Village Farms International, Inc. (VFF) to Present at ICR Conference on Wednesday, January 13,

Village Farms International, Inc. (VFF) to Present at ICR Conference on Wednesday, January 13,

Village Farms International, Inc. (VFF) to Present at ICR Conference on Wednesday, January 13, | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Tue, 05 Jan 2021 13:48:22 +0000

U.S. Senate Approves Legislation to Expand Medical Cannabis Research, Missouri Judge Rejects Lawsuit Over State’s Cultivation License Cap: Week in Review

U.S. Senate Approves Legislation to Expand Medical Cannabis Research, Missouri Judge Rejects Lawsuit Over State’s Cultivation License Cap: Week in Review

Cannabis-infused beverages may only represent a small portion of the overall legal market in the U.S. and Canada now, but there are several reasons to believe that may change, and quickly.

Several companies—from cannabis giants like Canopy Growth and Acreage Holdings to historic, household brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)—have placed their bets on cannabis-infused beverages, announcing releases (or plans to) in Q4 2020.

In the case of PBR, which agreed to allow the independently operated Pabst Labs to use its brand for its new THC-based drink, the company is not subbing alcohol for THC and creating a beer, like Lagunitas Brewing Company (and parent brand Heineken) did in the case of Hi-Fi Hops. Instead, PBR Labs and many others are fueling a growing niche within the cannabis beverage niche–THC-infused tonics.

And if the popularity of sparking water brands like La Croix and alcohol-based hard seltzers are any indication, these bubbling beverages may be the drink that takes this edibles segment to the next level.

Poised for Growth

The edibles market represents 15% of all cannabis sales in the U.S., according to a recent webinar hosted by industry research firm BDSA, and beverages make up just a small portion of edibles sales at 5%. In Canada, those figures are 6% and 3%, respectively, according to BDSA. But there is evidence of growing interest.

Of U.S. cannabis consumers, nearly a fifth consume beverages and 8% prefer them, according to BDSA.

A Brightfield Group Q2 2020 survey of 3,500 U.S. cannabis consumers showed similar trends, as ​22% reported consuming a cannabis-infused drink. That’s compared with 57% consuming flower and 41% consuming gummies, according to Brightfield. 

But, “the category has seen significant growth year over year. In Q3 2019, only 14% of cannabis consumers were using drinks,” Bethany Gomez, managing director of Brightfield Group, said in an email to Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary. “We do expect this growth trajectory to continue year over year, but given that products are generally sold as a single serve product, the percentage of the overall market is quite low.”

That’s one problem that cannabis beverage brands are trying to solve by offering drinks in multipacks, similar to soda and beer.

The brand Cann Social Tonics, which is available in California, Nevada and Rhode Island, sells its products in six-packs and 24-can “party packs.” The idea was to make a drink that looks and feels just like any other beverage you’d take to a party and share with others, mimicking other consumer packaged goods, said Cann co-founder Luke Anderson in an interview with Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary in September.

“I think carbonated beverages are having a moment,” Anderson said. “The sparkling water market’s evolution over the last few years is a sign of people looking for something that has a little bite to it and a little bit of texture. So we want [Cann] to integrate in the same social settings and have people think about them the same way they do a beer, a light beer, a hard seltzer or a craft cocktail in a can.”

Part of the challenge was making something that wasn’t overly sweet taste good, and not relying on “hundreds of calories to mask the taste of cannabis,” said Cann co-founder Jake Bullock. They also wanted to create a beverage that allowed people to control their dosages more easily and where they could enjoy a couple and not be overly intoxicated.

“If you think about products like other mild intoxicants—caffeine, alcohol—we consume them in a beverage, and most importantly, in that beverage, we consume them in a microdose,” Bullock said. “We’re not running around drinking eight shots of espresso or Everclear grain alcohol. When you bring the dosing way down, it becomes approachable for new consumers, it becomes social, it can integrate and behaves as the same strength as a glass of wine or a light beer.”

Cann offers flavors such as lemon lavender, grapefruit rosemary and blood orange cardamom, and each can contains 2 mg of THC and 35 calories, one of the lowest in both categories in the cannabis beverage market. According to BDSA, Cann is now the third highest-selling cannabis beverage in legal markets in the U.S. 

“That’s really our vision is just to continue to produce approachably dosed, nothing more than five milligrams, THC beverages that welcome in a whole new wave of consumers,” Anderson says.

Familiar Brands Fuel Acceptance

Combining cannabis with a familiar “form factor,” beverages are one avenue to further destigmatize cannabis use and can attract consumers who may not be comfortable with smoking, vaping or other consumption methods. When you integrate a brand that’s been around for 175 years with cannabis, that can encourage people who may be unfamiliar with cannabis or had a bad experience in the past to try again, said Austin Stevenson, chief innovation officer of Vertosa, which helped develop Lagunitas Hi-Fi Hops and Pabst Blue Ribbon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer. 

“PBR is over 175 years old, and so what having a brand like PBR does is it crosses generations of cannabis consumers,” Stevenson said. “We know, aside from millennials, that people over the age of 55 are one of the fastest-growing segments of cannabis consumers, and to be able to have your 20-something-year-old get a PBR and go home to their grandparents and say, ‘Look, here is the brand that you grew up consuming,’ but now with a cannabis function, it only helps to normalize and destigmatize the industry.”

Mark Faicol, brand manager of Pabst Labs, which was founded by a group of beverage experts and former PBR employees, said although one target customer is brand loyalists, he sees PBR further contributing to the wider acceptance of cannabis.

“We have a unique—call it competitive, advantage—but really a history in the market, being around for so long … as a trusted well-respected brand,” Faicol said, adding that Pabst Labs has the opportunity to leverage that.

PBR launched in California with one simple, “easy to understand” flavor – lemon, which is also part of the company’s strategy to appeal to a diverse, wide audience. Each can contains 5 mg of THC, 4 grams of sugar and just 25 calories, and they come in four-packs. Although more flavors may be introduced, Faicol said the initial goal was to, “Do one thing, and do it well, and really be very simple and approachable. Lemon is [a flavor] that is very sessionable and most widely accepted, at least that’s what our data pointed toward.”

Responsible dosing was another focus for the company, Faicol said. Although many consumers still purchase based on price per milligram in an attempt to get the most value out of products, that can lead to negative experiences. He also points out that while people may have had one – or many – bad hangovers, they continue to drink alcohol, but one bad cannabis experience can drive a consumer away for good.

“That’s something that the brands in beverages are really kind of working together on, to educate on proper dosing,” Faicol said. “And I think it will only help the category at large.”

While more consumers may be coming on board, there are challenges in distribution logistics and placement in dispensaries, especially in legacy markets that were built to merchandise flower, edibles and other traditional products, and may not be configured to include refrigerators displaying drinks, Stevenson said.  

“They weren’t built like a 7-Eleven for beverages,” Stevenson said. “They haven’t invested in it. They don’t have the floor space either because of regulations … or those investments haven’t been there.”

However, as newer markets in the Midwest and East Coast continue to grow, Stevenson says he sees new opportunities to encourage cannabis companies to build and develop dispensaries with beverages in mind—and get the buy-in from regulators, too.

“[Vertosa] is looking at Illinois, at Michigan, Massachusetts, these big beer-drinking markets where they’re getting cannabis regulation for the first time. When we have brands like Lagunitas like PBR, when we enter these new markets, we want to make sure that the consumer retail experience highlights these opportunities to have a more approachable type of product,” he said. “In these new markets, you’re going to build retail experiences that have cooler spaces that have displays. I work at both the state level and the local level on some regulatory policies to help promote and make consumers and business operators aware that cannabis beverage is here, but the retail channel needs to be able to support product placement like any other traditional retailer.”

Catering to Experienced Consumers

While low-dose beverages can serve as an entry point for those who are curious but hesitant to try cannabis, offering a wide variety of products is important to reach the more seasoned consumer, too, Stevenson said.

“For your introductory consumer, you’re going to go with a low-dose product, 5 milligrams of THC, and that can be had any time during the day,” Stevenson said. “Now how you differentiate is you look at the [Lagunitas] Hi-Fi Hops portfolio, and they have a THC product that is 10 milligrams, and then they also have a CBD product that’s 10 milligrams. And so the CBD product is more for the relaxation.

“And so by building a beverage portfolio, that’s how you start to address the different consumer functional needs by changing the different ratios of cannabinoids of THC versus CBD or high-dose versus low-dose.”

Brightfield Group’s Bethany Gomez said thinking about who your consumer is and how they want to experience your product is important when building a brand.

“If you are pitching [a] cannabis beverage as an alcohol substitute, it needs to be effectively positioned for the same occasions that people are using alcohol,” Gomez said in an email. “But many consumers use cannabis and alcohol quite differently, in different [times of day] or during different moments of consumption, [such as] before a workout or to inspire creativity, which makes it not a straightforward a substitute.”  

However, just because a beverage is marketed a certain way doesn’t mean that’s how it will be consumed. Take the example of Cann. Although the founders couldn’t predict the coronavirus pandemic nor the effect on sales of a drink they envisioned being a “social” tonic, it did not have a negative effect on company growth, Anderson said. 

“The toughest part of this company was the first year on market, our sales were relatively flat. Consumers loved the product, but they couldn’t really understand how to think about it because alcohol was dominating their social [lives] and bars were open,” he said. “You could have a Cann at a pregame. You could have a Cann on a weeknight, but come Friday, you’re trained to go out and you’re trained to just drink whatever is available to you on tap.”

Once states began instituting stay-at-home orders and closing bars, that’s when things changed, Anderson said. Sales increased 10 times what they were before the pandemic, he said. 

“This idea that people were buying a bunch of cannabis to ease their anxiety was the first wave of the sales spike,” Anderson said. “People were enjoying the fact they could feel a buzz and hang out and laugh and have a good time, but not feel like crap the next day.”

Paying attention to these consumer preferences and how they evolve is an important part of driving innovation and sales, Faicol said. 

“[PBR] made a conscious decision to change. We’re a beer brand through and through, but we made a decision many years back that, the consumer is going to want something else. And America is going to look very different … five years from now,” Faicol said. “But I think that’s going to be a critical driver, is the ability for brands to continue to innovate, and really keep it exciting, which we’re committed to do.”

Published at Sat, 26 Dec 2020 13:00:00 +0000

Why ISW Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS:ISWH) Could be the Next Crypto Stock Star

Why ISW Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS:ISWH) Could be the Next Crypto Stock Star

As we move inexorably toward 2021, there are several themes that should strike the diligent eye of the astute investor: money creation, central bank activism, the discovery of the “fiscal channel” in policy operations, and the coming impact of covid-19 vaccines.

Wrapped in all of these conceptual narratives is Bitcoin, with its newfound sheen of legitimacy following moves by major payment platforms (the key to this puzzle) to invest in the digital currency. As a result, the crypto space has been on fire from any reasonable perspective.

But there are very few small and micro-cap investment plays available to the quote-unquote “normal” investor. The point: while Bitcoin has doubled over the past couple months, market participants are sure to be searching for instruments that can offer them much bigger returns over the near term on a proxy basis relative to the coin.

That’s why we are taking a closer look today at ISW Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS:ISWH), a company that has strong momentum in two major growth trends and has now established a strong anti-dilution program that deserves a close look.

The key here is that ISWH has laid down a recent track record of success in its telehealth and home healthcare segment and is verging on a breakout in commercial-stage operations for its cryptocurrency mining segment, producing what may be a major topline growth story now and throughout 2021.

The Real Meal Deal

ISW Holdings Inc (OTCMKTS:ISWH) isn’t a pretender in the Crypto space.

The company has made a significant investment in developing the Proceso Pod5ive datacenter pod, which is capable of driving Megawatt-level cryptocurrency computational mining power, has been fully assembled and is now ready for shipment to the 100 MW renewable energy Bit5ive LLC cryptocurrency mining project based in Pennsylvania.

“The job now is about bringing in revenues from participation in the Bit5ive Pennsylvania project while simultaneously building a track record for the Proceso, Pod5ive Data Center Pods as a global best-in-class solution for mining facilities around the world,” remarked Alonzo Pierce, President and Chairman of ISW Holdings.

“We have begun sourcing partnerships in this endeavor, and we feel our technology division has an extremely bright future ahead in step with the growing success of Bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency space.”

While it apparently has an industry leading Power Usage Effectiveness (“PUE”) score of 1.06, and while Bitcoin has thundered higher, ISWH is still a micro-cap trading on the OTC, which means it will take work to drive it into the slipstream of the current bull market’s energy. OTC stocks don’t get “the benefit of the doubt”. They have to earn it.

But ISWH may be on that track.

Shoring Up the Sheet

But there’s another important dimension to note: as we approach that key moment where the company’s “pod5” crypto mining solution goes live and starts churning out mining revenues and then starts to attract interest as a product in the mining equipment space, the company has also recently taken another big step: streamlining its capital structure by curtailing dilution risk, canceling debt, and reducing outstanding shares by a substantial margin.

To wit, in ISWH’s most recent release: the company announced that it and its largest noteholders have reached an agreement whereby about 50% of the current convertible debt owed by the Company will be exchanged for restricted preferred equity, eliminating a significant portion of the dilution potential from convertible debentures now carried in the Company’s books.

According to the release, the Company and its largest noteholder have agreed to exchange convertible debentures (principal and interest) with an aggregate value of $602K for restricted Preferred B equity, thereby reducing total debt and significantly curtailing dilution potential over the coming months and years.

“The Preferred B Shares will be restricted for a period of one year,” said Pierce. “After one year, the Preferred B Shares can only be converted at a maximum 12.5% per quarter of the original common share issuance (a total of 4.5 million common shares). So basically, no more than 562,500 common shares will hit the market in any given quarter.”

This article is part of Networks. Read the Networks Disclaimer.

Published at Wed, 16 Dec 2020 10:35:24 +0000

7 States That Could Legalize Cannabis in 2021

7 States That Could Legalize Cannabis in 2021

Leamington, Ontario and Nanaimo, British Columbia – December 16, 2020 – PRESS RELEASE – Aphria Inc., a global cannabis company, and Tilray, Inc., a cannabis research, cultivation, production and distribution company, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine their businesses and create the world’s largest global cannabis company based on pro forma revenue. The deal is pursuant to a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act, and the implied pro forma equity value of the combined company is approximately C$5.0 billion, based on the share price of Aphria and Tilray at the close of market on Dec. 15, 2020. Following the completion of the arrangement, the combined company will have principal offices in the United States (New York and Seattle), Canada (Toronto, Leamington and Vancouver Island), Portugal and Germany, and it will operate under the Tilray corporate name with shares trading on NASDAQ under ticker symbol “TLRY.”

The combined company, supported by low-cost, state-of-the-art cultivation, processing and manufacturing facilities, will have a complete portfolio of branded Cannabis 2.0 products in Canada. Internationally, the combined company will be well-positioned to pursue growth opportunities with Aphria’s medical cannabis and distribution footprint in Germany, and Tilray’s European Union Good Manufacturing Practices (EU-GMP) low-cost cannabis production facility in Portugal, which has export capabilities and tariff-free access to the European Union (EU) to meet increasing global demand for medical cannabis. In the United States, the combined company will have a strong consumer packaged goods presence and infrastructure with two strategic pillars, including SweetWater Brewing Company, a cannabis lifestyle branded craft brewer, and Manitoba Harvest, a leading hemp food manufacturer and a pioneer in branded CBD and wellness products. The combined company is expected to have a strong, flexible balance sheet, cash balance and access to capital giving it the ability to accelerate growth and deliver attractive returns for stockholders.

Under the terms of the arrangement, the shareholders of Aphria will receive 0.8381 shares of Tilray for each Aphria common share, while holders of Tilray shares will continue to hold their Tilray shares with no adjustment to their holdings. Upon the completion of the arrangement, Aphria Shareholders will own approximately 62% of the outstanding Tilray Shares on a fully diluted basis, resulting in a reverse acquisition of Tilray, representing a premium of 23% based on the share price at market close on Dec. 15, 2020 to Tilray shareholders. On a pro forma basis for the last twelve months reported by each company, the combined company would have had revenue of C$874 million (US$685 million).

Proven Leadership Team

The combined company will be led by a best-in-class management team and board of directors, with strong track records in consumer-packaged goods and cannabis experience internationally. Upon completion of the arrangement, Aphria’s current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Irwin D. Simon will lead the combined company as chairman and chief executive officer. The board of directors will consist of nine members, seven of which, including Simon, are current Aphria directors and two of which will be from Tilray, including Brendan Kennedy, and one of which is to be designated. Aphria and Tilray are confident that the leadership team and proposed board of directors of the combined company provides a strong foundation for the combined company to accelerate growth. Additional senior leadership positions at the combined company will be named at a later date.

“This is an exciting day for both companies including our 2,500 employees, for the cannabis industry, and for patients and consumers around the world. We are bringing together two world-class companies that share a culture of innovation, brand development and cultivation to enhance our Canadian, U.S. and international scale as we pursue opportunities for accelerated growth with the strength and flexibility of our balance sheet and access to capital,” said Simon. “Our highly complementary businesses create a combined company with a leading branded product portfolio, including the most comprehensive Cannabis 2.0 product offerings for patients and consumers, along with significant synergies across our operations in Canada, Europe and the United States. Our business combination with Tilray aligns with our strategic focus and emphasis on our highest return priorities as we strive to generate value for all stakeholders.

“I am honored to work with Brendan Kennedy, a pioneer in the cannabis industry, and the Tilray team as they join forces with our talented employees at Aphria,” continued Simon. “I look forward to leading the talented teams of both Aphria and Tilray as we seek to create a leading global cannabis and consumer packaged goods company with a portfolio of medical, wellness and adult-use brands consumers love.”

Kennedy, Tilray’s chief executive officer, commented, “We are thrilled to bring together two cannabis industry leaders. At this nascent stage of development and expansion of the global cannabis market, we believe companies with leading geographic scale, product range and brand expertise are most likely to benefit long-term. By leveraging our combined strengths and capabilities, we expect to be able to meet the needs of consumers more effectively all over the world and advance patient care. With a strong financial profile, low-cost production, leading brands, distribution network and unique partnerships, we believe the combined company will be well-positioned to deliver sustainable, attractive returns for stockholders. I look forward to working with Irwin and the combined company’s management team to make our consumer products more accessible around the world.”

Strategic and Financial Benefits

The combined company will be the largest global cannabis company based on pro forma revenue for the last twelve months reported by each company with scale and breadth across major geographies and a complete portfolio of market leading brands in the major Cannabis 2.0 product categories. Aphria and Tilray each believe the business combination pursuant to the arrangement will provide the following financial and strategic benefits, among others:

  • Financial Strength and Flexibility: The combined company will enjoy an attractive financial profile with pro forma revenue of C$874 million (US$685 million) for the last twelve months reported by each company, the highest in the global cannabis industry. In Canada, the combination of Aphria and Tilray will create the leading adult-use cannabis company with gross revenue of C$296 million (US$232 million) in the adult-use market for the twelve months reported by each company. Aphria has generated positive adjusted EBITDA over the last six quarters, which in combination with the synergies to be realized, provides a robust platform for future profitability and cash flow generation for the combined company. This, collectively with the strength of the combined company’s balance sheet and access to capital, is expected to help accelerate global growth and value for the combined company’s stakeholders.
  • Creates the Leading Canadian Adult-Use Cannabis Licensed Producer: Together, Aphria and Tilray will be the leading adult-use cannabis Canadian Licensed Producer based on revenue for the last 12 months by combining their respective brands, distribution networks and world-class facilities. In Canada’s C$3.1 billion adult-use, retail market, the combined company will have one of the lowest cost production operations with its state-of-the-art facilities. In addition, the combined company will have a portfolio of carefully curated brands across all consumer segments that are sold through its distribution partners. On a pro forma basis, for the period August to October 2020, the combined company would have held a 17.3% retail market share, the largest share held by any single Licensed Producer in Canada and 700 basis points higher than the next closest competitor.
  • Increases Product Breadth and Commitment to Innovation: Leveraging both Aphria and Tilray’s commitment and culture of innovation and brand building, the combined company will serve clients with a complete portfolio of Cannabis 2.0 products and sales and service infrastructure supported by leading distribution partners. Aphria and Tilray’s complementary brands will be available across economy, value, core, premium and premium plus product offerings. In addition, the combined company will have a complete breadth of products in every major cannabis category, including flower, pre-roll, oils, capsules, vapes, edibles and beverages.
  • Establishes an Unrivaled European Platform: The combined company will be well-positioned to pursue growth opportunities with its end-to-end EU-GMP supply chain and distribution, which includes Aphria’s German medical cannabis distribution footprint and Tilray’s 2.7-million-square-foot European EU-GMP low-cost cannabis cultivation and production facility in Portugal. In Germany, Aphria’s wholly-owned subsidiary, CC Pharma GmbH, will provide the combined company with distribution capabilities for the Aphria and Tilray medical cannabis brands to more than 13,000 pharmacies. In Portugal, Tilray’s EU-GMP cultivation and production facility will provide the combined company with the capacity to cultivate and produce medical cannabis products in order to meet international demand and has export capabilities, which provides tariff-free access to the EU.
  • Enhances Consumer Packaged Goods Presence and Infrastructure in the U.S.: In the United States, the combined company will have a strong consumer packaged goods presence and infrastructure with two strategic pillars, including SweetWater, a cannabis lifestyle branded craft brewer, and Manitoba Harvest, a pioneer in branded hemp, CBD and wellness products with access to 17,000 stores in North America. The combined company is expected to leverage SweetWater’s craft beer manufacturing and distribution network to build brand awareness for the combined company’s brands via craft beers, hard seltzers and other beverages as it seeks to take advantage of opportunities for both the adult-use and health and wellbeing beverage trends. The combined company also expects to pursue the opportunity to expand with new or existing CBD or other cannabinoid brands leveraging Manitoba Harvest’s strong hemp and wellness product platform. When U.S. regulations allow, the combined company expects to be well-positioned to compete in the U.S. cannabis market given its existing strong brands and distribution system in addition to its track record of growth in consumer-packaged goods and cannabis.
  • Positions Combined Company to Continue to Grow in the Beverage Segment: The combined company believes it will be well-positioned to pursue an accelerated rate of growth in the Canadian and the U.S. beverage industries by leveraging SweetWater’s innovation, knowledge and expertise to introduce adult-use cannabis brands via craft beers and other beverages. This includes leveraging Aphria and Tilray’s proven distribution networks in Canada to sell SweetWater’s 420 cannabis lifestyle brand in Canada.
  • Substantial Synergies: The combination of Aphria and Tilray is expected to deliver approximately C$100 million of annual pre-tax cost synergies within 24 months of the completion of the transaction. The combined company expects to achieve cost synergies in the key areas of cultivation and production, cannabis and product purchasing, sales and marketing and corporate expenses. This is expected to include the opportunity for Aphria’s Leamington, Ontario operations to provide additional volume for Tilray’s brands and to replace the need for Tilray to use wholesale cannabis purchases from other licensed producers. Tilray’s London, Ontario facility will also provide Aphria with excess capacity to increase production of additional form factors including their branded edibles and beverages.  The combined company is considering utilizing Tilray’s existing Nanaimo, British Columbia facility for Aphria’s premium Broken Coast brand to increasingly meet consumer demand for its products. The combined company plans to capitalize on opportunities for growth through a broadened product offering and additional form factors, with the aim of increasing adult-use cannabis brand availability across certain Canadian provinces to an expanded customer base with the combined company’s scalable infrastructure. Internationally, the combined company will have the opportunity to reach additional pharmacies and patients via distribution relationships. The combination is expected to unlock significant shareholder value.

Agreement Details

Under the terms of the agreement, the arrangement will be carried out by way of a court-approved plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (Ontario) and will require the approval of at least two-thirds of the votes cast by the Aphria Shareholders at a special meeting. Approval of a majority of the votes cast by Tilray stockholders will be required to, among other things contemplated by the agreement, authorize the issuance of Tilray shares to Aphria shareholders pursuant to the arrangement. Following completion of the arrangement, Aphria will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tilray, with Aphria shareholders owning approximately 62% of Tilray.

Completion of the arrangement is subject to regulatory and court approvals and other customary closing conditions. Regulatory approvals expected to be required include Competition Bureau (Canada), U.S. HSR and Germany FDI. The agreement includes certain reciprocal customary provisions, including covenants in respect of the non-solicitation of alternative transactions, a right to match superior proposals and C$65 million (US$50 million) reciprocal termination fee payable under certain circumstances. The arrangement is expected to close in the second quarter of calendar year 2021 following the receipt of such regulatory approvals, as well as court approval of the arrangement.

Each of Aphria’s and Tilray’s respective directors and officers and certain principal Tilray Stockholders have entered into voting support agreements agreeing to vote their Aphria Shares or Tilray Shares, as applicable, in favor of the resolutions put before them pursuant to the agreement.

For further information on the terms and conditions of the arrangement, please refer to the agreement in its entirety, which will be available on SEDAR at and on EDGAR at Full details of the arrangement will be included in a management information circular of Aphria and in a proxy statement of Tilray to be delivered to Aphria Shareholders and the Tilray Stockholders, respectively, in the coming weeks.

Board of Directors’ Approval

Each of Aphria’s and Tilray’s respective board of directors has unanimously approved the agreement and the arrangement. Jefferies LLC provided a fairness opinion to the Board of Directors of Aphria on Dec. 15, 2020, stating that, as of the date of such opinion and based upon the scope of review and subject to the assumptions, limitations and qualifications stated in such opinion, the Exchange Ratio is fair, from a financial point of view, to the Aphria Shareholders. Cowen provided a fairness opinion dated Dec. 15, 2020 to the board of directors of Tilray stating that, as of the date of such opinion and based upon and subject to the assumptions, limitations and qualifications stated in such opinion, the Exchange Ratio is fair, from a financial point of view, to Tilray.


Jefferies LLC is serving as financial advisor and DLA Piper LLP (US), DLA Piper (Canada) LLP and Fasken Martineau Dumoulin LLP are acting as legal counsel to Aphria. Cowen is serving as financial advisor and Cooley LLP and Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP are acting as legal counsel to Tilray.

Conference Call & Webcast Presentation

Aphria and Tilray executives will host a conference call and webcast with a supplemental presentation to discuss the strategic business combination today, Dec. 16, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

To listen to the live call, dial (647) 427-7450 from Canada and the U.S. or (888) 231-8191 from international locations and use the passcode 4334816. A telephone replay will be available approximately two hours after the call concludes through January 13, 2021. To access the recording dial (855) 859-2056 and use the passcode 4334816.

There will also be a simultaneous, live webcast and supplemental presentation available on the Investors section of Aphria’s and Tilray’s website at and The webcast will be archived for 30 days.

Published at Wed, 16 Dec 2020 19:46:00 +0000

Cardiol Therapeutics Appoints Worldwide Clinical Trials as CRO for the Company’s Phase II/III Outcomes Trial in High-risk Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19

Cardiol Therapeutics Appoints Worldwide Clinical Trials as CRO for the Company’s Phase II/III Outcomes Trial in High-risk Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19

Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: CRDL)(OTCQX: CRTPF), a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the research and clinical development of anti-inflammatory therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, announces that it has appointed contract research organization Worldwide Clinical Trials, as the Company initiates it’s Phase II/III trial in high-risk patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at clinical centers throughout the United States. The double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial is designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of CardiolRxTM, a pharmaceutically produced extra strength cannabidiol formulation, in 422 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with a prior history of, or risk factors for, cardiovascular disease. This patient population is at significant risk of developing cardiovascular complications, which are frequently fatal, during their illness.

Worldwide has been the CRO for several international COVID-19 clinical programs and has extensive experience in conducting clinical research focused on cardiovascular disease. With a global footprint, Worldwide provides unparalleled drug development expertise from early phase to late-stage clinical development, post-approval, and real-world evidence studies; delivering high quality clinical programs designed to support regulatory approvals in multiple jurisdictions. Employing more than 1,900 professionals, Worldwide provides drug development support services in over 60 countries with offices in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

“We are pleased to be collaborating with Worldwide Clinical Trials as we initiate our Phase II/III trial in high-risk patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at clinical centers throughout the U.S.,” stated David Elsley, President and CEO of Cardiol Therapeutics. “While this potentially registrational trial is designed primarily to evaluate the impact of CardiolRx on reducing mortality and major cardiovascular outcomes in COVID-19 patients who have a prior history of, or risk factors for, cardiovascular disease, this important study will also investigate the therapy’s influence on key markers of inflammatory heart disease. These findings are expected to provide invaluable data with respect to the therapeutic potential of CardiolRx in the treatment of inflammatory heart disease, including heart failure which remains a leading cause of death and disability and a major economic burden in developed nations.”

The composite primary efficacy endpoint will be the difference between the active and placebo groups in the percentage of patients who develop, during the first 28 days following first dose of study medication, one or more of the following outcomes: i) all-cause mortality, ii) requirement for ICU admission and/or ventilatory support, and iii) cardiovascular complications, including the development of heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, myocarditis, stroke, or new sustained or symptomatic arrhythmia. The study was designed by and will be overseen by an independent Steering Committee, consisting of international thought leaders in inflammatory heart disease. The Steering Committee is chaired by Dr. Dennis McNamara, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for Heart Failure Research, University of Pittsburgh and co-chaired by Dr. Leslie Cooper, Chair of the Mayo Clinic Enterprise Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and Chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic.

The rationale for using cannabidiol to treat patients with COVID-19 is based on its reported anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects which are anticipated to prevent COVID-19-related cardiovascular complications, thereby reducing morbidity and mortality. Cardiovascular complications such as myocardial injury (demonstrated by elevated blood troponin levels) are common in COVID-19 patients and are linked to a higher rate of mortality. Cannabidiol has been shown to reduce elevated troponin and reduce pro-inflammatory responses in models of cardiotoxicity. In pre-clinical models of cardiac injury, cannabidiol has been shown to be cardioprotective by reducing cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis, and the production of certain re-modelling markers, such as cardiac B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP), which is elevated in patients with COVID-19, cardiac damage, and/or heart failure.

About Cardiol Therapeutics

Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: CRDL)(OTCQX: CRTPF) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the research and clinical development of anti-inflammatory therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The Company’s lead product, CardiolRx™, is a pharmaceutically produced oral cannabidiol formulation that is currently entering a Phase II/III outcomes study in hospitalized patients testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. This potentially registrational trial is designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of CardiolRx as a cardioprotective therapy to reduce mortality and major cardiovascular events in COVID-19 patients who have a prior history of, or risk factors for, CVD, and to investigate the influence CardiolRx has on key markers of inflammatory heart disease.

Cardiol is also planning to file an IND for a Phase II international trial that will investigate the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties of CardiolRx in patients with acute myocarditis, which remains the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 35 years of age. In addition, Cardiol is developing a subcutaneous formulation of CardiolRx and other anti-inflammatory therapies for the treatment of chronic heart failure – a leading cause of death and hospitalization in North America, with associated annual healthcare costs in the U.S. alone exceeding $30 billion.

Cardiol recently commercialized Cortalex™ ( in the Canadian market.  Cortalex is a pharmaceutically produced cannabidiol formulation, developed for patients who wish to avoid THC or for whom THC exposure is not recommended. For more information about Cardiol Therapeutics, please visit

For further information, please contact:

David Elsley, President & CEO +1-289-910-0850

Trevor Burns, Investor Relations +1-289-910-0855

Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking information:

This news release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, that address activities, events, or developments that Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. (“Cardiol” or the “Company”) believes, expects, or anticipates will, may, could or might occur in the future are “forward- looking information”. Forward-looking information contained herein may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to that, our Phase II/III study is potentially a registrational trial and is expected to provide invaluable data with respect to the therapeutic potential of CardiolRx in the treatment of inflammatory heart disease, including heart failure and the Company’s plans for a Phase II international trial of CardiolRx™ in acute myocarditis and developing a subcutaneous formulation of CardiolRx and other anti-inflammatory therapies for the treatment of chronic heart failure. Forward-looking information contained herein reflects the current expectations or beliefs of Cardiol based on information currently available to it and is subject to a variety of known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause the actual events or results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. These risks and uncertainties and other factors include the risks and uncertainties referred to in the Company’s Annual Information Form dated March 30, 2020, including the risks and uncertainties associated with product commercialization and clinical studies, and uncertainties in predicting treatment outcomes. These risks, uncertainties and other factors should be considered carefully, and investors should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking information. Any forward-looking information speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, Cardiol disclaims any intent or obligation to update or revise such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. Although Cardiol believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable, they do involve certain assumptions, risks, and uncertainties and are not (and should not be considered to be) guarantees of future performance. It is important that each person reviewing this news release understands the significant risks attendant to the operations of Cardiol.


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Authored By

Michael Berger

Michael Berger is Managing Partner 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, 15 Dec 2020 12:35:16 +0000

The Emerald Triangle, Sonoma and Del Norte to Be Included in Research Study of Northern California’s Cannabis Economy

The Emerald Triangle, Sonoma and Del Norte to Be Included in Research Study of Northern California’s Cannabis Economy

George Weiblen, a professor in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota and the science director and curator of plants at the Bell Museum, has been working since 2002 to discover the genetic differences between hemp and marijuana.

He’s recently cracked a major component of the code.

A research team led by the Weiblen Lab has developed a genetic test that can predict whether cannabis will produce mostly cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), having broad implications for both cannabis and hemp industries.

The team’s findings were recently published in the American Journal of Botany.

While Weiblen acknowledges that other similar tests have been developed, the University of Minnesota’s research and test delve deeper into the biology and mechanisms behind why the test works. In other words, they’ve discovered on the molecular level why certain cannabis varieties produce more CBD and why others produce more THC.

“We are looking at the genes that are ultimately responsible for the pattern we see,” Weiblen tells Cannabis Business Times and Hemp Grower. “What we’ve done is proven our model across lots of different kinds of cannabis, from industrial hemp to medicinal cannabis to feral ditchweed [wild hemp].”

How it Works

Weiblen says across all types of cannabis, a small area of their chromosomes determines whether the plant will be one of three types: CBD-dominant, THC-dominant or intermediate with approximately equal levels of each.

The team found these consistencies by studying more than 350 different samples of cannabis. (The Weiblen Lab has a DEA research registration and obtained drug cannabis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.)

The lab test developed by the research team homes in on one gene: the gene for CBD. This gene has two variations that result in it either producing CBD or failing to produce CBD, Weiblen says. Those variations are different sizes on the chromosome, so the test measures the length of the gene to determine which variation it is.

“Just like in humans, where we have two copies of each chromosome, so does cannabis,” Weiblen says. “As a plant, you can either have two working copies of the CBD gene, two faulty copies of the CBD gene, or one of each. How much CBD [the plant makes] depends on which of those three combinations you have.”

It’s much like hair types for humans. For example, if a mother has curly hair and a father has straight hair, their child’s hair could be either curly, straight or something in between.

Interestingly, Weiblen’s team also found the gene for THC is tied to the gene for CBD, and the two interplay to produce the three different types of cannabis.

A Surprising Discovery

During the team’s research, they studied feral hemp populations across Minnesota. And while a majority of those samples met the legal definition of hemp at 0.3% THC or less, others were more complex.

In an unexpected finding, Weiblen discovered that roughly one in 10 feral hemp plants in Minnesota had potential to exceed the legal definition of hemp at maturity. They found 11% of their samples were intermediate-type cannabis, while 1% was THC-type.  

“We found a marijuana needle in the hemp haystack,” Weiblen says.

It’s important to note that the amount of cannabinoids cannabis produces is a different story. Even if cannabis is THC-type, it could still potentially produce so few cannabinoids that it remains within compliance of the federal definition of hemp. While “the ratio of cannabinoids is entirely a genetic phenomenon,” Weiblen says, different environmental factors have been shown to dictate how much cannabinoid content cannabis actually produces.

Still, this finding raised questions for Weiblen, especially as many hemp growers and all cannabis growers are looking to not only produce cannabinoids, but also maximize them.

As such, the researchers have suggested changing the definitions of “hemp” and “marijuana” to align with their findings—instead of defining different cannabis varieties by the amount of cannabinoids they produce, which is reliant on outside factors and can vary wildly, the researchers propose defining them by their cannabinoid “types.”

“As a botanist, we don’t classify plants based on how people use them, but how they differ [genetically],” Weiblen says, adding that the definitions of hemp and marijuana carry both confusion and, in some case, negative connotations. “Now that we see public policy and public perceptions around cannabis really changing, we suggest maybe it’s time to define types of cannabis around their cannabinoid content rather than carry with us all the historical baggage.”

“We found a marijuana needle in the hemp haystack.” -George Weiblen, professor, University of Minnesota

Implications for the Hemp Industry

Beyond public policy implications, the research team’s findings could also make it easier for cannabinoid producers to choose their genetics—an improvement that is sorely needed in the nascent hemp industry especially.

Some hemp farmers are still having difficulty with hot crops that exceed the federal THC limit. This has been due, in part, to troubles sourcing reliable genetics.

Weiblen says this new test could be a good first step in preventing hot crops. Successful crops start with good genetics, and Weiblen envisions seed certification organizations using this test to help eliminate THC-type cannabis from ever reaching hemp growers’ hands.

“One advantage of our test if it’s applied is that it can give farmers some assurance of what is the predominant cannabinoid they’re going to see in their plants,” Weiblen says. “They don’t have to wait until end of growing season to learn that.”

Published at Tue, 08 Dec 2020 18:40:00 +0000

 Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NEPT) Wellness Chief Executive Officer Michael Cammarata on Successful U.S. House of Representatives Vote to Decriminalize Marijuana

 Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NEPT) Wellness Chief Executive Officer Michael Cammarata on Successful U.S. House of Representatives Vote to Decriminalize Marijuana

 Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NEPT) Wellness Chief Executive Officer Michael Cammarata on Successful U.S. House of Representatives Vote to Decriminalize Marijuana | Marijuana Stocks | Cannabis Investments and News. Roots of a Budding Industry.™

Published at Mon, 07 Dec 2020 14:06:09 +0000

Namaste Technologies Adds CannMart Labs as Wholly Owned Subsidiary and Provides Corporate Update Including Announcement of Virtual Town Hall

Namaste Technologies Adds CannMart Labs as Wholly Owned Subsidiary and Provides Corporate Update Including Announcement of Virtual Town Hall

Namaste Technologies Inc. (TSXV: N) (FRANKFURT: M5BQ) (OTCMKTS: NXTTF ), a leading platform for cannabis products, accessories, and education, is pleased to provide shareholders a corporate update on its recent activities:

Cyber Weekend Highlights:

  • Average order value increased 42% compared to 2019 to $192
  • Online traffic increased 50% over 2019 cyber weekend
  • 40% more giveaway entries than expected. These entries generated email newsletter sign ups, increased social media visits and interactions
  • Best sales in Dried Flower: Sage n Sour and Sensi Star, both under the CannMart brand
  • Best sales in Cartridges : Disposable Cart Bundle and Pink Kush 0.5g Cart, both under the CannMart licensed Phyto Extractions brand
  • Best sales in Edibles : Strawberry Lemonade 1:1 Sour Gummies and Watermelon Hybrid Sour Gummies, both under the Wana brand supplied by Indiva
  • Best sales in Infused Oils : Treasure Island CBD Tincture under the CannMart brand and CBD Soft Gels under the brand and supplied by Indiva

“We are pleased by activity this past cyber weekend to see our own CannMart and licensed brands shine alongside our valued partner brands which is a clear validation by consumers that our strategy is working,” said Meni Morim , CEO of Namaste. “Our average order value increased by 42% compared to 2019, demonstrating that our investment into our e-commerce platform is driving solid results. We are clearly focused on the execution of our strategy to position Namaste as a leading cannabis company and look forward to building on this positive momentum as we head into the upcoming holiday season.”

Save the Date – Namaste Virtual Town Hall:

  • We have been actively listening to our shareholders and would like to announce a virtual town hall so they can hear an in depth presentation on the future direction of the Company
  • Wednesday, December 16 th
  • 12:00 p.m. EST
  • Presentation by Meni Morim followed by Q&A
  • All Shareholders are invited to submit their questions by December 14 th to: . Our CEO, Meni Morim , will answer submitted investors questions during the town hall event.

Completion of Acquisition of 49% Interest in CannMart Labs:

Namaste has completed the acquisition of the remaining 49% interest in CannMart Labs Inc. (” CannMart Labs “), an applicant for a processing licence under the Cannabis Act ( Canada ) for cannabis extraction activities, pursuant to the previously announced share purchase agreement (the ” Share Purchase Agreement “) entered into among Namaste and MKD Holdings Inc. and JLLS Holdings Inc. (together, the ” Vendors “).

Execution of the Share Purchase Agreement was first announced by the Company on November 18, 2020 , confirming a purchase price of $4,034,000 (the “Purchase Price “), and earn-out payments in the form of Namaste common shares, on a sliding scale, upon the achievement of pre-determined revenue targets (the ” Earn-Out Payments “) payable over 9 fiscal quarters at a maximum of approximately $1.94M per Earn-Out Payment, payable in Namaste common shares or, at Namaste’s option, in cash with a 5% discount. A first tranche of the Purchase Price of $1,608,500 has been paid to the Vendors by way of issuance of 7,123,560 Namaste common shares, issued at a deemed price of $0.2258 , being the 7-day VWAP up to and including December 1, 2020 .

Appointment of Vice President, Investor Relations:

Namaste is pleased to announce the appointment of Edward Miller as Vice President, Investor Relations effective November 16 , 2020.  Mr. Miller brings more than 20 years experience as a seasoned investor relations professional in the pharmaceutical and cannabis industry.  Mr. Miller has built several award-winning programs and this appointment affirms the Company’s clear commitment to increasing and improving its dialogue with shareholders going forward.

Subject to Exchange approval, Namaste has granted Mr. Miller options to acquire 170,000 common shares in the capital of the Company at a price of CAD$0.23per share that vest quarterly over 3 years and have a four-year term.

Announcement of Whistle Blowing System:

The Company is committed to integrity and honesty. Affirming said commitment, Namaste has launched a Whistle-blower Program that allows employees to anonymously and confidentially report cases of workplace misconduct.  The program is supported by ClearView Connects™, a Canadian-based reporting solution provided by an independent, third-party supplier.  Employees can safely and anonymously submit reports or questions through ClearView’s secure website, toll-free telephone hotline or post office box.  ClearView Connects™ is easy to use and available 24/7.

About Namaste Technologies Inc.

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada , Namaste Technologies is a leading online platform for cannabis products, accessories, and responsible education. The Company’s ‘everything cannabis store’,, provides medical customers with a diverse selection of hand-picked products from a multitude of federally-licensed cultivators, all on one convenient site. The Company also distributes licensed and in-house branded cannabis and cannabis derived products to recreational consumers in Canada through a number of provincial government control boards and retailing bodies and facilitates licensed cannabis retailer sales online in Saskatchewan . Namaste’s global technology and continuous innovation address local needs in a burgeoning cannabis industry requiring smart solutions.

Information on the Company and its many products can be accessed through the links below:

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION – This news release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws. All statements contained herein that are not historical in nature contain forward-looking information. Forward-looking information can be identified by words or phrases such as “may”, “expect”, “likely”, “should”, “would”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “potential”, “proposed”, “estimate”, “believe” or the negative of these terms, or other similar words, expressions and grammatical variations thereof, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” happen. The forward-looking information contained herein, including, without limitation, statements related to the future success of Namaste’s business strategy, is made as of the date of this press release and is based on assumptions management believed to be reasonable at the time, including, without limitation, Namaste’s standing in the online marketplace for cannabis products, Namaste’s beliefs regarding the expected demand for cannabis products and the expected growth of that market, results of operations, operational matters, historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other considerations that are believed to be appropriate in the circumstances. While we consider these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to management, there is no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. By its nature, forward-looking information is subject to inherent risks and uncertainties that may be general or specific and which give rise to the possibility that expectations, forecasts, predictions, projections or conclusions will not prove to be accurate, that assumptions may not be correct and that objectives, strategic goals and priorities will not be achieved. A variety of factors, including known and unknown risks, many of which are beyond our control, could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information in this press release. Such factors include, without limitation: regulatory risk, risks relating to the Company’s ability to execute its business strategy and the benefits realizable therefrom and risks specifically related to the Company’s operations. Additional risk factors can also be found in the Company’s current MD&A and annual information form, both of which have been filed under the Company’s SEDAR profile at . Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release or has in any way approved or disapproved of the contents of this press release.


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Published at Thu, 03 Dec 2020 13:07:15 +0000

The Rise of Tongji Healthcare Group Inc (OTCMKTS:TONJ)

The Rise of Tongji Healthcare Group Inc (OTCMKTS:TONJ)

Tongji Healthcare Group, Inc. (OTCMKTS:TONJ) isn’t a healthcare company. It is actually the ticker for a marketing and consumer brands company with a starting-point reach of over 70 million through its social media influencer vehicle, The Clubhouse.

The story is quite interesting. To our knowledge, it’s basically the only pure-play to focus on putting a massive social-media-based marketing infrastructure at the front of the ticket, with a strong foundation of influencers already established.

That opens up tremendous opportunities, so we thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look.

Turning the Page

After announcing the transition for TONJ in August following news that the company had signed a Share Exchange Agreement to acquire West of Hudson Group Inc, Tongji Healthcare Group, Inc. (OTCMKTS:TONJ) is now nearing its coming out party after announcing last week that the company has taken the initial steps toward changing the Company’s name from “Tongji Healthcare Group, Inc.” to “Clubhouse Media Group, Inc.” and changing the Company’s ticker symbol.

“We have taken the first steps toward effecting our corporate name and ticker symbol changes and are very excited to move forward,” commented Amir Ben-Yohanan, the Company’s CEO.

According to the release, on Aug. 12, 2020, the company announced the signing of a Share Exchange Agreement to acquire West of Hudson Group, Inc. (“WOHG”), the sole owner of “The Clubhouse,”  a collection of branded content houses that house some of the most prominent social media influencers. Upon closing of the share exchange, the Company will acquire WOHG, with WOHG becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company. The Company expects that the acquisition would move the Company’s business away from healthcare completely and entirely into social media.

The release also noted that, in addition to filing a certificate of amendment to the company’s articles of incorporation with the Nevada Secretary of State, the company also filed an Issuer company-related Action Notification Form with FINRA regarding the proposed corporate name change and ticker symbol change. The name change and symbol change are subject to review by FINRA and will not be effective until FINRA clears the actions. The company apparently expects that the name-change and symbol change will be effective on or about Nov. 20, 2020.

In other words, the superficial factors in this story are potentially about to be lined up with the explosive underlying story. At that time, we could see this stock catch some serious buzz, which is why we point it out here.

The Back Story

Tongji Healthcare Group, Inc. (OTCMKTS:TONJ), as noted above, is now WOHG, for all practical purposes. And WOHG, as alluded to above, is the sole and singular owner of the Clubhouse, a network of content creation mansions in Southern California housing a collection of some of the most widely followed and talented social media influencers on the planet. According to company materials, the Clubhouse provides residence to influencers who, in aggregate, boast a total base of over 70 million followers.

The real play here is that the Clubhouse also has an in-house talent agency, Doiyen, that effectively owns the rights to capitalize on those 70 million followers to ink lucrative branding and marketing deals with outside brands or to popularize in-house brands created by WOHG.

“The Clubhouse provides a picturesque living environment complete with inhouse photographers and videographers, so we can maximize the depth, breadth, and scale our influencers can build across popular social media platforms while having fun and just being themselves,” commented Ben Yohanan. “Cultivating a large and committed following and then pursuing the popularization of in-house brands has demonstrated stunning recent success as a model. We would point to Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics, which was valued at nearly $1.2 billion when it sold a controlling stake to Coty, Inc. last November. That value was built by first cultivating a broad influencer following. With this acquisition, we will have that value to harness.”

The upside of putting the marketing arm ahead of the product specifics is important to appreciate given how the world works today. And the Kylie Jenner reference should be appreciated through that lens. When a company decides to launch a branded product line, the old path was to do market research and then decide on the product, manufacture it, and then invest in trying to market it to the end-market consumer – to tell people how great it is and that they should buy it.

The Clubhouse is a means of driving interest and then figuring out what to popularize after the fact. At this point, TONJ is a stock that contains the already-achieved success of the first piece in this equation, which is the hard part in the grand equation underlying this space.

COMPENSATION DISCLOSURE: Section 17(b) of the 1933 Act requires publishers to disclose who paid them, the amount, and the type of payment. In order to be in full compliance with the Securities Act of 1933, Section 17(b): Tiger Global Management Partners LLC has compensated a third party to produce and present weekly content for various companies for the publication. For more information, please click here. In addition, this article is part of Networks. JournalTranscript and network websites have not been compensated for distribution of this content. Read the Networks Disclaimer.

Published at Mon, 16 Nov 2020 05:23:41 +0000

Is it All Coming Together for Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTCMKTS:NUGS)?

Is it All Coming Together for Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTCMKTS:NUGS)?

The drumbeat is getting louder. Can you hear it? We can’t hear anything else. It sounds like this: “Pot Stocks! Pot Stocks! Pot Stocks!” And on and on.

Check out the marijuana ETF (ticker: MJ). Check out Aurora (ACB) or Tilray (TLRY). Check out GRWG making new all-time highs this month. Check out the AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS). The whole space is skying.

That means it’s time to start to digging around for unappreciated and excessively promising stories – the overlooked plays in the space that haven’t gotten the same fanfare, but may start to draw attention. That’s where the opportunity may be at this point.

And, with that in mind, our attention turns to Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTCMKTS:NUGS), an interesting story on the OTC as a rapidly growing and potentially underappreciated cannabis stock with strong metrics and signs of increasingly productive positioning in the ecosystem of the booming California cannabis market.

The story for NUGS right now is about timing, luck, and execution – and raw numbers that tell a story of performance that can’t be easily dismissed.

Firing on All Cylinders

It was easy to look away from the cannabis market earlier this year after the pandemic got going at full blast. And, it turns out, most companies in that space seem to have done just that, with reduced headcounts, lowered production, and chopped investments in capacity and innovation.

The result was an undersupplied market for cannabis that hit the end market as an actual shortage in many places in May and June.

But Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTCMKTS:NUGS) was one of the few players that went the other direction, stepping up its investment, driving increased product quality, and adding to its production capacity as its competitors were pulling back.

It was a contrarian bet that has paid off in a big way, but investors and market participants don’t seem to realize it yet, suggesting there may be an opportunity here.

Our thesis is that this type of contrarian bet doesn’t just lead to a short-term burst in superficial growth rate – by stepping into the gap in the market. But it leads to a sticky upgrade in market positioning as end market retailers come to rely on a new a reliable source of high-quality goods when the context is one of scarcity.

The Big Point

That has a long-term impact on relationships. We would argue that we have seen precisely that type of transition for Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTCMKTS:NUGS) so far this year.

If you look back through the company’s releases so far in 2020 and at the close of last year, you will see the following the sequence: a projection about revenues late last year looking for “$5 million in 2020 sales related to cannabis products”, a better than expected push to start the year, a series of investments in expanded production capacity and improved product quality, reports of increased pricing out the door on a per-unit volume basis for production, increased output as capacity increases start to pay off, and an unmistakable trend in sales growth across basically every conceivable period-to-period comparison.

Now, here we sit with results crushing guidance and every sign that the company has made undeniable progress in execution and market positioning in a sector with widely understood cyclical tailwinds in a massive structural growth boom.

Long story short: Cannabis Strategic Ventures (OTCMKTS:NUGS) ticks all the boxes right now and should be worth a closer look.

COMPENSATION DISCLOSURE: Section 17(b) of the 1933 Act requires publishers to disclose who paid them, the amount, and the type of payment. In order to be in full compliance with the Securities Act of 1933, Section 17(b): Tiger Global Management Partners LLC has compensated a third party to produce and present weekly content for various companies for the publication. For more information, please click here. In addition, this article is part of Networks. Read the Networks Disclaimer.

Published at Mon, 09 Nov 2020 07:38:19 +0000