The steady decrease in alcohol consumption has led consumers to find new alternatives. And specifically, the rise of cannabis is directly correlated with declining alcohol consumption rates. Investment bank firm Cowen & Co. reported that legal adult use cannabis states witnessed binge drinking rates fall by 9% below the national average, and 11% below non-cannabis states. However, newly added states such as California and Nevada currently have higher rates of binge drinking intensity and lower levels of cannabis consumption. As a result, Cowen said it is reasonable to assume that as more states legalize adult use cannabis, the alcohol binge drinking rates will begin to falter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 17% of the U.S. population engaged in binge drinking, meaning that 1 in 6 reported doing so 4 or more times a month. In states that legalized adult use, the number of binge drinking sessions per month was 9% below the national average. In particular, many millennials have opted to consume cannabis over drinking alcohol. For instance, according to a MarketWatch article, a millennial said that she prefers to consume cannabis over alcohol because it saves her more money and doesn’t cause intoxicating effects of alcohol. According to a Yahoo News poll in 2017, it was concluded that the majority of the 55 million recreational marijuana users in the U.S. are millennials. Meanwhile, a national survey conducted by the Monitoring the Future Study uncovered that the share of college students drinking alcohol daily fell from 4.3% in 2016 to 2.2% in 2017. Furthermore, Cowen & Co. analysts project the U.S. cannabis market to reach sales of approximately USD 75 Billion by 2030. And while the U.S. accounts for a majority of the global cannabis market share, other regions are rapidly emerging and witnessing faster growth rates. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA), Organigram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX-V: OGI), The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (OTC: TGODF) (TSX: TGOD).
Canada became just the second nation ever to legalize cannabis in 2018. However, despite legalizing cannabis, the industry still faces multiple legal barriers in the country. Nonetheless, the Canadian market is positioned to become a major industry growth factor, as ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics expect the legal cannabis spending in Canada to grow at a CAGR of 44.4% throughout a forecast period until 2024. Compared to a previous report by the two research firms, the Canadian market is accelerating at a faster rate than the projected worldwide legal spending CAGR of 26.7% over a five-year frame from 2017 to 2022. Canada’s cannabis legal spending is also expected to grow at a much more rapid rate compared to other regions primarily because of its large addressable market. In comparison, Uruguay’scannabis market is relatively small, despite having legalized cannabis entirely nearly 6 years ago. In 2018, it was estimated that 147,000 Uruguayans between the ages 18 and 65 consumed cannabis, according to CBS. On the other hand, Statistics Canada estimated that approximately 5.3 million or 18% of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported using cannabis during the first quarter of legalization. However, a major drawback to a large consumer base is that it makes it challenging for cultivators and vendors to meet the demand, especially when the industry is relatively new. Generally, large-scale corporations stand out among the competition and thrive because of their efficiency. However, smaller businesses have turned to the art of cultivating “craft cannabis” in order to compete with the industy’s behemoths. Craft cannabis is known to come from an attentive procedure of tending to each individual plant to ensure premium and high-quality buds. The tedious process requires growers to constantly examine each plant to avoid molding or infestations and while the process may be laborious and tiresome, craft cultivators are able to achieve a premium end product that large-scale companies are unable to grow. “A lot of the licensed producers right now, their goal as publicly traded companies is producing the cheapest cannabis possible for the commercial market,” said Lisa Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Lifford Cannabis Solutions. “A lot of people say hand-trimmed buds is craft, so the trim is really important. If it’s dense and not fluffy, it’s great, and obviously, smell and flavour are factors. It’s like getting a bottle of wine for thousands of dollars – there will be certain products that will fetch a premium.”
Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: CRFT). Earlier last month, the Company announced the “addition of three well-respected cannabis experts to the growing Pasha family: Scientific researcher Dr. Cris Felipe Alves, second-generation cultivator and consultant Travis Lane, and lifelong cultivator Kemal Morris.
As a solution provider to the craft cannabis industry, Pasha subsidiary BC Craft Supply Co. Ltd. (“BC Craft Supply”) aims to provide cannabis farmers with the tools to transition to new regulations governing the micro-cultivation licence category. These experts will assist farmers in making that transition.
‘I’m thrilled to have these experts join our team, and, with their support, I look forward to disrupting the market with craft products that will help solve Canada’s ongoing supply chain issues,’ said Patrick Brauckmann, Executive Chairman of Pasha Brands. ‘With these additions to the Pasha family, I’m confident that enthusiasm for craft products will continue to grow.’
Dr. Cris Felipe-Alves has worked in academic and commercial settings in Australia, Asia, and North and South America, and holds a B.Sc in Biological Sciences from the University of Brasília, and a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Nagoya University. While working as a senior scientist at a global diagnostics company, he led a team of researchers from discovery to R&D and sales of molecular tools designed to detect cancers non-invasively. During this time, he became interested in the potential for cannabis as a curative agent against several types of cancer. Since then, he has worked as an extraction specialist and a Quality Assurance Manager. He will act as the Senior Quality Assurance Person at BC Craft Supply.
‘Here at Pasha, I feel at home and am proud to be part of a brand house that has a focus on craft products,’ said Dr. Felipe-Alves. ‘I look forward to helping Pasha generate safe and efficient cannabis-based products that suit the needs of both recreational and medical consumers both in Canada and around the world.’
Renowned cultivator and consultant Travis Lane has been growing cannabis for more than 20 years. An organic, living-soil-based cultivator who has advocated for the facilitation of pesticide-free, sun-grown cannabis production, Lane has been involved in the founding of numerous small cannabis businesses over the last decade, including a successful chain of storefront dispensaries, a thriving online mail order service, and was a founding partner in one of the most successful hydrocarbon extraction brands in the country. Under legalization, Lane has divested from the illicit market to focus on multiple Cannabis Act license applications, as well as his work with Groundwork Consulting, focused on government relations and licensing for cultivation and retail, and Levity Solutions, a multi-purpose cannabis consultancy focused on assisting aspiring legal cultivators. He will act as a consultant for Pasha Brands and its subsidiaries.
‘The level of talent and expertise that exists in the prohibition-era marketplace is beyond impressive,’ said Lane. ‘These long-time innovators will represent a huge market factor once licensed, and I am proud to help Pasha facilitate this next wave.’
Kemal Morris is a lifelong cultivator who has had his hands in the soil ‘since before he could walk’. He watched his parents grow their own food – and cannabis – on Saltspring Island, British Columbia. Soon after Canada launched its first medical cannabis program in 2001, he spent 14 years learning the intricacies of breeding and extract production. In addition, Morris has spent the last four years launching a prominent Canadian Licensed Producer. He is passionate about patients and has connected hundreds of struggling patients with medicine. As the Master Grower for Pasha Brands’ owned Vancouver Island Licensed Producer, MedCann, Morris will act as facility designer, cannabis expert, educator and facilitator.
‘After completing a four-year term in the regulated industry, I am excited to work with Pasha,’ said Morris. ‘I finally have the opportunity to share all that I have learned with the cannabis enthusiasts I came up with, and I’m proud to be part of a company that is breaking the big business mold – affording a rightful place to the people who risked everything to create this thriving industry.’
Strainprint™ Technologies Welcomes Organic Medical Cannabis Producer to Growing List of Subscribers
Strainprint Technologies Ltd, the leader in cannabis data and analytics is pleased to expand their nation-wide coverage with the addition of Stewart Farms.
Stewart Farms is a late-stage applicant headquartered in Alberta that is building a 100,000 sq. ft. vertical aquaponics farm in Saint Stephens, New Brunswick. They will be utilizing automation, vertical farming, and land-based aquaculture to produce medical grade organic cannabis for both recreational and medical markets in Canada. All of their products will be free of herbicides, pesticides and synthetic nutrients. At full capacity, they will reach more than 10,000 kgs per year of organically farmed cannabis and more than 200,000 kgs of organic tilapia.
Stewart Farms’ long term vision is to deliver tools and products to support future customers and patients during their health and wellness journeys. “Through our partnership with Strainprint we gain direct access to their incomparable data and analytics tools. This will aid us in educating a wider audience on the medical benefits and best practices of cannabis-based medicine,” said Tanner Stewart, Co-founder & CEO of Stewart Farms. “We know our customers are looking to consume more than dried cannabis. We know Canadians of all legal ages are trying to sort through their personal engagement with cannabis as a medicine. What we want to know, on an ongoing basis, is what is and is not working for people. Strainprint’s patient-led data services will give us the insight needed to create custom products and further understand the benefits of our existing products. Finally, our goal is to partner with companies and teams that truly have people’s best interest at heart. Caring about a patient’s success is what makes up the core of the Strainprint team. We couldn’t be happier to move forward with them at our side.”
Stewart Farms will access the Strainprint Analytics web platform, the most sophisticated cannabis analytics platform available to improve product development. Strainprint Analytics is built on top of the largest and most granular scientific data set of its kind in the world, with more than 1.3 million anonymized, patient reported medical cannabis outcomes and more than 65 million data points on strain efficacy.
“We’re thrilled to provide our real-time, crowd sourced data to an environmentally conscious company that uses innovative, cutting edge farming technology to produce top-tier medical cannabis,” said Strainprint CEO, Andrew Muroff. “Our organizations are equally committed to improving lives using cannabis therapy, and our shared core motivation is to provide guidance and support to help cannabis patients achieve their health goals.”
SOURCE Strainprint Technologies Ltd.
Field Trip Ventures Inc. Retains KCSA Strategic Communications as Public Relations Counsel
Greenery Map, the world’s first and only cannabis search engine to allow users to search for cannabis products based on their desired mood, medicinal use, and method of consumption, is now offering users – both businesses and consumers – the opportunity to register and connect to the app in an entirely mobile way. Previously, businesses were required to access GreeneryMap.com from a desktop in order to manage accounts and connect to the inventory API system, but that road block has been removed, allowing for an entirely mobile experience through the Greenery Map app.
App users turn to Greenery Map to help them decide on the strain of Cannabis and product that is right for them depending on their desired mood or medicinal effect. Following the matching, consumers are given a detailed history and description of the strain so that they can make educated purchases, cutting down on time that budtenders need to spend with patrons and speeding up the purchase process. Consumers can then see all of the ways to purchase said product, including the nearby dispensaries that have it in stock, online options, and even delivery options through the app. Greenery Map fully integrates with a dispensary’s inventory API system to update in real-time and give consumers real-time information on dispensary stock for the item they are looking for. The Greenery Map system also provides cannabis businesses in both the B2B and B2C sectors a private database to share and sell information and products. For Cannabis businesses, Greenery Map also offers the opportunity to open bank and merchant accounts through their partnership with PayHouse Consulting Group.
SOURCE Greenery Map
WeBank, IBM and Other Organizations Jointly Held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning in conjunction with IJCAI 2019
Once a concept, AI is now ushering in a key stage of application. What’s the solution to the data silos among businesses? Given the enhanced regulation on data at home and abroad, what’s the solution to data privacy and security concerns? What’s the status quo of Federated Machine Learning and how to establish an ecosystem for FML in the future?
WeBank, IBM and other organizations jointly held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning for User Privacy and Data Confidentiality (FML’19) in conjunction with the 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-19) on Aug. 12, 2019, to further discussion on these issues.
President of IJCAI, Chair of FML Steering Committee, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang delivered opening remarks at the workshop. Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google presented keynote addresses. In the panel discussion, top scholars from WeBank, Bar-Ilan University, IBM, Squirrel AI, Google, Huawei, Clustar, Sinovation Ventures and many other renowned enterprises and universities shared and discussed their findings and experience in FML as an emerging AI technology.
This workshop received 40 papers, of which 12 were presented during the workshop, 19 presented via poster. Awards include Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award, Best Presentation Award. Selected high quality papers will be invited for publication in a special issue in the IEEE Intelligent Systems journal. All these attracted numerous scholars to engage in discussions and join efforts for building the FML ecosystem.
Experts from IBM and Google Share Groundbreaking Findings with a Focus on the Theory and Application of FML
Privacy and security are becoming a key concern in our digital age. On 25th May last year, the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU, the toughest Act on data privacy protection, stressed that user data collection must be open and transparent. A series of laws and regulations from China and overseas also pose new challenges to the traditional way of handling data and model for cooperation. Seeking ways for AI to adapt to this new reality became top priority, a demand that led to this workshop on FML.
A wealth of solutions and breakthroughs were shared by Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google in their speech on FML.
Besides how FML can help tackle challenges in the business world, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad also shared the concept of Fusion AI, which means to train models on widely distributed data sets, but fuse them to produce one equivalent to what centralized training would yield. “Unlike traditional machine learning, in Fusion AI, model parameters are shared and data is not transferred, which makes Fusion AI model better than models that moving data centrally.” Given the widely distributed data, the development of Fusion AI and FML became ever important and imminent.
“FML enables machine learning engineers and data scientists to work productively with decentralized data with privacy by default,” said Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google. He also shared with us how FML works and its use cases at Google. In the case of Gboard, as on-device data is privacy sensitive or large or is more relevant than server-side proxy data, and labels can be inferred naturally via user interaction, the application of Federated RNN compared to prior n-gram model can increase the accuracy of next-word prediction by 24%, and the click rate of prediction strip by 10%.
Major Figure Panelists Discuss the Way Ahead for FML
The moderator of the panel discussion, AI Principal Scientist of WeBank Dr. Lixin Fan joined panelists including Professor Benny Pinkas from Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad of IBM Academy of Technology, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, Research Scientist of Google Dr. Jakub Konečný, Dr. Baofeng Zhang from CTO Office of CBG Software in Huawei, Executive VP of Clustar Dr. Junxue Zhang, VP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng and other experts in a host of in-depth exchanges with attendees, to shed light on the way ahead for FML.
Experts shared thoughts in the panel discussion on questions including but not limited to: How to meet the security and compliance requirements? Is there a way to extend the value of data while observing user privacy and data security? Given the classic trade-off between data regulation and development of AI, how to achieve the long-term goal of establishing a stable and win-win business ecosystem?
List of Award-Winners
Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award and Best Presentation Award selected by all attendees were announced at the closing of the workshop.
Best Theory Paper Award:
Preserving User Privacy for Machine Learning: Local Differential Privacy or Federated Machine Learning? By Huadi Zheng, Haibo Hu & Ziyang Han;
Best Application Paper Award:
FedHealth: A Federated Transfer Learning Framework for Wearable Healthcare. By Yiqiang Chen, Jindong Wang, Chaohui Yu, Wen Gao & Xin Qin;
Best Student Paper Award:
Quantifying the Performance of Federated Transfer Learning. By Qinghe Jing, Weiyan Wang, Junxue Zhang, Han Tian & Kai Chen;
Best Presentation Award:
Federated Generative Privacy. By Aleksei Triastcyn and Boi Faltings.
President of IJCAI, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, andVP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng presented the awards.
“The mission of this International Federated Machine Learning Workshop is to facilitate further understanding in the academia, business community as well as legal and regulatory institutions by promoting the establishment of FML ecosystem in the hope that more businesses will join and build a platform for students aspired to work in FML to find research teams that suit them,” said Professor Qiang Yang.
Held Aug. 10-16, 2019 in Macao, China, IJCAI-19 is one of the leading International Academic Conference on AI, attracting over 3000 AI research personnel and experts. The 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning (FML’19) was a highlight for experts joining this event. Visionaries in the academia and industrial sector expressed the willingness to be part of the effort for academic research, application of FML in the future, and the development and boom of AI ecosystem.
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