Consumers Remain Captivated by Cannabis' Therapeutic Elements – PR Newswire UK

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NEW YORK, May 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — In 2014, the United Nations World Drug report highlighted that 183 million people consumed cannabis, representing 3.8% of the world’s population. Moreover, it was also reported that 129 countries cultivated cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes. The report noted that while cannabis is one of the most widely consumed drugs, it also faces the strictest regulations. Under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. International regulatory bodies have deemed cannabis as a dangerous drug largely because of its psychoactive effects, which are derived from its THC compound. However, after extensive clinical trials, researchers have discovered that, in fact, cannabis offers consumers therapeutic benefits as well. The cannabinoids within the cannabis plant have even been linked to effectively treating medical conditions such as chronic pain, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. As a result, the Single Convention highlighted the importance of medical cannabis. On the other hand, it discredited the recreational market. Despite the regulations under the Single Convention, the recreational market still remains prosperous in the North American region. Specifically, the U.S. accounts for a majority of the global market share because a handful of states adopted favourable legislation early on. Not to be cast aside, Canada is also positioned to become a major market as its recreational market continues to mature after its country-wide legalization. According to data compiled by Ameri Research, the global legal marijuana market was valued at USD 14.3 Billion in 2016. By 2024, legal marijuana global sales are projected to reach USD 63.5 Billion while exhibiting a CAGR of 21.1% from 2017 to 2024. AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC: AREVF) (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), AgraFlora Organics International Inc. (OTC: PUFXF) (CSE: AGRA)

The future of the cannabis industry is heavily dependent on legalization efforts. Many countries have already moved to adopt medicinal cannabis legislation. Furthermore, some nations have decriminalized cannabis, allowing for personal moderate consumption. For instance, countries such as the Netherlands and Spain allow consumers to use cannabis-based products in designated public areas such as social clubs. The two nations have not federally legalized cannabis yet, but the move to decriminalize cannabis highlights the progress the industry has made. As more countries move to adopt a form of cannabis legislation, other governments are expected to be influenced as well. In particular, most countries that are legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis are moving towards adopting CBD-based products. CBD or cannabidiol is derived from the hemp plant, which falls under the cannabis family. Notably, CBD does not provide users with psychoactive effects, but still provides the same therapeutic benefits as THC. While CBD is more accessible and available, the proliferation of CBD-based products is expected to bolster the THC product market. “The industry is at about 5 percent of what it will be someday,” concurs Tyler Stratford, Director of Client Operations for cannabis consulting firm Canna Advisors. “Even if the path forward isn’t straight, we’re certainly on a path forward. The tide has changed, and there’s no turning it back now.”

AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC: AREVF) (CSE: AREV) is currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: AREV). Earlier this week, the Company announced that, “BC Bud Depot becomes Canada’s first cannabis company to receive genomically-verified certification for the identity of genetic assets, based on whole genome analysis provided by Lighthouse Genomics Inc. (“Lighthouse”), which has the industry’s most scientifically rigorous and authoritative identity certification process.

Lighthouse has issued certification documents to BC Bud Depot for the master plants of ten genomic varieties, or Genovars TM , which are unique clone lines associated with the individual plant tested in the certification process. The BC Bud Depot Genovars TM are elite lineages selected for traits desirable in master breeding stock used for producing seeds and new cannabis varieties.

The certificate of genomic identity provides the documentary basis for sales and licensing of genetic assets. Plants from downstream generations can be rapidly tested by genotyping to prove or disprove their identity as a match to the certified Genovar TM . Each certificate is digitally notarized with a link to a time-stamped record of the certificate’s digital fingerprint.

Matthew Harvey, Founder and Lead Breeder at BC Bud Depot, stated ‘This certification is a long-awaited game-changer for us as a company and for the industry as a whole. It allows BC Bud Depot to demonstrate the uniqueness and authenticity of our strains in precise and scientific terms. In the emerging global trade in cannabis Genovars TM , there is an advantage for participants to be able to have support, trust, and transparency in all transactions. Standard practice of using a strain name and chemical profile is not enough to establish identity compared to the absolute certainty of basing identity on the genetic code. These first ten certifications from Lighthouse are evidence of valuable genetic IP that we created and control.’

Mr. Harvey went on to say, ‘Each Lighthouse certificate includes a visual rendering of the certified cannabis genome, comprised of 900 bars in a radial pattern. Each bar represents a variable base pair of nucleotides in the DNA sequence, the colour indicating whether the pair is the same, entirely different, or one part different from the Purple Kush reference genome.’

‘Each plant we test yields a unique visual signature, which allows us to distinguish key data at a glance, for example, whether two tested plants belong to the same clone line,’ stated Harvey. ‘This is important in an age when genetic assets are subject to agreements between companies. Now we can verify exact genetic identity at a glance.’

Mike Withrow, CEO of AREV states ‘this initiative by BC Bud Depot to catalogue its genetic assets at a genomic level will inform the breeding of optimized new strains and will position AREV to lead in the global marketplace for cannabis genetics. AREV is proud to participate in scientific initiatives to propel the advancement of science. The cannabis genome is incredibly rich data with approximately 800 million base pairs per plant — and we’re going the extra mile to extrapolate maximum information by exploring that genetic frontier. With an expansive seed catalogue ranging from award-winners to rare landraces, AREV and BC Bud Depot are in a position to amass one of the most valuable and diverse databases of genetic information among companies in the industry today. This provides AREV through BC Bud Depot with the ability to breed a target composition for medicine and the recreational experience and to deliver a consistent product.’

About AREV Brands International Ltd: AREV Brands International Ltd. (“AREV”) produces and delivers functional compounds and ingredients from its innovative 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.”

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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 it had opened its second New York dispensary, located in the Dutchess County town of Wappingers Falls. The dispensary will operate as “Citiva Hudson Valley” under iAnthus’ “Citiva” New York dispensary brand. The 2,600 sq. ft. dispensary is located at 1147 Route 9 in Wappingers Falls, a short drive from Beacon Train Station on the Metro-North Railroad, Marist College, Vassar College, and a collection of New York historical sites. The retail location initially will offer more than 30 locally-sourced, lab-tested products, including vape cartridges, tinctures, capsules, and powders, dispensed by highly-knowledgeable patient care representatives. “The opening of our Citiva Hudson Valley dispensary is a major milestone for iAnthus, as it marks the 20th dispensary opened by the Company,” said Hadley Ford, Chief Executive Officer of iAnthus. “2019 will be full of catalysts and exciting developments for Citiva, including the much-anticipated completion of our cultivation facility in Warwick, New York, and the opening of dispensaries in Staten Island and Chemung County.”

The Alkaline Water Company Inc. (NASDAQ: WTER) (TSX-V: WTER) is a leading producer of premium bottled alkaline drinking water sold under the brand name Alkaline88®. The Alkaline Water Company Inc. recently announced that, following the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill), the Company is well-positioned to capitalize on the opportunity to be one of the first national U.S. beverage companies to bring the true water-soluble, full-spectrum features of bioactive cannabidiol (CBD) molecules from hemp plants to U.S. consumers through its A88 Infused Beverage Division, Inc. “We are very excited that Congress has passed legislation redefining hemp to include extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives, which will permanently remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA),” said Ricky Wright, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Alkaline Water Company. “This is a significant step forward for consumers who are looking to access CBD and CBD-infused products. As local and state legislatures, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), finalize their regulations for hemp, we are well-positioned to launch our great tasting Alkaline88® infused with natural hemp-extract formulations to become a dominant brand in this beverage category.”

Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. (OTCQX: EMHTF) (TSX-V: EMH) is a Canadian licensed producer of cannabis. Recently, Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. had signed a letter of intent to supply cannabis to the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC), Quebec’s sole legal distributor of recreational cannabis. Under the agreement, Emerald will supply cannabis to the SQDC from its Québec-based Saint-Eustache facility, Verdélite, as well as from its 50%-owned joint venture, Pure Sunfarms, in Delta, BC. Emerald will fulfill its first supply order in Q2 2019. Emerald is currently delivering cannabis in Ontario, British Columbia, Yukon, and Newfoundland and Labrador, and has a signed sales agreement with Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis (AGLC) and is registered by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) to supply cannabis. “Québec’s population of 8.4 million is a sizable market and we are pleased to be able to offer locally-grown, quality cannabis products to the adult-use consumers throughout the province,” said Dr. Avtar Dhillon, President and Executive Chairman of Emerald. “Verdélite is now near completion of the build-out of its 88,000 sq. ft. indoor cultivation facility and has been scaling up production in licensed areas of the operation. We expect to be in full production and to also have nationwide distribution for the recreational market in the months ahead.”

AgraFlora Organics International Inc. (OTC: PUFXF) (CSE: AGRA) is a growth-oriented and diversified company focused on the international cannabis industry. Recently, AgraFlora Organics International Inc. announced it had initiated due diligence with respect to a potential partnership with Dixie Brands Inc. (CSE: DIXI.U) (OTC: DXBRF), relating to the manufacture, sale and distribution of cannabis-infused products within legalized markets in the European Union. AgraFlora and Dixie have identified various synergies that exist across product portfolios and distribution networks and are assessing opportunities to capture market share in the EU to the mutual benefit of both companies. “Dixie has been producing award-winning cannabis-infused products for almost ten years and the Dixie brand has become a household name amongst cannabis consumers in the United States,” said Derek Ivany, President and Chief Executive Officer of AgraFlora Organics. “We are eager to explore opportunities that bring AgraFlora’s production capabilities together with this leading cannabis consumer brand to the rapidly growing European marketplace. I have a strong personal belief that the extensive product portfolio and brand recognition that Dixie has built in the U.S. will garner significant support in the EU. Chuck Smith, the President and CEO of Dixie, is a well-respected pioneer in cannabis industry and we at AgraFlora are enthusiastic about the opportunity to work alongside him and his team.”

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