Recent Developments in the Legal Cannabis Market

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 Drug News
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NEW YORK, February 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to Arcview

Market Research, legal cannabis sales in North America totaled $6.7 billion in 2016 and are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent to an estimated $20.2
billion
by 2021. The demand of cannabis from legal markets is expected to increase as more states legalize either recreational or medical use. Consumers in North America spent over $53 billion in the legal and illegal cannabis markets combined in 2016. While only $6.7 billion came from the legal market. According to another report from Arcview Market Research, the licensed cannabis stores are as profitable as Starbucks stores and the recreational markets will double the size of the medical market by 2021. Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. (OTC: CBWTF), AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTC: AXIM), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), Cannabis Sativa, Inc. (OTC: CBDS), Vitality Biopharma, Inc. (OTC: VBIO)

A report by CNBC quotes MedMen CEO and co-founder Adam Bierman, who explains the current state of the industry, "There is so much excitement now around legalization nationally coming in Canada. There is so much excitement about the fact that California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts all legalized recreational marijuana… The Canadian public markets offer access to a lot of capital, with a lot of certainty and a lot of speed, and there is this appetite among global investors to invest in a U.S. play… Specifically, global investors want to invest in a U.S. play that has California exposure. Now is the time where it makes the most sense."

Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. (OTC: CBWTF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol 'CBW'. On February 7th the company announced that, "it has closed its previously announced transaction (the "Transaction") with Inner Spirit Holdings Ltd. ("Inner Spirit")."

Inner Spirit is the parent company of Spirit Leaf Inc., which aims to be a market leader in the franchising of retail cannabis dispensaries in jurisdictions in Canada where the private distribution of recreational cannabis is permitted. Inner Spirit has currently executed over 100 franchise agreements in Canada for proposed retail locations which strongly positions the specialty retailer and franchisor in preparation for recreational cannabis legalization in July 2018.

Under the terms of the Transaction, the Company acquired 15,000,000 common shares of Inner Spirit ("Inner Spirit Shares") and pursuant to a strategic alliance agreement, was granted the exclusive right to supply up to 50 percent of Inner Spirit's annual inventory requirements for any cannabis, cannabis-infused or cannabis-derived products to be sold at its retail dispensaries with a mutually agreeable profit-sharing arrangement relating to any such cannabis product sales. In exchange for the Inner Spirit Shares, the Company provided Inner Spirit with a closing cash payment of $350,000 and issued to Inner Spirit 674,418 common shares and 1,250,000 common share purchase warrants.  

Pursuant to the investment agreement entered into by the Company and Inner Spirit, the Company also exercised its pre-emptive right to acquire an additional 1,500,000 Inner Spirit Shares for $150,000 and as a result now holds approximately 15% of the total issued and outstanding common shares of Inner Spirit.

The Company would also like to congratulate Inner Spirit on the concurrent closing of the final tranche of its previously announced private placement for gross proceeds of approximately $4.5 million which Inner Spirit intends to use to build out its flagship corporate dispensary in Calgary, Alberta, develop its Spiritleaf brand, and support the rollout of its franchise partners once the private sale of recreational cannabis is permitted.

AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTCQB: AXIM) focuses on the research, development and production of cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic products. Recently, the company announced that it has entered into a binding distribution agreement for its proprietary cannabinoid-based nutraceutical chewing gum product CanChew+® to be distributed throughout the country of Thailand. The non-exclusive agreement, which was reached on January 24, 2018, and will remain in effect for one year, retains AXIM as the sole owner and manufacturer of the product while assigning trademark and likeness rights to the distributor specifically for the country of Thailand. The agreement sets clear financial obligations for the distributor including a minimum purchase and upfront production costs. Thailand, with an estimated population of more than 68 million, has been pushing toward access to cannabinoid-based products. As the Company continues its clinical development program on cannabinoid-based pharmaceutical treatments, it will make acceptance of the benefits of these nutraceutical products more possible.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE) is a clinical-stage specialty neuropsychiatric pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing innovative pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid treatments for rare or near-rare neuropsychiatric diseases with high unmet medical needs. On December 3, 2017, the company reported new clinical data presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy Society (AES) in Washington, DC. The key findings include that clinically meaningful responses to ZYN002, as measured by reductions in focal seizures from the baseline period of STAR 1, are correlated with continued treatment with ZYN002. Patients who received ZYN002 (195mg during STAR 1 for three months and 390mg for six months in STAR 2) for a total of nine months achieved a median reduction in seizures of 65%. Patients who received ZYN002 (390mg for three months in STAR 1 and six months in STAR 2) achieved a 48% median reduction in seizures from baseline. In addition, ZYN002 was shown to be very well tolerated through nine months of exposure. Zynerba's ZYN002 CBD gel is the first and only pharmaceutically-produced CBD formulated as a patent-protected permeation-enhanced gel and is being studied in children with Fragile X Syndrome, adult epilepsy patients with focal seizures and osteoarthritis. ZYN002 is a clear, permeation-enhanced gel that is designed to provide controlled drug delivery transdermally with once- or twice-daily dosing.

Cannabis Sativa, Inc. (OTCQB: CBDS) is engaged in the licensing of cannabis related intellectual property, marketing and branding for cannabis based products and services, operation of cannabis related technology services, and ancillary business activities. CBDS licenses the "hi" and "White Rabbit" brands, holds a U.S. patent on the Ecuadorian Sativa strain of Cannabis, owns patent pending and trade secret formulas and processes, offers the hi benefits discount pharmacy card, and operates subsidiaries including: PrestoDoctor, Wild Earth Naturals, and iBudtender. On December 4, 2017, the company announced that its subsidiary, PrestoDoctor, is expanding its online medical marijuana recommendation services into New York. PrestoDoctor currently serves patients via both their online platform and with dispensary kiosks operating in California and Nevada and will now extend their online services to patients located in the State of New York.

Vitality Biopharma, Inc. (OTCQB: VBIO) is dedicated to unlocking the power of cannabinoids for the treatment of serious neurological and inflammatory disorders. On January 17, 2018, the company announced it has submitted an orphan drug designation request for VITA-100 to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Upon approval, VITA-100 would be designated as an orphan drug for the treatment of pediatric ulcerative colitis (UC), a form of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.  Vitality Biopharma's gut-targeted cannabosides enable delivery of THC without psychoactivity or intoxication, which may enable more widespread use of cannabinoids for treatment of pediatric digestive disorders.  The Company has already completed studies that demonstrate the efficacy of cannabosides for treatment of preclinical models of colitis.  Cannabosides were able to reduce weight loss, decrease damage to the colon, and markedly improve gastrointestinal health compared to the placebo controls.

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