated to environmental protection fanatics alone.

Customers who used to get their marijuana from medical marijuana dispensaries say that the medical cannabis was packaged in simple, plastic zip lock bags. That form of packaging wasn’t as wasteful as what is being seen with the cannabis that comes from recreational cannabis retail outlets.

The question therefore becomes, is there a reason to explain why recreational cannabis is packaged “excessively”?

The information available on Health Canada’s website doesn’t appear to dictate the way cannabis should be packaged. The website states that the immediate packaging of cannabis should clearly reveal when tampering has occurred. That packaging should also be child-proof while keeping the cannabis dry and free from contamination.

Manufacturers are therefore free to choose how they package their products as long as the options they choose meet the requirements of Health Canada.

One can therefore conclude that the manufacturers have opted to use plastic packaging probably because it is cheap and can keep their production costs low. Glass is a more eco-friendly but costlier material to use.

What about the zippered plastic bags? Manufacturers may have pushed them to the sidelines because they may not have been as child-proof as Health Canada would like. Remember, concerns about access to recreational cannabis by minors was one of the biggest objections to legalization.

As things stand, suppliers of cannabis to the recreational market need to go back to the drawing board and find ways to avail their products without harming the environment. After all, cannabis has always been seen as the eco-friendly (natural) option to the problems that come with synthetic drugs. It wouldn’t be fair for the footprint of this green remedy to be soiled by the containers in which cannabis is carried and distributed. Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) and Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) wouldn’t want cannabis to have its reputation mired in a plastic mess.

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420 with CNW – The Largest Cannabis Store in the World Opens in Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas? Not so, if the recently opened recreational cannabis megastore is anything to go buy. Las Vegas has always been known for setting the bar when it comes to giving people a good time, but the level to which “Planet 13” has taken cannabis will send waves around the world due to its massive size and opulence.

Nevada State Senator Tick Segerblom summarized it well in his opening remarks when he said, “Welcome to Amsterdam on steroids!” Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, has previously held the record for being the best destination for those who want to consume recreational cannabis.

Now Planet 13 has bested the entire Amsterdam, and some. All in one swell swoop. The mega-store is located in what was formally a warehouse but now hosts the 112,000 square-foot recreational cannabis retail giant. The facility has a mind-boggling 45 cash registers intended to serve the patron who will visit this superstore to sample what is on offer.

The superstore also has interactive LED displays that are designed to magnify the glitz and glamor of the facility.

Larry Sheffler, the business partner of the CEO of Planet 13 said that their intention was to “out-Vegas Vegas” when they set up the megastore. The results of their efforts certainly don’t disappoint.

Planet 13 is strategically located within a walking distance of other tourist attractions and facilities like Mirage, Treasure Island and Palazzo. Even Trump International Hotel is within a walking distance from the cannabis retail superstore.

The cannabis retail megastore plans to lure more people to spend their money on Nevada’s adult-use cannabis for decades to come. Nevada legalized recreational cannabis in 2016 and retail sales started in July the following year (2017).

The maiden year of adult-use cannabis sales raked in revenues that exceeded the optimistic projections by 40 percentage. That year, the state government earned $70 million in taxes from the retail sales of cannabis worth $425 million.

Many of the politicians present at the launch remarked that Nevada had learnt from Washington and Colorado and decided to make the regulators work closely with the cannabis industry instead of taking a hostile stance that would have stifled the growth seen so far.

The cannabis-free formal launch of Planet 13 was followed by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 1 to start retail sales there officially. Anyone keen to sample the cannabis sold there can now visit the megastore. If you are from a state that hasn’t legalized adult-use cannabis as yet, treat yourself to what is available at Planet 13 while taking comfort in the maxim that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! You can bet that Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQX: SNNVF) and Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) are toasting to Planet 13 and wishing it the very best Vegas and cannabis have to offer.

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420 with CNW – Opioid Alternative Launched in California by Cannabis Company

C3 International recently launched a ground-breaking painkiller derived from cannabis as an alternative to the conventional prescription opioids that have been linked to so many issues, such as the possibility of addiction, constipation, incoherence, loss of appetite and other side effects.

The pill made by C3 International is unique because it is a standardized product that can be trusted to deliver the same results at a given dosage for those who use it.

The company says that its product doesn’t have any psychoactive ingredients since only CBD was extracted and added to a formulation of other ingredients calculated to provide different doses of cannabis based on the needs of a patient.

The tablet provides an easy way for doctors to prescribe and ensure that a patient is consuming the required quantity of the therapeutic product within the stipulated intervals.

This is different from what has been happening with the existing edible or smoking marijuana products whose medicinal content often varied from one batch purchased to the next. It is also common for the ingredients to vary from one plant to another. This makes it hard to be certain that the patient is receiving the exact quantity of curative ingredients to produce the desired results without triggering any unwanted effects.

The ingredients used to make the new pill are extracted from cloned plants which yield a uniform amount and quality of the desired ingredients. One can therefore be sure that each pill will contain exactly the same amount of ingredients as any other pill made by the same manufacturer.

Unfortunately, this product is only available within the state of California, so patients elsewhere may have to wait. Federal laws prohibit marijuana or any products derived from it to cross state lines, so the new pill cannot be provided outside California.

Those who are within California may also be pleased to learn that several insurance providers will cover the cost of getting these novel pills. One simply has to contact their insurer and confirm that the company can be billed for the cannabis pills.

The pill launched by C3 International is likely to be one of many new products which will hit the market in the states where marijuana has been decriminalized in some form. If one could only take a sneak peek into Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQX: SNNVF) to learn what they intend to introduce on the rapidly evolving marijuana market!

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420 with CNW – LA International Airport Allows Travelers to Carry Marijuana

Los Angeles International Airport announced that passengers were free to have cannabis on them or in their luggage when boarding flights as long as it didn’t exceed the amount allowed by California law. Currently, 28.5 grams or 8grams of concentrated cannabis (oil, for example) can be carried by someone within the state. This only applies to people who are 21-years of age or more.

However, individuals who are carrying cannabis legally may still face prosecution once they are discovered by the Transport Safety Administration (TSA) agents at the airport. The TSA is obliged by law to notify local law enforcement (police) once someone is found with marijuana.

It is up to the police to decide whether to prosecute that person, seize the marijuana, or let the person board his or her flight. LA police has already said they will not prosecute anyone who hasn’t exceeded the legal limit of how much someone can carry.

This doesn’t mean passengers will not suffer any inconveniences. The interview by TSA agents before one is handed over to local police may make that person miss his or her flight even if the possibility of prosecution is waived by the police.

A lot of confusion is likely to result from the conflicting rules being followed by the Transportation Safety Administration and the local police.

Passengers are better off avoiding having any cannabis on them when they go to the airport. This will save them from finding out the hard way the kind of delays and back and forth issues that can arise when pot is found on you.

Passengers are also advised to keep in mind the laws of the different states through which they intend to travel since what is legal in one state may be criminal in another state.

A city councilman in LA has even suggested that so-called amnesty bins be availed at the airport so that passengers can place their marijuana in the bin before they get to a TSA checkpoint.

That idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound, because Las Vegas has about two dozen such bins at the McCarran International Airport.

The amnesty bin idea has its weaknesses because it means that a passenger will lose his or her legally purchased stash. The better option would be to harmonize the federal airspace rules with the rules in each state so that passengers aren’t left at the mercy of the individual officers who find cannabis in their luggage or on their person.

The contradicting positions of TSA and local police regarding cannabis clearly highlight the challenges that companies like Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQX: SNNVF) have to grapple with in the different jurisdictions where they have operations.

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CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Louisiana Removes Cannabis Patient Cap on Doctors

The state of Louisiana voted to legalize medical cannabis in 2015. However, it has taken years for the laws to evolve and reach a level where patients can start accessing medical cannabis. This is now likely to happen in November of this year. The barrier on how many medical cannabis patients any doctor can handle has now been removed.

Under the 2016 law, doctors with a license to recommend medical cannabis to patients were restricted to a maximum of 100 patients at a time. That limitation was found to be impractical, even before the first medical cannabis dispensaries opened.

This is because only 48 doctors have submitted their applications to join the cannabis program, and just 37 of those have been cleared to write recommendations for patients who wish to use cannabis to treat their health conditions. Approximately 4,000 patients out of the anticipated 100,000 could access a doctor for a recommendation under that restriction.

The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners saw that bottleneck and voted overwhelmingly (eight to one) to allow qualifying doctors to take on as many patients as they can. This will hopefully reduce the wait lists for patents wishing to access medical cannabis.

Another sticking point that was voted on was the follow up requirement for both medical cannabis patients and doctors. Under the old law, patients were expected to see the doctor who gave them the medical cannabis recommendation every 90 days in order to renew that recommendation.

Patients felt that this requirement was too burdensome, since it would take a lot of time to schedule a doctor’s appointment.

Medical cannabis advocates also felt that the follow up requirement was unnecessary, since the doctor wasn’t responsible for prescribing or overseeing the medical cannabis patient’s treatment. Those visits every 90 days were therefore unnecessary.

The board of medical examiners voted to remove this restriction as well. However, it was a close vote, with five regulators voting in favor while four voted against the removal of that requirement.

However, the removal of those restrictions will not on its own make it easy for patients to get a recommendation for medical cannabis. This is because, as already indicated, the number of doctors signing up for the medical cannabis program is still woefully small.

Advocacy groups are planning to conduct awareness campaigns for doctors in order to address any concerns or information gaps preventing them from joining the medical cannabis program. The state board of medical examiners is supporting this plan, spearheaded by Louisiana State University. Firms like Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) and Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQX: SNNVF) must be wishing that all jurisdictions address cannabis issues as progressively as the state of Louisiana is doing.

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About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

To receive instant SMS alerts, text CANNABIS to 21000

For more information please visit https://www.CannabisNewsWire.com

Please see full terms of use and disclaimers on the CannabisNewsWire website applicable to all content provided by CNW, wherever published or re-published: http://CNW.fm/Disclaimer

CannabisNewsWire (CNW)
Denver, Colorado
www.CannabisNewsWire.com
303.498.7722 Office
Editor@CannabisNewsWire.net