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Hemp and CBD Popularity Reaches New Heights With Recent Legislative Breakthroughs

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NEW YORK, April 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Hemp was recently pushed into the spotlight after Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell had advocated for its legalization. McConnell's support ultimately led hemp to be legalized in the recent passing of the U.S. Farm Bill in late 2018, in large part because it contains less than 0.3% THC and is considered the non-psychoactive cousin of cannabis. Essentially, hemp provides users therapeutic and relaxation effects without the euphoric body and mind high. The passage of the Farm Bill had also recently added credibility to one of hemp's components: CBD. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a derivative of hemp and many cannabis-based companies are integrating it into oils, tinctures, creams, and even edibles. Consumers are also using CBD to treat medical conditions such as inflammation, pain, acne, anxiety, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress, and even cancer. The versatile use of CBD, in combination with its non-psychoactive effects, has prompted many countries to use it as a replacement for traditionally administered treatments such as opioids. However, the expansion of the CBD industry is hindered by the lack of large-scale clinical trials. As clinical trials and legalization efforts continue to expand, the overall cannabis market is also positioned to become a prominent global marketplace. According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016. By the year 2023, the market is expected to reach USD 65 Billion, registering a CAGR of 37% during the forecast period. Chineseinvestors.com Inc. (OTC:CIIX), CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE:CTST) (TSX:TRST), KushCo Holdings, Inc. (OTC:KSHB), Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ:NTEC), 22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE:XXII)

Despite the growing global presence of the cannabis industry, the U.S. is a major factor in its growth. The U.S. alone accounts for a majority of the global market share and is expected to continue its dominance even though cannabis is still federally illegal within the U.S. However, the U.S. Federal government has previously granted states the authority to legalize cannabis, or keep its illegal status based on their own accord. Currently, 46 states allow some form of cannabis use, though the majority allow only medical and CBD use, which itself is often used medically. Additionally, advocates are citing recent research into and the development of CBD, rallying to reclassify CBD from the broader cannabis classification. As a result of the strong demand for CBD legalization many government agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, have been forced to reconsider CBD and its status. "Some of those ingredients get re-looked at through a different lens. It becomes a little less taboo," said Perteet Spencer, a Principal in the Brand Growth Solutions division at SPINS. "You're seeing massive legislative shifts that are going make a lot of things that were once completely off-limits a little more acceptable."

Chineseinvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB:CIIX) announced earlier this week that, "its wholly owned foreign enterprise, CBD Biotechnology Co. Ltd. ("CBD Biotech"), will participate in the 29th Vietnam International Trade Fair (Vietnam Expo) at the Hanoi International Exhibition Center (ICE) being held on April 10-13, 2019 in Hanoi.

As a featured exhibitor at the Vietnam Expo, CBD Biotech will introduce the new concept of "hemp plant extracting" and cosmetics. CBD Biotech will exhibit its self-branded hemp-infused skincare line as well as its hemp wine. CBD Biotech is one of the first companies to offer skincare products infused with hemp oil and hemp leaf extract in China. Focused on building new markets for industrial hemp products in throughout Asia, this expo will allow CBD Biotech to explore possible partnership opportunities for the Vietnamese market.

'The Vietnam Expo continues to be an important business destination to build bridges for trade promotion, foreign relations, facilitating commerce and attracting trade between Vietnamese and foreign enterprises,' said Ms. Summer Yun, CEO of CBD Biotechnology Co. Ltd. 'A pioneer in the Chinese market for hemp-infused skincare products and a Chinese originator of "hemp plant extracting' in combination with skincare, CBD Biotech's participation in this year's Vietnam Expo will give our brand the exposure needed to become an influencer within the Asian market. We anticipate creating lucrative export opportunities and exploring possible expansion to more Southeast Asian countries and members of ASEAN.'

The Vietnam Expo, one of Vietnam's largest, most influential international exhibitions, is hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam. This year the event will showcase 760 companies with over 1,000 international booths, with 35% of the companies being foreign and 65% Vietnam-based. The event provides foreign exhibitors the opportunity to educate Vietnamese business professionals regarding global trends and provides attendees the opportunity to purchase new products and learn about new technologies and investment opportunities.

CBD Biotech's current line of skincare products features the Popular Series which includes hemp peptide concentrate liquid, aqua bio-magnetic mask and hemp hyaluronic acid, the Live Oxygen Series which includes oxygen cleansing foam, oxygenated water and live oxygen cream, the Plant Series which includes Huanyan tone-up cream, aqua double moisturizer and peptide mineral essence, and the New Products Series which includes hemp eye pads, horse oil soap and hemp eye cream.

About ChineseInvestors.com: Founded in 1999, ChineseInvestors.com endeavors to be an innovative company providing: (a) real-time market commentary, analysis, and educational related services in Chinese language character sets (traditional and simplified); (b) advertising and public relation related support services; and (c) retail, online and direct sales of hemp-based products and other health related products. For more information, visit ChineseInvestors.com."

CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE:CTST) (TSX:TRST) - a federally regulated licensed producer of medical and recreational cannabis - is leading the Canadian and global market in producing standardized cannabis products. CannTrust Holdings Inc. recently announced that it had shipped its standardized CBD oil capsules to Australia's Gold Coast University Hospital. The capsules will be used in a study to determine the efficacy of CannTrust CBD oil capsules in slowing the disease progression in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Motor Neuron Disease (MND), which was first announced by the Company in July 2018. The capsules will be imported, stored and distributed by PharmaCann Pty Ltd. The shipment will include all investigational products that are required for the study. This study exemplifies CannTrust's focus on medical research and its dedication to uncovering the medicinal value of its proprietary cannabis products, and how they can improve health and well-being for all. In addition to assessing ALS disease progression, the study will also look at the effects of CannTrust CBD oil capsules on a variety of outcome measures related to ALS such as spasticity, pain, weight loss and quality of life. The CBD strain which will be used in the study was developed by CannTrust from its proprietary genetics, meaning that the research results will be specific to the Company's CBD oil. "With our medicinal cannabis experience and over 50,000 patients enrolled over the past five years, we continue to see the medical potential of the cannabis plant. We are committed to being international leaders in the generation of scientific evidence proving the medical benefits in treating a variety of indications. With hundreds of thousands of people living with ALS in Canada and globally, we continue to focus on improving peoples' lives around the world," says Peter Aceto, Chief Executive Officer of CannTrust. "We also thank PharmaCann for its expertise and assistance in importing our products to Australia, to make this study possible."

KushCo Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB:KSHB) is the premier producer of ancillary products and services to the cannabis and hemp industries. KushCo Holdings, Inc., in line with its previously announced sustainability initiatives, today announced it has signed a long-term development and distribution agreement with IEKO Corporation, for the production of compostable and biodegradable packaging products for use in the cannabis and CBD industries. Pursuant to the agreement, IEKO will work with KushCo to develop formulations and products designed for the unique demands of the cannabis and CBD industries, while ensuring that all new products are environmentally friendly by featuring proprietary, biodegradable materials from renewable resources. All packaging solutions produced under the agreement will be tested using ASTM and BPI standards to guarantee proper certification. Additionally, IEKO will provide dedicated research and development, quality control and account management personnel. KushCo Holdings' Chief Executive Officer, Nick Kovacevich commented, "It's our responsibility to reimagine our products today to ensure the viability of our planet tomorrow. Customers are demanding an environmentally conscious solution for their everyday packaging needs. Partnering with Bob Meers and IEKO is a huge win for us. It's inspiring to see the former Chief Executive Officer of Reebok and Lululemon so impassioned about the environment and I'm honored to be a part of the eco-sustainability movement our customers are yearning for. With a demonstrated ability to design and produce ground-breaking products, we are confident in the capabilities of the IEKO team and look forward partnering with one of California's top packaging engineers."

Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ:NTEC) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing drugs based on its proprietary Accordion Pill platform technology. Intec Pharma Ltd. recently announced the dosing of the first patient in a Phase 1 pharmacokinetic (PK) study of AP-THC, its proprietary Accordion Pill™ platform containing synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the primary cannabinoids contained in cannabis. The Phase 1 PK study is a single-center, single-dose, randomized, open-label three-way crossover study to investigate the PK, safety and tolerability of AP-THC in up to 18 normal healthy volunteers. "Following this PK study, we plan to initiate a PK study of AP-cannabidiol (CBD) in the first half of 2019. Both our THC and CBD programs utilize pharmaceutically-pure synthetic cannabinoids as starting materials. This allows us to provide a pure and reproducible drug delivery profile with the AP platform that we believe fits under existing regulatory approval mechanisms. We continue to be enthusiastic about the potential for this program, especially as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent approval of a cannabinoid product has demonstrated the Agency's growing recognition of the importance of cannabinoid therapeutics. Given the known analgesic properties of cannabinoids, we expect our AP-cannabinoids will be applicable to a variety of pain indications," said Jeffrey A. Meckler, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Intec Pharma.

22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE:XXII) is a plant biotechnology company focused on technology which allows the increase or decrease in the level of nicotine in tobacco plants and the level of cannabinoids in hemp/cannabis plants through genetic engineering and plant breeding. 22nd Century Group, Inc. recently announced that the 2018 Farm Bill will greatly enhance the Company's research activities around low-THC Cannabis sativa L. Recently, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, including an important provision to legalize hemp, defined as Cannabis sativa L. containing not more than 0.3% THC (the compound in cannabis responsible for psychotropic effects). Cannabis plants with higher levels of THC (i.e. marijuana) remain illegal under federal law. As a Research Partner of the State of New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, and with extensive experience in plant biotechnology and genetics, 22nd Century scientists are uniquely capable of exploiting cannabis DNA. The new law will allow 22nd Century to expand the Company's research activities, to add to the Company's cannabis intellectual property portfolio, and to increase the Company's cannabis germplasm library through the legal interstate commerce of proprietary low-THC Cannabis sativa L. plants. "In ending the legal uncertainty that low-THC cannabis research has entailed, and by opening the door for legal sales of hemp across state lines, the 2018 Farm Bill will result in a vibrant and growing marketplace for 22nd Century's unique varieties," explained Dr. Paul Rushton, Vice President of Biotechnology at 22nd Century Group. "With a sizeable head-start in low-THC Cannabis sativa research in collaboration with the Company's fully licensed and accredited partners, 22nd Century is poised to take advantage of hemp's new legal status and to develop and commercialize new hemp/cannabis varieties for the medical and agricultural fields."

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