In recent years, the cannabis industry has witnessed immense support from countries across the world. Numerous national governments have their own unique perspective regarding the plant, however, most still have not moved to legalize cannabis because of the stigma surrounding its psychoactive nature. Nonetheless, cannabis has already tapped into several of the largest global markets. For instance, Canada became the first and only G-7 nation to legalize cannabis entirely in late 2018. Meanwhile, among the other G-7 nations, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the U.S. have all adopted partial or full medical cannabis legislation. The only G-7 nation to not have adopted any form of cannabis legislation is currently Japan. Overall, many Asian countries enforce stricter regulations, which result in severe consequences if violated. As such, cannabis companies have not had much luck tapping into the Asian markets. However, South Korea and Thailand are two Asian countries that decided to take steps forward and dive into the cannabis industry. South Korea’s medical cannabis program launched in early March and paved the way for select THC and CBD-based medication imports. In particular, Canopy Growth Corporation is among the several Canadian multinational firms looking to enter the South Korean market. Similarly, Thailand has moved to legalize medical cannabis, with many expecting the legislation to be implemented next year after Thailand’smilitary-appointed National Legislative Assembly voted 166 to 0 in favor of legalizing medical cannabis. The profound movement stirring throughout Asia further highlights the impact that cannabis is making on a global scale. Moreover, ongoing international legalization efforts are expected to accelerate and further bolster the market in the near future. According to data compiled by MarketsandMarkets research, the cannabis market was valued at USD 10.3 Billion in 2018. By 2023, the market is expected to reach USD 39.4 Billion while registering a CAGR of 30.7% during the forecast period. Canopy Rivers Inc. (OTC: CNPOF) (TSX-V: RIV), Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE: BUD), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ: NBEV)
A handful of countries have already either decriminalized or legalized medical cannabis, while others are in the process. Countries such as Mexico and New Zealand are already working on legalizing cannabis entirely while other countries are exploring opportunities within the cannabis market,doing so with caution. Mexico’s elected President is pushing towards legalization in order to end the war on drugs caused by the era of prohibition. On the other hand, New Zealandis moving towards legalization because of the growing support from its denizens. Sandra Murray, Campaign Manager for New Zealand’s #makeitlegal campaign, noted that cannabis law reform is sitting at 60% approval, while 72% of people under the age 45 support legalization. Similarly, the U.S. is also witnessing a large influx of supporters, as in 2018, the amount of Americans who argued that cannabis should be legalized grew to 62%, almost double its support in 2000, according to Pew Research Center. The U.S. accounts for a majority of the global cannabis market, largely due to its early adoption, as some states began to delve into cannabis back in the 1990’s. Now, some markets such as California and Colorado have developed into multi-billion dollar marketplaces. The U.S. government is still split between legalization or maintaining its regulations, however, the support has gradually increased throughout recent years. Nearly 69% of Democrats support the legalization of cannabis, while 45% of Republicans favor legalization. While more Republicans oppose the legalization of cannabis, the share of Republicans overall that approve adoption has increased from 39% in 2015. “There’s been a tremendous evolution — marijuana legalization, if you look back, was really something for fringe candidates,” said John Lapp, a Democratic national campaign strategist.”It’s just not very controversial at all now.”
Canopy Rivers Inc. (OTC: CNPOF) (TSX-V: RIV) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker (TSX-V: RIV). Earlier this week, Canopy Rivers Inc. and BioLumic Ltd. announced, “a strategic investment from Canopy Rivers. BioLumic extended the Finistere Ventures-led Series A financing round to include Canopy Rivers’ strategic investment of US$1.5 million, closing the oversubscribed round at US$6.7 million. The financing was comprised of a tier-one investor roster that also included Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund and Radicle Growth acceleration fund.
This marks Canopy Rivers’ first investment in agri-technologies, specifically focused on the promising fields of plant physiology and UV photobiology. With extensive global trials in traditional and high-value produce crops already underway, BioLumic will use the added investment to grow its team to support the acceleration and expansion of its UV light treatment initiatives, including applications in the medical cannabis market.
‘Canopy Rivers’ mission is to build and support a thriving global cannabis economy, and we are dedicated to identifying and investing in strategic technology players throughout the legal cannabis value chain,’ stated Mary Dimou, Director, Business Development, Canopy Rivers. ‘Led by an exceptional management team, BioLumic’s groundbreaking, proprietary UV technology has the potential to significantly improve cannabis growth, vigor and yield – promising an environmentally friendly, GM-free cannabis crop through the power of light.’
Already demonstrating game-changing results in produce-crop trials around the globe, BioLumic’s UV light treatments deliver long-term crop benefits such as improved crop consistency, increased yield, drought tolerance, and disease and pest resistance. With the global legal cannabis market expected to top $146 billion by the end of 2025 and increasing legalization of cannabis usage and farming around the globe, BioLumic aims to help commercial producers cultivate stronger, healthier plants to meet the rising demand for cannabis and cannabis-derived products in the regulated medical cannabis market.
‘Growers need more sustainable ways to meet global crop demands, and precision UV light treatments can safely activate important characteristics in seeds and seedlings that make them more productive as they mature,’ said BioLumic CEO Warren Bebb. ‘Canopy Rivers’ extensive network in the cannabis industry and its ecosystem of companies will open a new, strategic market for BioLumic. Given our results with other flowering crops, the cannabis plant is a natural fit for our technology.’
Building out its data science and machine learning teams, BioLumic will use the funding to accelerate the research and commercialization of its UV light crop yield enhancement system – with a focus on developing cannabis-specific UV treatments to improve yield and increase the concentration of cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD). It will continue to focus on traditionally grown produce such as lettuce, broccoli, strawberries and tomatoes, and increase its focus on seed treatments for row crops. The company plans to explore indoor farming and protected-environment, high-value crops in the future.
Canopy Rivers is proud to collaborate with BioLumic and its leading agtech venture partners to extend BioLumic’s commercial and propriety agri-technologies for potential application in the medical cannabis sector. Finistere Ventures, focused on agtech and supported by industry leaders like Bayer and Nutrien, works closely with its extensive network in the ag and food space to help commercialize innovations at a global scale. Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund was launched by Rabobank, a global leader in food and agriculture financing, and invests in high-potential, early-stage food and agriculture companies.
Dr. Adrian Percy, newly appointed CTO of Finistere Ventures and the former head of R&D for the Crop Science Division of Bayer, has joined the Board as Chairman, while Finistere’s Arama Kukutai will stay on as a Board Observer. As part of the investment, Canopy Rivers’ Mary Dimou will join the BioLumic Board as an Observer. Dean Tilyard, CEO of The Factory in Palmerston North, New Zealand, will also join the Board.
‘It is exciting to consider the broad range of benefits that BioLumic technology can offer to both seed producers and growers across a range of crops – from improved yield and consistency to reduction, and potentially replacement, of certain chemical and biological inputs,’ noted Percy.
About BioLumic: BioLumic harnesses the power of ultraviolet (UV) light to empower growers and seed producers around the globe. Clean, green and GM-free, BioLumic’s pioneering technology activates natural mechanisms in seeds and seedlings that increase plant growth, vigor, and natural defense mechanisms — resulting in increased yields at harvest. Backed by top Ag investors, BioLumic is headquartered in New Zealand and is actively growing its presence in North America. To learn more, visit www.biolumic.com.
About Canopy Rivers: Canopy Rivers is a unique investment and operating platform structured to pursue investment opportunities in the emerging global cannabis sector. Canopy Rivers works collaboratively with Canopy Growth (TSX: WEED,NYSE: CGC) to identify strategic counterparties seeking financial and/or operating support. Canopy Rivers has developed an investment ecosystem of complementary cannabis operating companies that represent various segments of the value chain across the emerging cannabis sector. As the portfolio continues to develop, constituents will be provided with opportunities to work with Canopy Growth and collaborate among themselves, which Canopy Rivers believes will maximize value for its shareholders and foster an environment of innovation, synergy and value creation for the entire ecosystem. For more information, visit www.canopyrivers.com.”
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Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE: BUD) is a publicly traded company (Euronext: ABI) based in Leuven, Belgium, with secondary listings on the Mexican (MEXBOL: ANB) and South African (JSE: ANH) stock exchanges and with American Depositary Receipts on the New York Stock Exchange. Recently, AB InBev, the world’s leading brewer, and Tilray, a global pioneer in cannabis production and distribution, announced a partnership to research non-alcohol beverages containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The partnership is limited to Canada and decisions regarding the commercialization of the beverages will be made in the future. The research partnership combines AB InBev’s deep experience in beverages with Tilray’s expertise in cannabis products. AB InBev’s participation will be through its subsidiary Labatt Breweries of Canada, one of the country’s founding businesses and its leading brewery, and Tilray’s participation will be through its Canadian adult-use cannabis subsidiary High Park Company, which develops, sells, and distributes a portfolio of socially responsible cannabis brands and products in Canada. Each company intends to invest up to USD 50 Million USD, for a total of up to USD 100 Million USD. “Labatt is committed to staying ahead of emerging consumer trends. As consumers in Canada explore THC and CBD-infused products, our innovative drive is matched only by our commitment to the highest standards of product quality and responsible marketing. We intend to develop a deeper understanding of non-alcohol beverages containing THC and CBD that will guide future decisions about potential commercial opportunities,” said Kyle Norrington, President, Labatt Breweries of Canada. “We look forward to learning more about these beverages and this category in the months ahead.”
Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, the planet, product quality and innovation. Aphria Inc. recently announced that its German subsidiary Aphria Deutschland GmbH has secured the previously announced license for the domestic cultivation of medical cannabis from the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (“BfArM”), following the conclusion of a mandatory 10-day standstill period for public contracts. Aphria was granted a cultivation license for four of the nine total lots awarded by BfArM and is awaiting the completion of the tender process for the four remaining lots under review, one of which was provisionally awarded to Aphria Germany. Aphria Germany is building its indoor growing facility in Neumünster and is completing work on a state-of-the-art GMP-certified cannabis vault in Bad Bramstedt for the import of cannabis flowers and oil from Canada and Denmark. Aphria Germany also holds a 25.1% interest in Berlin-based Schöneberg Hospital, which provides access to both doctors and patients for education on the benefits of medical cannabinoids. Earlier this month, the company launched CannRelief, a CBD-based nutraceutical and cosmetics product line for the German market, produced in the EU and distributed by CC Pharma, a subsidiary of Aphria Inc. with access to more than 13,000 pharmacies throughout Germany. “Aphria thanks the BfArM for their diligent examination and validation of our approach for domestic cultivation with this license,” said Hendrik Knopp, Managing Director of Aphria Germany. “Construction on our 8,000 square meter indoor cultivation facility is already underway and we anticipate it will be fully operational by Summer 2020. We are pleased to additionally support German patients in the upcoming months with high-quality imported cannabis flower and oils from Denmark and Canada.”
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE) is the leader in pharmaceutically-produced transdermal cannabinoid therapies for rare and near-rare neuropsychiatric disorders. Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had granted Fast Track Designation for the Company’s lead development candidate Zygel™ (ZYN002 CBD gel) for treatment of behavioral symptoms associated with Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). FDA’s Fast Track program is designed to facilitate the development of drugs intended to treat serious conditions and fill unmet medical needs and can lead to expedited review by FDA in order to get new important drugs to the patient earlier. Zygel (CBD gel) is the first and only pharmaceutically-manufactured CBD formulated as a patent-protected permeation-enhanced clear gel, designed to provide controlled drug delivery into the bloodstream transdermally (i.e. through the skin). Recent studies suggest that FXS and other neuropsychiatric conditions may be associated with a disruption in the endocannabinoid (EC) system. “The FDA’s decision to grant Fast Track Designation for Zygel underscores the significance and severity of the unmet medical need that exists for patients living with Fragile X Syndrome and their caregivers,” said Armando Anido, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zynerba. “We believe that Zygel has the potential to be the first treatment indicated to directly address the core behavioral symptoms of this syndrome, and we look forward to working closely with the FDA to obtain approval to market Zygel as soon as possible.”
New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ: NBEV) is a Colorado and Utah-based healthy beverage company dedicated to inspiring, educating consumers to live healthily. New Age Beverages Corporation recently announced the signing of an agreement to develop and distribute Marley branded cannabis-infused beverages. The first product to roll out in the Marley+CBD portfolio will be Marley+CBD Mellow Mood, relaxation drinks in 15.5 oz cans with 25 mg of pharmaceutical grade CBD per serving. Initial market rollout to customers will be in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan where cannabis is legal for responsible adult consumption. This rollout gives New Age a significant first-mover advantage in the CBD space with a globally-recognized brand platform, and positions the venture well for further expansion as regulations permit. Michael Cunningham, Senior Vice President of Sales for New Age commented, “It makes my job a lot easier when I have retailers and distributors reaching out to me asking for specific products. From the moment the CBD movement began, I’ve been receiving calls nonstop asking when we’d be going to market with a Marley+CBDproduct. Retailers and distributors realize that it will be a long road for smaller CBD brands to gain traction and brand equity. Under the Marley brand platform, we are able to leverage a massive global brand with ties to healthy cannabis use, to ultimately grow a beverage brand beyond anything we have seen to-date.”