NEW YORK, July 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The movement for cannabis legalization began back in the 1990s when California became the first U.S. state to legalize medical cannabis. Subsequently, several other states began to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes throughout the decade. And while the 1990s did pave the way for the birth of the legal cannabis industry, recent years have seen the market begin its growth in earnest. First, in December of 2013, former Uruguay President Jose Mujica legalized recreational cannabis. Shortly after, U.S. states Colorado and Washington legalized adult-use cannabis in 2014, becoming the first two states to allow legal adult-use. Throughout the next several years, more countries continued to adopt medicinal cannabis legislation. Meanwhile, the U.S. was seeing more states adopt recreational cannabis before, in 2018, Canada became the second nation to fully legalize cannabis. Moreover, Canada is the only G-7 nation to completely legalize cannabis, even though the remaining G-7 powers have adopted a full or partial medical cannabis legislation, save for Japan. Predominantly, the therapeutic aspects of the cannabis plant are why many nations have decided to legalize its medical use. On the other hand, some countries have moved to legalize cannabis as an economic growth driver or to suppress the damage caused by the war on drugs. For instance, Germany recently approved legislation for medical cannabis in 2017 for seriously ill patients as the German government is trying to reduce the number of patients dependent on narcotics. Meanwhile, Uruguay moved to legalize cannabis to reduce the war on drug crimes. Similarly, Mexico's President-elect party wants to legalize cannabis as well and Senator Olga Sánchez Cordero, interior Secretary selected by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said that illegal cannabis is causing violent drug wars and poverty. While each nation has their own individual reasons to adopt cannabis, they are all collectively working together towards eliminating the stereotype revolving around the plant. According to data compiled by ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics, worldwide consumer spending on legal cannabis was estimated to be approximately USD 12.2 Billion in 2018. By 2022, consumer spending is expected to reach USD 31.3 Billion while exhibiting a CAGR of 26.7% during the forecast period from 2017 to 2022. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CTST) (NYSE: TRST), The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTC: SPRWF) (TSX: FIRE), Cresco Labs Inc. (OTC: CRLBF) (CSE: CL)
Currently, the medical cannabis sector accounts for the majority of the global market share. Medical cannabis is much more readily available and accessible around different regions across the world because a handful of countries are looking to use cannabis as an alternative to traditionally prescribed drugs like opioids. However, the recreational cannabis market is thriving within the North American region, and despite not having federally legalized any form of cannabis, the U.S. is still the primary growth driver for the industry. Generally, the U.S. is seen as the largest market primarily because of its early adoption. Throughout the past two decades, the U.S. has also attracted new consumers, leading to a massive user base. Similarly, Canada is expected to witness similar consumer growth, especially after fully legalizing cannabis use. However, as the market continues to grow, consistent users will develop a tolerance while first-time users will have little-to-no tolerance. Primarily, the cognitive function is linked to the showing the highest level of tolerance. Typically, frequent users tend to go on "t-breaks" in order to lower their tolerance. T-breaks are short breaks which mainly recreational users take when they develop a high tolerance, but for medical patients suffering from chronic pain or other symptoms, t-breaks are not an option. Henceforth, cultivators have set out to develop high-quality premium cannabis to appease both spectrums of the user market. Specifically, "craft" cultivators are developing high-end and expensive strains within the marketplace. Craft cultivators are similar to craft breweries, both want to achieve the top quality product for their consumers and craft cultivators pride themselves on their strenuous and meticulous process of closely monitoring each individual plant and providing optimal nutrients in order to grow the perfect plant. "There is a coolness factor to artisan and craft style products and this trend is also picking up amongst cannabis consumers. For some, the uniqueness and exclusivity of craft cannabis are attractive. For others, the ethics and identity of a craft grower are compatible with their own and they want to be a part of that story. Yet, for others, simply supporting a local business, in the same way, they support their local farmer, is important," said Lieze Boshoff, Founder of LBC3 Marketing. "But, in the end, we like to have choices. We like variety. We like to feel connected to whatever product it is that we consume. And this, in the end, is why craft growers will continue to thrive alongside their bigger brothers."
Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC: CRFTF) (CSE: CRFT) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: CRFT). Earlier last week, 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.'
About Pasha Brands: Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Pasha is a vertically integrated, prohibition-era brand house firmly rooted in BC's craft cannabis industry, which boasts an international reputation. With proven capabilities in cannabis cultivation, genetic research and development, product processing, and retail, Pasha is uniquely positioned in the new legal cannabis market through its network of hundreds of craft cannabis suppliers under the Pasha umbrella. Pasha subsidiary, Medcann Health Products Ltd. is a Health Canada licensed cultivator and processor with a licence to sell medical cannabis products in Canada. Pasha and BC Craft are also developing a craft cannabis campus, which is dedicated to bringing craft quality into the newly legal cannabis market in Canada. BC Craft is driven to assist craft growers in obtaining security clearance and licensing to grow as micro-cultivators, specializing in education and compliance to bring growers into the regulated cannabis supply market. Pasha's common shares trade on the CSE under the symbol "CRFT". For more information, please visit www.pashabrands.com"
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Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX: ACB), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 24 countries across five continents, is one of the world's largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced its plans for the highly-anticipated expansion of the consumer cannabis market into vapes, concentrates, and edibles. The Company is also preparing to launch a national public awareness campaign this fall, educating consumers, provinces and retailers about the safe usage and consumption of these new derivative products. Through a combination of new and enhanced facilities, Aurora intends to produce new, high-quality products across the country in a variety of product categories. Aurora recently entered into a supply agreement with PAX Labs Inc., a leading consumer technology brand in cannabis. With the PAX partnership, the Company will have the market leading PAX Era device to compete in the Closed Loop category and will also launch a new range of vape products, at various price points, targeted to all major consumer markets through both 510 thread cartridges and disposable single-use units. "Aurora is the world's leading producer of high-quality cannabis and we're ready to introduce high-value product additions to this improved, federally legal market," said the Company's Chief Executive Officer Terry Booth. "From the beginning, we've invested in industry-leading production and distribution technology, and in consumer research to drive products to market that consumers will desire. These things, together with the dynamic partnerships we've entered into on the accessory and technology fronts, position us well for this new market launch in December as per Health Canada's recent regulatory amendments."
CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CTST) (NYSE: TRST) is a federally regulated licensed producer of medical and recreational cannabis in Canada, and the 2018 Canadian Cannabis Awards "Top Licensed Producer of the Year". CannTrust Holdings Inc. recently announced that it had finalized a Letter of Intent with Société québécoise du cannabis ("SQDC") to provide Quebec with high quality cannabis for the recreational market. The LOI will serve as an introduction of CannTrust's recreational brands to the Quebec market beginning with two of the Company's most established strains that will be available through SQDC later this year. "This LOI signifies the first step towards a long and impactful relationship with the SQDC and consumers in Quebec. This is an important milestone as we have secured national distribution across all ten provinces for our adult-use products," said Peter Aceto, Chief Executive Officer, CannTrust. "This will allow us to develop our brand presence in Quebec at a time when consumers are beginning to develop their preferences."
The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTCQX: SPRWF) (TSX: FIRE), is a globally diversified portfolio of distinct cannabis companies, products and brands. The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc., in partnership with Khalifa Kush Enterprises Canada ULC, recently launched KKE Oil, the first product under the KKE brand line. KKE Oil is a premium, recreational focused oil, developed for the consumer who wants the convenience, high THC potency and precise dosing offered by a cannabis oil. KKE Oils are one of the first ever recreational-focused cannabis oils available to consumers in Canada. Wiz Khalifa and the KKE team specifically selected the Supreme Cannabis' wholly-owned subsidiary, 7ACRES Sensi Star strain for the debut of the line. "We firmly believe that a high-quality input supports high-quality output and KKE Oil embodies this belief. We are excited to launch one of the first recreational focused cannabis oils in Canada with Wiz Khalifa and the KKE team. KKE Oils are easy to consume, effective and deliver the aromatic terpene profile 7ACRES' Sensi Star is known for. We can't wait to launch the full suite of KKE products, including KKE Jean Guy Oil, later this year," said John Fowler, President and Founder of Supreme Cannabis.
Cresco Labs Inc. (OTCQX: CRLBF) (CSE: CL), based in Chicago, is a leading U.S. cannabis company with experienced management, access to capital and a demonstrated growth strategy. Cresco Labs Inc. recently provided an update on its Illinois operations following Governor JB Pritzker's signing into law of the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Illinois beginning on January 1, 2020. "The legalization of adult-use cannabis and the recent expansion of the state's medical-use program are expected to dramatically increase the consumer base in Illinois and result in annual sales of $2 billion to $4 billion as the market matures," said Cresco Labs Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder Charlie Bachtell. "We are making excellent progress on our plans to serve the expanded consumer base, maintain our market leading position in Illinois, and capitalize on the significant growth opportunities available to Cresco. On January 1, 2020, we will have the ability to open five additional retail dispensaries for the sale of adult-use cannabis, bringing our total number of dispensaries in the state to 10, the maximum any one company is permitted to have. We expect to have the additional five dispensaries open by the launch of the adult use marketplace. We will also continue to operate three cultivation facilities, also the maximum that any one company is permitted to have. We are currently expanding our cultivation facility in Lincoln to 170,000 square feet, which is expected to be completed in Q4 and will provide us with a larger source for high-quality cannabis to brands serve the increase in demand expected in 2020."
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