Regulatory Changes Portend Renewed Growth for the Cannabis Market

NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Following the emergence of the legal cannabis industry, the number of users steadily began to rise. Predominantly, most consumers are medical patients using cannabis to alleviate symptoms associated with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. However, the recreational market is quickly outpacing the medical market in terms of overall revenue. Notably, U.S. states like California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington are collectively delivering billions of dollars in annual revenue. And as the legal industry continues to expand, the four states are continually witnessing their sales grow. For instance, Colorado reported marijuana sales of USD 683.52 Million in 2014, which was the first year of legal recreational sales. To put that into perspective, during just the first half of 2019, Colorado reported sales of USD 984 Million. Overall, Colorado’s 2019 cannabis sales are already on track to surpass its 2018 total revenue of USD 1.54 Billion. The increasing sales are largely attributable to decriminalization efforts as well as research debunking common misconceptions about cannabis. And while the U.S. is the largest contributor to the global cannabis market, the country still has not yet federally legalized cannabis. So far, the only two countries that have moved to legalize cannabis entirely are Canada and Uruguay. However, Uruguay’s market is significantly smaller than other regions such as Germany or the Netherlands, which have legalized cannabis solely for medical use. On the other hand, Canada’s market is positioned to become a global industry influencer as its cannabis market continues to mature. In particular, Canada’s second wave of legalization, which is expected to occur later in 2019, will legalize other types of cannabis products, including extracts, concentrates, and edibles. Overall, the second legalization is expected to draw in a large influx of new consumers as well as drive additional sales from previously existing consumers. And as a result, the global cannabis market is projected to grow from USD 10.3 Billion in 2018 to USD 39.4 Billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 30.7%, according to data compiled by MarketsandMarkets. Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF) (CSE: BLO), iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC: ITHUF) (CSE: IAN), Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTC: CBWTF) (TSX-V: XLY), MariMed Inc. (OTC: MRMD), Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (OTC: LHSIF) (CSE: LHS)

While cannabis legalization is rapidly spreading throughout the world, the plant is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance under international regulations. However, despite medical breakthroughs, there is still a large concern over the broad use of cannabis. Regulators are worried about the potential abuse of marijuana, which is a plant within the cannabis family. Regulators are more concerned with the marijuana counterpart mainly because of its main active ingredient: THC. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is typically known to cause psychoactive effects on consumers. Ultimately, regulators deemed marijuana to be unsafe and as a result, decided to list the whole cannabis plant as a controlled substance. However, with ongoing clinical trials and research, health officials have begun to realize that cannabis can be used as a potential medical treatment. Nonetheless, the concern over marijuana abuse is still a major pitfall. For instance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse highlighted that the long term effects of constant marijuana use can alter brain development and cause memory impairment and affect learning functions. Consequently, this can affect a user’s ability to perform daily functions. Notably, one of the major concerns over marijuana abuse was operating a vehicle while impaired. The National Institute on Drug Abuse highlighted that marijuana was the most common illicit drug found within the bloodstream of drivers who were involved in vehicle accidents, including fatal ones. Two European studies determined that the THC found within drivers was roughly twice as likely to be culpable for a fatal accident because of impaired judgement and slowed reaction times. And according to a 2017 survey by the Colorado Department of Transportation, it was reported that 70% of cannabis consumers drove high at least once in the past year relevant to the time the study was conducted, while 27% said they drove high almost everyday. Generally, law enforcement officers may conduct field tests such as sobriety tests or even sample tests. However, sobriety tests can be inaccurate, while sample tests may not receive results for days or even weeks. As a result, companies within the cannabis marketspace began to develop necessary technology for law enforcement agencies to use to crackdown on drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. “In legal states, you’ll see road signs that say “Drive High, Get a DUI,’ but there has not been a reliable and practical way to enforce that,” says Alexander Star, PhD, Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. “There are debates in the legal community about what levels of THC would amount to a DUI, but creating such a device is an important first step toward making sure people don’t partake and drive.”

Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF) (CSE: BLO) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: BLO). Yesterday, the Company reported that it has, “entered into an exclusive license agreement with the University of British Columbia (“UBC“) to use and commercialize certain technology for the detection of volatile organic compounds for testing (to be used for marijuana breathalyzer purposes) owned by UBC developed by Dr. Mina Hoofar and her team of researchers at the UBC Okanagan School of Engineering. The patent pending UBC technology known as a “THC Breath Analyzer” (“THCBA”) incorporates highly sensitive microfluidic sensors that can be manufactured at relatively low cost. This exclusive technology license will allow for Cannabix to offer a complementary low-cost portable breathalyzer device that would be ideally suited for workplace, parental and personal use testing. Cannabix’s advanced “FAIMS” (field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry) based marijuana breathalyzer system will be primarily focussed on roadside testing with law enforcement and toxicology lab confirmation. UBC is developing the THCBA on an accelerated pace and Cannabix anticipates that a breathalyzer device is expected to be available for expanded testing this fall/winter. Significant development work has been accomplished on the THCBA by UBC and images of the of the THCBA portable device (under development) can be viewed at (and are included in this press release).

The Company believes that the professional needs of law enforcement users (use at police stations and court acceptance) will likely differ from the needs of employers, and civilian users of such devices. Specificity of use, pricing, ruggedization, disposables and calibration requirements will all be factors in delivering multiple breathalyzer products that meet the needs of specific customers. The THCBA technology will offer a relatively low-cost alternative to the professional grade selectivity and sensitivity offered by the Cannabix FAIMS marijuana breathalyzer. Cannabix’s FAIMS device allows for mass spectrometry (MS) laboratory confirmation with its unique ability to couple directly to MS. With both devices being developed by Cannabix, the Company aims to significantly expand its potential base of customers for its products and services.

Rav Mlait, CEO of Cannabix stated, ‘We are extremely excited about this opportunity to add this complementary technology license to our product portfolio. The joint UBC-Cannabix collaboration on this low-cost marijuana breath testing technology will facilitate our strategy to better segment market opportunities with multiple devices. The marijuana breathalyzer technology universe is in its early stages, and it is strategically important for Cannabix to commercialize technologies that can bolster its ability to offer a range of products to meet the needs of different customer segments. We believe that diversifying our technology holdings will be important as regulators worldwide begin to understand the different types of cannabis breathalyzer/detection technologies that are emerging. We want to be well prepared to meet evolving evidentiary regulatory standards for drug breath testing technologies.’

Dr. Mina Hoofar stated, ‘It is always exciting to see our research, that originates on the Okanagan campus of UBC, extend to the next stage of development. We are thrilled that through this collaboration, devices will soon enter the market for self-monitoring and usage as a marijuana breathalyzer. This collaboration will bring our findings to market providing users with affordable, portable, fast and accurate devices. Collaborating with Cannabix means that we can leverage their expertise in marketing and implementation, bringing the THC Breath Analyzer one step closer to entering the market. We look forward to future collaborations with Cannabix as we continue to strive for innovation in the fields of micro-fluidics and bio-marker analysis.’

The Company also reports granting 2 million incentive stock options exercisable at $0.80 cents per share for five years to officers and directors and two years for consultants.

About Cannabix Technologies Inc: Cannabix Technologies Inc. is a leader in marijuana breathalyzer development for law enforcement and the workplace. Cannabix has established breath testing technologies in the pursuit of bringing portable tools to market to enhance detection of marijuana impaired driving offences on roads at a time when marijuana is becoming legal in many jurisdictions globally. Cannabix is working to develop drug-testing devices that will detect THC- the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes intoxication- using breath samples. In particular, Cannabix is focused on developing breath testing devices for detection of recent use of THC, in contrast to urine testing for THC metabolite that requires an invasive collection and reflects usage, days or even weeks earlier. The devices will also be useful for other practical applications such as testing employees in the workplace where impairment by THC can be hazardous and for personal use testing.”

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iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: ITHUF) (CSE: IAN) owns and operates best-in-class licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities throughout the United States, providing investors diversified exposure to the U.S. regulated cannabis industry. GrowHealthy, a Florida state-licensed operator that cultivates, manufactures and dispenses medical cannabis throughout Florida, and its parent company,  iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. will be hosting grand opening events for GrowHealthy’s new cannabis dispensaries in Daytona and Orlando, Fla. The new dispensaries offer a variety of locally sourced, lab-tested cannabis products including flower and pre-rolls, vape cartridges, topical salves, crèmes and balms, tinctures, and concentrate dispensing syringes. All GrowHealthy products are quality controlled to the highest degree and third-party lab-tested for heavy metals, solvents and microbial contaminants. “This year, Florida has taken a massive step in improving its medical marijuana law by allowing the sale of cannabis in its natural flower form and we plan to expand accordingly to supply the growing demand,” said Randy Maslow, President of iAnthus. “Though Florida’s medical cannabis market is large, it remains underserved by the limited number of dispensaries currently operating. As we continue to build out and open dispensaries around the state, we look forward to serving Florida’s 230,000 registered patients with high quality, tested, and consistently-dosed medical cannabis products, as well as education and superior patient support.”

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTCQX: CBWTF) (TSX-V: XLY) is an international cannabis company dedicated to bringing innovative, effective, and high-quality cannabis products to the medical, wellness and adult-use markets. Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. recently announced that it has entered into a hemp cultivation and purchase agreement pursuant to which the Company has agreed to act as the financial sponsor for the development of a hemp farming co-operative consisting of six individual hemp licence holders pursuant to the Cannabis Act, located in Prince Edward Island. “We are very excited to partner with experienced farmers in the province of PEI,” said Hugo Alves, President of Auxly. “I’m proud of our Dosecann team for finding this opportunity and being able to demonstrate our continued support for Atlantic Canada. This project ensures our ability to meet the growing market demand for wellness and adult-use cannabidiol (CBD)-based products, and enhances our commitment to bringing innovative, branded derivative cannabis products to Canadian consumers.”

MariMed Inc. (OTCQB: MRMD), a multi-state cannabis operator, is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of people through the use of cannabinoids and cannabis products. MariMed Inc. recently received a special permit to allow its Panacea Wellness™ dispensary in Middleborough to merchandise cannabis products under the Massachusetts adult use program. It will now proceed at the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) for adult use final approval. The dispensary has already received town approval for medical use. The state’s Cannabis Control Commission is anticipated to give the go-ahead to open Panacea Wellness under the medical use program following the inspection of the dispensary earlier this week. “This special permit brings Panacea Wellness another important step closer to participating in Massachusetts’s adult-use cannabis program,” said MariMed Chief Operating Officer, Tim Shaw, “and keeps us on track to becoming the first company to provide top-quality cannabis medicines to the residents of Middleborough and the surrounding area.

Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (OTCQX: LHSIF) (CSE: LHS) is the cannabis provider committed to providing a trusted, high quality cannabis experience based on our genuine care for all cannabis users and a focus on operational excellence from seed to sale. Liberty Health Sciences Inc. recently announced that it opened its 16th dispensary in the capital city of Tallahassee, Florida on June 19th after obtaining approval from the Florida Department of Health on June 14th, 2019. This is Liberty’s first dispensary to open in Leon County. “On behalf of the entire Liberty team, it is truly an honor and a privilege to establish a dispensary in the state’s capital,” said Victor Mancebo, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Liberty. “As we continue to expand our Florida footprint, we are proud to provide patients access to our beautiful, modern, and educationally equipped dispensaries. We are also excited to continue to witness Liberty’s growth and achievements in such a short time span, while at the same time executing on our solid growth strategy. Every day we strive to be the best at what we do and provide our patients with the best care and products on the market today.”

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