Legal Cannabis Sales Expected to Grow and Benefit North America Economy

Monday, January 8, 2018 Drug News
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NEW YORK, January 8, 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. Invictus MD Strategies Corp. (OTC: IVITF), Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE: IIPR), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ZYNE), GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (OTC: ACBFF).

The growing cannabis market is expected to have positive economic benefits, such as creating more jobs and generating tax revenue. According to MG News, Vivien Azer of Cowen & Co. said in a report: "When you consider ancillaries such as growers, testing labs, security, etc., the economic impact could range from $12.7 to $22.6 billion. Of note, these numbers do not include the impact of tourism, business taxes, licensing fees and paraphernalia sales, which could drive the economic impact higher."

Invictus MD Strategies Corp. (OTC: IVITF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol 'IMH'. Just earlier today the company announced breaking news that, "the Company has entered into a Letter of Intent ("LOI") to make a further strategic investment in the licensed production facility under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations ("ACMPR"), AB Laboratories Inc. ("AB Labs") located near Hamilton, Ontario, from its current 33.3% ownership interest to 50%. Additionally, the Company is pleased to announce that AB Labs has received the amendment to sell dried marijuana under the ACMPR ("Sales License").

AB Labs has now received its Sales License to sell dried marijuana under the ACMPR. AB Labs has 130 kilograms of dried marijuana in its vault and intends to sell 100% of this inventory in January 2018 to Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) initiating its first revenue stream since inception.

Dan Kriznic, Chairman and CEO commented, "This is a significant milestone for Invictus MD. We started this company in 2014 with the intention of becoming Canada's Cannabis Company. AB Labs produces high quality strains, which will meet the increasing demand in the Canadian marketplace. We also expect to receive a sales license for Acreage Pharms Ltd. ("Acreage Pharms") within the first quarter of 2018."

The terms of the LOI include a direct cash investment in AB Labs for $10 million to be used for the expansion of AB Labs' existing facility, acquisition of the land and building at the existing facility from the landlord and for the acquisition of an adjacent land and building including retrofitting costs towards the existing building on the adjacent property (the "Secondary Facility"), for a combined production space of approximately 56,000 square feet. Invictus MD will make available to AB Labs a $2 million line of credit in the event costs exceed budget during the construction period. The LOI is subject to various conditions including approval of Invictus MD's board as well as satisfactory completion of due diligence. There can be no assurance that the transaction contemplated by the LOI will complete.

Production Capacity - Total annual kilogram capacity after various phases of expansion in 2018, complete and in progress, is expected to be approximately 26,000 kilograms, with the expected net production capacity to Invictus MD of approximately 22,150 kilograms after giving effect to the additional investment contemplated in the LOI that will bring Invictus MD's ownership of AB Labs to 50%. AB Ventures Ltd. ("AB Ventures") has submitted its license application to Health Canada as well as its development permit for the initial Phase 1 construction. Currently Acreage Pharms and AB Labs have a total of 280 kilograms of dried marijuana in their vault. AB Labs plans to sell 100% of its inventory in the month of January 2018. A detailed summary of expected production at Acreage Pharms, AB Labs and AB Ventures and the net capacity to Invictus MD assuming completion of the transaction contemplated by the LOI is as follows:

"The increase in our ownership of AB Labs and the renovations of the Secondary Facility will dramatically advance our timeline for increasing our annual run-rate production capacity at our facilities to 26,000 kg in 2018 in time for the adult-use market." said Dan Kriznic, Chairman and CEO, of Invictus MD. "Increasing our canopy footprint has been a sharp focus of the Company. Our production will satisfy the significant demand in Canada for high quality, standardized, pesticide free product for the current medical cannabis market and recreational market that is expected to begin mid 2018. The receipt of AB Labs' Sales License was another significant milestone and the final and crucial missing piece for AB Labs on the regulatory pathway to becoming a fully licensed producer. The issuance of the sales and distribution amendment to AB Labs' cultivation license is a significant value catalyst for our shareholders."”

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE: IIPR) is a self-advised Maryland corporation focused on the acquisition, ownership and management of specialized industrial properties leased to experienced, state-licensed operators for their regulated medical-use cannabis facilities. On December 18, 2017, the company announced that it closed on the previously announced acquisition of the property located at 5900 West Greenhouse Drive in Willcox, Arizona, which comprises approximately 358,000 square feet of greenhouse and industrial space. As previously disclosed, the purchase price for the property was $15.0 million. A subsidiary of The Pharm, LLC, the tenant at the property, is also expected to complete tenant improvements for the building, for which the Company has agreed to provide reimbursement of up to $3.0 million. Assuming full reimbursement for the tenant improvements, the Company's total investment in the property will be $18.0 million. The Pharm is one of the largest wholesalers of medical-use cannabis in the state of Arizona.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (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.

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. On December 29, 2017, the company announced it has submitted its Marketing Authorisation Application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for Epidiolex® (cannabidiol or CBD) as adjunctive treatment for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, two highly treatment-resistant forms of childhood-onset epilepsy.  GW has received Orphan Designations from the EMA for Epidiolex for the treatment of LGS, Dravet syndrome, and recently, West syndrome and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. In October 2017, GW completed the submission of its rolling Epidiolex New Drug Application (NDA) to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), also for seizures associated with LGS and Dravet syndrome. This NDA has been accepted by the FDA for Priority Review.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (OTCQX: ACBFF) is one of 35 licensed producers across Canada and the only one located in Alberta. Recently, the company and The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. announced that the companies have completed a definitive agreement covering a strategic investment in TGOD by Aurora, as well as a supply contract. As part of the agreement, the companies shall enter into a supply contract, providing Aurora with the right to purchase up to 20% of TGOD's annual production of organic cannabis from TGOD's Ancaster and Valleyfield facilities. Consequently, Aurora anticipates being able to procure in excess of 20,000 kg per annum of premium organic products once TGOD`s Valleyfield and Ancaster facilities are completed and at full capacity.

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