NEW YORK, April 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --More and more people are advocating for cannabis around the world. In particular, the U.S. is witnessing the strongest support from its citizens and some politicians. In 2018, 62% of U.S. Americans said that cannabis should be legalized, which has doubled since the early 2000s, according to Pew Research. Prior to the 2000s, only states such as California, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington were the first to pass medicinal cannabis legislations. Now, more than half the country, including the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for medical applications. Additionally, 10 states have also legalized cannabis for recreational use. The cannabis industry has grown rapidly both in the U.S. and internationally, where medicinal cannabis has been adopted by a handful of nations such as Australia, Argentina, Colombia, France, Germany, and Italy. However, the biggest barrier hindering the growth of the industry is still the lack of large-scale clinical testing. So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't moved to approve cannabis as a registered medicine because there isn't enough clinical data. Yet, the FDA did approve a cannabis-derivative drug in 2017, Epidiolex. Overall, political movements within the cannabis industry have led to the market's explosive growth over the past several years. Continuing forward, the market is expected to witness substantial growth as legalization efforts ramp up. According to data compiled by Zion Market Research, the global legal marijuana market was valued at approximately USD 16.71 Billion in 2017. Furthermore, the market is projected to generate revenues of around USD 62.96 Billion by the end of 2024, while registering a CAGR of 21% between 2018 and 2024. AREV Brands International Ltd. (CSE: AREV), Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTC: CBWTF) (TSX-V: XLY), Vivo Cannabis Inc. (OTC: VVCIF) (TSX-V: VIVO), Liberty Health Sciences Inc (OTC: LHSIF) (CSE: LHS), Phivida Holdings Inc. (OTC: PHVAF) (CSE: VIDA)
Cannabis-based companies, medical institutes, and researchers are undergoing studies to understand the cannabis plant better. Medical studies are trying to evaluate how cannabis can be leveraged to treat conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's, epilepsy, and chronic pain. On the other hand, some researchers are looking to test active components within the cannabis plant such as terpenes and cannabinoids by using chromatographic or analytical testing. According to Zion Market Research, the global cannabis testing market was valued at USD 910 Million in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 2.01 Billion by 2024. As cannabis testing continually progresses, it is expected that more countries will legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Additionally, clinical trials and studies will allow consumers and institutions to become more knowledgeable about the plant. "One of the biggest advantages to legalize cannabis is the ability to regulate its quality. This means lab testing for pesticides, contaminants, THC levels and more," said Scott McGovern, who found Green Rush Daily and now founded Blocklr and GrowthNuts. "In most states, legal weed must be tested by a third party lab before it's sold in a dispensary. As a result, legalization has created the demand for a lab testing industry so as not to create bottlenecks and product shortages. This means that there is significant demand for lab technicians. These jobs involve working with chemicals solvents and high-tech equipment."
AREV Brands International Ltd. (CSE: AREV) is currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: AREV). Yesterday, 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."
Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTCQX: CBWTF) (TSX-V: XLY) is a vertically integrated cannabis company with diverse operations across Canada and Uruguay and a platform spanning the entire cannabis value chain. Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Robinsons Cannabis Inc., has been granted standard cultivation and processing licenses by Health Canada pursuant to the Cannabis Act and Cannabis Regulations. The licenses give Robinsons the ability to begin cultivation at its fully constructed 27,700 sq. ft. facilities in Kentville, Nova Scotia, which was purpose-built to produce high-quality cannabis. Led by experienced head grower Andrew Robinson, Robinsons is uniquely positioned to capture the attention of luxury cannabis consumers, with operations built on a devotion to uncompromising quality and a premium cannabis experience. Robinsons products have consistently ranked the highest in terms of cannabinoid content, terpene content and overall quality when independently tested against 5,000 products supplied by various growers licensed in accordance with Canadian cannabis regulations. Hugo Alves, President of Auxly said: "This is a big milestone for one of our key subsidiaries and member of the Auxly family. We know that Andrew and his team are going to produce some of the best cannabis flower available in Canada and we can't wait to share it with Canadian consumers. Robinsons is all about an unwavering commitment to quality. We hope to show cannabis connoisseurs, who to date have been generally disappointed with the flower offerings in the market, that passionate artisans operating in the regulated industry can produce an incredible product that reflects their pride and craftsmanship."
Vivo Cannabis Inc. (OTCQX: VVCIF) (TSX-V: VIVO), based in Napanee, Ontario, is recognized for trusted, high-quality products and services. It holds production and sales licenses from Health Canada and operates world-class indoor cultivation facilities with proprietary plant-growing technology. VIVO Cannabis Inc. recently announced that the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Canna Farms Ltd., has received approval from Health Canada to begin cultivation in the expansion of its Yale Road facility in Hope, BC, resulting in a doubling of the Company's cultivation capacity in the province. The expansion includes production and product development space, along with automated packaging equipment expected to be incorporated into the facility and brought on-line mid 2019. Cultivation in the expanded area is expected to commence in May 2019. "Today's approval of the Hope, British Columbia expansion is in addition to the Napanee, Ontario capacity increase approved by Health Canada yesterday," said Barry Fishman, Chief Executive Officer at VIVO. "With the additional cultivation from Hope, VIVO's current annual production capacity is now more than 8,000 kilograms with a goal to reach 11,000 kilograms later in 2019."
Liberty Health Sciences Inc (OTCQX: LHSIF) (CSE: LHS) is the cannabis provider committed to providing a trusted, high-quality cannabis experience based on our genuine care for all cannabis users and a focus on operational excellence from seed to sale. Liberty Health Sciences Inc. recently announced that it will open its 13th Florida dispensary in Bonita Springs on April 5th, as the company continues to expand rapidly throughout the state. On April 1st the Company also received approval form the Florida Department of Health (DOH) for an additional use of 80,000 sq. ft. of enclosed greenhouse space at the Liberty 360 Innovation campus in Gainesville. This brings the Company to a total of 228,880 sq. ft. of cultivation space in the Gainesville area. This comes on the heels of the Company receiving approval last week to become one of the first companies to provide pre-roll and whole flower smokable products to patients as a result of Governor Ron DeSantis signing a bill (SB 182) into law revoking a ban on smokable medical marijuana. "Each day Liberty works to help our patients live the life they deserve through our commitment to provide them access to the highest quality medicinal cannabis," said Victor E. Mancebo, interim Chief Executive Officer of Liberty. "We are excited to open the doors to our patients in Bonita Springs and serve our patients in Lee County. This location will mark Liberty's first location in the Southwest region of the state. Many patients have inquired about a dispensary in this region, and this dispensary highlights Liberty's commitment in promoting the accessibility of medical cannabis to the Florida patient community."
Phivida Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: PHVAF) (CSE: VIDA) is headquartered in Vancouver, BC with operations in San Diego CA. Phivida is a premium functional food and beverage company focused on whole plant nutrition and natural ingredients that help best maintain overall health and balance in the human body. Phivida Holdings Inc. recently announced the launch of its "Oki" brand. This new line of functional beverages and supplements are infused with Active Hemp Extract and will be available to consumers in up to 2,400 natural specialty store locations within the United States, in a major distribution channel market-valued at over USD 4.1 Billion in retail sales. Oki supplements are available in tinctures or capsules that range in doses from 600-1800 total mg of Active Hemp Extract. "We created the Oki line as a powerful new offering that restores balance and focus to our everyday lives when we need it most – whether during recovery from a workout or getting ready for the day ahead," said Jim Bailey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Phivida. "Following the success of our Vida+ line of full spectrum hemp oil extracts and capsules targeting the clinical market, the Oki launch is the next milestone in our journey to bring premium products to broader consumer and retail audiences."
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