The Legal Cannabis Market is Projected to Grow Across North America

Thursday, February 1, 2018 Drug News
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NEW YORK, February 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to data provided

by Ameri Research Inc., the global legal cannabis market is forecast to be valued at $63.5 billion by 2024, and growing at a CAGR of 21.1% between 2017 to 2024. Currently, the market is going through a period of robust growth thanks to increasing legalization
and decriminalization of cannabis products across North America and Europe. In the U.S, there are 28 states which have approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes. In major markets like Colorado, California, Alaska, Massachusetts and Nevada, cannabis is legal for recreational use. iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF), GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (OTC: ACBFF), Vitality Biopharma, Inc. (OTC: VBIO)

Starting January 1st , California the nation's most populous state, has started legal sales of recreational cannabis. While sales are ramping up, there are concerns that supply will fall short of Demand. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, Charles Boldwyn, chief compliance officer of ShowGrow in Santa Ana, explained, "We're looking at ... hundreds of licensed cultivators and manufacturers coming out of an environment where we literally had thousands of people who were cultivating and manufacturing… So the red tape is a bit of a bottleneck in the supply chain." Despite the concerns, the market in California is expected to witness strong growth. Data published by New Frontier Data projects that legal cannabis sales in California will reach $2.8 billion in 2017 and $6.6 billion by 2025.

iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTCQB: ITHUF) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the trading symbol "IAN". On January 17th the company announced that, "it has acquired through merger and acquisition transactions substantially all of the assets of GrowHealthy Holdings, LLC ("GrowHealthy") and certain related subsidiaries (all transactions together, the "Acquisition", and all assets of GrowHealthy and its subsidiaries collectively, the "Business"). The Acquisition completes iAnthus' full-scale entry into the rapidly expanding Florida medical cannabis market, which is projected by Arcview Market Research to grow into a US$1 billion market by 2020 and which has seen a 300% increase in the number of registered patients over the past six (6) months. iAnthus previously acquired approximately six percent (6%) of GrowHealthy in a preferred share purchase in October, 2017.

GrowHealthy and its affiliate, McCrory's Sunny Hill Nursery, LLC ("McCrory's") comprise one of just thirteen (13) current Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers ("MMTCs") licensed to provide medical cannabis under Florida's medical marijuana law. The Acquisition includes GHIAA Management, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of GrowHealthy that holds an exclusive 40-year management contract to operate the medical cannabis business associated with the MMTC license issued to McCrory's (the "License"), together with an option to acquire 100% of McCrory's for a nominal consideration, pending approval of the Florida Department of Health…

"As one of the largest states in the U.S. with a population of nearly 21 million people and favorable demographics, Floridaand its medical cannabis market provide a tremendous opportunity for iAnthus and its shareholders. The state's population includes a large percentage of older adults who can derive significant benefits from medical cannabis, and the Florida program has witnessed a rapid rise in its registered patient base since passage of the law," said Randy Maslow, President of iAnthus.

"GrowHealthy in particular boasts a state-of-the-art 200,000 square foot cultivation and processing facility in Lake Wales, a flagship dispensary location in a densely populated area of Palm Beach County, and the opportunity to open up to 25 dispensaries in Florida currently and more in the future," Mr. Maslow continued. "The GrowHealthy cultivation and operations team has already established itself as a leader in Florida's medical cannabis market, and we look forward to contributing iAnthus' capital and operational resources to fully build out GrowHealthy's infrastructure and capitalize on the enormous opportunity provided by Florida's medical cannabis market."

Pursuant to the Florida medical marijuana statute and regulations, GrowHealthy is permitted to immediately begin delivery of finished products and to open and operate up to twenty-five (25) dispensaries, a number which will be increased with every 100,000 patients that are added to the state medical marijuana registry. Construction on GrowHealthy's flagship Palm Beach County dispensary is expected to be completed during Q2 2018 and the 4,500 square foot facility is expected to open in July 2018. Additional dispensary locations in Palm Beach County and elsewhere around the state have been identified and are the subject of lease negotiations, and dispensary openings in the Tampa and Orlando areas are planned for Q3 2018 and Q4 2018, respectively. GrowHealthy has already commenced sales through product delivery, and will continue to expand its delivery capabilities throughout the year."

GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform in a broad range of disease areas. Recently, the company announced that The Lancet has published results from a Phase 3 study of Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). Epidiolex, GW's lead product candidate and the potential first in a new category of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), is a pharmaceutical formulation of purified cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid lacking euphoric side effects, which is being studied for the treatment of a number of rare, severe pediatric-onset epilepsy disorders. In this study, Epidiolex significantly reduced monthly drop seizure frequency compared to placebo in highly treatment-resistant patients when added to existing treatment. Treatment with Epidiolex was generally well tolerated, with a safety profile consistent with prior reported experience.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE) is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing innovative pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid treatments. On January 3, 2018, the company announced that it will concentrate its focus on rare (meeting the US FDA designation of an orphan disease, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S.) and near-rare (affecting fewer than one million people in the U.S.) neurological and psychiatric disorders with high unmet medical needs. In 2018, the Company intends to develop ZYN002 in a pivotal Phase 2/3 program in Fragile X syndrome (FXS) and in Phase 2 programs in refractory epilepsies, including adult refractory focal epilepsy and developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE) in pediatric and adolescent patients. Additionally, the Company plans to initiate Phase 2 development of ZYN001 in Tourette Syndrome by year end 2018. Zynerba is currently developing ZYN002, the first and only patent-protected, pharmaceutically-produced CBD that is formulated as a permeation-enhanced gel for transdermal delivery.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (OTCQX: ACBFF) wholly-owned subsidiary, Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc., is a licensed producer of medical cannabis pursuant to Health Canada's Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. Recently, the company announced that the Company has received a cultivation license from Health Canada for Aurora Sky, the Company's 800,000+ square foot hybrid greenhouse facility, under construction at the Edmonton International Airport. Aurora Sky will be the world's most technologically advanced and largest capacity purpose-built cannabis facility, focused on the mass-cultivation of ultra-low cost, high-quality cannabis. Aurora Sky, the Company's third licensed facility, will be capable of producing in excess of 100,000 kg of cannabis per year. The world's only cannabis facility located on the property of an international airport, Aurora Sky possesses numerous strategic advantages, including ample low-cost power, water and gas, excellent security, unrivaled access to transportation, logistical services, immediate access to international customs, as well as air and ground domestic and international courier services.

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 (FDA). 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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