Legal and Medical Cannabis Investment on the Rise - Michael King

Legal and Medical Cannabis Market Investments on the Rise

Article originally published by Markets Insider

According to a report by New Frontier Data, medical cannabis sales are forecast to grow to $5.3 billion in 2017, or accounting for 67% of total cannabis sales. By 2025, medical sales in currently legal states are forecast to grow to $13.2 billion and will account for 55% of all sales. Comparatively, adult-use sales in 2017 are forecast to reach $2.6 billion, or rising to $10.9 billion by 2025. This puts emphasis on the state of California, which offers the perfect example of why it is so important to understand trends in consumer behavior. The state’s legal industry is forecast to grow from $2.8 billion in 2017, to $5.6 billion in 2020. AmeriCann Inc. (OTC: ACAN), Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRBP), Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CARA), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTC: AXIM).

New Frontier also commented on the growth in cannabis investing over the past two years, including how the investment community has responded to the 2016 general elections. Cannabis stocks have seen significant growth in recent years, with the Viridian Cannabis Stock Index growing 236.1% in 2016 alone.

“Cannabis stocks significantly outperformed major indexes in 2016, fueled by speculative investment based on anticipated expansion of new legal markets.

In the run up to the election, stocks increased by 207.8% and continued to rise, even with an uncertain future under the new administration. While recent comments by the Trump administration did have an initial dampening effect on the market, we have seen continued growth relative to Q4 2016 whereby cannabis stocks are still outperforming other sectors,” said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, CEO of New Frontier Data.

AmeriCann Inc. (OTCQX: ACAN) an Agricultural-Technology company that is developing the next generation of sustainable, state-of-the-art medical cannabis cultivation properties, announced earlier today that it has secured an equity investment commitment of $10,000,000 from Mountain States Capital, LLC (“MSC”).

The majority of the investment from MSC will be utilized to develop the first phase of AmeriCann’s flagship project, the Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center (“MMCC”.) This state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and processing development project is 47 miles from Boston in the midst of the rapidly growing Massachusetts medical cannabis market.

Mountain States Capital released a statement that, “AmeriCann is well positioned to benefit from the recent implementation of the landmark adult-use cannabis program in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth, and the country, needs the sophisticated, technologically advanced facilities that AmeriCann is delivering.”

The MMCC project is approved for 1 million square feet, which will be developed in phases and is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced cultivation facilities in the nation.

Massachusetts is one of the most dynamic developing cannabis markets in the United States,” stated AmeriCann CEO Tim Keogh. “Our MMCC project will become a center of excellence for quality, consistency and efficiency and play an important role in helping to provide the cannabis infrastructure the Commonwealth requires.”

The project’s first phase will consist of a 30,000 square foot greenhouse, laboratory and research center. AmeriCann has agreements with Coastal Compassion, Inc., one of a limited number of licensed operators in the Massachusetts cannabis market. Coastal Compassion, Inc. will lease 100% of the first phase of MMCC upon completion. In addition to funding the initial 30,000 square foot facility, the balance of the equity is expected to be utilized to prepare for projects in other regulated markets.

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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Cannabis Entrepreneurs Offer Advice On Where To Jump In - Michael King

Cannabis Entrepreneurs Offer Advice On Where To Jump In

Article Originally Published by Forbes

“It’s a boom town,” says entrepreneur Richard Huang, describing the legal cannabis industry, “but it’s not a gold rush, where just any fool can strike it big.” As co-founder of the vaporizer company Cloudious9, Huang has picked out his niche, putting time and effort behind the vaping trend.  He is one of the plethora of professional financiers, scientists, retailers, inventors and entrepreneurs jumping into legal cannabis, which last year surpassed sales of $6B .

The success stories are alluring. Two retired ladies created food-safe cannabis containers and sold millions right away. A couple of guys at the glass show ordered some cool pipes to sell online and ended up creating Dankstop, the largest online head shop.

Cannabis entrepreneurs continue to find a variety of new opportunities in the evolving industry, and one of the fastest-growing is marijuana-infused edibles.

Bethany Gomez, Director of Research for the cannabis-focused market research firm, Brightfield Group, estimates that edibles sales will reach nearly $1.6 billion in 2017 and as markets mature, they will increase as a percentage of the total market, “reaching more than 25% of total sales in several states.” Offerings in the sector have moved far beyond the stereotypical “pot brownie” to infused beverages, candies, tinctures, and cooking ingredients.

Customer consumption patterns have not yet stabilized according to Gomez and “the brand landscape remains highly fragmented,” in edibles she said, leaving significant room for newcomers to succeed. “Infused products offer some of the greatest opportunities for entrepreneurship in the cannabis market,” she said, despite the growing number of products in this space.

An important public health benefit of legal cannabis is that it is tested for potency, pesticides and other chemical aspects. Accurate product testing offers an enormous opportunity for small businesses because dispensaries and patients want safe consistent products says Will Waldrop, CEO of Signal Bay, Inc., a medical cannabis consulting service. “As demand for cannabis grows, so will product manufacturers’ need for accredited lab testing services,” he said.

For those who prefer a marijuana-adjacent business (which avoids the rules and regulations that come with “touching the plant,”) Lauren Seigel, Marketing Manager of BloomBoss, a designer of high-efficiency LED grow room lighting and accessories advises cannabis entrepreneurs to target home cannabis growers. Building a home grow “requires an initial investment of anywhere from $800-2500 in equipment,” she said, and each new legislative session and state legalization brings in new customers. “The opportunity adds up fast,” she said.

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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Female Executives in the Cannabis Industry - Michael King

The Cannabis Industry is a Magnet for Female Executives

Article Originally Published by High Times

Move over, lads, women want a piece of the green action—and they’re taking it.

According to a survey of 632 cannabis executives and professionals, female executives are in leadership positions in 63 percent of potency and safety testing labs and in nearly half of companies that make and sell edibles and other products. And this is just a start.

How does this compare with the gender ratio in other industries? Let us count the ways:

In tech startups, only nine percent are led by women; women fill 22 percent of senior management positions in mid-size U.S. companies; and only 5.4 percent of CEO jobs at Fortune 1000 companies, according to a 2015 Pew Research report.

So, why are female executives shattering the glass ceiling in the cannabis industry?

For starters, women’s ability to multitask and their tendency to be flexible come in handy in an industry where the rules and regulations are constantly changing, from state-to-state and from one election cycle to another.

Long before states began legalizing medical and recreational weed, studies suggested that men were more likely than women to consume cannabis. A study published by Columbia University confirmed that this is still true.

However, that and other studies have also shown women’s willingness to openly discuss marijuana has had a major impact on legalization.

Once marijuana’s medicinal powers for children began to gain international attention, women stepped up to the plate and demanded MMJ when they saw a need.

Kyndra Miller, a founding member of NORML’s Women’s Alliance, compared pot legalization to the 1920s when women banded together to end alcohol prohibition.

Neither alcohol, nor weed legalization, could be done without the full support of women, who make up slightly more than 50 percent of the voting population.

And now, with a new industry still in the making, women are taking the opportunity to break old traditions and work out the gender roles before their male counterparts pick up bad habits.

So far, women fill 36 percent of executive positions in U.S. cannabis companies that grow, test, sell and market pot products in this booming business, which is among the fastest growing in the country.

“It’s a new chance for many women who have been in the corporate world who couldn’t get to the next level,” said Becca Foster, an independent consultant with Healthy Headie.

“It’s not often that entire industries are born,” said Crystal Huish, an accountant and business consultant in the weed industry. “It’s an opportunity to break old traditions.”

And an opportunity for women to create more equitable rules.

Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, notes that the industry is still new enough to not yet be influenced by insider, male-dominated networks.

“In long-established industries, you have generations of business that has been dominated by men, and that creates structures of advancement that are dominated by men,” West said in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor.

However, there’s still a ways to go.

In other areas of the cannabis industry, particularly cultivation and investment, women leaders are still in the minority. Despite data on female executives, some say there is still a glass ceiling.

“I don’t want to give the country a fallacy that there’s not a glass ceiling in the industry because there is,” said Greta Carter, an investor in 10 companies in Nevada and California that grow, process and sell cannabis.

She explained that women’s involvement in leadership positions tend to be in ancillary businesses, such as growing, packaging, marketing, advertising, design, law and accounting—rather than wholesale cultivation, which requires heavy capital investment and more risk tolerance.

Nevertheless, female involvement in ancillary businesses and testing labs is major progress—with the added benefit that these areas are the most profitable sectors in the industry. So, women are definitely well positioned.

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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The science of cannabis: UC Davis offering physiology course - Michael King

The science of cannabis: UC Davis offering physiology course

Originally posted on , by Lisa M. Krieger

As California prepares for expanded use of cannabis, UC Davis is offering courses in the science of the drug to boost awareness of its affect on the body.

The courses, called “Physiology of Cannabis,” are believed to be the first of their type in the University of California system. They join a small but growing number of weed-focused studies around the nation, reflecting the country’s changing attitude toward the drug.

“We feel it is important at this moment to educate students about the physiology and medical indications of cannabis and cannabinoids,” said instructor Yu-Fung Lin, an associate professor of physiology and membrane biology at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

UC Davis already has a longstanding Weed Research & Information Center. But that focuses on plants other than cannabis, such as crabgrass, clover and dandelions.

The new undergraduate-level course, launched in early April, can be used by undergraduates to fulfill the “Science and Engineering” general educational requirement to graduate. A more advanced class will be offered next year to medical students at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

A course for the general public also is planned in the future, allowing civic leaders, law enforcement and other people to learn more about the drug.

Education has been hampered by a lack of access to good information, as well as high-quality research.

Passage of Proposition 64 last November means it’s now legal to possess recreational marijuana in California. Possession of medical marijuana has been legal since 1996. But the state has until January 1, 2018, to figure out how to license commercial businesses — so it can’t be bought or sold until then.

After that, experts expect it may be tried by many Californians who steered clear during its prohibition. But be warned: It remains classified by the federal government as an illegal Schedule I drug, defined as having a potential for abuse and addiction and no medical value, so there is still risk of arrest.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for a variety of medical uses. Recreational use for people over the age of 21 is allowed in eight of those states, as well as the District. The percentage of American adults living in states where marijuana use is legal for adults is above 20 percent; before Election Day, it was 5 percent.

The course will cover the chemicals found in the plant; the medical chemistry of THC and cannabinoids, the active ingredients in the drug; the body’s own endocannabinoid system, with two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, that bind to different components in marijuana; emerging therapeutic applications and the health risks of the drug.

“Cannabis is not my research background,” said Lin, who studies the molecular level-functioning of “ion channels,” proteins in the cell that convert chemical or mechanical messages into electrical signals, transmitting signals in the nervous system, for instance.

Oakland’s Oaksterdam University, the nation’s only cannabis-specific campus, has long offered courses.

The medical school at the University of Vermont offers a course, as does Harvard Law School, Vanderbilt University School of Law in Nashville, and Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law. The Massachusetts Medical Society offers an online courses, including one on pharmacology.

Lin and Luis Fernando Santana, professor and chair of physiology and membrane biology at the UC Davis School of Medicine, hope the UC Davis courses will be a blueprint for additional cannabis studies.

“The timing could not be better to give students the opportunity to have a profound understanding about the physiology and medical implications of cannabis use,” said Santana, in a prepared statement.

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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Pot Matters: Marijuana, the Great Unifier - Michael King

Pot Matters: Marijuana, the Great Unifier

From High Times, By 

Marijuana legalization is becoming the great unifier in an otherwise polarized political landscape, a rare issue with bipartisan and widespread public support.

Libertarians have long supported legalization, and state-level reform along with a greater awareness of racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests has solidified support among Democrats across the nation. Meanwhile, Republicans are becoming more and more sick of prohibition.

Inauguration Day developments, though, have called attention to support for legalization among many supporters of Donald Trump.

As reported by HIGH TIMES and other media, DCMJ, which launched the successful effort in Washington, D.C. to legalize personal marijuana use, had plans to give away five thousand joints during an inauguration day protest. The January 20 event was well-organized, and successful, and received considerable press attention.

The event lasted for about five hours, and expressed support for legalization at the federal level, as well as opposition to the nomination of Jeff Session for attorney general. According to Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ, the event received an “extremely positive reaction from everyone, including the police on site.” Video of the event can be seen here.

Widely overlooked in most news coverage, though, was that “everyone” in this case included many demonstrators who were in town for pro-Trump events. According to Eidinger “about one-third of our takers and givers of free cannabis identified as Trump Supporters.” One of the more noticeable groups of Trump supporters consisted of several dozen members of Bikers for Trump, who were in town for their own rally.

A review of protest activity that afternoon on Julie Mason’s The Press Pool on Sirius radio called attention to the popularity of the DCMJ event and the commingling of legalization advocates and Trump supporters, particularly the Bikers for Trump members.

Weed, it was observed, was the great unifier, a popular concept for many of the show’s listeners. The discussion was a bit tongue-in-cheek, as is frequently the case when it comes to marijuana and its popularity, but that actually gives even more credence to the analysis. In other words, this is so obvious it’s not really news.

The news is filled with reactionary attempts to fight, stall or otherwise opposes marijuana legalization, both in terms of legislative attempts to meddle with the decisions of voters and with respect to preventing other initiatives from taking place. But on the other hand, for example, legalization is now being pushed in Maryland’s legislature.

It’s the demographics of support for marijuana legalization that beginning to sink in for politicians.

Take a look at the October 2016 Gallup poll on legalization. Among national adults, support for marijuana legalization has grown from 35 percent in 2003/2005 to 60 percent in 2016. When itemized by political party, support has grown among independents from 46 percent to 70 percent and among Democrats from 38 percent to 67 percent. Among Republicans, legalization support has doubled, from 20 percent to 42 percent.

This is a long-term trend. Nationally, support for marijuana legalization was at 12 percent in 1969, 25 percent in 1996, 36 percent in 2005, and reflected a majority of Americans only as recently as 2013, when 58 percent supported legalization. Gallup observed that “it is unclear whether support has stabilized or it continuing to inch higher.”

America is reaching a consensus on two related propositions, that (a) prohibition is a failed, costly and unjust policy and (b) that marijuana should be legalized.

It’s becoming obvious that this is a widely held position, embraced across the political spectrum.  Think about this for a moment—DCMJ gave away thousands of marijuana cigarettes in the nation’s capital, and the police just watched and smiled because the lawful protest was peaceful and well-behaved.

More important—symbolically or otherwise—at a time when the supporters and opponents of the nation’s new president are sharply, emotionally and bitterly divided, marijuana brought some of them together in fellowship and solidarity.

Marijuana really is, in today’s America, the great unifier.

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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