Worldwide Spending in the Legal Cannabis Market is Set to Grow

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Drug News
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FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary

NEW YORK, March 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --  According to a report published

by Arcview Market Research, in partnership with BDS Analytics, the worldwide consumer spending on legal cannabis is projected to reach $57 billion by 2027. North American is expected to have the largest spending volume,
growing at compound annual growth rate of 18 percent to reach $47.3 billion during the forecast yeas. While the Rest of World (RoW) markets are expected to grow at a faster rate of 47 percent. The report indicated that total legal cannabis spending in Australia is forecast to grow from $52 million in 2018 to $1.2 billion in 2027, a CAGR of 53%, making is the 5th largest market in the world. In Europe, Germany is the leading in the legal cannabis market, while Italy is expected to reach $1.2 billion in sale by 2027. Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (OTC: LHSIF), MedReleaf Corp. (OTC: MEDFF), Kush Bottles, Inc. (OTC: KSHB), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), General Cannabis Corp. (OTC: CANN)

Viridian Capital President Scott Greiper told Benzinga that the cannabis industry received $1.23 billion investments in the first five weeks of 2018, up from $178 million a year earlier. Viridian Capital Advisors' Vice President Harrison Phillips said: "Investments in cultivation and retail this year have been driven predominantly by the Canadian player. This has been happening pretty consistently from late 2016 through 2017. This reflects the necessity to scale cannabis businesses, to get some kind of advantage, and to explore strategic opportunities, both through acquisitions and international expansion."

Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (OTCQX: LHSIF) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the Ticker (CSE: LHS). After the market close yesterday the company announced breaking news that, "it has agreed to acquire a 75% ownership interest (the "Transaction") in Massachusetts-based William Noyes Webster Foundation, Inc., ("WNWF" or "the Foundation") for US$16 million, pursuant to a binding term sheet. WNWF owns an integrated medical cannabis license in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has a cultivation facility and a dispensary location both nearing completion, as well as leases and local governmental approvals in place for two additional dispensary locations. This acquisition affords Liberty the opportunity to tap into the growing Massachusetts medical cannabis marketplace which currently has only seventeen licensees (and only 22 dispensaries) serving 47,424 patients and a total population of nearly seven million people that does not include the large population centers in neighboring states that are easily accessible via public transportation. The closing of this Transaction is subject to the receipt of all required governmental approvals from the State of Massachusetts, Medical Use of Marijuana Program or the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, if any.

The Foundation's vertically integrated medical cannabis license, granted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, will allow Liberty to cultivate, process and dispense medical cannabis all under one license. Pending application approval by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Transaction will also provide Liberty with two additional integrated medical cannabis licenses. Medical cannabis license holders such as WNWF in Massachusetts will be given priority over non-license holders to acquire state recreational cannabis licenses on April 1, 2018 via conversion applications that WNWF will file with the newly formed Cannabis Control Commission. License holders will be eligible to receive three recreational licenses for each medical license for cultivating, processing and dispensing cannabis.

"This is an exciting strategic acquisition for Liberty that will enable the Company to apply its industry-leading approach to medical cannabis throughout the entire lifecycle, from cultivation to distribution," said George Scorsis, Director and CEO of Liberty. "Liberty is known for our safe, high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade cannabis and our patient-centric approach, which we've been rolling out across Florida. Massachusetts represents a significant opportunity to expand our footprint in the U.S., as we continue our aggressive growth strategy to provide high-quality medical cannabis to patients in need in established legal markets across the country".

WNWF has a dispensary location in Dennis and a near-complete 36,000-square-foot indoor cultivation and processing facility located in Plymouth. A portion of the US$16 million purchase price will be allocated to complete both the cultivation facility and dispensary. The funds will also be used to activate the two pending medical cannabis licenses, and to apply for the recreational cannabis licenses that are tied to all three medical licenses. The Transaction is expected to close in May 2018.

"We are eager to join Liberty in its mission to provide patients in the Massachusetts community with safe, pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis," said Jane Heatley, President of the William Noyes Webster Foundation. "Our local ties and existing facilities will provide Liberty with the foundation it needs to emerge as a statewide leading medical cannabis producer and supplier."

MedReleaf Corp. (OTC: MEDFF) is an R&D-driven company dedicated to innovation, operational excellence and the production of top-quality cannabis. Recently, the company announced that it has entered into an agreement to become the largest supplier of medical cannabis products to Cannamedical Pharma GMBH ("Cannamedical"), a leading medical cannabis distributor to pharmacies in Germany. MedReleaf will provide Cannamedical with monthly exports of five of its premium strain varieties significantly improving the predictability and security of drug delivery to the German market. Sales to Germany will commence promptly upon the expected receipt of MedReleaf's European Medical Agency Good Manufacturing Practices certification and export permit from Health Canada in the coming weeks.

Kush Bottles, Inc. (OTCQB: KSHB) is a dynamic sales platform that provides unique products and services for both businesses and consumers in the cannabis industry. Earlier this month, the company announced it has been selected by FunkSac, LLC to be the exclusive distributor for its line of flagship FunkGuard products. FunkSac® which was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of "10 Cannabis Startups You Need to Watch," was funded in part by Snoop Dogg's Casa Verde Capital. The company is veteran-owned, based in Denver, CO and provides compliant packaging solutions used in both medical and recreational markets. Under the terms of the agreement, Kush Bottles will distribute the line of FunkGuard products to FunkSac's existing customer base, as well as across Kush Bottles' national platform. FunkSac® will continue to implement its own sales and marketing initiatives in conjunction with the additional support from Kush Bottles.

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 and near-rare neurological and psychiatric disorders with high unmet medical needs. Recently, the company announced that researchers at The Scripps Research Institute and the University of Maryland have generated preclinical data from a study funded by NIH grants that suggest potential value in using transdermal cannabidiol (CBD) (ZYN002) to reduce the risk of relapse among recovering drug and alcohol addicts. ZYN002, which was provided by the Company for use in the study, is the first and only pharmaceutically-produced CBD formulated as a patent-protected permeation-enhanced transdermal gel. In summary, according to the authors, the findings in this publication provide proof of principle supporting the potential of transdermal CBD for relapse prevention along two dimensions: beneficial actions across several vulnerability states, and long-lasting effects with only brief treatment.

General Cannabis Corp. (OTCQB: CANN) is the comprehensive national resource for the highest-quality service providers available to the regulated cannabis industry. On February 21, 2018, the company has hired cannabis industry veteran Joe Hodas as Chief Operating Officer (COO).  Leveraging his recent experience in helping drive Dixie Brands, Inc.'s national expansion efforts across multiple states and brand lines, Hodas will be responsible for driving revenue and efficiency across all of General Cannabis' (GC) existing lines of business, including: Iron Protection Group (security and cash transportation services); Chiefton (apparel and marketing consulting); and Next Big Crop (operations consulting and products), as well as General Cannabis' corporate infrastructure. One of Hodas' areas of value within the cannabis space is an extensive network of contacts with emerging and mature operations throughout multiple states.

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