Market Overview

Legal Channels Provide Consumers With Access to Safer Cannabis Products

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NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --  The cannabis industry has grown at a remarkable pace over the past several years on the back of ongoing legalization efforts around the globe. And while cannabis is still illegal in most regions, a handful of countries have decriminalized the plant for moderate personal consumption. Predominantly, cannabis is being used for medical applications because of its therapeutic benefits. Additionally, the North American region's recreational market is even accelerating at a faster rate than the medical market. Overall, the cannabis industry has received a lot of scrutiny, hindering its growth. In particular, cannabis-based extracts and concentrates have recently received major backlash due to the unsafe chemicals used in their production as U.S. President Donald Trump and Congress take aim at the electronic cigarette industry. Now, cannabis industry experts believe legislation restricting e-cig sales could carry over into the cannabis marketplace, ultimately curbing sales of cannabis vaporizer products. The additive chemicals and unthorough testing procedures have caused great concern among political lawmakers and federal health officials. Some officials are also demanding that research be updated in order to fully understand the health hazards caused by vaping. And after laboratory testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it was uncovered that vitamin E acetate is possibly the cause of vape's health complications. Vitamin E is a common nutrition supplement, however, vitamin E acetate found within vaporizers is synthetic and is used as a thickener in liquids. Specifically, many black market cannabis distributors use vitamin E acetate in their liquids. In response to the epidemic, many industry experts have told consumers to purchase cannabis products from legal vendors, who explicitly mention the additives as well as the growing procedure of the product. According to data compiled by Verified Market Research, the global marijuana market was valued at USD 42.20 Billion in 2016. Furthermore, by 2025, the market is expected to reach USD 466.81 Billion while registering a CAGR of 35.3% from 2018 to 2025. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC:CRFTF) (CSE:CRFT), Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB), Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. (OTC:CWBHF) (TSX:CWEB), iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC:ITHUF) (CSE:IAN)

Currently, investigations are primarily focused on faulty products originating from the black market. However, health officials also warn about the dangers of legal vendors. Dr. Wassim Labaki, a pulmonary disease physician at the University of Michigan, reminded consumers that licensed products aren't well regulated while also warning that the constant use could lead to potentially inhaling toxic compounds. Consequently, certain consumers decided to turn towards "craft cannabis." Cultivating craft cannabis is the meticulous process of growing high quality and organic flowers. Notably, craft cultivators do not use any type of artificial products, meaning that chemical additives such as pesticides are not used during the growing process. Generally, insecticides or fungicides are used to prevent bug infestations or molding, however, these chemicals can damage the cannabinoid content within the strain. In order to maintain a healthy plant and prevent infections, craft cultivators tend to each and every individual plant to ensure a premium end product. The tedious procedure usually results in above-average prices for craft cannabis products. Regardless, many consumers have mentioned that they would rather pay more for a natural and top-shelf product than a generic and lackluster product. "When it comes to retail, consumers will always pay more for premium-quality products. In the cannabis industry, that means top-shelf genetics cultivated in small batches will fetch higher prices," said Anne Forkutza, former Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Brand Officer at Cova Software.

Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC:CRFTF) (CSE:CRFT) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE:CRFT). Yesterday, the Company announced that, "it has submitted a product call application package in consideration for supplier approval from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB), in hopes of becoming the first vendor to supply British Columbia's provincial distributor with craft cannabis products. This is the second application of its kind for Pasha, the first being for the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) earlier this year, and marks the company's ability to bring quality craft cannabis products from recognized pre-legalization brands to market in an efficient and timely manner.

Through Pasha's numerous craft brands, this application offers the Province of British Columbia the opportunity to access to its differentiated consumer-focused products from accomplished local brands and Canadian craft farmers. By way of its recently acquired Vancouver Island-based licensed producer, MedCann, currently undergoing a name change, Pasha will process wellness-use craft products including pre-rolled premium flower, extracts, capsules, edibles, vaporizer oils, and topicals.

Pasha is proud to submit products from its prohibition-era brands family, brands firmly rooted in British Columbia's craft cannabis industry, to the BCLDB – the only public legal retailer of cannabis in the province. Brands included in the 32-product initial application package include several brand names and production formulations: CBD Therapeutics (CBD isolates and oil formulations), Beard Brothers Collective (cannabis oils, vape pen inhalants, and shatter distillates), Theraveda (craft cannabis flower), Aurion (Craft cannabis gel capsules, distillates, and vape oil products), Roll Model (premium flower pre-rolls and vape oils), Grizzlers (sativa and indica flower pre-rolls), and Earth Dragon Organics (CBD-infused skincare and bath products).

Submitting this application to the BCLDB signifies that Pasha and its subsidiaries are ready to enter the legal market with these products. 'These brands were built by people with long-range vision and, for most, their narratives are small business established by locals in British Columbia,' said Dr. Brigitte Simons, Chief Scientific Officer at Pasha Brands, who oversaw the submission. 'It's time to bring these highly sought-after craft products to the BC consumers who love them.'

Jason Longden, CEO of Pasha, added, 'Seeing all the Pasha brands coming together and creating a team transitioning from the traditional market to offer unique craft cannabis products is really exciting. It will be a privilege to share our mindfully developed products with a larger demographic.'

About Pasha Brands: Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Pasha is a vertically integrated, prohibition-era brand house firmly rooted in BC's craft cannabis industry, which boasts an international reputation. With proven capabilities in cannabis cultivation, genetic research and development, product processing, and retail, Pasha is uniquely positioned in the new legal cannabis market through its network of hundreds of craft cannabis suppliers under the Pasha umbrella. Pasha subsidiary, Medcann Health Products Ltd., is a Health Canada licensed cultivator and processor with a licence to sell medical cannabis products in Canada. Pasha and BC Craft are also developing a craft cannabis campus, which is dedicated to bringing craft quality into the newly legal cannabis market in Canada. BC Craft is driven to assist craft growers in obtaining security clearance and licensing to grow as micro-cultivators, specializing in education and compliance to bring growers into the regulated cannabis supply market. Pasha's common shares trade on the CSE under the symbol "CRFT" and on the FSE under the symbol "ZZD". For more information, please visit www.pashabrands.com"

For our latest "Buzz on the Street" Show featuring Pasha Brands Ltd. recent corporate news, please head over to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm_CuAgbrZg

Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED) is a world-leading diversified cannabis, hemp and cannabis device company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms, as well as medical devices through Canopy Growth's subsidiary, Storz & Bickel GMbH & Co. KG. Canopy Growth Corporation recently announced that it has received a licence from Health Canada for its KeyLeaf Life Sciences facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Including the Smiths Falls site and the recently licensed BC Tweed extraction site, Canopy Growth now operates three significant extraction assets to support the throughput required for large scale value-add product development. "With this milestone, we are executing against the vision of making strategic investments today in order to deliver results over the long term," said Mark Zekulin, Chief Executive Officer, Canopy Growth. "This licence will ensure we have the supply of extraction inputs for the medical, CBD, and recreational markets, especially the next generation of value-add, high margin cannabis products here in Canada."

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 625,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 25 countries across five continents, is one of the world's largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced the completion of the previously announced plan of arrangement with Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. pursuant to which Aurora has acquired all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Hempco not already owned by Aurora, reflecting a valuation of approximately CAD 63.4 Million on a fully diluted basis. Hempco is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aurora. The Hempco Shares will be delisted from the TSX Venture Exchange, and Aurora will apply to the relevant securities commissions for Hempco to cease to be a reporting issuer under Canadian securities laws. "Aurora is defining the future of cannabis and hemp, globally," said Terry Booth, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora. "Through the addition of Hempco, we have assembled a world-class portfolio of high-quality hemp assets that together form the basis of a strong new operating division that will develop CBD-from-hemp around the world. Aurora Hemp brings together the cultivars, strategic partners, brands, and distribution networks to service medical, consumer, and wellness markets and further advances Aurora's entry into the US hemp food and hemp-derived CBD markets."

Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX:CWBHF) (TSX:CWEB) is the market leader in the production and distribution of innovative hemp-derived cannabidiol ("CBD") wellness products. Charlotte's Web Holdings, Inc. recently announced expansion plans underway in 2019  including cultivation, production, distribution and R&D to support its forecasted sales growth. Most recent expansion initiatives include a building lease signed on a newly constructed 136,610-sq. ft. industrial building located at 700 Tech Court in the Colorado Technology Center (CTC) in Louisville, Colorado. The new location enables the Company to prepare for production, distribution and R&D expansion to meet increasing demand from the consumer and national retailer channels. Charlotte's Web will commence a staged build-out of the facility during Q3-2019 and continuing over a two year period. The staged buildout of production and distribution capacities align with product demand growth. This facility will add cumulatively to the Company's existing locations in and around the Boulder, Colorado area. Along with distribution and R&D, the large cGMP-grade building will encompass the Company's new manufacturing operations, substantially adding to the current capacity of the Company's current 40,000 sq. ft. footprint. The lease agreement includes further expansion options into adjacent buildings (to be constructed) as necessary to accommodate the Company's future growth. "This is a time of rapid growth and transformation for Charlotte's Web and these new facilities are necessary to support the production, warehousing and distribution of our growing product lines and volumes," said Stephen Lermer, Chief Operating Officer at Charlotte's Web. "Production and inventory growth have been dramatic this year following the Company's record 675,000-pound hemp harvest during 2018, which was more than ten times larger than 2017. Our capacity build is required to support sales forecasts as multiple national retailers continue to roll out Charlotte's Web products. As we have increased acres planted by 187% for the 2019 season, we will make quick use of the expanded facilities as we initiate operations early next year."

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX:ITHUF) (CSE:IAN) owns and operates best-in-class licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities throughout the United States, providing investors diversified exposure to the U.S. regulated cannabis industry. iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. recently announced that it had received approval from the Florida Office of Medical Marijuana Use to open dispensaries in Lakeland and Gainesville, Florida, as well as the previously announced dispensary in North Miami.  This will bring the Company's total number of dispensaries in the state to eight. Hadley Ford, Chief Executive Officer of iAnthus said, "We're excited by the progress the business is making in Florida. We received OMMU approval and opened our flagship Miami store yesterday and expect the Lakeland and Gainesville locations to open next week. We will continue our retail expansion in this robust and growing market through early 2020. We look forward to serving medical marijuana patients in these Florida communities with high-quality, trusted and dependable products and services."

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