NEW YORK, April 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2017, the United Nations World Drug report highlighted that 183 million people consumed cannabis, representing 3.8% of the world's population. Furthermore, it was reported that 129 countries were cultivating cannabis. Predominantly, most countries which have adopted cannabis legislation have legalized the plant specifically for medical purposes. The recreational segment of the market still remains strictly enforced in almost every country, however. Nevertheless, the Latin American region was among the first to change the perspective of cannabis. Uruguay was the first country ever to legalize cannabis entirely, meaning users are allowed to freely consume cannabis for both medical and recreational applications. Moreover, other Latin American countries have moved to loosen regulations regarding cannabis as well. Countries such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil have all legalized medical cannabis, while some have also decriminalized cannabis, allowing for moderate personal consumption. The marketplace is now highly appealing to companies because of the number of countries that have lenient regulations regarding cannabis. Additionally, companies are drawn towards the region because of low operational expenses since producing cannabis in countries such as Brazil and Colombia is very affordable. Moreover, the region also offers exceptional climate conditions which are highly sought after for grow operations. In combination, all of these factors are further accelerating the Latin American cannabis industry by inviting new business opportunities. According to Prohibition Partners, the LATAM region is expected to deliver legal cannabis sales of approximately USD 12.7 Billion by 2028. Blueberries Medical Corp. (OTC: BBRRF) (CSE: BBM), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), PharmaCielo Ltd. (OTC: PHCEF) (TSX-V: PCLO), Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (OTC: KHRNF) (TSX-V: KHRN), Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY).
The Latin American region is still expanding as legalization efforts continue. In particular, Mexico is one of the most anticipated countries to legalize cannabis. Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, proposed a bill following his election in late 2018 which would allow Mexican citizens to grow up to 20 plants at a time for their personal consumption. Mexico is amongst the several nations around the world exploring opportunities within the cannabis market as it could potentially become one of the largest Latin American cannabis marketplaces since the region is attractive to many cannabis-based companies. Moving forward, the Latin America region could see an influx of international companies who are looking to establish operations in select countries. "Latin America has a prospective market of over 500 million adult use customers and 4.3 million patients, making it a core priority in cannabis companies' global strategy. Its low-cost agricultural exports and increasing support for the legalization of recreational cannabis means it could play a pivotal role in the international cannabis industry," said analysts at Prohibition Partners.
Blueberries Medical Corp. (OTCQB: BBRRF) (CSE: BBM) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: BBM). Yesterday, the Company announced the, "appointment of Eduardo Molinari, a former executive of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) ("Abbott") and AbbVie Ltd. (NYSE: ABBV) ("AbbVie") as Chief Marketing Officer. Mr. Molinari will lead the development and implementation of the Company's marketing strategies, directing these initiatives in the local and international markets.
Dr Patricio Stocker, Chief Executive Officer of the Company stated, 'We are proud to welcome Mr. Molinari to our management team. Eduardo is a highly successful pharmaceutical industry executive as most recently demonstrated through his development of very successful marketing strategies at Abbott and AbbVie in Latin America. This experience along with his deep relationships will be a tremendous asset for us. Blueberries will continue to add world-class senior executives to its management team in an effort to capture a leadership share of the Latin American and international medical cannabis industry.'
Mr. Molinari stated 'I am excited to join Blueberries as the company continues to execute on their unique business model. The combination of world-class management, strategic Latin American facilities and global partnerships presents a very compelling opportunity. I'm eager to leverage my experience and relationships to contribute to the company's long-term success in the international marketplace.'
Mr. Molinari has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having held executive leadership positions in countries across Latin America, most recently VP Region North – Latin America of AbbVie until December 2018. In 2012, when Abbott spun out it's pharmaceutical business to form AbbVie, Mr. Molinari left Abbott to establish AbbVie in Latin America where he played a key role in the growth of the company in the region. His business expertise is combined with deep experience in R&D both in academia at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and in the pharmaceutical industry. Mr. Molinari has shown continued growth as a leader in the industry with a commitment to bringing healthcare solutions to patients globally.
Mr. Molinari has been granted options (the "Options") to purchase up to 200,000 common shares in the capital of the Company, pursuant to the Company's stock option plan. The Options are exercisable at a price of $0.75 per share.
About Blueberries Medical Corp: Blueberries is a Latin American licensed producer of naturally grown premium quality cannabis with its primary operations ideally located in the Bogotá Savannah of central Colombia and operations currently being established in Argentina. The Company is led by a specialized team with proprietary expertise in agriculture, genetics, extraction, medicine, pharmacology and marketing, Blueberries is fully licensed for the cultivation, production, domestic distribution, and international export of CBD and THC-based medical cannabis in Colombia. Blueberries' combination of leading scientific expertise, agricultural advantages and distribution arrangements has positioned the Company to become a leading international supplier of naturally grown, processed, and standardized medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products."
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Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Abbott recently announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019. First-quarter worldwide sales of USD 7.5 Billion increased 2.0% on a reported basis and 7.1% on an organic basis. Reported diluted EPS from continuing operations under GAAP was USD 0.38 in the first quarter. Adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations, which excludes specified items, was USD 0.63, above the previous guidance range. Abbott projects full-year 2019 diluted EPS from continuing operations on a GAAP basis of USD 1.95 to USD 2.05. Projected full-year adjusted diluted EPS from continuing operations remains unchanged at USD 3.15 to USD 3.25, reflecting double-digit growth at the mid-point. "We're right on track with our expectations to start the year," said Miles D. White, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Abbott. "All of our key long-term growth drivers are performing well and we're targeting another year of strong sales and earnings growth."
PharmaCielo Ltd. (OTC: PHCEF) (TSX-V: PCLO) is a global company, headquartered in Canada, with a focus on ethical and sustainable processing and supplying of all natural, medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products to large channel distributors. PharmaCielo Ltd. recently announced its entry into the Mexican market through an equity joint venture with MINO Labs S.A. de C.V., a specialty pharmaceutical company and medical supply distributor based in Mexico, based on an agreement signed on January 25, 2019. The JV is called PharmaCielo S.A. de C.V. The announcement marks a key milestone in PharmaCielo's plan to become a leading global exporter of high-quality medicinal-grade cannabis oils and derivative products. Cannabis oil delivery under the JV to the Mexican market is expected to commence in Q4 2019, subject to the JV and PharmaCielo obtaining the requisite registrations and licences. PharmaCielo's ability to carry out the contemplated business under the JV will be subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange. "We are thrilled about the opportunity to join forces with MINO. Ultimately, our plan is to bring our high-quality cannabis oils to Mexico," says David Attard, Chief Executive Officer of PharmaCielo. "Our premium quality oils are extracted from proprietary strains of dried flower at flower cost levels below USD 0.05 per gram. This enables us to focus our efforts and financial investment on the creation of the highest-quality oil-based health and wellness products, which when combined with the expertise of Mino Labs, will enable the JV to participate in the advancement of the medicinal cannabis industry in Mexico."
Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (OTCQB: KHRNF) (TSX-V: KHRN) is positioned to be the dominant integrated cannabis company in Latin America. Khiron Life Sciences Corp. recently announced that it had entered into an agreement with the prominent Colombian research hospital, Centro Dermatológico Federico Lleras Acosta. Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Khiron and CDFLLA will establish a clinical research partnership focused on the effectiveness of medical cannabis for dermatological conditions. Cannabis clinical trials performed by Khiron and CDFLLA will be the first such studies conducted in Latin America. Khiron and CDFLLA will focus their efforts on studying and improving the methods of administering and prescribing cannabis as a potential supportive therapy for various skin conditions and symptoms. As part of the program, Khiron and CDFLLA will conduct training sessions, educational events and seminars focused on educating the medical community and patients on the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis. In addition, CDFLLA will also support Khiron in performing studies on cosmetic and cosmeceutical products manufactured and marketed by Khiron, through its subsidiary Kuida®, the first CBD consumer brand of skin and body care products launched in Latin America. Dr. Edwin Bendek, Khiron Medical Director, Skincare, comments: "Khiron is proud to work closely with the Centro Dermatológico Federico Lleras Acosta ("CDFLLA") to pioneer cannabis research in Latin America. With the launch of our Kuida brand, the first CBD-based cosmeceutical brand in Latin America, combined with our partnership with CDFLLA, we are closer to achieving our mission of bringing safe and medically-validated medical cannabis products to market."
Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is a global pioneer in the research, cultivation, production and distribution of medical cannabis and cannabinoids currently serving tens of thousands of patients in twelve countries spanning five continents. Tilray, Inc. recently announced that it had completed an acquisition of its existing import and distribution partner Alef Biotechnology SpA. The acquisition will allow Tilray to import, produce and distribute Tilray branded medical cannabis products in Chile and to create a hub to distribute Tilray products throughout Latin America. Tilray previously announced a partnership with Alef in February 2017 to import and distribute Tilray products in Chile and Brazil. Alef is currently licensed by the Chilean government to commercially produce medical cannabis and is developing a state-of-the-art facility to domestically produce and process medical cannabis products. Chilean law permits patients to access medical cannabis products under the supervision of a recommending physician. "Today's announcement marks another milestone for Tilray as we expand our global footprint and solidify our presence in Latin America by officially welcoming Alef to the Tilray team," said Brendan Kennedy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tilray. "The Chilean government has been a pioneer legitimizing and regulating medical cannabis in Latin America, and we are thrilled to be investing in one of the region's most exciting markets for biopharmaceutical development."
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