Agencies Look to Create Safeguards for Cannabis Use
NEW YORK, Feb. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Last week was quite an important one for the cannabis industry, as lawmakers in four states approved new legalization bills. Additionally, other cannabis and drug policy developments have also been taking place in several states. Marijuana Moment reported that, at the committee level, legalization bills advanced in Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Dakota. Also, Washington State lawmakers approved a broad drug decriminalization measure, and Wisconsin’s governor unveiled a proposal to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis. In countries where both medical and recreational use has been legalized, sales data shows strong demand across the board. In Canada, for example, sales of legal recreational cannabis totaled CAD 2.6 Billion (about USD 2.08 Billion) in 2020, which represents a 120% increase over 2019 cannabis sales. Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF) (CSE: BLO), OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI), Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT), Aphria Inc. (NASDAQ: APHA) (TSX: APHA), Cresco Labs Inc. (OTC: CRLBF)
Safeguards for Cannabis Use
Despite the progress made in the cannabis industry, there are still concerns about how such products are being regulated. Specifically, regulators have been concerned about the possibility of driving while under the influence. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana can significantly impair judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time. Overall, THC breathalyzers’ advancement is expected to reduce the number of consumers who drive under the influence. And, as a result, regulators are hoping to reduce the number of dangerous incidents. “When looking at how tech would impact the cannabis industry, it’s important to understand the industry’s needs. Generally, this industry is no different than many other industries, and it has all of the same business needs that most businesses have. The Schedule One nature of cannabis, along with the general misunderstanding of cannabis as a plant for so long, has led to a greater need for compliance and transparency when setting up these businesses,” said Avis Bulbulyan, Chief Executive Officer of Siva Enterprises.
Agencies Look to Create Safeguards for Cannabis Use
Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF) (CSE: BLO) just announced breaking news that “it has developed the latest version of the THC Breath Analyzer (“THCBA) prototype and portable system for field use. The new system incorporates a new protective case that houses a sterilization module, smart sample preparation stage, and integrated battery charging system. Also, engineers have enhanced the handheld device for field use in several ways, including revisions to the screen placement, improved breath flow analysis, and upgraded microcontroller. New images of the THCBA version 3.0 are included in this press release and available on the Company’s website.
THCBA testing is ongoing and is focused on training the device’s machine learning database, determining sensitivity ranges, and improving user and administrator experience. The THCBA has been built to provide easy-to-understand screen prompts for the positive and negative detection of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) – the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes impairment in-breath, and can be administered with limited training. The system provides results in under five minutes.
The THCBA has been targeted for employers and other markets seeking a way to quickly, easily, and non-invasively test for recent use of THC. Employers everywhere are struggling with current drug testing technology’s limitations in identifying recent use of marijuana that may be causing impairment during work hours and differentiating this from recreational and medical use during non-work hours/days. The Cannabix device allows for more relevant THC detection from breath, allowing employers to create an onsite regiment whereby they can perform pre-access testing for recent use of marijuana before and during work hours, instead of testing for drug use when employees are not at work.
Current forms of testing for marijuana use can identify THC ranging from minutes to days before actual use, making it impossible to show the difference between them. Studies¹ have shown that breath is a better indicator of impairment than saliva, blood, or urine because THC is present in breath for a relatively short period of time (1-3 hours); whereas, it is excreted at detectable levels in other body fluids for many hours, days, or even weeks after smoking. This short time period of detection in breath aligns with the peak impairment window.
The Company wants to acknowledge the rapidly changing environment for cannabis use in the U.S. The November election in the U.S. saw Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota approving recreational marijuana legalization. In February, news agencies have reported that top Democrats, including senators Cory Booker (NJ), Ron Wyden (OR), and Chuck Schumer (NY), are seeking to advance comprehensive cannabis reform legislation in the United States Congress. These kinds of significant developments increase the focus on public safety as cannabis use is legalized in new jurisdictions and emphasizes the importance of the kinds of tools that Cannabix Technologies is developing to support public safety.”
(1) Olla P, Ishraque MT, Bartol S. 2020. Evaluation of Breath and Plasma Tetrahydrocannabinol Concentration Trends Postcannabis Exposure in Medical Cannabis Patients. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Res.; 99-104.
Himes S. et al. 2013. Cannabinoids in Exhaled Breath following Controlled Administration of Smoked Cannabis. Clinical Chemistry; 1780–1789.
Beck O, Sandqvist S, Dubbelboer I, Franck J. 2011. Detection of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in exhaled breath collected from cannabis users. J Anal Toxicol; 35:541– 4.
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OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) reported back in December the launch of three new Edison Cannabis Co. (“Edison”) Indica strains, including high potency Black Cherry Punch and Ice Cream Cake (I.C.C.) and full flavor Slurricane. “A relentless commitment to science, data, and quality continues to be the hallmark of the Edison brand,” says Greg Engel, CEO, Organigram. “We are pleased and proud to introduce these three new strains to the Canadian market and hope adult consumers enjoy the unique flavors each one has to offer.”
Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT) announced last month the first commercial shipment of its in-house developed Cannabis brand Mood Ring™ Hashish products. These in-house developed Cannabis brand Mood Ring™ Hashish products will be distributed via the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB), the wholesaler and public retailer of non-medical cannabis throughout the province. This commercial shipment follows Neptune’s December shipment of Mood Ring™ High CBD Oil and High CBD Capsules. “This is a very exciting time for Neptune as we have now commenced production of Mood Ring™ hashish utilizing our newly implemented and proprietary solventless extraction for THC concentrates. We believe Mood Ring™ is well-positioned to satisfy the significant consumer demand for affordable, sustainable, premium cannabis products,” said Michael Cammarata, President & Chief Executive Officer of Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc.
Aphria Inc. (NASDAQ: APHA) (TSX: APHA) announced earlier last year its financial results for the first quarter ended August 31, 2020. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted except for per gram, kilogram, kilogram equivalents, and per share amounts. “Our strong first-quarter results reflect the continued robust growth and development of Aphria’s adult-use cannabis brands in Canada,” said Irwin D. Simon, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer. “We are consistently taking a diversified approach to our innovation, strategic partnerships, global expansion, and corporate citizenship to fuel sustainable, long-term growth. We believe that the strength of our balance sheet and cash position, combined with our consistent focus on our highest-return priorities, will generate sustainable long-term value for all stakeholders.” The Company reported Record gross revenue for adult-use cannabis of $69.6 million in the first quarter, an increase of 23% from the prior quarter and the sixth consecutive quarter of growth.
Cresco Labs Inc. (OTCQX: CRLBF) announced last week the closing of its acquisition of Verdant Creations dispensaries in Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Newark, and Marion, Ohio (collectively “Verdant”). These acquisitions give Cresco four additional dispensaries, bringing the Company’s dispensary presence in Ohio to five – the state’s maximum allowed. “In 2020, we demonstrated the growth and leverage that can be created by focusing only on the most strategic markets, executing high-quality cultivation at scale, distributing our branded products onto every shelf, and focusing on targeted, consumer-focused, high-volume retail. In 2021, we’re using the same playbook to go deeper in strategic states, including Ohio,” said Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs’ CEO and Co-founder. “The Verdant acquisition significantly deepens our position in Ohio, a market that looks structurally similar to Illinois and Pennsylvania in the early years of those medical markets. We are thrilled to be amplifying our operations in Ohio this year and look forward to bringing our brands to more patients throughout the state.”
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