More Mergers Expected as Cannabis Sector Heads into New Year of Growth

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Several years of impressive growth are expected to continue in the cannabis sector in 2019, and companies are making the most of it through mergers and acquisitions.

  • The cannabis industry has seen growth in acquisitions over the past two years.
  • A large part of this comes from the emergence of the hemp/CBD market.
  • Industry commentators expect these trends to continue.

SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) (SING Profile) is tapping into this exciting potential through a strategy of well-financed acquisitions and investment in other cannabis companies. PotNetwork Holdings Inc. (OTC: POTN) has built up a series of subsidiaries and is now reaching out to mainstream markets with its products. KushCo Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: KSHB) has recently established new supply arrangements that will increase its already growing profits. Following the legalization of hemp farming, CV Sciences Inc. (OTCQB: CVSI) has become one of the United States’ first certified hemp producers. And The Green Organic Dutchman (OTCQX: TGODF) (TSX: TGOD) (TGOD Profile) is building improved…

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420 with CNW – Consolidation Starts Taking Shape in the US Cannabis Industry

Like any emerging industry, the cannabis industry has reached that time when consolidation starts taking place. Several reasons have made such a step inevitable.

First, way too many businesses rush to get licences in each state that legalizes recreational or medical marijuana. Not all those businesses that open are likely to succeed, so it is only logical that the ones not doing well get gobbled up by those that are having a better run in the market.

Secondly, too many companies in a restricted marketplace trigger a rush to the bottom. The different pricing models adopted to get an edge in the market exert pressure on the profit margins of all the companies involved. Before long, many start falling by the wayside, and the stronger ones acquire those that are failing or struggling.

Thirdly, the risk of oversupply also creates fertile ground for consolidation. Most cannabis businesses are forced to be vertically integrated because of the clash between federal law and state-level laws. Many therefore end up growing cannabis that they are unable sell, and these stockpiles lock up a lot of valuable capital. The entities that command a bigger share of the retail space often end up acquiring those with excess supply.

These forces are already exerting their impact upon the nascent cannabis industry in the U.S. Last year, MedMen Enterprises announced that it was acquiring PharmaCann in a deal worth $682 million. However, this deal still has a few more months before they put ink to paper.

In the meantime, iAnthus Capital Holdings last week closed on a deal to acquire MPX Bioceutical. This acquisition is worth more than $630 million. This makes it the largest marijuana deal in the U.S. so far. The MedMen deal will eclipse it when it is finally concluded, but that is still months away.

With the stroke of a pen, iAnthus Capital Holdings has increased its footprint from just six states to 11 after the acquisition of MPX Bioceutical. The number of licensed dispensaries has also grown from 19 to 63, all without the hassles and costs associated with processing new applications in all those jurisdictions.

The deal also now gives iAnthus a combined grow space of 210,000 square feet. The company targets to expand this to 600,000 square feet so that all the stores/dispensaries can be amply supplied in the coming years.

The cannabis industry, including The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) and The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) welcome any consolidation that helps to deepen and stabilize the cannabis industry.

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420 with CNW – Baltimore to Stop Prosecuting People for Marijuana Possession

The chief prosecutor in the city of Baltimore has announced that people will no longer be prosecuted for possessing marijuana. This announcement comes as a wave legalization is sweeping across the nation, and marijuana is no longer seen as the evil substance that it once was thought to be.

Marilyn Mosby, state attorney for Baltimore, revealed that her office will immediately stop prosecuting cases of marijuana possession. This decision will apply regardless of how much marijuana someone has been found with, or what the criminal history of that person is.

Mosby added that no serious person can ever claim that devoting the city’s scarce law enforcement resources to prosecuting marijuana possession cases is a good way to use taxpayers’ money.

Baltimore has the unenviable record of being the major city across the country with the highest homicide rates, with most of those homicides going unsolved. Mosby wants to focus a lot more on solving those violent crimes instead of being bogged down by marijuana possession cases.

The chief prosecutor admitted that the city’s law enforcement agencies take a huge hit in terms of their public image each time murders go unsolved and yet they are seen vigilantly going after people possessing marijuana.

She gave the example of what a mother whose son has just died because of gun violence. Such a mother cannot condone the allocation of resources to prosecuting marijuana possession cases instead of using those very resources to investigate and bring violent crime down.

However, there may be a showdown brewing between the city prosecutor and the men and women of the police department over this change in policy. Gary Tuggle, the Police Commissioner of Baltimore, insisted that his department will continue making marijuana possession arrests until the legislature changes the law about the matter.

This potential standoff is a tricky one to resolve because each side may have valid arguments to support it. For example, the prosecutor sees that it doesn’t make sense to keep fighting something that is hardly harmful to the public, while the police is doing its work of enforcing the laws as passed by the legislature.

The question is, what will happen once suspects are arrested by the police and the prosecutor refuses to sanction any charges against those individuals?

The best way out is for these two sister departments to find a middle ground on this issue so that ordinary people aren’t caught in the crosshairs as the elephants fight. Such a stalemate isn’t in the best interest of the marijuana industry, especially The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF).

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420 with CNW – Most US Mayors Support Marijuana Legalization, Survey Shows

A survey conducted by a team of researchers based at Boston University shows that a slight majority of all city mayors across the U.S. supports the legalization of marijuana and the regulation of its sales.

110 current city mayors from 37 states in the nation were asked to share their views about marijuana and several other policy issues.

The researchers found that 53 percent of the mayors were in favor of marijuana legalization and regulated sales within their cities while 35 percent of the mayors said they didn’t support the legalization of marijuana in their jurisdictions.

Many of the mayors who took part in the survey revealed that their opinions hardly depended on their philosophical or moral views on marijuana. Instead, they were influenced by several practical matters when forming an opinion on the subject.

For example, some of those who opposed legalization wondered how law enforcement agencies would distinguish between legal marijuana and black market marijuana.

In terms of political party affiliation, 62 percent of Democratic Party-affiliated members said they were in favor of cannabis legalization while 67 percent of Republicans were opposed to cannabis legalization.

So far, ten states have legalized recreational marijuana and many more are queuing up to do so. However, cannabis is still illegal under federal law and this creates a contradiction between what is happening at state level and what federal law permits.

This contradiction prompted the National League of Cities (a group bringing more than 19,000 municipalities together) to pass two resolutions in 2018 asking the federal government to reform the federal marijuana laws.

Furthermore, marijuana law reform proposals in Congress have bipartisan support and there is a good chance that some of them may sail through both Houses this year.

All these changes are on the horizon as support for cannabis legalization keeps growing across the country. Recent polls by Gallup and other reputable entities show that up to 64 percent of Americans now support marijuana legalization.

It may therefore be just a matter of time before all the states legalize marijuana in some form and the federal government may then have no choice but to make some legal concessions on matters of marijuana.

Otherwise, if the views of the mayors in the Boston University survey are anything to go by, change is likely to come sooner than the federal government may have envisaged. The whole cannabis industry, including Therma Bright, Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) and The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF), is watching and waiting to see what happens on Capitol Hill.

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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 – Malawi Drafts Bill to Legalize Marijuana Farming

The parliament in Malawi has drafted a bill that will make it legal to grow marijuana and hemp both medicinally and industrially. The bill comes at a time when the country’s export earnings have taken a huge hit as tobacco sales decline year by year.

Tobacco sales have been bringing in at least 60 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings, but the sustained anti-smoking efforts spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups have triggered a downward trend in the number of people who smoke. Malawi is feeling the effects of those efforts.

Moreover, the estimated value of the largest tobacco companies in the world, such as Altria (makers of Marlboro) and British American Tobacco (BAT) has declined by at least 20 percent.

In the U.S. alone, there has been a 67 percent reduction in the number of smokers from 1965. Today, approximately 14 percent of the U.S. population smokes tobacco cigarettes, and this number continues to reduce year by year.

The cannabis and hemp industry has therefore been lobbying the Malawi government to pass enabling legislation so that the country can diversify its sources of foreign currency earnings. Their campaigns are bolstered by the global trends which show that cannabis and industrial hemp are on the rise as huge commercial crops.

For example, an acre of land on which 2,500 hemp plants are grown fetches approximately $60,000 annually in the U.S., while a similar number of tobacco plants on an acre of land brings a paltry $5,000 annually to Malawi. Making the switch to hemp and cannabis would therefore be a no-brainer when these statistics are considered.

Additionally, the cost of growing hemp and cannabis is likely to be much lower in Malawi given that the country has favorable climate that can allow outdoor grows throughout the year. This is unlike the climate of Canada and the U.S. where indoor facilities have to be used to have supplies of cannabis and hemp all year round.

If the bill is passed, then Malawi will join the ranks of South Africa, Lesotho and Zimbabwe where cannabis prohibition has ended. The question on everyone’s mind is, when will the U.S. federal government finally see the errors of continuing to prohibit marijuana while the rest of the world is legalizing marijuana and allowing researchers and entrepreneurs to understand and commercialize the plant? The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF), The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) and other cannabis industry players are also asking themselves that question.

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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 – South Korea Okays Medical Marijuana

In recent times, South Korea has been in the news for cracking down on cannabis use both locally and abroad. Their embassy in Canada even warned South Korean nationals that they will be prosecuted back home if they used medical or recreational cannabis in Canada or anywhere else. However, the East Asian country passed legislation in late November to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. This makes it the first East Asian country to do so.

The Food and Drug Safety ministry announced that epilepsy sufferers and those struggling with other rare diseases will be able to access medical marijuana early next year (2019).

The government further announced that medical cannabis products that had gained regulatory approval in other countries would be imported for use in South Korea. However, any medical cannabis product that hadn’t gained regulatory approval in its country of origin would be illegal to use in South Korea.

Similarly, South Korean companies will also be able to cultivate, manufacture and export medical cannabis products after getting regulatory approval from the relevant agencies.

To get medical cannabis, patients will have to submit their medical records showing that they have a qualifying condition. Those records will also be accompanied by a note from a doctor stating that the patient in question has a medical condition for which medication is unavailable in the country.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will then scrutinize those papers and decide whether the patient can start using medical cannabis or not. Approved applicants will get their medical marijuana from the Orphan and Essential Drug Center.

In other words, the government will not allow private entities to participate in the distribution of medical cannabis to the citizens.

Some cannabis legislation advocates are beginning to speculate that the passing of the medical cannabis legislation may eventually pave the way for the legalization of recreational marijuana in the country.

However, such optimism may be farfetched given that the countries in Asia are known for being very conservative and any change comes extremely slowly. Let us not forget that Asian countries are famous for being very harsh on drug use. For example, extrajudicial killings are almost tacitly sanctioned by the Philippines government in case the victims are suspected drug traffickers.

Additionally, the examples of jurisdictions that started with medical marijuana and went on to decriminalize the adult-use of cannabis are still very few.

All the same, the move to allow patients in South Korea to access medical cannabis should be applauded since the substance may help those who had lost hope of ever getting any relief from their ailments.

The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR), The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and other industry players welcome South Koreans to the growing community of people who are enjoying the medicinal effects of cannabis.

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420 with CNW – Scientists Discover How Marijuana and Hemp Differ

Scientists have for long wondered why the cannabinoids in hemp differ in quantity from those present in cannabis, yet these plants are genetically similar. Research was conducted to generate a chromosome map of cannabis sativa and the findings shed light on this important question.

The study brought to light the fact that the THC and CBD composition of hemp and cannabis was largely a product of mutations resulting from viruses that entered the chromosomes of the cannabis plant millions of years ago.

The result of that viral invasion at the genetic level was that cannabis split into two distinct variations, that is, hemp and cannabis. Hemp largely contains CBD while cannabis has varying amounts of CBD and THC, but cannabis has markedly higher THC levels than hemp.

The enzymes that triggered the production of the varying levels of CBD and THC in these two plants look identical at the genetic level, but they differ in genetic expression. Consequently, it is possible to extract one gene and leave the other, thereby growing a plant with only one of the major cannabinoids. For example, the THC gene can be removed so that plants with only CBD can be grown, and the same can be done to the CBD gene in cannabis.

The scientists thought that human selection was partly responsible for the wide prevalence of cannabis strains since, from ancient times, people have been known to propagate plants that gave them the desired output. Consequently, varieties that had balanced CBD and THC may have been ignored and left to disappear from the genetic pool while those with high THC were kept as our forefathers enjoyed the “high” derived from those varieties. Hemp survived this primitive form of selection because it had other uses, such as making rope from its tough fibers.

What does this research show the current crop of scientists? There is still so little known about cannabis. This information gap may not necessary be the fault of the scientific community, but it can be attributed to the decades of prohibition that made it nearly impossible to perform any meaningful research on cannabis.

Jonathan Page, one of the main researchers in this Canadian study, remarked that the legal walls are gradually collapsing, so scientists should take the lead in generating information about this versatile plant. For example, the full implications of this chromosome map produced by Page’s research are yet to be fully understood. The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR), The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and other cannabis companies welcome the new body of information that has been added to what is currently known about marijuana.

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420 with CNW – Association of Local Authorities Calls for US Federal Cannabis Decriminalization

The U.S. National League of Cities (NLC) sat early this month and passed a number of resolutions appealing to the federal government to review its policy and laws on marijuana. The NLC represents more than 19,000 cities, towns as well as villages across the U.S.

The organization was founded back in 1924 and it aims at empowering local governments around the country. Their conference early this month passed two important resolutions on the issue of cannabis policy reform.

First, the conference passed a resolution calling on the federal government to end the ambiguity between federal and state laws on the issue of access to financial services by cannabis businesses.

Those ambiguities have restricted the cannabis industry to conducting business on cash-basis, a system that creates a number of risks including the rise in robberies and tax evasion since the authorities find it hard to track the volume and value of the transactions conducted by legal cannabis businesses.

The second resolution passed by the NLC was connected to the scheduling of cannabis by the U.S. federal government. The members called on the federal government to reschedule cannabis so that federal and state authorities have greater control over the industry.

Rescheduling cannabis would also enable federal authorities like the FDA and DEA to regulate the industry across the country so that cannabis consumers are protected from consuming cannabis which has mold, pesticides, fungus or other dangerous substances.

Currently, the regulation of cannabis is fragmented since each state that has legalized adult-use or medical cannabis has to pass its own laws and regulations to regulate cannabis within its borders.

Federal rescheduling would bring unity to the entire industry and everyone, including the federal and state governments as well as the consumers, would benefit.

The recent resolutions passed by the NLC show how the association has been evolving on the issue of marijuana. In the past, they would only pass resolutions that were general in nature. This year marked the first time that the association referred to specific marijuana laws which need to be reformed.

That boldness may be arising from the growing support for cannabis among people from all walks of life, including Republicans who have been historically opposed to cannabis legalization.

The National League of Cities now joins other groups, such as the Conference of Mayors and the National Conference of State Legislatures which have voiced their calls to have clarifications made at the federal level on issues of marijuana.

Pressure seems to be mounting on the federal government from the grassroots to reform the laws on marijuana. It remains to be seen for how long the feds will ignore those growing voices. The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR), The Green Organic Dutchman (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and other Canadian cannabis companies would wish their American counterparts a uniform legal regime that reduces the complications encountered when crossing state lines.

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Political Wins Hold Promise for Strong Cannabis Strategies

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: State ballots and the departure of Jeff Sessions have led to fresh confidence in the cannabis sector.

  • The cannabis industry is going through a period of huge growth.
  • Two states recently voted to legalize medical cannabis and one voted to legalize recreational cannabis.
  • The departure of Jeff Sessions removes a significant block for the industry.
  • A variety of strategies—some focused on product and others on support services—are emerging to make the most of this market.

Generation Alpha, Inc. (OTCQB: GNAL) (GNAL Profile) has developed a dual strategy to make the most of this opportunity, investing in both product and supplies for producers. MedMen Enterprises, Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTCQX: MMNFF) is financially supporting further legal reform while building up a cultivation and retail business across several states. KushCo Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: KSHB) has grown from a packaging company to one providing a range of support services. As new niches emerge, The Green Organic Dutchman (OTCQX: TGODF) (TSX: TGOD) is staking its claim through a focus on organic, sustainably grown cannabis. Even non-cannabis companies are profiting from this growth, with Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG) investing in hydroponics offerings that will supply…

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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.

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