FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
As the cannabis industry has expanded, the methods of ingestion have also changed. Traditionally, most consumers smoked cannabis in the form of what is called “flower.” Now, cannabis can be obtained in various forms as extraction methods have evolved from a simple drying and curing process to using chemistry to produce cannabis concentrates and oils. Recently, cannabis is commonly being used for medicinal purposes; to treat applications such as cancer, migraines, and arthritis. The medical benefits of cannabis have allowed the industry to grow rapidly over the past several years with Canada even legalizing cannabis entirely for both medical and recreational use just last year. Then, one month later, U.S. states Michigan, Missouri, and Utahlegalized cannabis on some form, bringing the number of states with cannabis legislation to a total of 33, as well as the District of Columbia. Additionally, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the U.S. Farm Bill into effect, allowing cultivators to grow hemp for commercial uses after decades of legal difficulty restricting the plant. Moreover, the continued research efforts conducted by major government organizations, such as the U.S. The Food and Drug Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Medicinal Cannabis, Health Canada, and the National Cannabis Industry Association, are providing positive data, linking cannabis to the successful treatment of certain medical applications. Despite the positive data, however, countries abroad are still sluggish in their approach of legalization. On the other hand, Canada and the U.S. are already well established markets, but they are still rapidly growing as the global market continues to mature. According to data compiled by IMARC Group, the legal North American legal cannabis market reached US 8 Billion in 2017. By 2023, the market is projected to reach USD 35 Billion, registering a CAGR of 28% from 2018 to 2023. AREV Brands International Ltd. (CSE: AREV), iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC: ITHUF) (CSE: IAN), The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (TSX-V: WTER), Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC: EMHTF) (TSX-V: EMH), The Supreme Cannabis Company (OTC: SPRWF) (TSX: FIRE)
The cannabis marketplace is hindered by a lack of research and development, which remains the biggest concern for both consumers and federal governments. Both parties want clean and safe products to prevent illness or even deaths that may result from tampered-with goods. According to the 2018 National Cannabis Survey, which documented the fourth quarter of cannabis use following Canada’s legalization, 76% of Canadians who purchased cannabis said that quality and safety was the number one concern. In total, approximately 15% of Canadians reportedly used cannabis in the fourth quarter, and nearly half of that group used cannabis for non-medical reasons exclusively. Canada has only legalized cannabis for several months now, but the survey noted that the 15% of Canadians who use cannabis will grow to 19% whether it is for medical or recreational purposes. The propagation of cannabis legalization in recent years has now positioned the industry to become a major global marketplace. In particular, as the North American market continues to develop, the recreational market is expected to become the main global growth driver in the near future. “Over the next 15 years, the cannabis industry will split between medical and recreational. There will be a small number of cannabis-derived medicines that have passed FDA drug trials by large pharmaceutical companies. There will also be a large number of recreational companies selling cannabis and cannabis derivatives in a highly regulated environment (similar to alcohol distribution),” said Jake Heimarket, Chief Executive Officer at Plus.
AREV Brands International Ltd. (CSE: AREV) is currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: AREV). Earlier last week, the Company announced breaking news that, “BC Bud Depot has commenced an intensive phase of developing new proprietary strains for the Company. Seeing a deficiency in the variety and qualities of cannabis strains made available to the medicinal and recreational markets by Licensed Producers in Canada, BC Bud Depot has begun germination and selection from its extensive proprietary genetics vault of breeding stock for new strain development. The BC Bud Depot genetics vault is a collection of over two hundred unique and elite cannabis strains collected over 20 years. Many of the strains are believed to no longer exist anywhere else in the world.
AREV, a cannabis integrator company through its holdings in BC Bud Depot has extensive cannabis genetics and breeding programs, is also pleased to announce today a strategic collaboration between BC Bud Depot with Lighthouse Genomics Inc., a national leader in cannabis genetic research involving high-value genetic traits and genome sequence analysis. This breeding partnership will allow BC Bud Depot’s Health Canada-licensed breeders to benefit from Lighthouse’s industry-leading technologies, and to apply genetic intelligence towards the accelerated production of proprietary genetic assets with rare traits and high consumer demand.
Lighthouse has conducted Whole Genome Sequencing on a population of ten BC Bud Depot cultivars, obtaining data from the entire DNA sequence – roughly 800 million base pairs per individual plant – at 15 times coverage, a level of accuracy unprecedented in the cannabis industry worldwide. Lighthouse’s work with the high-quality data from BC Bud Depot genetics allowed for a significant advancement in cannabis science, with over 25 Million variable locations detected in the genomes sequenced, as compared to approximately 450,000 reported in published studies, a 55-fold increase in the number of high-interest data points. The project team consisting of two PhD geneticists and seasoned cannabis breeders is led by Lighthouse Chief Science Officer Dr. Gina Conte.
‘Until recently, genetic data at this level of accuracy was available only in the field of human genomics,’ stated Dr. Conte, who designed Lighthouse’s proprietary analytic software. ‘We are able to detect the degree of genetic novelty, or ‘uniqueness,’ of individual genes of interest, and of the plant genome as a whole,’ she added.
‘Our project with AREV and BC Bud Depot uses cutting-edge science to accelerate the development of rare and unique genetic assets with valuable, targeted qualities,” stated Timothy Harvey, Lighthouse CEO. ‘We can rapidly detect those distinct cultivars with uncommon characteristics that stand apart from the cluster of genetically similar strains currently flooding the market. Identifying desirable genetic differentiators allows us to breed for innovation, targeted user experience and specific areas of benefit in health and medicine.’
Lighthouse is providing BC Bud Depot extensive consulting and two forms of reporting: a Genetic Assets Overview for the population as a whole, detailing genetic distance between cultivars, and a Genome Report for each individual plant sequenced. In addition to analysis including ancestry, genetic stability and genetic novelty, the Genome Report offers a comprehensive panel of functionally important and well-annotated genes, including those involved in cannabinoid and terpene synthesis, greatly facilitating genetically-informed breeding.
‘In each of our focus areas, from breeding to extraction and product formulation, AREV is committed to operating at the forefront of cannabis science and technology,’ stated CEO Mike Withrow. ‘The BC Bud Depot brand has a track record distinguishing them as leaders in cannabis breeding. It is natural that we collaborate with a company such as Lighthouse that leverages the most advanced technologies and expertise in the field of cannabis genetic science. Their work empowers the mandate of our breeding program to create proprietary genetic assets that are demonstrably without equal in the cannabis industry.’
Matthew Harvey, lead breeder for BC Bud Depot states, ‘Our mandate is to improve the quality of cannabis available to both medicinal and recreational consumers in Canada and abroad. We have the privilege of drawing upon a vault of seeds containing popular strains long thought to be lost to the world. This will ensure an improvement and expansion of the available cannabis gene pool.’
Mike Withrow, CEO for AREV Brands International states, ‘The ownership of BC Bud Depot’s vast genetic reservoir of historic strains allows us to apply new breeding techniques to creating the next generation of cannabis strains, with a broad appeal to consumers and industry. Our breeding programs will ensure that BC Bud Depot genetics continue to set the bar for quality in the industry, and we will select our cultivation partners based on their ability to bring out the very best in these strains.’
About AREV Brands International Ltd: AREV Brands International Ltd. (“AREV”) produces and delivers functional compounds and ingredients from its world-class extraction systems. AREV is revolutionizing the current delivery method of terpenes, cannabinoids and flavonoids. These premium ingredients and formulations are used in products targeted for sale in the natural health, medical, functional food, nutraceutical, sport nutrition and bioceutical markets. AREV innovates through extraction to produce extracts from specific selected plant and exude from trees that address 5 areas of health including Anxiety, Pain Management, Insomnia, Central Nervous System Disorders & Libido.”
iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: ITHUF) (CSE: IAN) owns and operates best-in-class licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities throughout the United States, providing investors diversified exposure to the U.S. regulated cannabis industry. iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. recently announced that its U.S. subsidiary has entered into a letter of intent to acquire CBD For Life, a top-ranked, national CBD brand in the U.S. These products are designed for self-care, beauty, and wellness; and through a partnership with iAnthus, CBD For Life plans to expand its existing wholesale and retail platform to give more consumers access to its growing range of products. “Developing a strong CBD strategy is mission critical for cannabis companies to compete on a national scale while simultaneously entering the consumer product and retail marketplace,” said Hadley Ford, Chief Executive Officer of iAnthus. “With the acquisition of a name brand like CBD For Life, iAnthus is well positioned to increase our market share with greater exposure to patients and customers across the country.”
The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (TSX-V: WTER) has developed an innovative, state-of-the-art, proprietary electrolysis process that produces healthy alkaline water for a balanced lifestyle. The Alkaline Water Company Inc., with products bottled under the trademark Alkaline88®, recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, A88 Infused Beverage Division, Inc., has entered into an exclusive formulation, development, and supply agreement with American Nutritional Products Inc., headquartered in Carson City, Nevada. This Agreement solidifies the Company’s ongoing relationship with ANP to finalize the formulations for the Company’s Cannabinol (CBD) and infused products. ANP has agreed to initially develop 5 to 7 functional waters including 3 to 4 in the CBD area and 2 to 3 in the vitamin and antioxidant segment. Each will be uniquely formulated to match both consumer demands and taste profiles. Under the terms of the Agreement, A88 Infused will be granted the exclusive right to products developed by ANP, which will be used in the development of the Company’s new line of infused beverages. “For over 25 years, Maria Watson, President and Chief Executive Officer of ANP, has been an industry leader in the nutraceutical world. Her formulation team has over 40 years of experience in the development and marketing of infused beverages containing CBD, nutraceuticals, and organic flavoring, making them an ideal partner to work with in the development of our new line of products. We both recognized the synergies of our companies and this agreement was a logical extension of our recently signed co-packing agreement. The depth of knowledge and expertise provided by ANP will ensure that A88 Infused is able to introduce some of its infused beverages to market by the end of this calendar year,” stated Richard A. Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Alkaline Water Company.
Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCQX: EMHTF) (TSX-V: EMH) is a Canadian licensed producer of cannabis. Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. recently announced the launch of Verdélite Sciences Inc., a wholly-owned, Québec-based production subsidiary licensed by Health Canada. Formerly known as Agro-Biotech, Verdélite currently produces high-grade dried cannabis for medical and adult-use purposes. Emerald is nearing completion of its over USD 100 Million investment to secure and expand its multi-purpose facility to 88,000 sq. ft. and enable the complete cycle of indoor cultivation, product development and automated packaging of cannabis products. Upon reaching full production levels in mid-2019, Verdélite projects it will have created approximately 140 jobs. “We’re delighted to see our Québec-based Saint-Eustache facility coming online and adding to our capability to deliver high quality adult-use and medical cannabis products,” said Dr. Avtar Dhillon, President and Executive Chairman of Emerald. “The Verdélite team has been working tirelessly to bring to fruition one of the core assets in Emerald’s national and international development strategy.”
The Supreme Cannabis Company (OTCQX: SPRWF) (TSX: FIRE) is a Canadian publicly traded company committed to providing premium brands and products that proudly reflect its consumers, people and uniquely innovative culture. The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. recently announced that the Company expects its previously announced oil products line to be introduced to adult-use consumers in select Canadian markets starting April 2019. Supreme Cannabis plans to initially ship oil products to select markets before expanding distribution of its cannabis oil line to additional provinces which is expected by the end of June 2019. Each bottle will contain a proprietary blend of highly-purified cannabis oils and terpenes derived from plants grown by 7ACRES. “Premium oils require premium cannabis,” said Navdeep Dhaliwal, Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Cannabis. “Our formulation will leverage super-critical CO2technology to produce a high quality, purified cannabis oil which we re-formulate with the naturally occurring cannabis terpenes from our 7ACRES’ High-End CannabisTM. The result is a unique, plant-based cannabis oil that carries the award-winning qualities of our flower into an oil product for consumers looking for a premium cannabis oil experience.”