Monthly Archives: February 2018

Canadian Marijuana Company To Be Listed On The NASDAQ

The cannabis industry is set to reach yet another milestone this week. While we won’t see the passing of any new legislation or any states announcing legalization, the plant has still managed to nudge its way further into the mainstream, with one Canadian marijuana company to be listed on the NASDAQ, beginning Tuesday.

Cronos Makes History

Cronos Group Inc., a cannabis company that already trades on the Canadian Stock Exchange, is set to become the first marijuana company to appear on a major U.S. exchange. Shares will be available to trade on the NASDAQ beginning Tuesday.

Cronos founder and chief executive officer Mike Gorenstein believe this isn’t just a massive victory for his own company, but for the industry as a whole.

“It’s very significant for the company and the whole industry,” Gorenstein said in an interview with the Financial Post. “It’s a huge moment—just shows the stigma is continuing to erode on cannabis.”

In Canada, medical marijuana has been federally legal since 2001, and the country is set to legalize recreational marijuana sometime in the fall after the original July 1st deadline was pushed back by lawmakers. On the flip side, the plant remains federally illegal in the U.S., with 29 individual states allowing it for medicinal purposes, and just nine states (as well as the District of Columbia) recreationally.

Not to mention the fact that Jeff Sessions recently nixed Obama-era protections that allowed state-legal industries to create cannabis laws without government interferences. This has caused some prominent U.S. investors to think twice about investing in the Green Rush. According to Gorenstein, U.S. sanctions are what caused him to relocate his company to Canada in the first place.

However, Gorenstein expects that his company’s move to the NASDAQ could cause hesitant investors to change their tune.

“A lot of U.S. investors still are unsure about the legality: There’s not a lot of awareness about the fact that it’s federally legal in Canada versus the U.S.,” he said. “By listing on Nasdaq, it will open up the opportunities for a lot of U.S. investors that otherwise were unsure—even on the institutional level.”

Final Hit: Canadian Marijuana Company To Be Listed On The NASDAQ

Despite its current federal status in the U.S., Gorenstein hopes to eventually expand his business into the U.S. Currently, Cronos is working on building a growing facility in Israel and has received a license through a joint venture in Australia.

And while Cronos will become the first to trade on the U.S. Stock Exchange, it isn’t the first Canadian cannabis stock with U.S. ties. Back in October, Constellation Brands, which brews Corona beer, invested a whopping $191 million in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy growth.

“This move is a complete game changer, not only for Canopy but also for the entire industry,” Eight Capital analyst Daniel Pearlstein said at the time.

He certainly wasn’t wrong. After falling 7.3 percentage points over the fiscal year, Cronos shares were up as much as 11 percent following Mondays’ news. U.S. investors are clearly interested in getting in on the Green Rush from the ground floor. If more and more legal Canadian cannabis companies continue to make its way on to the U.S. exchange, it could prime marijuana investors for a big payday.

But right now, it’s up to the federal government to allow that happen.

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Not So Green: “Where There’s Smoke” Uncovers Marijuana’s Surprising Impact on the Environment

Bringing together scientists, activists, cops, and even a U.S. Congressman for an interdisciplinary anthology, the new book explores the overlooked effects that cannabis has had on America.

Presented with the option for legal marijuana, ten out of ten stoners would jump at the opportunity, no questions asked. As recent polls show, even plenty of nonsmokers would. Why? Well, weed is great, for starters. But sky-high tax revenue! Jobs! Pardons for unfairly incarcerated drug offenders! There’s plenty to love, as 61% of America now realizes, including, for the first time, a majority of Republicans.

The pros of legalization and cons of criminalization are obvious to all of us who aren’t Jeff Sessions, but by focusing on the no-shit benefits and consequences, we’re obscuring a plethora of valid concerns that accompany every multibillion-dollar industry. Whether slipping under the gaze of government and law enforcement while illegal, or going unchecked due to conflicting state and federal guidelines while legal, weed’s impact on the environment, the economy, our bodies, and growers themselves is often ignored.

A new book, Where There’s Smoke: The Environmental Science, Public Policy, and Politics of Marijuanaseeks to uncover the unintended consequences of pot cultivation, legalization, and monetization. Bringing together scientists, activists, law enforcement officials, and even a U.S. Congressman for an interdisciplinary anthology, the book explores all angles and outcomes of the legal and illegal weed industries.

Congressman Jared Huffman opens the book by revealing that illegal marijuana farming in public lands such as national parks is “the biggest environmental issue” in his district of Northern California. In the first section, we’re informed how pot prohibition exacerbates this strain on protected lands, and how threatened species are being poisoned in the process. But just when you’re siding with Huffman’s move to increase penalties for these illegal growers, next comes a chapter about the unfair burden those laws place on the undocumented immigrants conscripted by cartels to maintain grow operations. Where There’s Smoke is constantly in conversation with itself as it discusses these ever-evolving issues that don’t have a clear-cut solution and require much more attention.

Char Miller, a professor of environmental analysis at Pomona College in California, was tasked with rounding up a murderer’s row of experts for the book, as well as editing their entries. Enthusiastic and tirelessly inquisitive, Miller asked questions that few others have about the shifting impact of pot on the U.S., and found the right minds to flesh out answers. Eager to pick his brain about the past and future consequences of mass-market marijuana on the country, MERRY JANE hopped on the phone with Professor Miller to talk about Where There’s Smoke and its exhaustive approach to untapped cannabis issues.


MERRY JANE: How did you first become involved with this project and what did you hope to accomplish with it?
Char Miller: 
Where the book began and where it ended are not the same places, which is a lovely outcome. My background is in environmental history, so I work fairly closely with a number of folks who are employees of the U.S. Forest Service. I began getting these reports from friends on the ground that the impact of illegal marijuana grows on the national forest and public lands was seeming not only to escalate, but was developing these really quite serious impacts on biodiversity. It’s one thing to have illegal logging or illegal mushroom picking; it’s a whole other thing to have a billion-dollar illegal industry located on your site.

I had a column for a long time in KCET, one of the local public radio stations, and I wrote several pieces that an editor saw, and she called me up and said, ‘We need to talk about this!’ So we started to think about a book that would look at the impact of marijuana on public, private, and tribal lands. But then it morphed because I started asking people I knew and people I didn’t know — scientists, law enforcement people, activists on the ground — to write chapters for it. Their insights sort of took the book in a new direction, which was to talk about the environmental impacts to be sure, but also to talk about the political changes that were erupting in Oregon and California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and elsewhere. I went, Oh. This is a much better book.

Was it a challenge to find experts in all these fields who were willing to study the repercussions of illegal cannabis farming, or were lots of them already doing that?
They were actually already devoting part of the work to it, and that’s how I found them. Some of this is going through Google Scholar and just reading hundreds of articles and going, Oh, this is an interesting group that’s working on this; let me talk to them. I knew about the work that was taking place up in Northern California and in the Sierra, because those was my colleagues in the Forest Service. The author of the Colorado chapter had written a blog post about the election, just before the election in Colorado. So I called her up and said, ‘Loved your post, I want 5,000 words that explores the subsequent consequences.’

Involving all these people from different background led to some fun internal debate in the book. There’s this really interesting discussion by Amos Irwin about the complications of law enforcement and who was getting arrested [at illegal grow sites] and therefore paying for the cartel’s actions. It clearly isn’t the cartels; it’s usually undocumented immigrants. Then Rep. Jared Huffman, who represents the northern coast of California and introduced legislation that made illegal marijuana growing an environmental crime, wrote the introduction. And Amos goes, ‘Wait, but look who that’s punishing! The lowest of the low are getting clobbered by this, not the people who should be paying.’ I loved the fact that that tension was there [among contributors in the book], because it means that we don’t know all of the answers.

Map of illegal grow sites in California, 2004-2014

It seems like a very knowledgeable brain trust you’ve put together. I don’t know how you’d put this into action, but I think some kind of forum with all these people would be hugely beneficial and informative to a lot of people. Is there any idea on your side to further this conversation?
That’s actually a great concept. One of the places I hope this can happen, because a number of our people in the book actually teach there, is at Humboldt State University. It’s at the epicenter [of the marijuana growing industry], and it also has an institution on marijuana research. These are issues that have been addressed in a scattershot sort of way, and if you could pull people together to have a larger conversation, we might actually figure out before the next set of states legalize — and God knows, there’s going to be a lot of them — what some of the upsides and downsides are.

Just before the legalization vote in California, in November 2016, we held a very large and well-attended dialogue [at Pomona College] about the proposition, and brought in pharmacologists and political scientists. I’m pretty sure half the audience was stoned, based on their languid questions, but it was really good because you’ve gotta pull in this stuff and let people voice their concerns.

An issue that many of the authors in the book bring up is the problems that have been created by a disconnect between state and federal policy. How would you sum up those problems, which have probably been worsened by the current administration?
One of the issues that I did not anticipate was this long-standing, 18th-century tension between states’ rights and federal rights, and where those boundaries are located. Because marijuana is a Schedule I drug thanks to Richard Nixon and his administration, growers, whether legal or illegal, cannot deposit their profit in a federally insured bank. That poses all sorts of dilemmas, because there aren’t a lot of private banks in the country, although I know that California is considering creating its own state bank where those funds could go. I’m really interested in that problem, because it’s a workaround, right? If the feds say no and the state says yes, interesting! Then what happens? I think you’re going to see very powerful states like California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and even the District of Columbia, pushing back hard inside the federal courts.

I think the Obama administration’s balancing act, which is to say, ‘Let the states experiment, we won’t interfere. Let’s see where it goes and evaluate it,’ was the right call. The Trump administration clearly believes in states’ rights on questions of race, but is unwilling to recognize them in this case because of, frankly, their badly outmoded, antique version of what marijuana is and the threats that it poses. If you listen to the Attorney General, it sounds as if you’re listening to somebody who deeply inhaled on the notion of “reefer madness.” Marijuana is not heroin! I’m sorry. And yet, that’s his perception. [Jeff Sessions] hasn’t yet moved on this issue — and that’s in part because he and the president are in deep trouble — so maybe we just ride this tide out. But this is a real tangle. Marijuana demonstrates to us how unclear we are about the dividing line between state and federal rights.

Another thing is that legal marijuana is producing so many tax receipts for Oregon, Washington, California, DC, and now Massachusetts, that the surrounding states are all going, ‘Oh my God! We need to get in on this green rush.’ That makes the federal government’s attack difficult to manage, because the states are gonna say, ‘Look, this is free enterprise. It isn’t just states’ rights, it’s about commerce and our right to regulate that commerce as long as it doesn’t cross state boundaries.’ I mean, California expects to get a billion dollars from tax receipts. Jesus! No one’s gonna oppose that!


California’s legalization measure was the first to include significant allocation of funds towards environmental restoration and enforcement of environmental growing standards. Do you think that’s something that should be adopted elsewhere, or is that endemic to California because of the size of their grow operation scene?
The logic is that, of all the states, California would be the one that says, ‘We’ve got to do this because the damage is clear and the vast majority of marijuana grown in the United States is grown in California.’ That connection struck me as quite logical. But now that it’s passed in California, I would think other states are weighing the possibility of tracking the same issue. In a state like Massachusetts, they have no idea what the environmental impact will be because they’ve not had any analysis of that possibility. So why not include it?

The other thing that Prop 64 did that I really like is to put a portion of the [tax revenue from legal sales] towards research on the psychological and physiological impact of marijuana. What is it doing to us? The irony is that it’s been very tough for American researchers to find funding to do that research because it’s a Schedule I drug. You take it off of that register, and all of a sudden we have some money to do the research. That strikes me as a perfectly legitimate stipulation on the part of the state, which I also hope other states will pick up on and pursue.

The final thing I would say about Prop 64, which may not actually come true, is its protection of small growers. At the moment, that seems to not be working out very well for the small growers, whose prices apparently tumbled from $1,500 a plant to $500 a plant. That makes it very hard for small growers to gain the kind of income that they were when it was illegal. Big money is moving in fast, which is not terribly surprising. But I think, whatever the early shakeout in the industry is, there will always be a role for the small grower in exactly the same way there is in the wine industry. This is going to be a niche market, and you can sell it like you would really high-priced wines coming off of 40-acre wineries.

Photo by John Nores, courtesy of the author

Some contributors sounded pretty unconvinced that even national legalization would convince cartels to pack up and leave California, so what’s their main revenue stream, or who are they selling to now that anyone over the age of 21 can buy marijuana down the street?
That’s a great question, and we don’t have enough data yet to know. However, there was a recent story in the LA Times that Mexico is now arguing it should legalize because so much marijuana is now flowing into Mexico from the United States’s legal production. So it’s like another state looking at California, like Nevada or Utah, and going, ‘Oh hell, we don’t want California to steal our business.’ A lot is at play at the moment and we just don’t know how enmeshed the cartels are, and how difficult it will be to pry them off the landscape. I think for a period of time, as long as there’s the capacity to grow and distribute and make money, they will continue to use their illegal grows and continue to manipulate people in very dire circumstances to do their bidding. The hope is that some of that can diminish through legalization, but honestly, we don’t have enough data yet to know that’s the case.

Since you put down the pen on this book, what new developments have you seen that have the most potential impact on the environment or anything else that’s discussed in the book?
One of the unknowns is the role of investment capital that is flowing into California, that sees marijuana as just one more product to be manufactured. We’re going to see that the greenhouses in the Salinas Valley that used to grow flowers are now growing bud. That strikes me as a logical transition, economically speaking, and capital is going to have its way. People see money, and they’re going to go flocking to that money, and it’s going to be really interesting to watch that unfold.

I think the other thing that we should watch for, as this green rush sweeps across the country, is how the individual states determine what manner marijuana will be made legal, what the restrictions are, how they will deal with the federal government that’s clearly in an unhappy state at the moment. Secondly, seeing the environmental problems that illegal and legal growing have produced, what kind of stipulations will they make about how marijuana is grown? How much water do they use? Do they dewater rivers and streams? Are we going to be dealing with a whole other set of environmental damages? I hope this book points that out and people say, ‘Oh, OK, that’s something we have to think about. We have to factor that into our legalization campaigns.’ And I hope they will.

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Cannabis Industry Leaders Come Together This Spring At The Cons

Experts in the fields of cannabis, tattoos and alternative modeling will converge this spring at The Cons.

This spring, conventions for cannabis, tattoos and alternative models will converge into one venue in an event called The Cons. The event, which is the first of its kind, will take place in Miami, Florida. And this event is already garnering excitement and anticipation from all three industries.

The Cons

The Cons was co-founded by Stacey Havoc and Clinton Cox. They saw the previous success of conventions dedicated to the alternative model and tattoo industries. And they knew, instinctually, that the growing cannabis sector would fit in seamlessly.

“After four great years in Miami with Cam Con,” Cox said in a press release, “it seemed like a natural fit for today’s world, as Inked Culture, Cannabis Culture and Alternative Model Culture are overlapping.”

In addition to being dedicated to cannabis, alternative models and tattoos, The Cons will cater to people working in these industries as well as fans who want to expand their education about their interests.

“This market is starving for information,” Cox added. He says that The Cons will feature sessions aimed towards those who wish to stake their claim in these markets. Because these industries, particularly the cannabis industry, is seeing a rapid growth, events like The Cons could prove invaluable to industry hopefuls.

Havoc explains, “we are excited to show the cannabis industry how to produce a proper Miami Beach poolside B2B and B2C show.”

Final Hit: The Cons, The First Multi-Alternative Lifestyle Expo, Coming To Miami

The cannabis business has been quickly evolving from illicit deals to a multi-billion dollar industry. Thus, events like these are extremely valuable for anyone who is interested in joining the Green Rush. With the huge influx of medical research, scientific studies and spreading legalization, the cannabis space has the potential to be one of the most important industries. Not only in the United States but the world.

The Cons will be at SLS Miami Beach, starting on May 29 and ending on June 1, 2018. For more details and registration information, visit their website here.

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What Is CBD, and Why Is It in Everything Right Now?

You know it as the ingredient taking over the wellness world, but what is CBD, really, and is it right for you?

2017 was the year that weed went mainstream, and the “green rush” struck gold. But, while recreational marijuana is still technically illegal in most states, an industry has blossomed around CBD, a compound that’s found in marijuana but legal to sell (in most forms) on its own. Presented in hyper cool packaging—and bolstered by hundreds of rave reviews—CBD supplements have captured the imagination of the wellness world. But what is CBD, exactly, and what’s the most effective way to use it? Here’s what you need to know.

Okay, what’s CBD?

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid compound found in marijuana—and legal in 43 states. The cannabis plant contains at least 80 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. You’re probably already familiar with THC, the cannabinoid that prompts the psychoactive effects commonly associated with marijuana, like euphoria, relaxation, and, of course, the munchies. CBD is another cannabinoid, but, unlike THC, it’s not psychoactive. This is the source of CBD’s popularity: the ability to provide some of marijuana’s therapeutic effects without the high.

What are the benefits of CBD?

Scientific research on marijuana is still limited, and CBD is no exception. Still, dozens of studies have found evidence that CBD can treat epilepsy, act as a therapy for schizophrenia, and alleviate joint pain, among other illnesses. “Many of my pediatric epilepsy patients are getting significant seizure reduction with ingested whole plant CBD oil,” says Dr. Bonni Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein is a former Chief Resident at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; she now runs L.A. medical cannabis practice Canna Centers and acts as a medical advisor for Weedmaps.“Many adults are finding relief of pain, better mobility due to less inflammation, and less anxiety and depression.”

healthyish junadrops

Juna drops pair full-spectrum CBD extract with certified organic MCT coconut oil.

How is CBD made?

CBD can be found in cannabis sativa (weed) and industrial hemp, a legal variety of the plant grown for paper, textiles, and non-dairy milk. The ability to extract CBD from industrial hemp has made it possible to sell CBD products across state lines—not just in states with legalized marijuana. The compound is currently legal in 43 states, and it’s currently up for debate in states like Texas and Indiana.

Also, CBD’s purported effects of reducing stress and anxiety have prompted many to adopt it as a wellness supplement. “CBD is like taking a daily dose of well being. You’re going to be a little bit more calm, a little bit more centered, and you know that you’re going to be able to function,” says Jewel Zimmer, founder of boutique cannabis company Juna. “It’s like the adaptogen of all adaptogens, the superfoods of all superfoods—and we’re learning more and more every single day.”

healthyish notpot

Not Pot chocolates combine CBD-rich hemp oil with raw cacao, ashwagandha, and maple sugar.

How can you take CBD?

As people cash in on marijuana’s increasing legalization, the market is flooding with new CBD products. The options are truly dizzying, from chocolates and capsulesto vaporizers and sublingual oils, which are placed under the tongue to quickly diffuse into the bloodstream. Unsurprisingly, the dessert market has CBD cornered. There are an abundance of options, from CBD/THC blend chocolate bars to foraged Icelandic berry CBD gumdrops inspired by the music of Sigur Rós.

CBD is also becoming a popular ingredient in products like skincare and lotions, from pain-relieving CBD bath bombs to body lotions like Cannuka, which pairs CBD isolate with Manuka honey.

What you should know before buying:

Some medical experts say that CBD derived from industrial hemp (as opposed to marijuana) is less potent, but [it’s still possible to feel the effects from these products. “As a rule, I do not recommend industrial hemp as medicine,” says Dr. Goldstein. “That being said, there are some “hemp” products on the market that, when tested, show that they contain medicinal amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes, albeit with very low THC that allows for the “hemp” designation.” Really, the best course of action is to do some research. Check to make sure the company has a listed medical advisor, and don’t be afraid to ask for test results that show the cannabinoid content before purchasing a CBD product.

With so many choices, it’s important to consider a few things before purchasing a product. It is possible to feel the effects of CBD right after consumption, but most products are meant for long-term use. Weigh your options: inhaled CBD is felt quickly but fades much faster than sublingual and ingested products. If you’re looking for a daily supplement with slow-releasing effects, ingestible products with clearly marked dosages like capsules or edible oils are easy to integrate into your daily routine. And as bars across the country start serving up CBD-laced cocktails, happy hour just got a whole lot happier.

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Mile High Money: Colorado Cannabis Sales Total $1.5 Billion in 2017

Locals and tourists alike spent over a billion dollars on recreational marijuana, bringing in nearly $250 million in tax revenue to state coffers.

Since opening the first adult-use cannabis retail dispensary in 2014, Colorado has been synonymous with America’s burgeoning green rush. And in its fourth year of trailblazing, the Centennial State has only grown further, reporting a record breaking $1.51 billion in legal weed sales in 2017.

According to a report from the Colorado Department of Revenue and first reported by theDenver Post, $1.09 billion of that cash came from the adult-use recreational market, with an additional $416.52 million from medical sales. Cannabusinesses aren’t the only beneficiaries — the cumulative tax revenue from these sales totaled more than $247 million, a windfall for Colorado’s state budget. However as other states around the country continue to welcome cannabis reform and construct local weed economies of their own, Colorado’s sales growth has continued, but slowed slightly in pace.

From 2015 to 2016, Colorado’s retail weed market grew from $996 million to $1.3 billion, or nearly 24%. And while 2017’s one and a half billion dollar sales total is monumental for an industry that was illegal less than half a decade ago, it is a 14% increase from 2016, significantly smaller than previous annual turnovers.

Furthermore, a closer look at the sales numbers by Cannabist reporter Alicia Wallacefound that while pot shops in and around Denver’s urban hub sold the most weed overall, Las Animas County, a small rural community on Colorado’s southern border with New Mexico, led the state in per capita cannabis sales, with a whopping $3,100 in sales for each of the county’s 14,083 residents.

Assuming that a portion of those Las Animas sales are from New Mexico residents who don’t have a recreational cannabis program of their own, and would likely disappear as customers if the Land of Enchantment were to fully legalize cannabis itself, Colorado’s statewide incremental sales growth could slow even further as neighboring states embrace legal weed.

For now though, Centennial State cannabusinesses are still raking in cash, and customers from near and far continue to flock to Colorado to get a taste of the high life.

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Why Former Forbes Contributor Ky Trang Ho is Bullish on Canadian Cannabis

Ky Trang Ho, a former contributor for covering investing in exchange-traded funds and mutual funds, is bullish on the cannabis industry, especially the Canadian strain. Though everything seems like business as usual for U.S. cannabis companies, they live in fear of prosecution after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Jan. 4 that he’s giving federal prosecutors leeway to crack down on cannabis companies for drug trafficking in states that have legalized cannabis.

Recreational marijuana has been legalized in nine U.S. states and Washington D.C. But it’s illegal on a federal level owing to a strange discrepancy between state and federal laws. Some 12 other states are considering legalization this year. Both Republican and Democrats lambasted Sessions’ move and swore they’ll defend their state rights. But no business wants to be the one Session uses to flex his political might.

Companies are putting expansion plans on hold and moving assets, attorney Scott Martinez told Ky Trang Ho in an article she wrote for Seeking Alpha called “Why The New Marijuana ETF Should Grow Like A Weed.” Thus Sessions’ political wrangling will be bullish for Canadian cannabis companies. Canadian cannabis companies do business like any other in the country.

“They and have the freedom to grow overseas without any threat of U.S. competition,” Ky Trang Ho wrote. “Canadian marijuana businesses have legal access to crop insurance, bank loans, tax write-offs and licenses to export and expand overseas.”

U.S. marijuana players, by contrast, cannot enjoy any business benefits because cannabis is federally illegal. Canada plans to legalize recreational cannabis fully by July 2018.

Canadian Cannabis Imperialism

Canadian cannabis companies are expanding into every continent around the world except Antarctica unlike their American counterparts. U.S. cannabis companies may only grow and sell in their own states because moving the drug across state lines would be considered trafficking, Ky Trang Ho told the Debate Report.

Isodiol International (CSE: ISOL) (OTC: ISOLF) (FSE: LB6A.F) announced Monday that it had made a deal to launch its line of hemp-infused products called ISO-Sport in Europe at the Cage Warriors show in Liverpool, England on February 24, 2018. The show will broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.

Isodiol International makes a variety of sports nutrition supplements and body care products:

● IsoSport™ Pro369 Hemp Protein Powder
● IsoSport™ Hydrate Hemp Water
● IsoSport™ Drops CBD Beverage Enhancer
● IsoSport™ Guard Oral CBD Spray
● IsoSport™ Ease Pain Relief CBD Capsules
● IsoSport™ Mend Cooling CBD Pain Cream
● And Heneplex™

High Hampton (CSE: HC) is expanding into California through a handful of deals in equity, royalty, and direct property ownership with leasing agreements. The Toronto-headquartered firm provides help with branding, distribution, finance, licensing, and operations and real estate within the legal cannabis industry. High Hampton owns a 10.8-acre property and is working on getting Conditional Use Permits (CUP) for growing and manufacturing in Coachella, Calif., Technical 420 reported.

Aurora Cannabis of Edmonton is building a 1 million square foot facility with that’s slated to produce more than 120,000 kilograms annually when at full capacity in Odense, Denmark.

“Construction to be phased. Cultivation following the completion of first 200,000 square feet expected in calendar third-quarter 2018,” Aurora said in a statement releasing fiscal second-quarter 2018 results ended Dec. 31, 2017.

In Germany, Aurora is getting a cultivation license to build a facility. The tender process is expected to be done by March 2018. It has gotten all the necessary permits to import medical cannabis into Germany through Pedanios, the European Union’s largest cannabis distributor, which has supplied more than 2,200 pharmacies.

Aurora has bought a 17.62% stake in The Green Organic Dutchman (TGOD). The two companies signed a supply deal to provide Aurora up to 20% of TGOD’s production capacity at its Ancaster and Valleyfield facilities. Upon completion, they should add about 23,000 kilograms annually of organic cannabis to Aurora’s portfolio.

Aurora is making its way down under via Cann Group in which it has taken a 22.9% stake. Cann Group has received a license in Australia to import Aurora’s products once Health Canada gives Aurora an export permit.

American Companies Capitalizing on Canadian Cannabis

U.S. companies are buying stakes in Canadian cannabis companies to jump aboard Canada’s green rush.

Alliance One International (NYSE: AOI), a tobacco supplier based in Morrisville, N.C., is buying two Canadian cannabis outfits: Island Garden, a licensed producer in Prince Edward Island and Goldleaf Pharm, which is waiting for approval to grow cannabis in Ontario. Alliance One stock rallied as much as 41% following the news Friday and then another 21% Monday. Alliance One expects the two companies to oversee cannabis growing operations totaling 1 million square feet. Alliance One is a middleman that buys tobacco from farmers and resells it to major companies like Altria (NYSE: MO).

In November, Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), the king of alcoholic beverages, forked over $190 million for almost 10% of Canopy Growth (TSE: WEED). Its investment has returned 170% since November.

For the sake of full disclosure, Ky Trang Ho is very biased in favor of cannabis legalization given that she’s the chief marketing officer of Firefly 420, a cannabis startup in the Los Angeles area. The company aspires to be the Procter & Gamble of cannabis offering THC- and CBD-infused foods, medicines and body care products.

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San Francisco plans to wipe out thousands of older marijuana convictions

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s district attorney said Wednesday that city prosecutors will toss out or reduce thousands of criminal convictions for marijuana dating back decades, a move allowed under the 2016 state ballot measure legalizing recreational sales of pot.

District Attorney George Gascón said his office will dismiss nearly 3,000 misdemeanor cases and review nearly 5,000 felony cases for possible action.

Proposition 64 legalized the recreational use of marijuana. It also allowed people convicted of marijuana charges to petition courts to toss out the cases or reduce penalties.

Gascón says that process can be time-consuming and costly, so prosecutors in the district attorney’s office plan to review and wipe out eligible cases en masse. Some people with convictions may not know they are eligible, Gascón said.

“A misdemeanor or felony conviction can have significant implications for employment, housing, and other benefits,” Gascón said. He said prosecutors will review cases from 1975 through passage of Proposition 64 in November 2016.

He said 23 petitions for dismissal or reduction have been filed in San Francisco since passage of Proposition 64.

As of September, around 5,000 people had applied for a change to their records, according to state data. That’s a fraction of the people that experts estimate are eligible.

Laura Thomas, deputy state director for the pro-marijuana organization Drug Policy Alliance, estimated more than 100,000 people are eligible to have their records changed.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Oakland, introduced legislation on Jan. 9 that would require county courts to automatically expunge eligible records.

Recreational marijuana became legal in California last year, and on Jan. 1 it became legal for licensed dispensaries to sell it to non-medical patients.

The U.S. Justice Department announced earlier this year that it’s halting an Obama-era policy to take a hands-off approach toward states that have legalized marijuana. Pot is still illegal under federal law.

The federal move could lead to increased prosecutions of marijuana sellers and growers, although it’s unclear how aggressive federal attorneys will be.

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Wow! Here’s How Much Marijuana Canadians Bought in 2017

That’s a lot of zeroes.

Feb 3, 2018 at 11:41AM
There’s a really good reason the marijuana industry is called the “green rush” — growth has been veritably unstoppable. According to ArcView, a leading cannabis research company, legal cannabis sales are expected to grow by 26% a year through 2021. Should this forecast come to fruition, the North American market could be generating almost $22 billion in annual sales.Consumer opinions on pot have also been improving at a steady pace. Back in 1995, the year before California became the first state to legalize medicinal cannabis, just a quarter of the respondents in Gallup’s annual survey favored legalizing weed. By October 2017, this favorability reached an all-time high of 64%.

A tale of two North American markets

Nevertheless, there’s a big difference among the U.S. and Canadian cannabis markets in North America. The U.S. has grown into a market that genuinely doesn’t support the expansion of marijuana. It remains a Schedule I substance at the federal level, meaning it’s wholly illegal, is prone to abuse, and has no recognized medical benefits. What’s more, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently rescinded the Cole memo, which was a loose set of rules that legalized states abided by to keep the federal government off their backs. This included keeping cannabis away from adolescents, as well as keeping legal weed within a state.

By comparison, Canada has become the blueprint of success for the marijuana industry. Medicinal cannabis has been legal since 2001, and Health Canada continues to oversee the issuance of licenses for the medical industry. In fact, a handful of Canadian growers have been generating profits solely on account on medical marijuana sales thanks to growing patient demand, and strong patient enrollment.

Furthermore, Canada appears to be on the verge of legalizing recreational pot this coming summer. Conservatives, and those who oppose the expansion of legal weed, are in the minority in Canada’s parliament, and the federal government recently proposed a tax-sharing agreement from pot sales that the provinces agreed to. The green-lighting of adult-use sales could generate an additional $5 billion in annual sales once the industry is fully ramped up.

Canadians bought a lot of weed last year

But truth be told, we don’t have to wait till this summer to see just how much Canadians love their cannabis. According to recently released data from Statistics Canada, an estimated 4.9 million Canadians between the ages of 15 and 64 purchased $4.6 billion (CA$5.7 billion) worth of marijuana in 2017. This works out to about $974 per cannabis consumer. Keep in mind that this includes medical marijuana, as well as recreational cannabis, which has been given the green light in some provinces.

How does this compare to other so-called vice industries, you wonder? Data shows that the alcohol and tobacco industries in Canada generated a respective $18.1 billion and $13 billion in sales in 2016. Though cannabis still has a long way to go to catch these traditional vice industries in sales, the Canadian pot industry does have a major leg up when it comes to domestic production. The vast majority of alcohol and tobacco sold in Canada is imported. Meanwhile, practically all of the cannabis sold to Canadians is grown within the country. In fact, sales of Canadian cannabis outside the country as a percentage of total production has increased from 2% in 1961 to 20% as of 2017. Canadian growers are finding consumers, whether they be domestic or abroad.

Here’s another interesting tidbit: according to Statistics Canada, more than 90% of the $4.6 billion sales figure were for non-medical purposes! This demonstrates just how much of a monster the recreational industry could be if the federal government continues to move along measures to legalize adult-use pot.

However, it’s also worth pointing out, per the data dump by Statistics Canada, that non-medical weed prices have been in a multi-year decline. It estimates that the price per gram for non-medical purposes has fallen by an average of 1.7% annually since 1990 to around $6.09 (CA$7.50) per gram in 2017. Comparatively, the Canadian Consumer Price Index has increased by an average of 1.9% annually over that same timeframe. This would suggest that volume may be needed by growers to make up for declining prices in the future, should this trend persist.

Consolidation should work in Canadian growers’ favor

Nonetheless, these trends generally point to positives for Canadian pot stocks. It shows that consumers are demanding cannabis, and that growers have multiple channels to reach these consumers, which includes domestic sales, expanded product lines, and exports to countries that have legalized medical weed.

Unlike the pot industry in the United States, the Canadian weed industry is also highly consolidated, which is a big reason it’s so successful. Though marijuana proponents in the U.S. favor the ability of small businesses to get in on the green rush, the consolidation of the Canadian industry is responsible for keeping growing costs down, and it’ll likely stem the aforementioned decline in cannabis prices over the past 27 years.

Four growers may wind up controlling around half of Canada’s market share when all is said and done, even with Health Canada easing restrictions and shortening the process to allow more licensees to grow cannabis. For example, Canopy Growth Corp. (NASDAQOTH:TWMJF), the largest marijuana stock by market cap, is currently developing or constructing 2.4 million square feet of growing capacity in British Columbia, and has the option of leasing an additional 1.7 million square feet in B.C. It’s possible that Canopy could control 15% of the total legal weed market when fully ramped up. It has the deep pockets and production capabilities to temporarily drive margins down, if need be, in order to push smaller businesses out of the picture.

As has been the case for some time now, investors looking to get in on the green rush should overlook what had previously been touted as the world’s top marijuana market, the United States, and instead focus on Canada, the current blueprint of success for the pot industry.

Marijuana stocks are overhyped: 10 better buys for you now
When investing geniuses David and Tom Gardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

David and Tom just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now… and marijuana stocks were noticeably absent! That’s right — they think these 10 stocks are better buys.

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Will New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Include Home Grow?

The Garden State seems to be gearing up to legalize weed. But will New Jersey marijuana legalization include home grow?

Will New Jersey marijuana legalization include home grow? As of now, the new governor of the state seems to only be insistent that adults be able to consume cannabis—not grow it.

“Marijuana legalization” doesn’t guarantee fully legal marijuana. Other states allow adults to grow small amounts of cannabis at home. Will New Jersey marijuana legalization allow home grow?

It’s far from certain.

What Legalization Should Do

New Jersey will almost certainly become the second state to legalize recreational marijuana without a ballot initiative.

But right now, Gov. Phil Murphy’s promise to allow adults 21 and over to use cannabis does not guarantee “home grow.”

This is a problem that needs fixing. Enter Reed Gusciora.

The state Assembly’s deputy leader, Gusciora wants to permit adults 21 and over to grow up to six cannabis plants at home.

“Looking at the marijuana laws in place in California, Oregon, Washington and the like, I thought that homegrown should be an essential element of the New Jersey law, too,” Gusciora told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Should. Absolutely. But will home-grow be written into marijuana law in New Jersey?

The “Problem” With Home Grow

The New Jersey state Assembly and Senate are considering several legalization efforts. Gusciora, who co-authored the state’s medical-marijuana legislation, introduced his home-grow amendment to a proposal in the lower house.

Yet it’s still unclear which effort will reach Murphy’s desk. Gusciora’s bill would allow New Jersey residents to grow up to six plants. But only indoors, and only in a “controlled environment.”

Why so serious? Anyone who’s followed marijuana legalization for any length of time is familiar with the arguments legalization opponents trot out. A favorite hobbyhorse is a canard that cannabis automatically equals crime.

The notion that a few marijuana plants in someone’s backyard will cause gangsters and crooks to behave as if a supply of unguarded gold bouillon appeared in the neighborhood is false.

What’s news is Gusciora, a prosecutor, is willing to admit it. The problem is his colleagues behave as if it were true.

“They have visions of kids jumping over fences to steal Mrs. Smith’s marijuana plants,” he told the paper.

What About Hemp?

Gusciora is also pushing a bill that would legalize hemp farming.

An earlier effort to allow New Jersey residents to cultivate the non-psychoactive plant, good for fiber and fuel, died in 2012. For that, you can thank Chris Christie.

The state’s famously reactionary former governor also vowed to block a hemp bill.

For this reason, the bill died along with other efforts to expand the state’s extremely limited medical marijuana law.

By most measures, New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is terrible. Restrictions are so tough that through the end of 2016, fewer than 12,500 patients were enrolled.

Patients must also be “re-assessed” to see if they’re still sick enough to use cannabis every 90 days. And plenty of sick people who could benefit from marijuana aren’t sick enough: Jersey is only one of three states where chronic or “intractable pain” is not a qualifying condition.

In the context of an opiate crisis that kills 60,000 people a year, rules like these are criminal.

Home grow could help. So will New Jersey marijuana legalization allow home grow? Maybe not. In order for marijuana legalization to live, home grow may have to die.

Final Hit: Will New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Include Home Grow?

Christie is gone, but neither hemp farming nor home grow is a sure thing. Neither is legalization itself.

A recent poll found only 42 percent support among voters for legalization. And in preparation for legal cannabis, several townships have prepared by laying plans to ban it—even before the issue goes to a vote.

If legalization looks like it’s stalling out, home grow may be one of the first “rights” to go by the board. Stupid? Yes. But that’s how marijuana is legalized.

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