Aurora Cannabis Michael King Cannabis Palm Springs

Aurora Cannabis to Acquire Uruguayan Medical Cannabis Provider ICC Labs for $290 Million in Stock

EDMONTON and VANCOUVER, Sept. 10, 2018 /CNW/ – Aurora Cannabis Inc. (Aurora or the Company) (TSX: ACB) (OTCQB: ACBFF) (Frankfurt: 21P; WKN: A1C4WM) and ICC Labs Inc. (TSX-V: ICC) (ICC) announced today that the companies have entered into a definitive arrangement agreement  pursuant to which Aurora intends to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of ICC (the ICC Shares) for $1.95 per share (payable in common shares of Aurora (the Aurora Shares) (the Share Consideration), reflecting an aggregate purchase price of approximately $290 million (the Transaction). The Transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of each ICC and Aurora.

Strategic Rationale

Led by CEO Alejandro Antalich, a widely-recognized leader in the South American cannabis market with over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical sector, the acquisition of ICC will establish Aurora as the industry leader in South America, a continent with over 420 million people. ICC presently has over 70% market share in Uruguay, the first country in the world to legalize cannabis for adult consumer use. In addition, ICC holds licenses in Colombia for the production of medical cannabis.

The Transaction, once approved, creates a strong foundation for expansion, and will leverage ICC’s first mover advantage in South America, bringing significant low-cost production capacity, a well-diversified product portfolio, and extensive distribution channels throughout South America and internationally.

ICC brings Aurora, among other strategic synergies, the following:

Significant, low-cost Capacity

  • Significant expansion of low-cost production and processing capacity: ICC is expanding rapidly, with both established facilities and a number of projects nearing completion to bring the estimated production capacity to over 450,000 kg per annum, adding significant value to Aurora’s funded footprint:
    • Two greenhouse facilities: currently operational – approximately 92,000 square feet
    • Three outdoor grow sites, with a potential total area of over 800 acres, 590 acres of which are in Uruguay and which are being prepared for cultivation start later this calendar year
    • Two facilities currently under construction, adding 124,000 square feet of greenhouse production in Columbia and a 1,000,000 sq ft facility in Uruguay

Strong Foundation to Capitalize on the Significant Global CBD Wellness Market Opportunity

  • CBD Rich Production: Uruguay is the only country where regulations currently permit the cultivation of CBD-rich hemp on a commercial scale, allowing licensed producers to grow hemp with THC concentrations of up to 1%, providing a significant yield advantage over global competitors. ICC’s deep background in pharma and the ability to grow low-cost CBD-rich hemp at very large scale positions the companies exceptionally well to capitalize on global opportunities in the high-growth CBD wellness market.
  • CBD Brand and Distribution: ICC recently launched its BIDIOL brand of CBD products, and is developing a broad international distribution network, including a presales agreement to export product to Mexico, a market with over 125 million people.
  • Significant Extraction Capacity: ICC is progressing well towards the completion of a state-of-the-art large-scale extraction facility with the capacity to process 150,000 kg of CBD feed per annum. Phase I of the facility is anticipated to be completed in October 2018, with the full facility online and operational by late 2018.
  • Free Trade: ICC’s new CBD extraction facility is strategically located approximately five minutes from the Canelones international airport and within Uruguay’s “Science Park” free trade zone, exempting facility exports from any applicable local tax on exports and imports.

Science, High-margin Products and Strong Genetics

  • The First South American GMP Compliant Science Lab: ICC is close to completing South America’s first state-of-the-art cannabis science laboratory, designed to the highest international standards and in compliance with applicable GMP standards. Soon to be certified, the facility will provide an early mover advantage over other producers in South America. to drive sales to international cannabis markets.
  • Product Diversification: ICC are leaders in South America, offering a broad portfolio of dried flower and higher margin products, including tablets, softcaps, ointments, creams, drops, infused syrups, and patches.
  • Genetics: ICC have secured a portfolio of high CBD strains that are exclusive to ICC in South America, and are highly sought after.

Anticipated benefits for ICC shareholders

In addition to the benefits described above, related to the combined entity, ICC shareholders will receive the following additional benefits:

  • Premium: The Share Consideration represents a premium of approximately 34% on the 20 day volume-weighted average trading price of ICC Shares on the TSX-V for the period ending August 22, 2018, the last trading day prior to ICC issuing a news release in respect of a media report speculating as to a potential transaction involving the acquisition of ICC.
  • Liquidity: Aurora Shares are listed and posted for trading on the TSX, providing ICC shareholders with potentially greater liquidity.
  • Aurora Shares: ICC shareholders, who will represent approximately 3.6% of outstanding Aurora Shares after giving effect to the Transaction, will have the opportunity to participate in the future potential increase in the value of Aurora, one of the world’s largest vertically integrated cannabis companies with a well-developed international footprint across five continents.

Neil Belot, Chief Global Business Development Officer, added “ICC, as the first company globally to be federally legalized for the sale of cannabis for adult consumer use, is a trailblazer in, and has set the example for the responsible production and distribution to this exciting market. The ICC/Aurora combination is the trusted partner for governments and other stakeholders to develop opportunities in emerging South American cannabis markets. We are extremely excited to be working with Alejandro and the team at ICC, and look forward to jointly pursuing a wide variety of opportunities in the adult consumer use, medical and CBD wellness markets.”

Alejandro Antalich, CEO of ICC added, “ICC was the first company in the world to receive a cannabis production license for adult consumer use, making Uruguay the first country globally in the modern era to legalize cannabis. This has provided us with significant early mover advantage. Combining with Aurora, its industry-leading plant, medical and product development science teams, broad international reach, and strong brands, positions us well to extend our leadership in the South American cannabis markets and the emerging global cannabis industry. The complementary nature of the two organizations and the shared philosophies made this an ideal match for us to realize our ambitious growth plans. This is a value-maximizing transaction that provides our shareholders with a significant premium and an exciting opportunity to participate in the upside of Aurora, one of the largest and fastest growing cannabis companies in the world. With multiple initiatives, such as our expanding international operations and our state-of-the-art science lab near to completion, it is time for ICC to move to the next level, and we believe that Aurora is an ideal partner to achieve this with.”

Terms of the Transaction

The Transaction will be effected by way of a plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) (the Arrangement). Under the terms of the Transaction, each shareholder of ICC (ICC Shareholder) will receive $1.95 per ICC Share, payable in Aurora Shares valued at the volume-weighted average trading price of Aurora Shares on the TSX during the 20 trading day period ending the second to last trading day on the TSX immediately prior to the Effective Date (as defined in the Arrangement Agreement), being the date the Transaction is completed (the Aurora Share Price).

Pursuant to the terms of the Transaction, based on the volume-weighted average trading price of Aurora Shares on the TSX during the 20 trading day period ending September 7, 2018 an ICC Shareholder would receive 0.2448 Aurora Shares for each ICC Share held, resulting in Aurora issuing approximately 36.2 million Aurora Shares (fully diluted, treasury method) in connection with the Transaction, representing approximately 3.6% of outstanding Aurora Shares after giving effect to the Transaction (actual number of shares received and issued will be based on the volume-weighted average trading price of Aurora Shares on the TSX during the applicable 20 day period preceding the completion of the Transaction).

The Transaction is subject to the approval of the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the approval of two-thirds of the votes cast by ICC Shareholders at a special meeting to be called of ICC Shareholders to approve the Transaction (the ICC Special Meeting).

Union Group International Holdings Limited (Union Group) has entered into a support agreement with Aurora to, among other things, vote the ICC Shares owned by it in favor of the Transaction and to otherwise support its completion, subject to the terms and conditions of such support agreement.  Union Group holds approximately 29% of the issued and outstanding ICC Shares.  All of the directors and senior officers of ICC (who hold in the aggregate approximately 0.4% of the issued and outstanding ICC Shares on a non-diluted basis) have entered into similar support agreements with Aurora pursuant to which they have agreed, among other things, to support the Transaction and vote their ICC Shares in favor of the Transaction.

The Transaction remains subject to certain other closing conditions including the receipt of certain approvals (including certain Uruguayan regulatory approvals and the consent of Aurora’s lenders), and the satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions. Approval by shareholders of Aurora is not required.

The Board of Directors of ICC (the ICC Board) unanimously recommends that ICC Shareholders vote in favor of the resolution to approve the Arrangement, which will be the subject of the ICC Special Meeting expected to be held in the fourth quarter of 2018. The recommendation of the ICC Board is supported by a fairness opinion from each of Canaccord Genuity Corp. and INFOR Financial Inc. to the effect that, as of the date of each opinion, and subject to the assumptions, limitations, and qualifications on which each such opinion is based, the consideration to be received by ICC Shareholders pursuant to the Transaction is fair, from a financial point of view to such shareholders.

The Arrangement Agreement provides for, among other things, the ICC Board being able to consider a superior proposal in certain circumstances and a right in favor of Aurora to match any superior proposal. The Arrangement Agreement also provides for the payment by ICC of a termination fee of $9,500,000 in favor of Aurora in certain circumstances. In addition, the Arrangement Agreement provides that, under certain circumstances, where the Transaction is not completed because of the failure of Aurora to obtain certain consents, Aurora would be required to (i) reimburse ICC’s expenses up to $750,000, and (ii) pay a reverse break fee to ICC in the amount of $1,250,000.

It is currently expected that, subject to receipt of all regulatory, court, shareholder and other approvals, and the satisfaction or waiver of all conditions, the Transaction will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Further information regarding the Transaction will be included in ICC’s management information circular to be mailed to ICC Shareholders in advance of the ICC Special Meeting and in ICC’s material change report in respect of the announcement of the Transaction, each of which will be filed with the Canadian securities regulators and will be available under ICC’s profile at

Financial and Legal Advisors

Canaccord Genuity Corp. is acting as financial advisor to ICC and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP is acting as legal counsel to ICC. INFOR Financial Inc. was also engaged by the ICC Board as an independent financial advisor to provide an independent fairness opinion in respect of the Transaction.
McMillan LLP is acting as legal counsel to Aurora.

About Aurora

Headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 500,000 kg per year and sales and operations in 14 countries across five continents, Aurora is one of the world’s largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora is vertically integrated and horizontally diversified across every key segment of the value chain, from facility engineering and design to cannabis breeding and genetics research, cannabis and hemp production, derivatives, high value-add product development, home cultivation, wholesale and retail distribution.

Highly differentiated from its peers, Aurora has established a uniquely advanced, consistent and efficient production strategy, based on purpose-built facilities that integrate leading-edge technologies across all processes, defined by extensive automation and customization, resulting in the massive scale production of high-quality product at ultra-low costs. Intended to be replicable and scalable globally, these production facilities are designed to produce cannabis of significant scale, with high quality, industry-leading yields, and ultra-low per gram production costs. Each of Aurora’s facilities is built to meet European Union (EU) GMP standards, and its first production facility, the recently acquired MedReleaf Markham facility, and its wholly owned European medical cannabis distributor Aurora Europe GmbH, have achieved this level of certification.

In addition to the Company’s rapid organic growth and strong execution on strategic M&A, which to date includes 10 companies acquired – MedReleaf, CanvasRx, Peloton Pharmaceutical, Pedanios, H2 Biopharma, Urban Cultivator, BC Northern Lights, Larssen Greenhouses, CanniMed Therapeutics, and Anandia – Aurora is distinguished by its reputation as a partner of choice and employer of choice in the global cannabis sector, having invested in and established strategic partnerships with a range of leading innovators, including: The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD), Radient Technologies Inc. (TSXV: RTI), Hempco Food and Fiber Inc. (TSXV: HEMP), Cann Group Ltd. (ASX: CAN), Micron Waste Technologies Inc. (CSE: MWM), Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO), Namaste Technologies Inc. (TSXV: N), Evio Beauty Group (private), Wagner Dimas (private), CTT Pharmaceuticals (OTCC: CTTH), Capcium Inc. (private), and Alcanna Inc. (TSX: CLIQ).

Aurora’s Common Shares trade on the TSX under the symbol “ACB”, and are a constituent of the S&P/TSX Composite Index.

For more information about Aurora, please visit our investor website, investor.auroramj.comTwitterFacebook orInstagram.

About ICC

ICC is a fully licensed producer and distributor of medicinal cannabinoid extracts, recreational cannabis, and industrial hemp products in Uruguay as well as a fully licensed producer of medicinal cannabis in Colombia. The Company has active operations in Uruguay and is focused on becoming the worldwide leading producer of cannabinoid extracts, giving support and promoting responsible use for medicinal purposes, backed by scientific research and innovation, while following strict compliance with standards for quality and safety.

For more information, please visit


Article Via New Cannabis Ventures


About Michael King Cannabis

Michael King is an experienced cannabis professional out of Palm Springs with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country.

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Study Suggests CBD May Have Antipsychotic Effect in Individuals

The psychiatric research journal JAMA Psychiatry has just published a new study suggesting CBD could have antipsychotic effects in individuals at clinical high risk of psychosis. The study builds off compelling prior research demonstrating CBD’s therapeutic effects. Titled “Effect of Cannabidiol on Medial Temporal, Mid-brain, and Striatal Dysfunction in People at Clinical High Risk of Psychosis,” the randomized clinical trial sheds important light not just on whether or not CBD has calming cognitive effects, but also how it produces them.

Psychiatrists Investigate the Underlying Causes for CBD’s Therapeutic Effects

What are the neurocognitive mechanisms that underlie the putative therapeutic effects of cannabidiol in psychosis? In other words, does CBD really help treat psychosis? And if so, how? Such are the questions motivating a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Researchers began with the premise that cannabidiol (CBD) has antipsychotic effects in humans. Exactly how it has that effect on the brain isn’t fully understood. Psychiatrists study the chemical reactions that lead to or stem from atypical mental states. For this study, researchers wanted to try to isolate the specific chemical alterations that give CBD its therapeutic and potentially antipsychotic effects.

To do so, the study examined the effects of CBD in 33 individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) of psychosis. Previous studies have identified the regions of the brain that become perturbed in individuals with psychosis and at CHR. So the JAMA study had a hypothesis: maybe CBD attenuates, or lessens, those disturbances in the parts of the brain associated with psychosis.

Study’s Findings Confirm CBD’s Influence on Brain Regions Implicated in Psychosis

The study’s 33 CHR participants were part of a double-blind randomized clinical trial with 19 healthy control individuals. Some participants received a single, 600 mg oral dose of cannabidiol; others, no CBD or a placebo. Researchers examined how the CBD affected the striatum, medial temporal cortex, and midbrain—the target brain regions.

The investigation revealed that all three brain regions experienced modulated activation as a result of the CBD. Using an MRI while participants performed a verbal learning task, researchers measured brain activation alongside healthy control individuals who took no CBD, and high-risk patients who received a placebo. What they found was that CHR patients who took CBD had activation levels about in the middle between healthy individuals with no disturbances and CHR patients who took no CBD.

In short, CBD did have the attenuating effects researchers had hypothesized. The oral dose of cannabidiol helped normalize dysfunction in all three brain regions. And that means the study may have identified one of the mechanisms responsible for CBD’s therapeutic benefits.

While the study’s findings have implications for psychiatric medicine and treating individuals at high risk for psychosis, it has wider importance for anyone interested in the effects of cannabis on mental health.

There are studies that have drawn links between regular and frequent cannabis use and the development of psychosis. Others have linked psychosis with changes to the endocannabinoid system, whether cannabinoid-stimulated or not. At the same time, research shows CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, has an almost opposite neural and behavioral effect to THC. With this latest study, scientists now know more about why that is.


article via High Times


About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country based out of Palm Springs — Kings Garden Inc.

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Community outreach helping cannabis companies - Michael King Cannabis Palm Springs

Community outreach helping cannabis companies gain edge on rivals, attract customers

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Cannabis companies nationwide are finding they can reap generous rewards from giving to their local communities.

Being a good corporate citizen can make it easier for marijuana businesses to work with regulators and local officials, stand out from competitors and attract new customers and high-quality employees, according to industry executives and experts on corporate giving.

There are a variety of ways cannabis companies can give back to their communities, ranging from providing volunteer time for events and projects to collecting food donations.

And with U.S. cannabis retail sales estimated to reach between $8 billion and $10 billion in 2018, many MJ businesses have room in their budgets to cut checks to cause-driven organizations.

“Giving back has always been a part of my life, but part of my mission is also breaking stereotypes about people who use cannabis as not being contributing members to society,” said Annette Atkinson, owner of HWY420, a Washington state marijuana retailer that has been recognized for its charitable giving.

“If I can increase the population that believes marijuana is an OK alternative to alcohol and opioids through showing that people who use marijuana are not horrible people, then on the business side, I think that will help me.”

In some states, giving back isn’t just good business; it’s required to even open for business.

In 2016, Denver started requiring applicants for retail marijuana licenses – and those seeking to renew their permits – to submit “community engagement” plans.

The idea was to “create positive impacts in the neighborhoods where the licensed premises are located.”

Some options for companies include:

  • Neighborhood Beautification.
  • Increasing access to healthy food.
  • Homelessness assistance.
  • Improving connectivity and transportation.

Municipalities such as Oakland, California, and Thornton, Colorado, also have adopted requirements aimed at ensuring the marijuana industry creates social benefits.

Similarly, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states rolling out new marijuana markets are introducing merit-based application programs as well, making community outreach and engagement increasingly important in the industry, said Courtney Mathis, president, and co-founder of KindColorado.

Denver-based KindColorado helps cannabis companies in the state strategize how to connect with neighborhood groups and nonprofits.

Among other activities, KindColorado has organized opportunities for marijuana company employees to pull weeds alongside refugee farmers, serve food for women struggling with poverty and fund senior-focused food banks.

“Cannabis companies are really becoming a part of their communities, and they feel really lucky about that,” said Kelly Perez, co-founder, and CEO of KindColorado.

“It isn’t about hitting licensing requirements. It’s about getting to serve a community where you don’t have to be in the shadows anymore: Coming out, standing tall and using your privilege and opportunity to be an asset.”

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country based out of Palm Springs — Kings Garden Inc.

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California to Lead in 2018 With Recreational Marijuana - Michael

California to Lead in 2018 With Recreational Cannabis

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California has always been a leader; people across the world often look to the west coast as a vision for the future, a catalyst for change, progression, and acceptance. At the forefront of progressivism, California takes the lead in the U.S. in areas of climate protection, civil liberties, and electing more diverse officials into office. The decriminalization of marijuana is now included on that list of progressive policy change.

California in 2018: On January 1st, California was positioned as a new leader in defining and legitimizing legal weed culture in the United States. If California does things right, it could really use this new platform to influence change throughout the country and become established as a global leader in the recreational marijuana industry. Here are some ways that California is positioned to disrupt the industry in 2018.

Opportunity for Better Laws & Regulations

2018 is going to be a historic year for recreational marijuana, but there’s still much work left to do in terms of policy. In fact, the first six months might be more of a transition period given the size of the market and that most cities and counties are still scrambling to establish regulations. Most of the state didn’t go live with recreational sales on January 1st. Los Angeles, for example, only began to accept applications for dispensaries on January 3rd and in effect, dispensaries themselves will not receive licenses for weeks. Availability will depend upon how a local government has treated marijuana for the past decade or more, so if your hometown never saw the sale of medical marijuana, you’re not likely to see recreational marijuana soon.

Although lawmakers have been slow moving on creating recreational regulations, perhaps that means there is still time for cannabis business owners to get involved. If ever you find an issue with a regulation your local lawmaker wants to pass, pick up the phone and call their office or attend a council meeting. It is important to lend your voice as a business owner, to tell lawmakers that you support regulation of the industry and what you feel would make it better. As a cannabis business owner, it is important to remain engaged and it will be only through collaborative effort that a better cannabis industry will grow. Click here to view who your local lawmakers are.

Global Brands

Expect to see a rise of companies looking to service the marijuana industry, especially in the tech sector, where people are reimagining how business is done. In today’s retail market, consumers expect convenience, such as online shopping and on-demand delivery. With a growing customer base, businesses need customer relationship management systems and marketing automation platforms to manage books, promotions, or loyalty programs.

Keep an eye out for ancillary businesses targeting the industry by developing new marketing and sales tools, advanced home grow systems, research & data platforms, apps and more. With startup hubs in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and San Diego, there’s a lot of possibility for growth in the industry with ample opportunity to become the next “Uber” for weed. Pay attention to the fast-growing cannabis economy and consider taking stock. With a rising customer base and consistent sales growth, marijuana stocks will certainly have investors seeing green. A few California-based companies to check out include Botana (LA), a data analytics platform helping cannabis growers become more efficient and profitable; EventHi (San Diego), an event management ticketing platform for cannabis events; and Loto Labs (San Francisco), who has built the first Smart Vape powered by Induction called the Loto Lux.

Shifting Attitudes & Growing Support

It is clear there has been a shift in the way the American public views marijuana, and according to a Gallup poll released in October 2017, nearly two-thirds of American adults believe marijuana use should be legal. Nevertheless, recreational cannabis remains federally illegal, making some aspects of normal business fairly challenging with disadvantageous tax laws and little to no access to basic banking services. As the public’s support continues to grow, perhaps mounting pressure will build on Congress to ultimately change its Class I schedule classification of it.

Other numbers that show how recreational legalization has benefitted society comes from Colorado. More than three years after Colorado legalized marijuana, a recent federal survey has found that teens are now actually smoking less, taking the centennial state below the national average. In fact, the number of 18-to-25-year-olds using alcohol on a monthly basis fell by four percentage points between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. This is an age group with the highest proclivity to use cannabis, thus proposing a number of young adults are choosing to smoke marijuana instead of drinking now that the option is available to them.

Studies like this showcase the problem with theories which argue making marijuana use legal for adults will result in more young adult use. All in all, it suggests that tighter regulations actually help keep cannabis away from kids. This study and more adds to a growing list of evidence showing that marijuana availability can reduce alcohol consumption, and be considering what public health experts know about the harmfulness of marijuana compared to booze, this should be considered a big public health win.

News like this coming from Colorado and Washington is overwhelmingly positive and serves as an indicator that the economy and society shall move in a forward direction post-legalization for California. The world abroad will be looking closely at what’s happening in the states to learn lessons that can be applied to their own situations. In short, California is positioned to help the world improve by leading by example.

Closing Thoughts

On that note, Jeff Sessions jolted those in the legal marijuana industry last week by announcing his ban of the Cole Memo (you can read it here). His disdain for marijuana use is well-known, but what will happen next is foggy, to say the least. It will also depend on the actions of other federal lawmakers. If this isn’t as good a time as any to become politically involved – it’s now. The country is overwhelmingly in support of legal marijuana. It is time for members of Congress to work to change the laws on the books. Click here to view who your local lawmakers are, and we encourage you to email or call to say that you oppose Sessions’ rescission of the Cole Memo.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Legal recreational marijuana in California - Michael King Cannab

Legal marijuana in California: What you need to know

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LOS ANGELES — California is now the nation’s largest state to offer legal recreational marijuana sales. Here’s a snapshot of how the market will work and how the state will regulate a pot economy estimated to be worth $7 billion:

The basics

California voted to legalize in 2016. The goal is to tighten regulation of the state’s long-running medical pot sales while encouraging operators in the vast black market to enter the legal system.

In general, California will treat cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot and grow six marijuana plants at home. The state in December began licensing businesses for the new economy, including retailers who will sell it and distributors who will move it from fields to storefronts.

Where can I buy legal weed?

The availability of legal weed will come down to this: location. What’s emerged so far is a patchwork of local rules under which some cities will have legal cannabis on Jan. 1, but others will not.

Los Angeles has delayed accepting applications for legal sales until Jan. 3, and it will be weeks before any shops open. Kern County is among the places that have banned all commercial cannabis activity. Other cities have postponed taking action, waiting to see how the new market rolls out. Santa Cruz, San Diego, Shasta Lake, San Jose and West Hollywood have authorized businesses for recreational sales.

Look before you light up

Legal weed comes with a lot of restrictions, including where it can be smoked. First, there is no smoking in public, and state law has specific rules forbidding anyone from lighting up within 1,000 feet (300 meters) of a school or a daycare center when kids are around, or from smoking while driving. Another general rule: Don’t smoke anywhere where tobacco is prohibited. Local governments are free to set rules for smoking at sales shops, what some call cannabis cafes or lounges, but that will vary city to city.

The taxman cometh

The state will impose a 15 percent excise tax on retail purchases of all cannabis and cannabis products, including medicinal cannabis. Cultivators will pay taxes on buds and leaves they sell, which is expected to be passed on to consumers at retail counters, too. Local governments can slap on additional taxes.

In Los Angeles, for example, new taxes and fees could push up the retail cost for a small bag of marijuana by as much as 70 percent. Operators fear that hefty new taxes will drive consumers into the black market. The state expects to bring in $684 million in pot taxes next year, with that number increasing to $1 billion in several years. Los Angeles has predicted that it could pull in $50 million next year.

Why legal, why now?

Californians have gradually taken a more permissive attitude toward pot. Back in 1913, the state banned “loco-weed,” according to a history by a major pro-legalization group, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. In the 1970s, felony possession of less than an ounce was downgraded to a misdemeanor, then state voters approved marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996.

The reason the state is moving into legal cannabis is voters wanted it, overwhelmingly. Proposition 64, which legalized the sale and cultivation of recreational pot for adults, passed in November 2016 with 57 percent of the vote. There are other states with legal weed, including Washington and Colorado, but California will be the biggest by far. It is home to 1 in 8 Americans.

Legal and illegal at the same time?

Pot will be legal in California in January, but it remains illegal at the federal level.

While Washington has kept its distance from medicinal pot in states where it is legal, Congress has yet to renew a little-noticed rule that shields state medical marijuana programs from federal intervention. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an outspoken opponent of cannabis, has hinted at a possible crackdown. The state’s black market is vast: An estimated 15,000 illegal cultivation sites exist in Humboldt County alone, a prized growing area in Northern California’s so-called Emerald Triangle.

Goodbye Medical cannabis?

Not really. Medicinal sales are expected to shrink, but not go away. In Los Angeles, medicinal buyers will pay a lower city tax rate, which could be an inducement to stay in that market. Others are likely to stick with medicinal products they know, such as for sleep problems or pain. One age group caught in a gap between medical and recreational marijuana are those 18 to 20 years old. You have to be at least 21 to buy recreational pot, but medicinal is legal for anyone 18 and older. Some in that age range are likely to continue seeking medicinal purchases.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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New Study: Smoke Weed and Virtually Drive - Michael King Cannabi

California College Paying People to Smoke Weed and Virtually Drive for Study

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In an effort to better understand the ways cannabis use impacts traffic safety, UC San Diego is conducting a virtual driving study that tests how driving high impacts the ability to respond to common challenges on the roadway. The study, the largest of its kind to date, is being conducted by the college’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. And to make sure they’re attracting the right candidates, researchers are paying people to smoke weed for the study.

For Participants, It Pays To Drive High

If the idea of getting paid to smoke weed and get behind the wheel sounds good to you, you’re in luck. UC San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research is still recruiting participants for its study on cannabis and driving.

And for the study’s participants, it pays to drive high. The CMCR is giving participants $50 for an initial appointment. But when participants come back for their full day assessment, UCSD is prepared to drop an additional $180.

Those involved in the study will have their work cut out for them. Besides a long day of simulated driving, there’s no guarantee a participant will even get high.

Anyone participating in the study, however, will get to smoke a joint. The study’s design involves administering joints rolled on site and of varying THC concentrations. Some have none, while others are high-potency.

Researchers want to know how different cannabis doses impact a person’s ability to drive. Timing is another variable the study will examine. If a person consumes cannabis in the morning, how long will their high last? And at what point is a person no longer under the influence of cannabis?

Study Wants To Find When It’s Safe To Drive After Consuming Cannabis

CMCR’s study is investigating these questions because traffic safety continues to be a priority issue in states with legal adult-use cannabis. Concerns about drivers under the influence of cannabis are omnipresent in policy discussions about legalization.

And not without good reason, according to Tom Marcotte, Co-Director of UC San Diego’s CMCR. Marcotte says cannabis absolutely impacts driving.

But the study isn’t only about providing data to support that claim. It also aims to figure out how long it takes the average person to sober up after cannabis use.

And that, Marcotte says, could help cannabis users make smarter decisions about whether they should pick up the keys or get a ride.

The study will also analyze how well high drivers react to common road challenges, like making a left turn against traffic or deciding whether to brake or roll through a yellow light.

Marcotte says drivers under the influence of cannabis definitely struggle with some common driving tasks. Swerving and braking seem to be particularly affected.

Cannabis and Driving Study Will Help Law Enforcement Detect High Drivers

After smoking a joint and taking their turn on the research center’s driving simulator, participants will have to take a field sobriety test.

And that, in turn, could help cops better detect high drivers. For now, officers rely on field sobriety tests to check for cannabis intoxication. But the cognitive nature of cannabis’ effects makes it hard to know for sure whether a person is too impaired to drive.

With the data from CMCR’s study, however, officers could develop field sobriety tests better calibrated to cannabis.

Finally, the study will collect blood and saliva samples from participants. This will help researchers determine what level of driving aptitude corresponds to THC amounts in those fluids.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Medical Marijuana Can Mean a Good Night’s Sleep - Michael King

For Veterans With PTSD, Medical Marijuana Can Mean a Good Night’s Sleep

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Too many American veterans face a new enemy, encountered months or many years after leaving active duty: sleeplessness.

David Bass, a US Army officer who served for 20 years, describes how insomnia can begin for soldiers.

“In the combat zone,” Bass says, “sleeping is extremely difficult. You’re adrenalized all the time, under tremendous pressure all the time to accomplish the mission. So you’re operating on extreme lack of sleep. My experience in Iraq was that medical personnel gave us Ambien. I personally became addicted to Ambien so I could sleep. Some of my friends who were also officers were also using it when we were there.”

But Ambien-induced sleep is different from regular sleep. “[Ambien] has some side effects,” said Bass. (Ambien is notorious for these known side effects). “I’ve seen people sleepwalking. That’s not a good thing to do in a combat zone—doing things and having no memory of it.”

Stateside Problems

Even without those side effects, there’s still the problem of Ambien addiction once a soldier leaves the combat zone and return home. Soldiers who in the combat zone had Ambien-induced sleep – and had been readily supplied it by medical personnel there to ensure some means of getting rest — find their supply cut off, said Bass. Many turn to what’s available: unlimited quantities of alcohol. After deployment, “those of us dependent on Ambien used alcohol instead,” he said.

Even as he was dealing with his Ambien addiction, Bass recalls, he was also experiencing PTSD symptoms. “Paranoia and hypervigilance are two of the most common markers of PTSD,” he said. “I had nightmares. All these things lead to insomnia.”

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, “Insomnia is reported to occur in 90-100% of Vietnam-era Veterans with PTSD. Insomnia was also the most commonly reported PTSD symptom in a survey of Veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Sleep problems aren’t just a symptom of PTSD; they’re a hallmark of the disorder.

“One of the reasons [we’re] so adamantly working for medical marijuana was that we discovered it was the answer to insomnia,” Bass said, referring to himself and his veteran friends who were experiencing sleeplessness. “[We] were able to use it to have very peaceful and restful sleep. I realized I didn’t need Ambien and didn’t need to drink myself to sleep.”

Cannabis Can Require Trial and Error

Roger Martin, an Army veteran and the executive director of the advocacy organization, Grow for Vets, had experiences similar to Bass. Dealing with chronic pain and severe insomnia, Veterans Administration doctors prescribed him a cornucopia of drugs — including Ambien and opioids. After years of medicating with prescription drugs, he saw the writing on the wall. And, he knew it wouldn’t end well.

For Martin, who worked in law enforcement after he served, cannabis wasn’t a drug thought he’d ever consider. However, after doing research and at the suggestion of his doctor, he decided to give it a try. Martin’s initial foray into cannabis wasn’t exactly successful. Having never tried cannabis, he had no idea what to expect. Following advice from a budtender, he started with edibles. And, as he recounts:

“I had no idea how long to wait for edibles to take effect. I waited 20 minutes, nothing happened. So I took some more. Another 20 minutes, still nothing. I took some more. Than pow! It all hit at once, and I didn’t know what hit me.”

Martin, who shares his story in the most recent installment of Eyes Wide Open: A Podcast About Cannabis and Insomnia, says despite his miscalculation, he was so determined to get off of prescription drugs, he tried cannabis a couple of more times before getting it right.

Now, he says — his moderate dose of 10 to 15 mgs — works great. But, he urges others to heed his advice. “Start low, and go slow.”

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Study Cannabinoid May Help Relieve Migraines Michael King

Study: Cannabinoid May Help Relieve Migraines

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Researchers Investigated Migraines and Cannabinoids

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco recently published a study in The Journal of Neurosciencecentered around the endocannabinoid system and its role in the treatment of migraine headaches. According to their findings, the activation of cannabinoid receptors in the brain may help modulate pain signals.

The research team was comprised of five Department of Neuorology members called the ‘Headache Group’. Knowing that cannabinoids have been tied to the perception of neuropathic pain, the researchers wanted to see if they would have similar success treating the throbbing nature of migraine headaches.

Endocannabinoids May Help Relieve Migraine Headaches
The Headache Group investigated the ‘periaqueductal’ gray matter, the part of the brain that modulates the descending nature of pain, in rats. In particular, they measured the activity of pain receptors and nerve fibers associated with headaches.

‘A delta fibers’ are nerves that respond to cold and pressure. According to the abstract of the Headache Group’s study, activation of the CB1 receptor reduced the amount of A delta fibers by as much as 19%, but there was no change in sensory information from skin on the face. This suggests that the pressure relief was the result of nervous system interactions

Another bit of proof for CB1-induced migraine relief was discovered when the Headache Group realized that the inhibition of the cannabinoid receptor prevented a decrease in pressure A delta fibers. As the researchers learned, the mechanism that underlies migraine headaches is quite complicated.

Triptans are a family of medicines used to temporarily relieve migraines that are thought to affect serotonin receptors. However, the Headache Group found that the underlying mechanism of migraine relief may involve an interaction between cannabinoid and serotonin receptors in certain areas of the brain. Due to this, the Headache Group believes the endocannabinoid system may be involved in triptan-related relief as well.

About Michael King Cannabis

Michael King is an experienced cannabis professional out of Palm Springs with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country.

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Canadian College Announces Cannabis Cultivation Class Michael King

Canadian College Announces Cannabis Cultivation Class

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Higher education plays a key role in the modern and technologically sophisticated cannabis industry. From agriculture to retail, from labs to courtrooms, legal weed spans multiple sectors of the economy and society. Preparing the next generation for these new civic, commercial, and environmental horizons is more important than ever. And notably, universities across the United States and Canada have begun to recognize the value in educating students to work in these fields. Cannabis classes are cropping up on campuses across the country. More degree programs at the graduate level are incorporating cannabis into their curriculum.

More schools are offering scholarships for students interested in pursuing a career in cannabis. And now Canada is following suit, offering students in one cannabis cultivation class full tuition to study pot.

The medical cannabis industry deserves the credit for legitimizing the academic pursuit of weed studies. And as the industry continues to grow and create jobs, colleges and universities will be responsible for creating the highly skilled individuals to work them.

In Canada, however, legalization has proceeded along a somewhat different timeline compared to to the united states. Overall, legal weed is much “younger” there. 2001 saw the end of the country’s 1923 ban on marijuana, with the legalization of regulated medical cannabis.

A bill legalizing recreational use, however, wouldn’t pass until November 2017. The law will take effect, with some restrictions, on July 1, 2018.

Since then, and to gear up for this massive legislative shift in Canadian drug policy, Liberal provincial governments are making the cannabis industry part of their broader economic growth plans.

Among other things, these plans make provincial government funds available to support educational initiatives in the medical cannabis industry. And the cannabis cultivation class now on offer at New Brunswick Community College in Dieppe is one such initiative receiving financial support from the government.

25 Students To Get Free Tuition For Cannabis Cultivation Class

Dieppe Community College seems rather far removed from Canada’s urban centers. But the New Brunswick school happens to reside near one of the province’s two licensed medical marijuana growers, Organigram.

According to Organigram CEO Greg Engel, the company collaborated with faculty at Dieppe to craft the curriculum for the new cannabis cultivation class.

Working alongside the government, Organigram and Dieppe were also able to secure $70,000 to cover tuition for the first 25 students to take the course. That means students can study the art and science of growing medical cannabis for free, courtesy of the government.

Dieppe Community College’s cannabis cultivation class is the first of its kind offered in Canada. The first cohort of students began the course on November 27.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Study Cannabidiol CBD May Reduce Cigarette Consumption Michael King

Study: Cannabidiol (CBD) May Reduce Cigarette Consumption

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Cannabidiol (CBD) Could Help Treat Nicotine Addiction

It is no secret that cigarette smoke has detrimental ramifications in the human body. In fact, a study published in 2008 cited tobacco as the single greatest cause of preventable death internationally.

Common conditions with which cigarettes are related include: heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and various types of cancer. In fact, each cigarette smoked is estimated to shorten life expectancy by 11 minutes.

By now, these statistics are commonplace in American society. Most, if not all, would agree that cigarettes are harmful to one’s health, but smoking cessation (quitting) can be troublesome for a number of reasons. A major cause of difficulty is the common occurrence of nicotine addiction. That being said, studies have suggested a link between nicotine addiction and the endocannabinoid system; the latest of which suggests that Cannabidiol (CBD) could be of assistance when trying to quit smoking.

UK Researchers Studied CBD and Cigarette Consumption
A team of researchers from University College London published a study in the September issue of the journal Addictive Behaviorsthat investigated whether low doses of cannabidiol (CBD) would help treat nicotine addiction in tobacco smokers who want to quit.

The research team, led by Celia J.A. Morgan, used a double-blind, placebo controlled model for their study, which consisted of 24 participants (12 male, 12 female) between the ages 18-35. In order to take place in the study, participants were required to smoke, on average, more that 10 cigarettes per day. That being said, they must also have expressed a desire to break the habit.

Participants were asked to record the amount of cigarettes they consumed during the week prior to treatment. After baseline testing, they were split into two groups. Each group was provided with an inhaler – One group received CBD and the other received a placebo. They were then instructed to use the inhaler whenever they felt the urge to smoke.

During the course of the treatment week, participants were asked to record their inhaler use and the number of cigarettes smoked in a journal. Additionally, participants were asked, via text message, to rate their current level of craving once per day.

Cannabidiol (CBD) May Help Decrease Cigarette Use

According to the study’s results, the group receiving cannabidiol (CBD) treatment experienced a significant reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked. The same cannot be said of the placebo group, as there was little-to-no change from pre- to post-treatment.

Interestingly, the decreased cigarette consumption occurred despite the fact that there was no change in the level of craving reported each day.

According to the research team, craving is often used to indicate the potential for relapse. Cannabidiol (CBD) was found to reduce cigarette consumption without causing craving levels to rise, which the researchers referred to as “a potentially encouraging finding.”

Of course, more research will be necessary to determine whether CBD is a viable treatment for nicotine addiction in a clinical setting. This study is limited in that it only included 24 participants. Furthermore the results relied on self-reporting and should be taken with a grain of salt. With that said, they suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) may be of benefit to those who want to quit smoking. According to the author of the study, “CBD may be effective in reducing cigarette use in tobacco smokers.”

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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