Doctors expected that cannabis use would pose a risk for heart failure patients, but found that the opposite was true. They also found that cannabis users were less likely to die in the hospital.
A research team has made the discovery that cannabis may have benefits for those suffering from heart problems. At a recent meeting of the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, Dr. Oluwole Adegbala, medical resident at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey, presented the findings of an unpublished study on the link between cannabis use and heart failure. Previous research has suggested links between cannabis use and heart problems, and the research team fully expected to find evidence supporting claims that cannabis users were at greater risk of heart-related health problems.
Instead, the team was “surprised” to find that cannabis users were less likely to experience atrial fibrillation (A-fib), an irregularity of the heartbeat that can worsen the symptoms of heart failure, compared to non-users. Dr. Adegbala and his colleagues analyzed a database of over 6 million patients suffering from heart failure who were admitted to the hospital between 2007 and 2014. Around 23,000 of these patients reportedly used cannabis but were not considered dependent on the drug, and another 1,200 patients were considered dependent cannabis users, LiveScience reports.
The research team found that the non-dependent cannabis users were 18% less likely than non-users to experience A-fib, and were also 46% less likely to die in the hospital. The dependent cannabis users were 31% less likely to develop A-fib and 58% less likely to die in the hospital than non-users. Researchers adjusted their data to account for age, socioeconomic status, and use of other drugs, and discovered that their findings were still solid.
Dr. Adegbala told LiveScience that his team was not able to identify the exact reasons why cannabis might decrease the risk of A-fib or mortality for heart failure patients. Previous research in animals has found that high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, two risk factors for A-fib, can be reduced by activating cannabinoid receptors. Dr. Adegbala also noted that cannabidiol can reduce inflammation, which is another risk factor for A-fib. Despite their positive findings, the research team does not recommend that heart failure patients begin using cannabis as a treatment until further research can be conducted to support or refute the findings of this study.
In an effort to help California’s marijuana businesses to enter the financial mainstream, California Treasurer John Chiang is calling for the state to study the idea of creating a state-run bank. This is one of several recommendations made by Chiang’s after a year of studying the matter. Chiang said he and the state attorney general’s office will start such a study soon.
Under current federal guidelines, in order to accept deposits from cannabis businesses, banks are required to certify that those businesses are not selling to minors, affiliated with organized crime or breaking a handful of other rules. This basically has the effect of keeping most banks out of the marijuana business.
Last year, after the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, Chiang created a working group of public officials, bankers and cannabis companies with the aim of coming up with solutions to address this problem and help cannabis businesses pay their taxes and open bank accounts.
Another of Chiang’s recommendations is to form a multistate group to lobby Congress to ease federal restrictions on cannabis. At a news conference held Tuesday announcing the recommendations, Chiang said that without Federal deregulation, “a definitive, bulletproof solution will remain elusive,” but that that is not an excuse for inaction.
Over the last year, Chiang’s group held public meetings around the state, hearing from cannabis companies, banks, and public officials about their concerns.
The group’s report, released Tuesday, makes four recommendations aimed at addressing the issue. Cannabis business owners called the recommendations useful but incremental at best.
The main recommendation, the creation of a public bank owned by the state of California, also offers an alternative to profit-driven Wall Street institutions.
Creating a state-run bank will not be easy. The potential cost to the state is high, and the plan is not guaranteed to solve all the problems the industry is facing.
Another of the group’s recommendations to help local agencies collect marijuana tax payments, and to reduce the risks involved in transporting tax payments in cash, is that the state hire armored car services to pick up tax payments from businesses. The cash could then be deposited at banks on behalf of the state rather than cannabis businesses.
Chief executive of Oakland’s Dark Heart Nursery, Dan Grace, said being able to pay taxes without hauling cash to government offices would be helpful, but not a complete solution. “My payments to the government are at most one-quarter of my monthly payments, so that still leaves everything else. It still doesn’t solve the issue in a meaningful way,” Grace said.
The report also suggests the creation of a coalition made up of government agencies in states where marijuana is legal. The goal of the coalition would be to empower cannabis-legal states speak with one voice in Washington. Whether or not it can happen or if it would actually make a difference remains to be seen.
2017 was a year of disappointment for MJ Freeway. The seed-to-sale trailblazer finds itself dealing with frequent outages and dangerous data breaches that lead to increasingly dissatisfied customers and contract cancellations.
Recently, Nevada state announced that they will be parting ways with the company, only 18 months into their 5-year contract. This decision came after a period filled with controversy for MJF, and the press is already speculating about what it all means for MJ’s future.
MJ Freeway pioneered in the seed-to-sale software market. The company launched the first service back in 2010. Their innovation became a standard for the newborn legal cannabis industry and competitors have started to emerge.
Software as a Service (SaaS) specialized for the cannabis industry offers a powerful ally for retailers, who have to undergo strict regulatory audits. “Seed-to-sale reporting is an important step for bringing legitimacy to the nascent cannabis industry, as well as helping businesses navigate the often byzantine regulations on a state-by-state basis,” said Jeremy Berke, a columnist for Business Insider.
MJ Freeway still remains the biggest player in the space, owning more than 40% of the market. Their software is designed to be compliant with every state’s regulatory agency, providing data for every aspect of the cultivation and sale processes. Therefore, the system tracks data at all points in the cannabis supply chain, distribution, retail, or wholesale. That’s a mountain of data that’s hard to handle. As the industry is growing, so is pressure from local authorities, who want the software to be not only robust but reliable.
Outages, Data Breaches, and Breakdowns
Problems for MJ Freeway began in January 2017 when their servers were hacked, leading to a major cash of the PoS systems. In June, a source code leak led to a second security breach that drew a lot of attention from social media and the press. Connor Penhale, CEO of Compliant Cannabis said: “Once that risk is there, you’ve got a threat. Based on the track record that MJ Freeway has – do I feel confident that they can handle this one more big thing that they have on their plate?”
The company’s CEO and COO asked for support during this difficult time for the company. A video statement was released in which Amy Poisnett, MJF’s CEO, explained the technical nature of the problems. Jessica Billingsley, COO of MJ Freeway reminded: “What we need to do is to work to transition our existing legacy customers to our new platform because it’s a much-improved product and not as susceptible to this type of issue. It is not an exaggeration to say that we have spent more on security in a quarter than most of our competitors’ gross in a quarter.”
MJ Freeway and the Washington Cannabis Program Controversy
Despite MJ Freeway’s reassurances, the hard part might not be over yet. MJ Freeway’s Washington cannabis program, Leaf Data Systems was set to go live on November 1st. However, the state announced in the previous week that it will be postponed until January 2018.
This setback caused the press speculate even more on the future of the seed to sale giant. Spokane’s Spokesman-Review stated that the delay was a “Database Detour,” while Ganjapreneuer labeled the Washington delay a “Cannabis Armageddon Seed to Sale Halloween Scare.” David Busby’s Washington-based compliance software provider WeedTraQR predicted in a July blog that “Leaf Data system is barely ready for prime time… we’re predicting disaster.”
Currently, the state is trying to cut a deal with BiotrakTHC, who are reportedly reluctant to undertake the project after the involvement of MJF. So, in order to avoid further abuse or diversion to out-of-state markets, Brian Smith, spokesman for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) stated, “We’re very pleased with MJ freeway and the work that they’re doing.” Whether he means it or not remains to be seen.
Putting it All Back Together: The Future of MJ Freeway
MJF has a mountain to climb, as it has to deal with internal issues as well as repairing their reputation. Amy Poisnett said: “We understand our clients’ frustration and we apologize for the inconveniences.”
On a more defiant tone, J. Billingsley further added, “We’re not in this business for short-term wins. While we’ve been first to market, we’ve also been first to stumble… We literally invented seed-to-sale software, patented it. And all we do is to strive to do the right thing for our clients, to be part of the solution and to show the industry that we care.”
With less than nine months left before recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada, analysts and investors are still unclear who the big winners and losers will be
If there’s one thing that’s still hazy in Canada’s nascent marijuana market, it’s how wide the margins are on that dime bag.
With less than nine months left before recreational cannabis becomes legal in the country, analysts and investors are still unclear who the big winners and losers will be. Some publicly traded pot companies don’t report how much a gram of dried bud costs them to make and if they do, the numbers aren’t uniformly calculated. Moreover, producer margins could start to shrink as provinces start to purchase pot wholesale.
Selling prices “will certainly cut in half perhaps from what they are now, and cost of production will matter,” said Mike Gorenstein, chief executive officer of Toronto-based Cronos Group Inc. “It’s not going to be 80 or 90 per cent margins forever.”
The pending margin squeeze comes as investor optimism over recreational sales has sent valuations soaring. Canopy Growth Corp., the country’s first marijuana unicorn with a market cap of more than $3 billion (US$2.36 billion), has seen its share price rise more than 80 per cent in the past 12 months, while Aurora Cannabis Inc. more than doubled. MedReleaf Corp. is up more than 90 per cent since its June debut.
Medical marijuana is currently sold direct to consumers for about $7 to $12 a gram, depending on quality. Prices for recreational pot could probably drop to $4.50 to $5 as provinces such as Ontario and Alberta plan to purchase marijuana wholesale, said Jason Zandberg, an analyst with PI Financial in Vancouver.
What the price drop will do to margins is nebulous because there isn’t an industry standard for reporting production costs, said Vahan Ajamian, an analyst at Beacon Securities Ltd. in Toronto. For example, it’s difficult to determine whether Canopy Growth’s reported costs of $2.78 a gram are being calculated the same way as MedReleaf’s $1.46.
Companies will probably disclose even less information about their costs of production in the coming months as producers competing for supply contracts will want to maintain a competitive edge, Zandberg of PI Financial said. It’s difficult to look at an earnings statement and try to extrapolate which companies will be successful in five years when looking at cash flow, earnings and price-to-earnings ratios, he said.
Some producers are focusing on lowering costs in order to help maintain robust margins.
Leamington, Ontario-based Aphria Inc.’s cash costs per gram were 95 Canadian cents last quarter and further cost efficiencies are pending so the company will be “in the driver’s seat” in terms of lowering the selling price without sacrificing margins, CEO Vic Neufeld said in an interview.
Companies are also looking to geographic diversity to make up for price declines in Canada.
“If a particular province sets wholesale prices too low, that’s OK, we have options,” said Aurora Cannabis Executive Vice President Cam Battley, noting global demand exceeds supply and the company owns a medical distributor in the European Union and is paid a premium for its products in Germany. “We’re in a sense inoculated against anything we don’t like.”
Canopy Growth expects provinces to purchase bulk products at a price “pretty close” to the current average in the medical market, said CEO Bruce Linton. While there will be some short-term pressure, the company has multiple markets, including medical and international, and is focused on different forms of marijuana that can eventually be sold at a higher margin, such as infused beverages, he said.
“This is a transitional thing,” Linton said by phone. “Over time, we can maintain our margins creating evolved products.”
Large producers that have established and expanded their operations to lower their costs will continue to do well along with smaller craft growers that can sell their products at a higher price, Cronos Group’s Gorenstein said. Companies that are still trying to raise capital to expand their operations may have a tough time competing. There will come a point when supply meets demand, and “there will be a very rapid price compression,” he said.
If margins shrink, companies that will be successful will need to make up the difference on volumes, said Chris Damas, editor of the BCMI Report in Barrie, Ontario.
“It really is a mad green rush,” Damas said.
Constellation brands, which brews Corona beer, made headlines today, as it becomes the first major wine, beer and spirits company to get in on the Green Rush.
Talk about getting ‘twisted.’
For the first time ever, a major player in the wine, beer and spirits industry is set to link up with the rapidly expanding cannabis market, as the company that brews the popular Mexican brand beer Corona has just claimed its own stake in the marijuana green rush.
Two Worlds Collide
Constellation Brands, which also distills Svedka vodka, just invested a whopping $191 million in the Canadian-based cannabis company Canopy Growth Corporation.
The chunk of change is good for a 10 percent stake in the marijuana corporation, but the deal comes with an option for Constellation to purchase an additional ownership interest in Canopy in the future.
Since the acquisition, Constellation shares increased almost one percent during premarket trading.
The move is viewed as a risk by some, considering cannabis is still illegal on a federal scale. Constellation remains the only alcohol-business to take said risk, but chief executive Rob Sands told the Wall Street Journal that it’s a calculated move and believes he now has a leg up on his competition.
“We’re obviously trying to get first-mover advantage,” Sands said.
Sands also added that he thinks it’s only a matter of time before cannabis is legalized on a federal level.
”We think that it’s highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level,” Sands said.
While just eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington) and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis, there are 22 other states that have legalized medical marijuana, and that number is expected to grow. Canopy Growth happens to be the biggest licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada, with a valuation of C$2.2 billion.
Canada is also set to legalize recreational cannabis by July 18, which bodes well for the Canada-based company. Edibles and cannabis-infused beverages are projected to be legalized the following year, which would seemingly set up a large payout for Constellation.
Corona Invests In The Marijuana Green Rush
Despite cannabis’ increasing legality in the United States, Constellation says it doesn’t anticipate selling its products in the U.S. until the plant is legalized on both a state and federal level.
Regardless of U.S. policy, there is still significant profitability to be had in Canada alone.
Many pre-existing drug companies currently utilize the plant in their medications, and a Canadian index of marijuana stocks, calculated by research house Canaccord Genuity, indicates cannabis stocks have risen as much as 36 percent over the past month.
According to analysts, a short-term option for Constellation could be developing non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages to be sold only in Canada upon legalization. It has been estimated that this untapped market alone could be worth around $5- $10 billion.
Eight Capital analyst Daniel Pearlstein believes the investment will have a significant impact on a variety of industries, including alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.
“This move is a complete game changer, not only for Canopy but also for the entire industry,” Pearlstein said.
To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/corona-invests-marijuana-green-rush/
Weed is always on his mind.
At this point, it’s hard to know if Willie Nelson is more legendary for his music or for his love of weed. In truth, it’s probably both. But over the past few years, the aging folk music icon has been capitalizing on his status as a cannabis celebrity to market and sell ‘Willie’s Reserve,’ his signature brand of marijuana. And after successful rollouts in other weed-legal states, Willie Nelson’s cannabis products are about to hit California.
Willie Nelson’s Cannabis Products Will Debut In California Next Year
Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson started Willie’s Reserve in 2015. Building on a long career of singing about and advocating for marijuana use, Willie’s Reserve represents “a culmination of [Nelson’s] vision, and his whole life,” according to company spokesman Michael Bowman.
In 2016, Nelson opened shop in Washington, Colorado and Washington. And it wasn’t long until Willie’s Reserve started appearing on dispensary shelves in Oregon and Las Vegas.
Willie Nelson’s cannabis products offer more than just the folk singer’s signature weed strains. Willie’s Reserve products include edibles, vapes and accessories. And more stores are adding Willie’s products all the time.
But Willie’s Reserve, marketed to “music fans, cannabis connoisseurs & lovers of freedom,” is committed to their recreational user base. You won’t find Willie Nelson’s cannabis products in states that have only legalized medical cannabis.
Instead, the company holds off until recreational sales are legal to make its move.
And of course, the largest weed market in the United States, California, will fully legalize the sale of recreational cannabis products starting in January 2018.
Hence, the subtle announcement on the company’s official Instagram page: “California coming soon.”
Willie Nelson’s Cannabis Products, Willies Reserve, Could Make The Singer Millions
Recreational weed sales continue to shatter records as the industry marches steadily toward its projected $20 billion by 2020 milestone.
In Colorado, for example, recreational sales topped $1 billion in just the first 10 months of 2016. That’s after a 2015 that saw the state sell just under $1 billion worth of cannabis products.
And market projections in California are even more jaw-dropping.
The Golden State voted to legalize recreational cannabis in 2016, with parts of the law allowing everything but the sale of recreational weed taking effect in 2017.
With full legalization, including selling to anyone over 21, about to hit California on January 1, 2018, market analysts are predicting the marijuana industry in California will skyrocket to $5 billion.
Expanding Willie’s Reserve to California means that Willie Nelson’s cannabis products could easily make the singer millions of dollars.
Willie’s stash, of course, already has some serious brand awareness. And for cannabis connoisseurs who value the source of their flower, Nelson partners with independent and local growers to offer customers a top-tier experience.
Willie’s Reserve, like the man himself, is “trailblazing marijuana products celebrating Willies’ love of cannabis and the culture surrounding it.”
So if you’re a Californian who’s fan of Willie, keep an eye out for Willie Nelson’s cannabis products. They go on sale in California this January.
To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/willie-nelsons-cannabis-products-hit-california/
Is now the right time to invest in the Cannabis Industry?
As of this year, cannabis is legal in 29 states plus the District of Columbia, and the number is rising.
The Cannabis Stock Index is up 26.4% month-to-date.
~30,000 new cannabis companies have entered the space this year.
There is a noticeable trend here that seems to be pointing towards, yes.
Five years ago, Colorado and Washington legalized the adult use of marijuana, sparking what is now one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.
The industry has since been growing at a 16% compounded annual growth rate.
By the end of 2020, it’s projected to double in size from $22 billion in 2017 to $44 billion.
U.S. Cannabis Industry Total Economic Impact: 2013-2020 in Billions (Marijuana Business Daily)
What was once a taboo is changing the minds of constituents and investors alike.
⅔ of the population is for the legalization of cannabis.
This year alone, 31% of americans will begin living in cannabis-friendly states.
Clearly there is a bright future ahead.
The growth is tangible, but the risks are substantial.
Cannabis is still federally illegal and labeled a Schedule I drug.
Some cannabis stocks hoping to make it big still have to wait for this to change.
Those that don’t still have to follow highly regulated state laws and some existing companies are limited in their ability to sell across state lines.
For investors, the opportunities to profit from a legitimate company who sells marijuana products are scarce.
For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only approved a grand total of three cannabinoid-related drugs: AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX), and Insys Therapeutics (NASDAQ:INSY).
As mentioned above, upwards of 30,000 new cannabis businesses have entered the cannabis space this year.
This means a highly saturated market that investors have to shuffle through to separate the good from the bad.
Your Stake in The Green Rush
So, how can investors get involved while reducing their risk profile?
One solution is to invest in companies that don’t actually touch the plant.
Just imagine the profit gained from those who sold shovels during the gold rush.
The idea is the same with ancillary service companies, supporting the industry’s growth while sidestepping a lot of the risk.
Cannabis businesses who support the industry with real estate, technology, equipment needs, etc., make up a large, yet often undervalued part of the industry.
It’s hard to pinpoint just how much money has poured into ancillary service companies supporting cannabis businesses, but the number falls easily into hundreds of millions.
These companies are benefiting from the industry growth and the extended freedom to sell products and services across the U.S.
But again, the space is crowded with startups, and it can be hard to decipher the promising from the weak.
One ancillary service company to look at is Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG) who generated 2.8 billion with 10% of the revenue coming from the hydroponics companies it acquired.
The spotlight is also on Doyen Elements, who just launched its IPO and is giving retail investors the opportunity to buy into it before the company’s planned stock market listing.
Doyen Elements has purchase agreements for 16 different businesses spanning across all areas of the cannabis industry.
Recently the company made headlines for beginning construction on a 234,000 sq. ft. grow facility, one of the largest in North America.
The company also plans to list on the OTCQX after the offering closes.
In closing, while there is a lot of risk involved when investing in the cannabis industry, the potential upside makes it well worth the research and diligence to find the right way to get involved.
To read more visit: https://www.modestmoney.com/stake-22-billion-dollar-cannabis-industry/
Oregon is reaping the green benefits of its legal weed industry to the tune of a cool $85 million. Having legalized marijuana in 2014, Oregon has finally begun to distribute the tax dollars that the state has collected, after a two-year wait.
Wait, What Took Oregon So Long To Distribute Its Legal Cannabis Tax Revenue?
The reason is that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), which oversees the state’s legal marijuana program, had to first reimburse the administrative costs associated with setting up and implementing the program.
The OLCC took out a loan for $13 million to cover the initial setup costs, agency spokesman Mark Pettinger explained to the King5 television station.
Now that the money has been paid back, it’s time to distribute the tax revenue to various health, educational and law enforcement programs across the state.
How Does Oregon Distribute Its Legal Cannabis Tax Revenue?
Here’s a break down of where the money is going, according to the Oregon Department of Revenue:
- $34 million will benefit the state school fund.
- $17 million will go to the mental health, alcoholism and drug services account.
- $17 million will go to Oregon cities and counties.
- $12 million will go to the Oregon State Police.
- $4 million will go to the Oregon Health Authority.
And apparently this is just the tip of the iceberg. Oregon’s weed sales have far exceeded all expectations.
“I am glad to hear that the revenue is finally being distributed,” Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner of Measure 91 told the Oregonian. “This is what the voters intended. It shows that legalizing and regulating cannabis can help generate revenue for important governmental services.”
During just the first three months of this year, roughly 11,000 pounds of weed were sold in the state’s approximately 300 legal dispensaries, for total sales revenue of $43.7 million, generating some $13.4 million in sales tax revenue.
Thankfully, this is happening—or will happen if given the chance—all around the country.
Marijuana tax revenue is expected to exceed $2.3 billion by 2020 in the United States and create up to 300,000 jobs. Think of all those social, educational, housing and drug counseling programs that can be funded with these tax dollars. Who wouldn’t want to be part of one of the fastest growing industries in the United States? Why not tell your congress people that you’d like to be!
To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/business/oregon-cannabis-tax-revenue/