FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
While cannabis legalization is rapidly spreading, the plant is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal regulations. However, with ongoing clinical trials and research, health officials have begun to realize that cannabis can be used as a potential medical treatment. Mainly, most consumers are medical patients using cannabis to ease symptoms related with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and chronic pain. Medical cannabis can already be found in many regions around the world, such as parts of the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Thailand, and South Korea. Predominantly, the overall CBD market is driven by the medical sector. Generally, most consumers intake CBD through forms of capsule or concentrate. Yet, while CBD is associated with a medical treatment, in some countries, there are little to no regulations regarding CBD in foods. As a result, the global marijuana market is expected to grow from USD 42.20 Billion in 2017 to USD 466.81 Billion by 2025 while registering a CAGR of 35.3%, according to data compiled by Verified Market Intelligence. MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTC: MEDIF) (TSX: LABS), Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTC: PLNHF), Trulieve Cannabis Corporation (OTC: TCNNF), Village Farms International, Inc. (NASDAQ: VFF), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB)
The fight to legalize cannabis in the United States on a federal level continues, but in the meantime, voters in five states will decide whether to adopt new medical or recreational cannabis laws in the upcoming election on November 3rd. The five states are Arizona, New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Mississippi. As it stands now, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis, and of those, 11 states have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use. Matthew Schweich, deputy director of pro-legalization advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, explained according to Politico, “We’re now working in very red states… If we win in Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota … it becomes more difficult for those senators to oppose legislation that allows their home states to implement laws the voters have approved.”
MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTCQX: MEDIF) (TSX: LABS) announced earlier this month that, “its wholly owned subsidiary MediPharm Labs Inc. will supply premium, formulated cannabis oil to Cann Farm Peru S.A.C., a Lima-based producer and distributor serving Peruvian and other markets in Latin America.
This is MediPharm Labs first such agreement in Latin America and the most recent example of the Company’s international growth strategy in action. As part of this strategy, the Company has expanded its addressable medical, wellness and adult-use markets to parts of Asia Pacific, Europe and now Latin America.
MediPharm Labs is creating footholds in medical, wellness and adult-use markets around the world and in Latin American countries. With a combined population of approximately 580 million – and beginning with its fifth largest country Peru – Latin America factors highly in the Company’s business plan. As an early mover among Latin American countries, Peru has created a legal framework for producing, importing and selling cannabis for medical use. As a result, Peru’s market is advancing rapidly and offers the potential to register varied formats of cannabis based products. Using a range of pricing, consumption and patient datasets, the LATAM Cannabis Report™ by Prohibition Partners(1) forecasts that the LATAM market is expected to exceed US$12 billion by 2028, offering “serious growth potential to global cannabis companies.”
‘Peru is one of the top medical cannabis markets in the world and Cann Farm is one of very few cannabis companies which hold both a Droguería licence and cannabis importation licence which makes this agreement of outstanding strategic value to MediPharm Labs,’ said Pat McCutcheon, CEO, MediPharm Labs. ‘As we pursue our global ambitions, it is vital for us to partner with companies of Cann Farm’s calibre who know their local markets intimately, have a real appreciation for the needs of patients, an ongoing commitment to scientific advancement and a sound plan for regional expansion. We expect great things from this collaboration.’
Under the one-year renewable agreement, MediPharm Labs Inc. will provide a variety of cannabis concentrate formats, with optionality for patient ready formulated products. The products will be distributed to patients through pharmacies in Peru. Cann Farm will in turn obtain all Peruvian registrations, authorizations and approvals required for importation. In the future, Cann Farm may look to MediPharm Labs for further support in commercialization activities. MediPharm Labs anticipates delivery to begin in Q4 2020, pending regulatory approval by applicable health authorities.
‘Cann Farm was created from our deep commitment to patients, who demand reliable, consistent high quality, and proven product integrity; therefore we choose our partners very carefully,” said Andres Vazquez Vargas, Executive President, Cann Farm Peru. “What impresses us most about MediPharm Labs is their focus on medical markets and their commitment to our production standards, as is seen with their GMP certification, which is the gold standard in pharma production. It’s rare to see GMP certification in the cannabis supply chain because it’s a complex and rigorous process to earn the qualification. This tells us all we need to know about their ability to meet our needs on not only a continuous, but consistent basis.'”
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Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: PLNHF) announced back in July that it had entered into an asset purchase agreement pursuant to which it has acquired cannabis inventory, equipment and tenant improvements, and subject to regulatory approval will acquire the Nevada cannabis licenses at a 45,000 sq. ft. indoor cultivation and production facility in Las Vegas, Nevada from West Coast Development Nevada, LLC (“WCDN”). Planet 13 is paying USD 1.156 Million for the cannabis inventory, and USD 3 Million for the operating assets, licenses, equipment and tenant improvements which payment is comprised of USD 0.5 Million in cash and USD 2.5 Million of common shares in the capital of Planet 13, resulting in the issuance by the Company of 1,374,833 Consideration Shares based on a 10-day VWAP, all of which shares are being held in escrow until the Second Closing. The license transfer under the Asset Purchase Agreement is contingent on approval by the State of Nevada’s Cannabis Control Board (“CCB”), and upon receiving such approval the Consideration Shares will be released from escrow to WCDN.
Trulieve Cannabis Corporation (OTCQX: TCNNF) announced last week the opening of its latest Florida dispensary. Tampa will be home to the Company’s 60th dispensary nationwide and 58th in Florida. It will be the Company’s third dispensary in Tampa and will directly support patients throughout Hillsborough County. Located near the Tampa International Airport, the dispensary supports Trulieve’s goal of expanding and ensuring direct, reliable patient access to medical cannabis across its homestate of Florida. It also joins the Company’s 57 other dispensaries statewide, including two others in the Tampa area, as well as others across Wesley Chapel, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. “It’s been a historic month for medical cannabis patients, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating with our Trulievers in Tampa,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers. “Trulieve has always focused on creating customer-driven experiences and seeing expanded access to not only the forms of medications they have available to them, but direct access to the products they have come to rely on. At our core, we’re focused on compassionate care and natural, effective medication and look forward to continuing to celebrate for years to come.”
Village Farms International, Inc. (NASDAQ: VFF) announced last week it has entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement with Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. to acquire 36,958,500 common shares of Pure Sunfarms Corp. owned by Emerald, representing approximately 41.3% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Pure Sunfarms. Upon completion of the Pure Sunfarms Transaction, Village Farms will own 100% of the common shares of Pure Sunfarms. The total purchase price of CAD 79.9 Million (USD 61.0 Million) will be satisfied through a CAD 60.0 Million (USD 45.8 Million) cash payment and a CAD 19.9 Million (USD 15.2 Million) promissory note due six months from the closing date of the Pure Sunfarms Transaction. The Pure Sunfarms Transaction will be immediately accretive to Village Farms’ net income.
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) announced on February 3rd, its Aurora River production facility, located in Bradford, Ontario, has received European Union Good Manufacturing Practice certification. EU GMP certification is granted to companies whose production facilities demonstrate a high degree of quality and consistency in their manufacturing procedures and is a requirement for the export of medical cannabis products into most European markets. “Aurora is leading the development of medical markets across Europe and around the world,” said Terry Booth, CEO of Aurora. “The EU GMP certification of our River facility further validates our strategy focused on purpose-built facilities, designed and constructed exclusively for the production of high-quality, pharmaceutical grade cannabis. I congratulate our team on successfully working with regulators and licensing bodies to ensure Aurora’s facilities and products are in accordance with local and international standards that will allow for greater access to the highest quality medical cannabis products to patients who need them.”