Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Best Drug Documentaries On Netflix Right Now

Few business ventures are refused a bank account, see their founders blocked from travelling to the US and are served a cease and desist notice. But then laddish entrepreneurs Thomas Rowland and Tony Calamita are not dealing with any old product, but cannabis.

Specifically, they’re selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive part of the plant which in most forms is legal. Under their own brand, Love Hemp, CBD Oils has branded itself the “home of hemp”, selling everything from body salves to gummy bears infused with the distinctive taste online.

Last month the duo got the first cannabis-infused mineral water into a mainstream retailer, Ocado. At £1.29 a bottle, they’re attempting to take on Evian et al. Revenues are forecast to hit a healthy £6 million next year as the “green rush” for cannabis-based products worldwide takes hold.

 “Cannabis is such an incredible product which is going to be making waves over the next five to 10 years and to be part of that movement is big for us. It changes people’s lives,” says the shaven-headed Calamita.

Who are their customers — maturing stoners? “Not at all,” Calamita bats away. “It’s health-conscious individuals.”

In fact, alongside Goop-types, sports people (particularly NFL footballers and Ultimate Fighting Championship stars) and body builders are embracing CBD products. “Those kinds of people have a lot of influence on social media and they are willing to try new products. They also notice the difference CBD makes on their body,” says Calamita. They’ve even started sponsoring some UFC fighters.

The venture is run from the corner of a bland trading estate in deepest Croydon. Tech City, it ain’t. But there’s plenty of bustle on entering the office, where schoolmates Rowland and Calamita share a corner desk.

The business was formed in tragic circumstances. When Rowland’s father was suffering from bladder cancer in 2014, he began researching cures and stumbled across CBD.

Their global plans and buy it, sell it past give a sense of their Del Boy-like confidence. Most bosses would bristle at the comparison with Derek Trotter, but Rowland smiles: “I’m a bit of a Del Boy, yeah I’ve done loads of things.”

On his CV is cab driving, running a family gym, selling beads and costume jewellery and an eBay electronics business, which was his first venture with Calamita. “We were selling tablets. They were breaking and being returned. It didn’t go too well,” says Rowland.

Calamita fared better. He sold his business as a broker selling peptides (used in drug and protein products) to university and research institutes, four years ago.

Rowland says their ascent in a controversial market has been “very smooth, for what it is”. But the red tape has proved a headache. They can’t extol the health benefits suggested in medical research on the packaging, and cannot have customer reviews on their site.

They even received a bombshell letter in October 2016 from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency suggesting they would reclassify their products as a medicine. The pair threatened legal action through the trade association they had founded. “If they made it completely medicinal we wouldn’t be able to sell it. But they can never blanket ban it unless a substance is dangerous to public health,” says Rowland.

For now, their focus is on building up their water and vaping products, grabbing market share as the green rush takes hold.

Rowland Sr sadly lost his cancer battle: “He passed away on fireworks night, leaving with a bit of a bang. Out of something bad has come something good,” says his son.

Having seen the products’ popularity online, the pair spent £2500 of savings on stock, and £500 on SEO, selling out within a month on a 50% profit margin. They have simply reinvested their profits since.

The business began as a distributor for a Danish supplier before switching to their own brand, sourcing from the Czech Republic. “We contacted 30 suppliers. Back then the majority of the products were cowboys and even the testing facilities weren’t up to scratch because CBD was very difficult to test for,” says Calamita.

He was denied US access when trying to visit their current Colorado supplier, which extracts the CBD through a process similar to creating decaffeinated coffee. He hopes to return, as they lay the groundwork to launch in the US, this year.

To read more visit: https://www.standard.co.uk/business/entrepreneurs-how-london-s-healthy-eaters-are-helping-cannabis-venture-love-hemp-a3820781.html

The Best Drug Documentaries On Netflix Right Now

Everything you need to know about drugs, in one place.

Drugs, drugs, drugs. Across the world, drugs support entire economies, such as Big Pharma in America or the cocaine industry in several South American countries. Some drugs have less negative effects than others. For instance, everyone knows that it’s impossible to overdose on marijuana. Researchers found that a marijuana user would have to smoke 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC rolled in a blunt to overdose on the drug. Not even Snoop could smoke that much in a day. On the other hand, prescription drugs like OxyContin and Percocet kill thousands of people every year. What makes the drug industry run? Why are certain drugs legal while others are banned? What is the history of crack cocaine, marijuana, or heroin? All of those answers can be found in these Netflix documentaries.While documentaries like Freeway: Crack in the system, Cocaine, and Drug Lords focus on the dealers and their effect on the communities around them, other docs like Take Your Pills and Heroin(e) showcase the effects of legal drugs around the nation. If all that sounds a little too heavy for you, docs like Super High Me and DMT: The Spirit Molecule are much more lighthearted watches. Whether you’re interested in learning more about your favorite drug, interested in the history of drugs you’ve never tried, or if you’ve never taken anything other than a Tylenol in your life, these documentaries are sure to grab your interest. Here are the ten best drug related documentaries on Netflix right now.P.S. We hope you enjoyed your 4/20.


1. Drug Lords

Pablo Escobar, Frank Lucas, and the Pettingill Clan are all featured in this docu-series that shows the inner workings of the biggest drug lords in history. This series goes in-depth and interviews the people closest to the drug lords, and there’s even an interview with Frank Lucas himself.

2. Dope

This docu-series gives viewers a look at the war on drugs from the perspectives of users, police, and drug dealers. The different perspectives give this series an intriguing standpoint, and it feels like more of a movie than a documentary.

3. Heroin(e)

Huntington, West Virginia is facing one of the worst opioid epidemics in U.S. history. The overdose rate in the town is about 10 times the average of the rest of the country. This documentary was nominated for an Academy Award, and it’s easy to see why. First responders are real heroes.

4. Freeway: Crack In The System

Have you ever wondered about the story of FreewayRick Ross? There’s a reason why the head of Maybach Music Group decided to use the legendary kingpin’s name as his moniker. This documentary focuses on dirty cops, a broken legal system, and the proliferation of crack cocaine.

5. Cocaine

Split into three parts, Cocaine takes an in-depth look at the cocaine trade in South America. Peru, Brazil, and of course, Colombia are put under the microscope. From the farmers to the drug lords, this documentary series shows how one of the most popular drugs on the planet is affecting the economies of these countries.

6. Take Your Pills

When people speak about drugs, they usually don’t think about Adderall or Ritalin. Big Pharma would probably prefer nobody watches this documentary, which focuses on people who use prescription drugs to help focus or become better in some way. Take Your Pills shows that perception pills are just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than illegal drugs that you would never give a child.

7. The Legend Of 420

Most documentaries about drugs are very somber, but The Legend of 420 is comedic and enlightening. With Marijuana slowly becoming more acceptable across the nation (legally), it only makes sense to follow the source of the “green rush.” The history of marijuana, how it became illegal, and how far we’ve come since then, are fully explored in this documentary.

8. DMT: The Spirit Molecule

DMT (dimethyltryptamine) is the most intense psychedelic drug on the planet. It is produced naturally by the human brain and is found in most plant life. Dr. Rick Strassman’s research of the drug is put on full display in the documentary, which stars everyone’s favorite drug advocate, Joe Rogan.

9. Prescription Thugs

This is another documentary that Big Pharma may want you to stay away from. The statistics of overdoses, the effects of addiction, and the billions of dollars pharmaceutical companies make off the pain of other people are all fully explored in Prescription Thugs. If you thought cocaine dealers were bad, you have no idea.

10. Super High Me

This popular documentary put a spin on Super Size Me, which found one man showing the effects of eating only McDonald’s for 30 days straight. As you can imagine, smoking weed for 30 days straight had little to no negative effects on this documentary’s main character. In fact, he has several hilarious positive effects, such as a higher sperm count. Who knew.

To read more visit: https://www.hotnewhiphop.com/the-best-drug-documentaries-on-netflix-right-now-news.48393.html

Canada’s Marijuana Oversupply Concerns Just Got Worse

Capacity expansion is in overdrive, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

These are exciting times for marijuana stock investors. For the first time in history, a developed country stands on the verge of legalizing recreational marijuana. By this coming summer, in either August or September, it appears likely that adults aged 18 and over in Canada will be able to legally purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries. In doing so, Canada will be opening the door to an additional $5 billion in annual sales, if not more.

The table is clearly set for Canada to succeed. Medical marijuana has been legal in our neighbor to the north since 2001, with Health Canada overseeing the licensing process ever since. In addition to already having key infrastructure in place, the federal government has worked out a two-year tax-sharing agreement with all but one province, paving the way for an orderly launch of recreational weed sales within the next couple of months.

Oversupply concerns are actually getting worse

But while these are exciting times for green-rush investors, they’re also somewhat worrisome. In the wake of an expected recreational legalization, pot stock valuations have headed into the stratosphere. While this has made money for investors, and allowed cannabis companies to raise capital via bought-deal offerings, it’s also led to the growing possibility of a supply glut.

You see, no one has any real clue what demand might look like once Canada gives the green light on adult-use sales. Various government- and province-based reports, along with estimates from Wall Street, have estimated that annual demand could come in around 800,000 kilograms, with perhaps slow but steady growth from there. However, based on fully funded capacity from some of the largest Canadian weed growers, a domestic glut looks increasingly likely.

Just over a month ago, I contended that Canada was headed toward “an epic glut of marijuana.” Since then, those oversupply concerns have only worsened due to ongoing capacity expansion activity. Here’s a brief look at what the six largest growers could now bring to the table annually.

  • Canopy Growth Corp. (NASDAQOTH:TWMJF): 400,000 kilograms to 500,000 kilograms (my estimate)
  • Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQOTH:ACBFF): 430,000 kilograms
  • Aphria: 230,000 kilograms
  • MedReleaf (NASDAQOTH:MEDFF): 140,000 kilograms
  • OrganiGram Holdings: 113,000 kilograms
  • Hydropothecary Corp.: 108,000 kilograms

Mind you, this doesn’t include players like Cronos GroupSupreme Cannabis CompanySunniva, and Emerald Health Therapeutics (NASDAQOTH:EMHTF). The former three might produce between 30,000 and 50,000 kilograms annually, while Emerald Health has the capacity to eventually push north of 100,000 kilograms.

Dry cannabis buds being stored in glass jars.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

The supply picture grows murkier

The biggest changes are seen at the top, with Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis pushing production ever higher.

Earlier this week, Aurora Cannabis announced that it was acquiring 71 acres of land in Medicine Hat, Alberta, to build the “Aurora Sun” facility. This high-technology hybrid greenhouse should be capable of growing 150,000 kilograms of dried cannabis a year over its 1.2 million-square-foot facility. There will be 850,000 square feet devoted to flowering space, which is larger than its previous flagship project, Aurora Sky. Management anticipates the first planting will commence in the first half of 2019, with completion of the facility in the second half of next year. In short, the 240,000 to 270,000 kilograms Aurora Cannabis guided to just two months ago is now around 430,000 kilograms in fully funded capacity.

Then we have Canopy Growth Corp., which announced on April 13 that BC Tweed, its majority-owned subsidiary, had received growing licenses for two of its British Columbia greenhouses. In total, it now has 2.4 million square feet of licensed grow space, and is on its way to an estimated 5.6 million square feet of capacity. Despite being tightlipped about its annual production capacity, 400,000 to 500,000 kilograms seems reasonable based on its fully funded growing space.

There’s nearly 1.5 million kilograms of annual capacity alone between the top six growers. Once the mid-tier players are added in, along with the dozens of other licensed producers in Canada, we could see annual production hit 2 million to 2.2 million kilograms per year by 2020 or 2021. That would translate into 1.2 million to 1.4 million kilograms in annual oversupply.

The good news is that exporting this oversupply to foreign markets that’ve legalized medical cannabis could abate some or all of this purported marijuana glut. But things could still get worse.

An indoor cannabis grow facility.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

We probably haven’t seen the last wave of capacity expansion

The fact of the matter remains that a number of cannabis growers are just sitting on owned acreage and waiting to pull the trigger on further capacity expansion. Given Aurora Cannabis’ latest move to acquire 71 acres in Alberta, this could be the tipping point that pushes other large and mid-tier players to expand as well.

As an example, MedReleaf recently acquired 164 acres of land in Ontario, 69 acres of which contain the Exeter facility, which it plans to retrofit to grow cannabis. Already with 1 million square feet of capacity from Exeter, MedReleaf has suggested that the adjacent 95 acres could house a 1.5 million-square-foot facility. With “only” 140,000 kilograms in fully funded production, MedReleaf may have little choice but to push forward with this additional facility.

A similar story is seen from Emerald Health Therapeutics. It has a 50-50 strategic partnership with Village Farms International (known as Pure Sunfarms) covering a 1.1 million-square-foot facility being retrofitted for cannabis production, as well as 1 million square feet in wholly owned capacity that’ll also house its headquarters in Richmond, B.C. However, the Pure Sunfarms partnership is also sitting on 3.7 million square feet of land that could be further used for capacity expansion.

Make no mistake about it: This glut could get even worse. And if it does, cannabis prices may suffer, along with margins. This is a major worry that investors absolutely must be aware of if they’re going to put their money to work in marijuana stocks.

To read more visit: https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/04/21/canadas-marijuana-oversupply-concerns-just-got-wor.aspx

Chuck Schumer to Unveil Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana at the Federal Level

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is planning to introduce a bill on Friday that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, he said in a new interview with VICE News.

“The legislation is long overdue based on, you know, a bunch of different facts. I’ve seen too many people’s lives ruined because they had small amounts of marijuana and served time in jail much too long,” Schumer said in a video clip shared by VICE News on Thursday. “Ultimately, it’s the right thing to do. Freedom. If smoking marijuana doesn’t hurt anybody else, why shouldn’t we allow people to do it and not make it criminal?”

Matt House, Schumer’s communications director, said in a tweet that the Senator will unveil the bill on Friday — 4/20, a day that has become a celebration of marijuana. House teased the interview with a photo of Schumer signing a bong for VICE’s Shawna Thomas, who conducted the interview. The full interview aired at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

Schumer had previously been hesitant to support legalizing marijuana at the federal level. “It’s a tough issue. We talk about the comparison to alcohol — and obviously alcohol is legal, and I’m hardly a prohibitionist — but it does a lot of damage,” Schumer said in an MSNBC interview in 2014. “The view I have — and I’m a little cautious on this — is let’s see how the state experiments work.”

“I’d be a little cautious here at the federal level and see the laboratories of the states — see their outcomes before we make a decision,” Schumer added.

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and six states have followed since then. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions has begun to crack down on the marijuana industry this year, angering lawmakers and cannabis growers in states where it is legal.

 Schumer hinted Thursday that he has changed his mind on the issue, tweeting, “People can change.”

 

This 420, Expect 300% Spike in Traffic in US Cannabis Retail Stores

Experts predict that on April 20th, 2018, there will be a 300% spike in traffic in US cannabis retail stores.

This 420, expect 300% spike in traffic in US cannabis retail stores, says industry technology and consulting firm MJ Freeway. The company expects at least $80 million in sales at cannabis retail shops on April 20, 2018.

MJ Freeway released its predictions for this year’s marijuana holiday this week, based on analysis of retail sales data from thousands of cannabis businesses across the United States.

More Ganja Than Guacamole

MJ Freeway notes that the amount is more than the $54 million spent on avocados on Cinco de Mayo in 2017. And it’s just as much as football fans spent on chicken wings for the 2017 Superbowl.

The growth in traffic should help sustain a trend in sales growth, as well. April 20 sales in 2017 were 30 percent over 2016. Sales in 2016 were 15 percent higher than the year before. The $80 million in sales projected for this year would be up 48 percent over 2017.

California’s First 420 For Legal Recreational Sales

MJ Freeway attributed the projected increase to three factors. 2018 will be the first 420 with legal recreational sales in California. That will be the biggest reason behind this year’s jump, according to Jeanette Ward Horton, Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications for MJ Freeway.

But numbers in the Golden State would have been even higher with a smoother rollout of regulated sales, which began January 1 of this year.

“While California will contribute the most in sales growth for 420 2018, that growth will be hindered by the state’s slow roll of recreational cannabis licenses. If all medical California retailers were operating as recreational shops, 420 2018 would have exceeded $100 million in sales,” Horton said.

Secondly, this year will also be the first fully legal 420 in Nevada, where recreational sales began in July 2017.  420 sales are historically higher in states with recreational cannabis rather than only medical marijuana, even with a significant MMJ infrastructure.

For example, in 2016 Colorado had legal recreational pot, but California didn’t yet. When adjusted for differences in population, Colorado cannabis stores sold three times as much weed as California. In 2017 the difference was even higher. Colorado sales topped those in California by 360 percent. Oregon, which also has legal recreational cannabis, outsold Cali per capita by 125 percent last year.

Because of those trends, the switch for California and Nevada should spur a significant uptick in the numbers this year.

To read more visit: https://greenrushdaily.com/expect-spike-traffic-us-cannabis-retail-stores/

Golden State Green Rush: Cannabis’ Promise and Problems

Although medical marijuana use had been legal in California since 1996, it wasn’t until New Year’s Day that adults in this state could lawfully light up a joint for the sheer pleasure of it. Yet unlike the end of Prohibition 85 years before, the response was surprisingly subdued, and ever since then life in California seems to be business as usual. Except that it isn’t.

Everything is going to radically change, and probably sooner than later. For the legalization of pot is slowly unleashing a new gold rush — the so-called Green Rush — that, like many gold rushes before it, will likely lead to environmental dangers, racial injustices and economic disparities that we can only dimly perceive today. Will the cannabis El Dorado bring new wealth to California and its inhabitants, or will it produce an historic buzz kill?

Nearly two years ago Capital & Main presented a series of stories examining some of the possible effects of legalization, and this week, as the reefer-centric date of 4/20 approaches, veteran journalist Donnell Alexander looks at the ways some Californians are preparing for the coming wave of change. As he notes, “No state has a relationship dynamic remotely like the one between California and marijuana.” Partly that’s because annually we consume 2.5 million pounds of the drug, while producing more than 13 million pounds of it.

In a report from Oakland and copublished by Fast Company, Alexander writes of the attempts by that city to legislate “cannabis equity” in order to prevent marijuana’s perennially victimized neighborhoods of color from being completely left out of the Green Rush. The strategy is to give would-be pot entrepreneurs there a leg up on deep-pocketed competitors.

Alexander also profiles an African-American grower, Bryant Mitchell, whose journey has taken the University of Chicago MBA from being a Chevron consultant to a master grower whose Blaqstar operation in East Los Angeles has produced an artisanal strain of weed called Birthday Cake. And, in a third story, Alexander interviews an Emerald Triangle bud trimmer, a woman living on the lowest-paying and most exploited rung in the cannabis hierarchy. “Matilda” describes a world of guns, loutish bosses, outhouses and wild bears. And yet marijuana’s legalization may offer the nomadic workers employed by larger pot farms hope in the form of state-enforced workplace protections and the chance to join a union.

To read more visit: https://capitalandmain.com/green-rush-in-the-golden-state-cannabis-promises-and-problems-0418

HP is jumping into the legal marijuana industry with a technology that could change the way people buy weed — and it’s a first for Silicon Valley

  • HP will start making registers for stores where marijuana is sold. It’s the first major tech company to produce hardware for the marijuana industry.
  • The computer industry pioneer is partnering with the marijuana startup Flowhub to sell registers with marijuana-specific software preinstalled.
  • The goal of this technology is to make it easy for marijuana stores, called dispensaries, to comply with state law and federal guidelines.

Hewlett-Packard, a computer industry pioneer, is cashing in on the marijuana “green rush.”

In a first for the fledgling marijuana industry, HP will start providing registers preinstalled with software made for marijuana businesses.

The $35 billion enterprise company, which sells and installs complex tech products for other companies, is partnering with the marijuana startup Flowhub on the first-of-its-kind retail offering. HP will manufacture the hardware, while Flowhub will handle the software side and sell the machines.

These new registers are designed for marijuana dispensaries, and their software aims to help licensed business owners track sales and inventory, create reports, and comply with state regulatory agencies by sending reports to them automatically.

Times are changing

There was a time not too long ago when a person using medical marijuana could buy their legal cannabis with only cash, as federal law prohibits banks and credit unions from taking money for marijuana. Even when dispensaries started accepting debit and credit cards, some people still paid with cash or refused receipts because they didn’t want to create a paper trail.

But times are changing. Nine states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana, and more than one in five Americans now live where they can legally use the drug recreationally. Legal marijuana sales hit $9.7 billion last year, a 33% increase over 2016.

As legal marijuana becomes increasingly prevalent and the stigma against the drug decreases, tech companies have set out to solve one of the biggest problems facing the industry: compliance.

HP saw the legitimacy of the marijuana industry

In addition to making laptops and printers, HP is one of the world’s leading providers of point-of-sale systems, whose global market size reached nearly $48 billion in 2016.

The marijuana industry opens up a new revenue stream for the PC giant.

Kyle Sherman, who founded Flowhub in Denver the year after legal marijuana sales began, said HP approached his company about working together last year.

“They read about us,” Sherman told Business Insider. “Obviously, we knew about them.”

In December, Flowhub welcomed representatives from HP’s retail solutions department to Denver for a tour of some large-scale marijuana dispensaries. Sherman said that the experience showed HP employees how regulated and “really legit” the marijuana industry had become.

Earlier this year, HP started manufacturing the hardware for these point-of-sale systems. Flowhub installs its software and sells the machines to marijuana business owners. A few of HP’s systems have been in beta testing at select dispensaries since the start of the year.

Aaron Weiss, HP’s vice president and general manager for retail solutions, said in a statement: “HP is delighted to be a key part of the solution in this exciting new regulated industry.”

The machine is metal and built to last, according to Sherman. His hope is that the system could someday replace iPads and computers that some marijuana businesses use as registers.

While iPads and computers might be cheaper than some point-of-sale systems, “you’re getting a device that’s going to break after six months or a year,” Sherman said.

“These machines are doing a big job — an important job — so you want quality,” he added.

How Flowhub works

Founded in 2015, Flowhub makes software for marijuana growers and sellers that allows them to monitor marijuana from “seed to sale.” It collects and crunches data to ensure every leafy bud and marijuana product is handled in compliance with state law and federal guidelines.

In practical terms, Flowhub helps marijuana businesses show the government that products aren’t coming in from illegal cultivation sites or disappearing into the black market.

During a typical transaction at a dispensary that uses Flowhub’s software, customers order with an employee and pay using cash, credit, or debit at the register. The point-of-sale system logs the transaction and tracks what inventory comes in and leaves the store.

If there’s a discrepancy between the recorded inventory and what’s actually in the store — known as shrinkage — a business owner can search the seed-to-sale platform to figure out a product’s last known position in the supply chain and which employees handled it.

Flowhub creates a sort of audit trail for all the product managed — something a business owner can provide if authorities seek proof of compliance.

When business owners sync their registers to the cloud, the Flowhub platform sends sales reports automatically to Metrc, a database company that works with government agencies that regulate legalized marijuana.

Flowhub serves marijuana businesses in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, California, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Nevada, which all use Metrc.

Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and Washington, DC, and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states.
Skye Gould/Business Insider

Flowhub says it processes over 1 million transactions every month. With help from California’s recreational marijuana market, Flowhub projects that its revenue will top $5 million this year.

Big tech is taking the leap into legal marijuana

HP is the first major tech company to produce hardware for the marijuana industry, and it joins another computer industry pioneer in tapping into the “green rush.”

In June 2016, Microsoft said it would start making seed-to-sale software from the marijuana startup Kind Financial available through a cloud-based software suite that it distributes to state, county, and municipal governments.

Kind’s software helps regulatory agencies keep tabs on sales and commerce and gives entrepreneurs the comfort that comes with compliance.

David Dinenberg, the founder and CEO of Kind, told Business Insider that it wasn’t easy persuading Microsoft, a 43-year-old company, to foray into marijuana.

Kind appealed to Microsoft because it doesn’t “touch the plant” or have direct ties to growing or selling marijuana, Dinenberg said. There’s less risk involved for companies that provide ancillary products and services, even when the customer ends up using marijuana.

“At the end of the day, we are a technology company that provides services,” Dinenberg said. “We happen to cater to the marijuana industry, but we don’t grow marijuana.”

The same thinking applies to HP’s deal with Flowhub. Though the hulking enterprise company is getting involved with the marijuana industry in a tangential way, it still marks a major milestone for the technology and marijuana industries.

Green is the new gold

One of the last provinces to stake a claim, Nova Scotia is racing to get in on the legal weed green rush.

What would you do-o-o for a Klondike Bar?” sings the commercial, a nod to the epic discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1896. In the ensuing gold rush, after news of the Klondike’s riches reached the outside world, tens of thousands of would-be gold-diggers giddy’d up and headed for Canada’s north.

News of Justin Trudeau’s election win in 2015 on the back of his campaign promise for recreational cannabis legalization inspired the same starry-eyed fever in Canadian entrepreneurs. For those swapping traversing vast planes on horseback for navigating rigid government regulations, one thing is sure: Green is certainly the new gold.

As Canada flings itself towards cannabis legalization later this year, Nova Scotia growers and producers—late bloomers they may be—are trying their best to bulldoze through the bureaucracy. Thirty Nova Scotia companies have spent some part of the last five years in licensing limbo. With 2,000-page applications, a federal regulator wielding god-like power, the looming presence of money—lots and lots of money—and no map to guide them, it’s a miracle half are still standing.

Back in 2001, the year Canada legalized medical cannabis, Andrew Robinson enrolled in one of the first cannabis agriculture programs in the country at Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus in Truro. He thought he was too late, that the federal government would permit recreational pot hot on the heels of allowing medical, and commercialization would take off before he graduated.

Luckily for Robinson, now president and master grower of Robinson’s Cannabis in Kentville, rec legalization is taking its sweet time. Canada didn’t have any medical cannabis licensed producers (LPs) until 2013; Nova Scotia’s first license wasn’t issued until November of 2017; and with the original goal of July 1 becoming politically unfeasible, there’s still no official date for national recreational legalization.

According to Health Canada, as of April 5, Nova Scotia has three LPs—a measly three percent of the national total. (Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, are Canada’s only jurisdictions with none.) Robinson’s Cannabis is one of Nova Scotia’s 13 would-be producers stuck in licensing limbo, and a similar number of NS applications have been rejected.

The province’s slow start is surprising if you consider the fact that Nova Scotia has the nation’s highest per capita consumption of cannabis, according to StatsCan. It’s less surprising if you consider that fro-yo took off in Nova Scotia about five years after every other province in the country, and there’s still no Uber.

Each dot represents a company receiving a weed cultivation license from Health Canada.

  • Each dot represents a company receiving a weed cultivation license from Health Canada.

In Canada’s easygoing Ocean Playground, the government is often hesitant to dive into new things. Myrna Gillis, CEO of Aqualitas, Nova Scotia’s third LP, says the province’s attitude is similar to the way she likes to introduce new cannabis consumers to the product: “Low and slow to start, and it will evolve.”

“The way I look at it is that this is incremental,” Gillis says. “The desire is to take a slow and cautious beginning, and that’s fine.”

But just across the border, Nova Scotia’s provincial frenemy is moving quickly. New Brunswick has planned a fund to support cannabis research and the development, is getting into the recreational pot retail market with 20 “stand-alone” shops separate from existing liquor stores and, in 2016, invested $4 million in Zenabis’ weed growing facility, which received its license last year.
To Andrew Robinson, these initiatives are “fantastic,” and leave him all the more “puzzled” by the Nova Scotia government’s hesitation to join the green rush. “I really don’t understand why they are so in the dark, so behind the times,” he says. “They are just so stubborn.”
It’s hard to know what the market for weed will look like on legalization day, whenever it arrives. (The most-repeated refrain coming out of Ottawa has changed from “by July” to “before October.”) But Robinson thinks Nova Scotia, with only nine retail stores planned so far, has vastly underestimated demand.“In the United States after legalization there were lineups down the road—and they had stores on every block,” he says.

The provincial government hopes that online sales—akin to the way patients buy cannabis in the tightly regulated medical cannabis market—will make up for any lack of stores, while it waits for the smoke to clear before making further infrastructure plans.

Meanwhile, the small team of Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation staff assigned to the cannabis file appears to be doing the best they can with what they have to get ready for legalization. In January, they reached out to growers in the province and across Canada, and have 35 producers—licensed or in processing—interested in selling pot in Nova Scotia.

“We are enjoying a very collaborative relationship with licensed producers,” says the NSLC’s Beverly Ware, “highlighted by open and transparent dialogue on both sides.”

With only three LPs, all of whom are still waiting for their retail license, there’s not going to be much—if any—local bud on NSLC shelves, though Bill Stanford of Breathing Green Solutions, the first producer in the province to get its production license, is confident his company will be ready. “We’ll beat the recreational date,” he says. “I’m not worried about that.”

THE PROCESS

The blind lead the blind

As the Cannabis Act, Bill C-45, makes its way through the gauntlet of politicians debating and deciding and then deciding differently, Health Canada has emerged as the department responsible for pot production. The department’s almighty power has given plenty of producers reason to worry, but not enough to stop the willing from giving it their best shot.

Of the 1,861 applications for a cannabis production license Health Canada had received by February 1, half of the best-shots weren’t enough to make it past the first checkpoint. Of those that made it into the queue, 38 percent were subsequently either refused or withdrawn.

In a nationwide experiment of the blind leading the blind, growers are surrendering the power, holding on tight and hoping to make it through to the other side. Crossing their fingers, hoping to find the gold of pot at the end of the rainbow.

“Unlike many other businesses where you control your own destiny in terms of how quickly you can get things done,” says Breathing Green’s Stanford, “you don’t control your own destiny in this case.”

As the pressure mounts to get ready for recreational legalization this summer, Health Canada has been—as you do when you’ve never

And once a company receives a cultivation license to grow pot, selling it to consumers requires another license.

  • And once a company receives a cultivation license to grow pot, selling it to consumers requires another license.

done something before and there’s great urgency to perform—winging it.

Producers are trying their best to keep on top of the fast-developing rules and regulations, and the regulator keeps trying to meet them in the middle. “Just when you think you’re getting everything finalized, things change and you have to keep constantly improving,” says Andrew Robinson.

Robinson’s Cannabis is just one of 476 Canadian growers wading through this licensing layaway. It’s just recently received a “confirmation of readiness notice” giving clearance and the go-ahead to build its facility. A Health Canada inspector will come do security checks, and if everything is perfect, give the cultivation license.

This is a new step, part of the fluctuating rulebook balancing due diligence and demand. “They used to not give the cultivation licence until the first inspection, but now because of so many companies and so few inspectors, they’re giving the cultivation licences in advance,” says Robinson.

The regulator’s list of requirements is incredible. The 2,000-page application tomes require details on security clearances for anyone who will be in a room alone with cannabis plants, intricate explanations about planned cultivation method and notices to local government, police and fire authorities, to name a few. And that’s just step one.

Once a producer is licensed to grow, it has to do two separate “crop runs” and have its product inspected by Health Canada before it’s granted a license to sell.

Breathing Green Solutions’ official application was submitted to Health Canada in 2015, but to save time the company gambled and built the facility before approval. The risk paid off and Stanford credits the completed high-end facility with helping Breathing Green move up in the licensing queue.

“Inside the building you see this incredibly pristine environment with more doors than you’d ever need,” says Stanford. “If you go inside the growing rooms with the lights turned on you’d think you were in a huge sun-tanning bed.” The growing rooms have 1,000 plants getting their glow on right now, and will have up to 1,500 at full capacity.

Aqualitas started the application process in March of 2015, and also “caught up very quickly,” says Myrna Gillis. Meticulous work and passion has carried her team this far. “There’s no one piece,” she says, “but the symphony of pieces that came together that made it work.”

Aqualitas had a robust team of academic experts from Dalhousie and Acadia universities working with its subsidiary Finleaf Technologies, Inc. to ensure its fascinating aquaponics technology—a growing system that teams up large koi fish with plants, so the fish and the cannabis essentially feed each other in a mutually beneficial cycle—was first class.

Like Gillis, Stanford also credits Breathing Green’s star-studded team with helping navigate the process. That team includes a former RCMP SWAT team leader heading security, an ex-Health Canada quality assurance person, a PhD as the chief science officer, a pharmacist and an experienced family doctor.

Both Breathing Green and Aqualitas are waiting on their retail license in order to sell their product. Gillis says this final step can take anywhere from six to 12 months.

THE MONEY

Giddy-Up, Cowboy

Anybody who’s in the game at this stage got there with a lot of patience, attention to detail and the final green ingredient: Money. No Nova Scotia producer has yet to earn a dime on cannabis sales—medicinal or recreational—but the promise of gold at the end of the rainbow is proving to be promise enough.

Investors hungry for a slice of the pot-pie have made for a bit of a “wonky” market says Stanford. Andrew Robinson says they call it “the pot stock munchies.” Statistics Canada estimates the Canadian cannabis market was worth $6.2 billion in 2015, when medical patients were the only legal consumers. Deloitte released a study at the end of 2017 saying the market with legal recreational users could be worth $22.6 billion. Valuations are rising as legalization nears, and companies that have yet to earn a buck can be worth a billion dollars on paper.

“It’s kind of like the Wild West,” says Stanford.

For Nova Scotia’s companies already out of the gate, they’ve even had to turn people away.

“We actually do have people just sitting on the sideline with a million dollars waiting to invest,” says Robinson.

It seems unbelievable that companies would be turning away people waving million-dollar bills, but private companies are limited in the way they can receive investment, and many of those that already met their goals are waiting out the process before taking any more cash.

Part of Nova Scotia’s slow start in the industry comes down to lack of access to capital. Private companies can raise money three ways: Investment from friends and family, investment from accredited or “angel” investors and the little-known investment by offering memorandum.

Angel investors are people with a lot of money. (They either make over $200,000 a year or have $1 million in ‘liquid assets’ that aren’t property.) Angels who have money get to give money where they know they’ll definitely make even more money.

Aqualitas is one of only two cannabis companies in Canada that raised funds through an offering memorandum. It allowed investors to come from diverse backgrounds, and avoid what Gillis calls “a perpetuation of wealth.” By allowing people to invest as little as $10,000, Gillis says the money raising is more “organic,” just like Aqualitas’ plants.

From Nova Scotia, it’s easy to look to New Brunswick’s shining example and wonder if producers, and their investors, would be better off moving out of province. Robinson says that if Nova Scotia’s government supported the cannabis industry like New Brunswick does, “it would be a game changer.”

But true to form, producers concede to Nova Scotia’s final sticking point on progress: Stubborn Nova Scotian pride.

The majority of Breathing Green Solutions’ 80 friend and family investors are Maritimers. Gillis says Aqualitas “wanted regular Nova Scotians to invest in our company if they wanted.” Asked if New Brunswick would have been a better bet, Robinson answers: “I’m from Nova Scotia, I really love it here. But I’ll tell you one thing, my investor sure thinks so.”

Beyond the immediate rush to get laws and a retail pot system in place, Gillis, Stanford and Robinson are excited for what the cannabis industry will look like in a couple years. From oils to edibles, hybrids and “craft grows,” they’re taking inspiration from the province’s booming wine, beer, cider and spirit industries. They’re confident it will be worth the wait in green, and maybe even gold.

To read more visit: https://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/green-is-the-new-gold/Content?oid=13955329

California’s Legal Weed Sales Are Lagging Behind Expectations, Analysts Say

With the Golden State’s temporary canna-business licenses set to expire at the end of the month, high taxes and limited local access have created a slow transition out of the black market.

It’s only been four months since California opened its doors to what is expected to be the world’s largest legal adult-use cannabis market, but the transition hasn’t been seamless. Despite many predicting that the state will see upwards of $4 billion in legal sales by the end of 2018, new research suggests that the start to this new, verdant era is moving slower than expected.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Colorado-based marijuana data crunchers at BDS Analytics have dug through California’s first two months of adult-use weed sales and found that business wasn’t quite as booming as industry insiders had predicted before January’s retail cannabis kick-off.

With around $339 million in total cannabis product sales in January and February combined, the Golden State is 13% behind BDS’ originally estimated $383 sales total. To understand why the marijuana market hasn’t swelled as quickly as many assumed, we have to consider a number of factors.

Beginning on New Year’s Day and continuing through April, California pot consumers have complained about the state-approved industry’s hefty state and local tax rates. Compounding those pricing issues with recent reports of a still-thriving black market, as well as huge swaths of legal weed access deserts, the semi-underwhelming start to retail sales begins making a little more sense.

“Medical marijuana killed the black market. This is bringing it back,” an anonymous customer told reporters from Marijuana Business Daily on January 1st after leaving a Bay Area dispensary with a $13 gram of hash that he said cost only $10 before recreational taxes. “I almost didn’t even buy this,” the customer said.

Those sentiments were reiterated by Kristi Knoblich, the board president of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “Sales are happening but they’re not happening in the regulated market,” Knoblich told the Sacramento Bee this week.

But before potential ganjapreneurs and legal weed investors pull their funds from California’s green rush, BDS analysts were quick to hedge their dark cloud predictions, suggesting that warm weather months and continued licensing could right the ship before the fiscal year is out.

“I’m not overly concerned at this point,” Greg Shoenfeld, vice president for operations at BDS, explained to the Bee.

And in some parts of the state, like San Diego, observers are still confident about the success of the nascent market. Plus, with only 600 or so licensed cannabis operators serving nearly 40 million California residents, it’s expected that increased access to legal weed will spread throughout the Golden State as regulators continue granting permits. Next month, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control will begin handing out permanent canna-business licenses, ending four months of limited temporary permitting.

By the end of the current fiscal year, BDS Analytics still expects California’s legal weed businesses to rake in over $1.15 billion in total sales. Not too shabby, Cali.

To read more visit: https://merryjane.com/news/california-legal-weed-sales-lagging-behind-expectations-analysts-say

High Times Acquires Green Rush for Estimated $6.9M

West L.A.-based High Times Holding Corp. – the parent company of cannabis lifestyle magazine High Times – plans to purchase digital publication Green Rush Daily Inc. of New York for a cash and stock package worth an estimated $6.9 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The deal would give High Times access to Green Rush’s readers and social media followers, according to the company.

“Green Rush Daily has built a large, loyal audience and is innovating coverage of Cannabis-related news, culture, business and much more,” Adam Levin, chief executive of High Times, said in a statement. “Adding Green Rush Daily to the High Times family strongly enhances our editorial coverage, online presence, audience type and advertiser reach. The deal will significantly benefit the advertisers and readers of both High Times and Green Rush Daily.”

High Times March 30 filing comes in advance of a public stock offering to raise between $5 and $50 million. The offering is being run under the so-called Regulation A securities rules that allow companies to offer equity to both accredited and unaccredited investors alike. The company said in an earlier SEC filing it would list the offering’s share price at $11 and plans to use at least a portion of the proceeds to pay off an $11.5 million convertible debt note from ExWorks Capital due in August.

The deal was executed under High Times’ subsidiary Trans-High Corp., which purchased a select portion of Green Rush’s holdings, according to High Times’ March 30 SEC filing.

“Trans-High acquired certain of Green Rush’s assets that consisted solely of its websites, intellectual property, advertiser agreements and future revenues from such agreements,” the filing said. “No employees or liabilities of Green Rush were acquired or assumed by Trans-High.”

While the purchased assets do not include employees, High Times said in its statement that Green Rush would continue to operate as an independent unit. Green Rush operates various websites and social media channels that draw millions of unique hits a month, according to the companies.

As part of the Green Rush deal, High Times will give Green Rush owner Scott McGovern 577,651 Class A shares – worth $6.4 million at the $11 Reg A listing price – and $500,000 in cash. High Times will also bring on McGovern as an employee, paying him a $250,000 annual salary and allocating him 289,630 in Class B non-voting stock options at an $8.11 purchase price that vest over a three-year period.

To read more visit: http://labusinessjournal.com/news/2018/apr/04/high-times-acquires-green-rush-estimated-69-millio/