Category Archives: Investing

Why CBD Stocks Offer Investors COVID Shelter

Why CBD Stocks Offer Investors COVID Shelter

Investors can’t escape “health” related headlines these days. Most concern the perils to our physical health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many headlines, however, are focused on our financial health. In particular, the question now asked is where can investors find shelter in ultra-volatile markets that have cratered from their recent highs?

While cannabidiol (CBD) is not a treatment for the novel coronavirus, CBD stocks could be a potent “medicine” to help stop the bleeding in investor portfolios.

There are several reasons for viewing CBD commerce as being (relatively) sheltered from the economic repercussions of COVID-19. These relate to both the cannabis sector in general, and the CBD sub-sector in particular.

  1. As an emerging industry, cannabis has virtually zero international trade being disrupted by COVID-19. Rather than facing steep losses of existing revenue streams, the cannabis industry merely faces (COVID-related) delays in opening up these international markets.
  2. Similarly, the supply chain for the cannabis industry has a very small international trade component. Cannabis (and CBD) operations have minimal vulnerability to supply chain disruptions.
  3. As both a health supplement and medicine, CBD is relatively immune to the depressionary economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health-related spending is one of the last areas where people make budget cuts in an economic downturn.
  4. The intense desire of many/most people to strengthen and fortify their health during the coronavirus pandemic should stimulate CBD demand even further.

International trade has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In an era of globalization, this has a significant (if not severe) impact on almost every sector of the economy. The emerging cannabis industry is one of a very small number of exceptions.

Here, delays in opening up international markets by (still) cannabis-phobic governments now works in favor of the cannabis industry. Simply, the cannabis industry is losing very little revenue as a result of COVID-19 disruptions to international trade. The cannabis (and CBD) market is still a domestic market.

Cannabis (and CBD) operations are also almost entirely domestic operations. The agriculturally-based cannabis industry has a relatively simple supply chain – and nearly all of these inputs can be supplied domestically. No COVID-19 disruptions here either.

Then there is the allure of CBD products themselves, even during a full-blown economic depression. CBD products – and the markets for those products – have surged into prominence for two simple and closely-related reasons.

a)  Western consumers have become increasingly health-focused (even prior to COVID-19)
b)  CBD products – used either medicinally or as a health supplement – are relatively inexpensive

One of the most-obvious indications of the increasing focus on health by consumers is the soaring spending on dietary supplements aimed at improving health.

Dietary Supplement Use Reaches All Time High

…More than three quarters of Americans are taking dietary supplements each year—a crystal clear trend that serves as an indicator of the vital role supplementation plays in their overall health and wellness regimens,” said Nancy Weindruch, vice president, communications, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

Within this soaring market for health supplements, CBD products are now leading the way, as indicated in this 2019 article.

A new market report shows CBD sales surging in the U.S. herbal supplement category. Up from almost total obscurity, CBD leapt into the No. 12 spot among best-selling herbal dietary supplements in 2017 with a 303 percent growth compared to the year prior. And between 2017 and 2018, CBD outdid even those numbers, catapulting itself to the top spot on the list of best-selling supplements and dethroning turmeric from the No. 1 rank it held for five consecutive years. The report, in other words, shows CBD sales are soaring and disrupting long-standing trends in the $8.8 billion herbal supplement industry.

Boosting the appeal of CBD products is that they are relatively inexpensive versus many dietary supplements. CBD-rich cannabis (~20% CBD content) can be commercially cultivated at less than $1 per gram. Pure CBD can be produced for approximately $5 per gram.

However, it wouldn’t matter how economical CBD is if it wasn’t also seen by consumers as offering a multitude of benefits.

7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects)

Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments.

Better known as CBD, it is one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, Cannabis sativa (1Trusted Source).

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and causes the sensation of getting “high” that’s often associated with marijuana. However, unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive.

This quality makes CBD an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects of marijuana or certain pharmaceutical drugs.

CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.

It’s gaining momentum in the health and wellness world, with some scientific studies confirming it may ease symptoms of ailments like chronic pain and anxiety.

Here are seven health benefits of CBD oil that are backed by scientific evidence…

That was the picture of the market for CBD products pre-COVID. In a world now obsessed with health (and becoming more resistant to infection), how/why can we expect demand for CBD products to grow even faster?

This March 23, 2020 article from Chiropractic Economics lays out some details.

The four reasons why COVID-conscious consumers may accelerate their purchases of CBD products even further?

i)   Increasing natural killer cells
ii)   Supporting a healthy inflammatory response
iii)   Maintaining a healthy gut microbia
iv)   Alleviating stress/anxiety

CBD doesn’t cure COVID-19.

However, as consumers gravitate toward CBD products as a health-boosting tool to fight this pandemic, CBD stocks can become an effective investor antidote to the general collapse in equities.

Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 18:12:27 +0000

Vext Science, Inc. Doubles Cannabis Dispensary Presence in Arizona and Commences Production in Oklahoma

Vext Science, Inc. Doubles Cannabis Dispensary Presence in Arizona and Commences Production in Oklahoma

Vext Science, Inc. (“VEXT” or the “Company“) (OTCQX: VEXTF; CSE: VEXT) today announced the closing of an acquisition in the State of Arizona, the commencement of production in its joint venture in Oklahoma and provides a general reporting update.

Acquisition of 100% of RDF Management Company, LLC and Intellectual Property

Effective on April 6, 2020, VEXT closed the acquisition of an Arizona based company to provide exclusive turn-key services for the management, administration and operation of Organica Patient Group, Inc. (“Organica”), an Arizona not for profit corporation, which was issued and holds in good standing, a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificate, by the Arizona Department of Health Services in the State of Arizona (collectively the “Transaction“).  Such services includes but is not limited to the management, administration and operation of its medical marijuana dispensary, cultivation, extraction, kitchen and infusion operations.

Organica has been operational in the Arizona market since 2013, with its retail dispensary located and operational in Chino Valley, Arizona and its offsite cultivation facility located in and operational in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Organica cultivates and produces medical marijuana and medical marijuana product which is sold and distributed on a retail and wholesale basis in State of Arizona.

Consideration for the Transaction, included the following:

    1. Issuance of 67,000 Class A common shares of VEXT (the “Multiple Voting Shares“), each Multiple Voting Share carrying one hundred votes and subject to the appropriate terms and restrictions.  Such Multiple Voting Shares: (i) do not trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange (the “CSE“), (ii) are subject to a Canadian hold period of four months and a day from the date of issuance, (iii) are subject to a US securities law legend and (iv) are subject to a coattail agreement designed to prevent transactions that otherwise would deprive holders of the Company’s subordinate Common Shares (which trade on the CSE) of rights applicable to take-over bid legislation to which they would have been entitled to if the Multiple Voting Shares had been Common Shares; and
    2. Issuance of a promissory note by VEXT in the aggregate sum of USD$5.5mm and along with other standard closing adjustments.

Commencement of Operations in Oklahoma

Additionally, the Company announced that its joint venture in Oklahoma has commenced production operations and is producing cannabis products for sale and distribution to the Oklahoma cannabis market as of the date of this news release.  The Company’s joint venture with Texoma Processing and Extraction, LLC, an Oklahoma limited liability company, located in Madill, Oklahoma (“Texoma“) has received a Certificate of Operation from the state of Oklahomaand includes a licensed cannabis processing, extraction and production operation (collectively the “Processing Facility“), in addition to a licensed outdoor cannabis cultivation facility. The new, state-of-the-art Processing Facility is expected to commence operations, including the production of VEXT’s Vapen branded cannabis concentrates, edibles and extraction products, to be distributed to dispensaries in the State of Oklahoma in late April 2020.

The Company also entered into a nonbinding Letter of Intent with Appalachian Pharms Processing LLC (“Appalachian Pharms“), an Ohio limited liability company, located in Jackson, Ohio.  Appalachian Pharms’ operations will commence in April, and subject to execution of additional contractual agreements and the approval of the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Vapen brand of products will be produced and distributed to the Ohio cannabis market.

Eric Offenberger, Chief Executive Officer of VEXT commented: “We are executing on our expansion strategy on multiple fronts. First, we have successfully expanded our presence in Arizona, our home market and the third largest medical only cannabis market in the U.S. With the closing of the Arizona Transaction and the associated rights to provide services to Organica’s vertically integrated cannabis operations, we have increased our presence in this fast-growing market and improving our access to quality source materials. Second, we have also expanded our presence in two new high-growth markets, Oklahoma and Ohio (subject to regulatory approval). As such, we are on track to  have production and or sales of Vapen Branded Product in five (5) additional states, three (3) of which are joint ventures, with the goal of having seven (7) total joint venture and/or investment partnerships closed and operational by the end of calendar year 2020.”

As both medical and economic concerns have increased over the past two weeks, regarding the spreading and impact of the novel coronavirus known as “COVID-19”, the Company wants to assure its shareholders that it is taking all the necessary steps to protect employees and customers, ensuring full compliance with established guidelines.  The safety of our employees and customers have been a primary focus.

About Vext Science, Inc.

Vext Science, Inc. is a US-based Cannabis THC and Hemp cannabinoid products company manufacturing THC cartridges, concentrates, edibles and accessories under the Vapen™ Brand, and Hemp based products under the Pure Touch Botanicals brand as well as the Vapen CBD brand. Based in Arizona, Vext Science, Inc. has one of the leading THC concentrates, edibles, and distillate cartridge brands sold in most of the state’s 100+ dispensaries. Herbal Wellness Center is one of Arizona’s leading dispensaries and we execute all aspects of the cultivation, extraction, edibles infusion and manufacturing processes which insures a product of the highest quality and purity. Product quality and purity are core to our marketing strategy. Vext Science, Inc. is executing its business growth by leveraging experience and expertise in extractions, product manufacturing, and marketing to expand in the U.S. and internationally through revenue and profit-sharing joint venture partnerships. For more information visit our website at

COVID-19 Risk Factor

VEXT may be impacted by business interruptions resulting from pandemics and public health emergencies, including those related to COVID-19. An outbreak of infectious disease, a pandemic, or a similar public health threat, such as the recent outbreak of COVID-19, or a fear of any of the foregoing, could adversely impact VEXT by causing operating, manufacturing, supply chain, and project development delays and disruptions, labor shortages, travel, and shipping disruption and shutdowns (including as a result of government regulation and prevention measures). It is unknown whether and how VEXT may be affected if such a pandemic persists for an extended period of time, including as a result of the waiver of regulatory requirements or the implementation of emergency regulations to which VEXT is subject. Although VEXT has been deemed essential and/or has been permitted to continue operating its facilities in the states in which it operates during the pendency of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no assurance that the Company’s operations will continue to be deemed essential and/or will continue to be permitted to operate. VEXT may incur expenses or delays relating to such events outside of its control, which could have a material adverse impact on its business, operating results, financial condition and the trading price of the Company’s Common Shares.

Forward Looking Statements

Statements in this news release that are forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors disclosed here and elsewhere in VEXT’s periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. When used in this news release, words such as “will, could, plan, estimate, expect, intend, may, potential, believe, should,” and similar expressions, are forward- looking statements.

Forward-looking statements may include, without limitation, statements related COVID-19, to future developments and the business and operations of VEXT, the proposed operational timeline for the joint venture with Texoma and the Processing Facility, and revenue and profit contribution for VEXT’s operations.

Although VEXT has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, there can be other factors that cause results, performance or achievements not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended, including, but not limited to: dependence on obtaining regulatory approvals; being engaged in activities currently considered illegal under U.S. Federal laws; change in laws; reliance on management; requirements for additional financing; competition; hindered market growth and state adoption due to inconsistent public opinion and perception of the medical-use and adult-use marijuana industry and; regulatory or political change.

There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate or that management’s expectations or estimates of future developments, circumstances or results will materialize. Because of these risks and uncertainties, the results or events predicted in these forward-looking statements may differ materially from actual results or events.

Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The forward- looking statements in this news release are made as of the date of this release. VEXT disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise such information, except as required by applicable law, and VEXT does not assume any liability for disclosure relating to any other company mentioned herein.

The Canadian Securities Exchange has not reviewed, approved or disapproved the content of this news release.

Eric Offenberger
Chief Executive Officer


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Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 13:18:44 +0000

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) Collaborates With The US and Canada Based Labs To Study The Benefits Of Its DehydraTech Delivery Platform To Fight COVID-19 Pandemic

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) Collaborates With The US and Canada Based Labs To Study The Benefits Of Its DehydraTech Delivery Platform To Fight COVID-19 Pandemic

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) is collaborating with the US and Canada based leading labs to study the benefits of its DehydraTech delivery platform. It plans to improve the effectiveness and delivery of certain antiretroviral drugs by using its delivery platform to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers worldwide investigates antiretroviral drugs

Researchers from across the world are investigating antiretroviral drugs to combat coronavirus. Most of the potential drug candidates are fat-soluble. They present challenges in reaching the bloodstream of humans when administered orally. Lexaria has got expertise in the delivery of fat-soluble drugs in oral form.

According to an article published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, the patented DehydraTech delivery platform of Lexaria is proven to deliver fat-soluble drugs in human blood with increased chances of 317% quantified drug in the bloodstream within thirty minutes of administering the drug. If the delivery platform of Lexaria is capable of showing the same performance in the delivery of antiretroviral drugs, it offers an economical and effective mechanism to cure patients suffering from coronavirus.

An exploratory study in healthy volunteers

Lexaria plans to conduct the human pharmacokinetic exploratory trial in healthy volunteers on a pilot basis using three antiretroviral drugs, which are already studied on coronavirus strains. The company will compare the results with the previous outcome achieved without the use of Lexaria’s technology. It will initially conduct the study in Canada at a leading university where it has already shared the design and plan for the approval of the ethics board. Lexaria expects to provide more details after the successful completion of the study and on getting the results.

Lexaria may also conduct additional research using the patented platform for drug delivery in animal models to evaluate efficiency. The company will share its technology with the researchers worldwide for enhancing the effectiveness of drug investigations if it could achieve success in delivering antiretroviral drugs.

DehydraTech delivery platform of Lexaria is an economical solution and cutting edge technology for reduced dosage and to improve the effectiveness of ingestible drugs. It also improves the effectiveness of other beneficial molecules. DehydraTech also improves the ability of your body to quickly absorb beneficial molecules, supplements, drugs, and vitamins.

Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 12:36:14 +0000

THC KISS Cannabis Beverage

THC KISS Cannabis Beverage

THC BioMed Intl Ltd. (“THC BioMed” or the “Company“) is pleased to announce that its new cannabis beverage, THC Kiss, will be available for sale to Medical Patients this week. THC BioMed expects to begin its rollout of THC Kiss to the recreational market over the next few weeks.

THC KISS is a brand new cannabis beverage that is unlike those currently available in either the grey or legal cannabis markets. THC Kiss was developed by THC BioMed using proprietary extraction methods invented by THC BioMed.

“We remain a true cannabis company. We are passionate about cannabis and apply a deep understanding of it in our operations. Our operational procedures have proven successful and we have demonstrated that we have the ability to scale at low cost while producing the finest quality cannabis at a very reasonable cost to the end consumer,” said John Miller, President & CEO of THC BioMed. “The launch of this product is an important milestone for the Company. We continue to fully focus on sustained growth and profitability as we aggressively increase our market share.”

THC Kiss will sell at compassionate pricing for registered medical patients at $4.20 per 30ml beverage containing 10 mg of THC.

About THC

THC BioMed is a Cannabis Act Licensed Producer of medical and recreational cannabis. It is licensed to cultivate and sell dried, extract, edible and topical cannabis. THC BioMed is Canada’s largest supplier of legal cannabis genetics. The Company is on the leading edge of scientific research and the development of products and services related in the medical cannabis industry. Management believes THC BioMed is well-positioned to be in the forefront of this rapidly growing industry.

Forward-Looking Information:
This press release may include forward-looking information within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, concerning the business of THC BioMed.  Forward-looking information is based on certain key expectations and assumptions made by the management of THC BioMed.  In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “will,” “may,” “would,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “likely,” “could” and variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negative of these terms or similar expressions.  Forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date of this press release and include that (a) THC Kiss will be available for sale to Medical Patients this week, (b) THC Kiss will be available to retail stores over the next few weeks, (b) THC BioMed will increase its market share, and (c) THC BioMed will be on the forefront of this rapidly growing industry. Although THC BioMed believes that the expectations and assumptions on which such forward-looking information is based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking information because THC BioMed can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. THC disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, other than as required by applicable securities laws.

The Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or the accuracy of the contents of this release.


For further information: President and CEO: John Miller, THC Biomed Intl Ltd., T: 1-844-THCMEDS, E:

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Authored By

Anthony Varrell

Anthony Varrell is Managing Director of StoneBridge Partners LLC. SBP continues to drive market awareness for leading firms in the cannabis industry throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Published at Tue, 07 Apr 2020 12:05:10 +0000

Illinois Stores Sold Nearly $36 Million Worth Of Recreational MJ In March, Despite Coronavirus

Illinois Stores Sold Nearly $36 Million Worth Of Recreational MJ In March, Despite Coronavirus

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois marijuana shops sold almost $36 million in cannabis products in March, according to a report from the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation released on Thursday.

More than 812,000 adult-use marijuana products were sold in the 31-day period. While the majority of those sales ($27 million) came from in-state buyers, out-of-state visitors accounted for about $8.8 million.

By comparison, Illinois sold about $35 million worth of cannabis in February and nearly $40 million during its first month of sales in January.

“Three straight months of consistent adult use cannabis sales show there is—and will continue to be—strong support and demand from consumers,” Toi Hutchinson, the state’s cannabis czar, said in a press release.

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Published at Fri, 03 Apr 2020 01:25:44 +0000

Coronavirus gave cannabis companies a big bump in sales and it wasn’t just for the wake-and-bake set


Last month, as a wide range of American economic sectors ground to a halt in response to the coronavirus crisis, one particular industry headed in the other direction. Across the United States during the week of March 16, cannabis dispensaries saw their sales soar by double digits. One company dealt with hour-long lines at its Pennsylvania stores. On March 16th alone, sales doubled in California.

To read more…

Canada Cannabis Payments Face Their Own Hurdles

Since last year, when Canada legalized recreational pot in full, the nation became a kind of country-sized lab for how that new business would play out. That market could reach as much as $5.1 billion in annual sales by 2020, according to one estimate – though some predictions are higher, especially ones that include spending on accessories and growing supplies.

Still, even after all these months, and even with legalization done at a federal scale (as opposed to province by province), the cannabis payments process has hardly hit a full stride. While not as bad as the situation in the U.S., the situation demonstrates that payments don’t always keep pace with rapid social change — change that often encourages entrepreneurship. That said, payments providers are indeed working hard to fill in the gaps when it comes to the growing cannabis business, both in Canada and the U.S.

Cannabis Spending

One month after Canada legalized marijuana for everyone in the country, Canadians spent C$54 million ($41 million) on the product, according to a recent report in Bloomberg. The C$54 million number is higher than the original estimate of C$43 million, illustrating the potential of the market. “Retail figures will vary as new stores continue to come online and the marketplace continues to evolve,” the report said.

Canada legalized cannabis after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said prohibition wasn’t working and provided illicit money to gangs, while allowing for unchecked use by the country’s youth. The legalization of marijuana in Canada was a big win for the prime minister, who said he would legalize pot use when he was running for office in 2015. The idea is to take profits away from organized criminals and to regulate the production, distribution and consumption that is already available illegally.

Bank Participation

But there are still barriers to full access and exploitation of those profits.

According to various reports and analysis, the Bank of Montreal remains the only “Big Five” financial institution in Canada to deal directly with the legal cannabis business there, including via financing of those state-sanctioned operations. That had led to the bank attracting business from cannabis producers seeking bank accounts — news that underscores what happens when a major payment and financial services provider gets in early. Smaller financial firms participated in the action as well.

The U.S., at least via certain federal agencies, has taken a dim view of legal recreational pot use in Canada, a view that has led to warnings and hassles for Canadian citizens entering the country. As well, Canadian financial institutions still worry that dealing with cannabis operations — even though they are legal — could lead to anti-money laundering compliance issues, as is the case in the U.S.

Payments Warning

Those worries, in fact, have bled down into a warning regarding consumer payments — a warning that won’t do much to encourage the further use of digital payment methods and plastic cards for legal cannabis purchases in Canada.

In late 2018, Daniel Therrien, Canada’s federal privacy commissioner — a job that spans larger issues of digital privacy, among other topics — warned consumers in the country to use cash, not cards, to buy their recreational pot. “Cannabis is illegal in most jurisdictions outside of Canada. The personal information of cannabis users is therefore very sensitive,” Therrien wrote. “Some countries may deny entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis, even lawfully.”

Oddly enough, that may be hard for some cannabis buyers, as a recent report noted.

“If you live in Ontario, the only means of buying legal weed is through the Ontario Cannabis Store — an online sales platform that only accepts credit card payments,” according to Civilized.  “The personal information of 4,500 OCS customers had already been breached, though there hasn’t appeared to be anyone blocked from travel because of this.”

The report adds that when it comes to legal medical marijuana in Canada, “the only way for patients to legally buy medical marijuana is online.”

U.S. Progress?

In the U.S., meanwhile, the situation is different – though with roughly similar results of making financial institutions and card networks reluctant to serve the industry.

U.S. federal law still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, producing a conflict with states that have legalized pot in various ways. But some financial institutions, backed by certain law enforcement officials and lawmakers, are pushing a Congressional bill that would allow “safe harbor” to banks and credit unions that serve the legal cannabis industry (including vendors that serve legal cannabis operations).

It appears likely that when it comes to cannabis, financial institutions and payment services, progress in Canada will stay a step ahead of what happens in the U.S. But that doesn’t mean things will develop quickly in Canada. Even in the early 21st-century digital era, it can take a long time for the realities of payment and commerce to catch up with social change.

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The U.S. Hemp Industry Is Expected to Grow to $2.6 Billion by 2020

The entire cannabis industry has been spreading like wildfire lately, but a particular niche seems primed to becoming the next big thing: hemp.

Following the passage of the U.S. Farm Bill, hemp and all hemp-based products are now legal (not including CBD edibles, currently under attack, as we just saw in New York), which makes for a thriving industry. There are 2 primary differences between hemp and cannabis. Number one, hemp won’t get you high but it has many of the same benefits as cannabis since it often has other cannabinoids and especially high levels of CBD. Number two, hemp has a history of industrial uses such as producing paper, plastic, food, clothing, insulation, and numerous other products.

So what can we expect in terms of growth when it comes to the hemp? Well, we’re looking at an industry expected to double in market size within two years. According to a recent report from New Frontier Data titled The Global State of Hemp, worldwide hemp sales equaled $3.7 billion in 2018 and are estimated to be almost double at $5.7 billion by 2020.

As of now, China is leading the profits game with nearly $1.2 billion in hemp sales. The United States came in second with an even $1 billion, followed by all of Europe at $980 million, and Central and South America rounded out the end of the list with a combined total of $220 million.

As the market grows, it’s expected that the United State may move in to the top slot, depending on how any upcoming regulatory changes are handled. New Frontier Data predicts that U.S. hemp sales will increase to $2.6 billion by 2020. About half of this revenue will come from the sale of hemp-derived CBD products.

If you’ve been looking to invest in the industry, now would be the perfect time, as long as you have done your homework… Check back for more updates on this developing market and make sure to subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter for all the latest news and information about the cannabis and hemp industries.

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Editorial: The Canada-California cannabis connection

Canada often serves as America’s colder, nicer, saner foil, and its handling of marijuana policy exemplifies its more pragmatic side. While federal, state and even local governments in the United States hurtle in different directions on cannabis, our northern neighbor dispensed with much of the confusion by legalizing the drug at the national level last year.

Two Bay Area business deals this week presaged the literal dividends of that decision. Canadian cannabis concerns acquired the Oakland mega-dispensary Harborside as well as three San Francisco dispensaries owned by Apothecarium. The former transaction, valued at $153 million, is a reverse takeover in which a smaller Toronto company is acquiring its larger Oakland counterpart, which also has a San Jose dispensary and will retain most of the ownership of the resulting firm. Another Toronto company is buying Apothecarium for $118 million in cash and stock.

Both of the purchasers are publicly traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange, which listed about 50 American cannabis companies last year. That will give the firms valuable access to capital markets and dramatically increase their ability to grow in more than the cultivating sense.

That is in sharp contrast to the companies’ situation in the United States, where then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was still mulling a war-on-drugs-style crackdown on marijuana even as Canada was moving to legalize it. Federal authorities were moving to shut down Harborside until 2016.

Cannabis remains illegal for medical or recreational purposes at the federal level and in 17 states. The nation’s law enforcement agencies are still making more than 600,000 arrests a year on marijuana charges, most of them for possession, a figure that has been rising in recent years despite increasing legalization. Such arrests disproportionately affect minorities.

The costs and harm of continuing criminalization are in addition to the economic benefits forgone in states that have changed course. Cannabis’ legal limbo cuts it off from regular banking and financial services, let alone the stock market.

Former California Treasurer John Chiang at one point advocated a fleet of armored cars to help the state collect marijuana taxes paid with huge quantities of cash. His successor, Fiona Ma, proposed special state-chartered banks to provide services to marijuana businesses; this week, she was among those urging the new Congress, in its first hearing on marijuana, to take steps to give the industry access to conventional financial services.

Both California and Canada have yet to sort out the many complications of ending marijuana prohibition, from ensuring that it doesn’t encourage more use among minors to making the legitimate industry more attractive than the black market.

The difference is in the minimally coherent national policy that remains sorely lacking in the United States.

In contrast to his former attorney general, President Trump has occasionally gestured toward a more forward-looking marijuana policy.

Given his fixation on trade with our northern neighbor, perhaps Canada’s emerging advantage in the industry will push the administration in the right direction.

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