Legal Cannabis Sales Projected to Increase as the Illicit Market Weakens

According to a report published by Arcview Market Research, the legal cannabis market in North American grew 34 percent to $6.7 billion in 2016. It is also expected to reach $22.6 billion in 2021 along with a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent over the next five years. The report indicated that the growth in legal cannabis continues to take market shares from the illicit market. Currently, eight states have legalized recreational cannabis while products for medical use is legal in 29 states. The erosion of the illicit market will accelerate in 2018 as two biggest markets in North American, California and Canada, will allow legalized adult-use programs. Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. (OTC: KWFLF), Insys Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: INSY), Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: CRBP), 22nd Century Group Inc (NYSE: XXII), Cara Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: CARA)

The report also stated that the market keeps its growth despite conflicting signals from the new U.S. presidential administration. Troy Dayton, CEO of Arcview Market Research, said: “While the uncertainty created by the mixed signals coming out of the Administration may cause a temporary dip in some valuations of cannabis companies and some more risk-averse institutional investors and multinational companies may continue to stay on the sidelines, it won’t impact the growth of the market much at all. No matter what the administration does, states will continue to issue cannabis licenses to a long line of applicants and licensed cannabis outlets will continue to have long lines of consumers ready to purchase this product from regulated establishments.”

Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. (OTC: KWFLF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘CBW’. Earlier this week the company announced that, “it has entered an exclusive strategic alliance with the corporate owner of a national chain of convenience stores (the ‘Convenience Store Group’) to develop and implement cannabis distribution and retail sale opportunities at all Convenience Store Group locations (collectively, the ‘Responsible Retailing Program’). The Convenience Store Group currently owns and operates over 350 convenience stores and convenience kiosks across Canada in high-traffic locations such as transit stations and commercial office buildings. Cannabis Wheaton believes that this distribution alliance is the first of its kind in Canada and allows the parties to collaborate and partner on cannabis distribution and retail sale opportunities including the active exploration of advanced age verification technologies to ensure the responsible retailing of cannabis at Convenience Store Group locations, if permitted by law (each, a ‘CS Location’).

The strategic alliance gives the Company the exclusive right for 10 years to: (i) work with the Convenience Store Group to develop and implement any physical or online distribution or sale of any form of cannabis, cannabis-infused or cannabis-derived products (collectively, ‘Cannabis Products’) at any CS Locations; (ii) supply, or arrange for the supply of, all Cannabis Products to CS Locations for the distribution and/or sale of Cannabis Products, subject to applicable laws; (iii) develop consumer education best practices and guidelines in the retailing of Cannabis Products at CS Locations; and (iv) manage the display and/or advertising of Cannabis Products at CS Locations. All profits generated by the sale of Cannabis Products at CS Locations will be subject to a profit-sharing arrangement to be negotiated by the parties on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis if/when such distribution is legally permitted in such jurisdiction. In consideration for such exclusivity, Cannabis Wheaton will issue the Convenience Store Group warrants to purchase up to 1,000,000 common shares of the Company at an exercise price of $1.00 per common share for a period of 5 years.”

Hugo Alves, President of Cannabis Wheaton commented, “This alliance is exciting for us and we look forward to working with a great group of experts who have a long history of handling regulated products such as tobacco and alcohol and have developed excellent age verification procedures to ensure that such products are only available to eligible purchasers. As evidenced by a recent study, convenience stores outperform the LCBO and The Beer Store when it comes to successfully implementing age verification procedures for age-restricted products. In order to bolster these already excellent protocols we intend to explore additional age verification technologies that can be implemented at eligible convenience store locations to ensure that the retail sale of cannabis is handled in a responsible fashion and in full compliance with regulatory requirements. We view this as an opportunity to work with one of the largest and most trusted distribution platforms in the country which provides trusted product access to remote locations across Canada.”

Chuck Rifici, Chairman and CEO of Cannabis Wheaton, stated, “We continue moving towards our goal of ensuring that Cannabis Wheaton and its streaming partners have opportunities to participate in a wide variety of distribution and retail channels and we view this alliance as a step in the right direction. Convenience stores are a cornerstone in Canadaand have vast experience dealing with governmental agencies, regulated products and consumers. With over 27,000 locations in Canada, convenience stores offer un-paralleled access for consumers and are well equipped to deal with age-restricted products, a category which recreational cannabis will fall squarely into. We are excited to add another strategic partner to our platform and work together to create advanced age verification technologies and explore distribution and retail opportunities for our streaming partners as we continue to grow through diversity.”

Insys Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: INSY) is pharmaceutical company. Insys is using proprietary spray technology and capabilities to develop pharmaceutical cannabinoids, INSYS is developing a pipeline of products intending to address unmet medical needs and the clinical shortcomings of existing commercial products. Currently the company is developing treatments for a variety of conditions other than pain, including synthetic cannabidiol (CBD) for two types of pediatric epilepsy and Prader-Willi syndrome; dronabinol oral solution for anorexia associated weight loss in cancer patients; buprenorphine/naloxone sublingual spray for opioid dependence; naloxone nasal spray for opioid overdose; epinephrine nasal spray for anaphylaxis reaction; and rizatriptan nasal spray for migraine.

Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: CRBP) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on rare, life-threatening, chronic inflammatory diseases. The company will present three abstracts from its cystic fibrosis (“CF”) research and clinical development programs at the 2017 North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference (“NACFC”) being held November 2-4, in Indianapolis, IN. ADouble-Blind, Placebo Controlled Phase 2 Study in Adults with Cystic Fibrosis of Anabasum, which is a synthetic oral endocannabinoid-mimetic drug that preferentially binds to the CB2 receptor expressed on activated immune cells and fibroblasts.

22nd Century Group Inc (NYSE: XXII) is a plant biotechnology company focused on genetic engineering and plant breeding which allows the increase or decrease of the level of nicotine in tobacco plants and the level of cannabinoids in cannabis plants. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Botanical Genetics, LLC, entered into a worldwide license agreement with Anandia Laboratories Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, 22nd Century Group was granted an exclusive sublicense in the United States and a co-exclusive sublicense in the remainder of the world, excluding Canada, to patents and patent applications relating to the cannabis plant that are required for the production of cannabinoids, the major active ingredients in the cannabis plant.

Cara Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: CARA) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company located in Stamford, CT focused on developing and com is a clinical-stage biotechnology company located in Stamford, CT focused on developing and commercializing new chemical entities designed to fundamentally change the way acute pain, chronic pain and pruritus are managed. Mercializing new chemical entities designed to fundamentally change the way acute pain, chronic pain and pruritus are managed. Dr. Joseph Stauffer, CMO of Cara Therapeutics, explained, “Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists like CR701 have the potential to provide improved pain relief for patients suffering from neuropathic pain.”