As individual states across the US begin to embrace legal cannabis sales, companies like Grown Rogue (CSE:GRIN) continue to make their move by targeting new markets.

According to Grown Rogue CEO Obie Strickler, the company has been using Oregon’s mature cannabis marketplace as a testing ground for further research and development. The company is targeting an expansion into Michigan following the commencement of legal cannabis sales in 2020, with the expectation that the market could grow as large as $1.4 billion by 2022.

According to Strickler, the California cannabis cultivation industry is extremely competitive, leading companies like Grown Rogue to target downstream opportunities in the state. The company’s facility in Eureka, California, is compatible with four different licenses, including distribution, retail and manufacturing.

Below is a transcript of our interview with Grown Rogue CEO Obie Strickler. It has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Investing News Network: Please give our investor audience an overview of Grown Rogue.

Grown Rogue CEO Obie Strickler: Grown Rogue is a multi-state operator that is focused on vertical integration in the different markets that we approach, as well as the brand. We believe that the future of our industry is going to rely upon the consumer appetite, the transparency and the loyalty that we create through branded products.

Grown Rogue started in Oregon. We really look at Oregon as an R&D state to create efficiencies and optimization around how to operate a successful cannabis business in the recreational markets. Based on the innovative products that we’re producing here on the West Coast, we’re way ahead of a lot of the states you’ll see in the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard in terms of product innovation and quality.

The consumers here are experienced; there are a lot of connoisseurs, and it really forces us to build and deliver best in class products. We also use it as an opportunity to try out different seed-to-sale software, as well as METRC and the compliance requirements. We looked at Oregon as that foundation to train a team, to develop a process, to understand the consumer and to bring that platform into these new states we’re going into.

So we expanded into California with a Micro Tier business down there in Eureka. We’ve got a 16,000 square foot facility. Then we’ve also recently expanded into the Michigan market — which I’m sure we’ll get to a little bit later — which is one the most exciting large markets in the US. We took the company public late in 2018 and we trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker “GRIN.”

INN: Are there any executives you would like to highlight on your board and management team?

OS: Yes, absolutely. One of the things that has always been a challenge in the cannabis markets is attracting and retaining top tier talents. With all the stigma that has existed over the last 15, 20, 50 years, bringing really A-grade talent into the cannabis sector was notoriously challenging. With the shift in perspective from the consumer and the public, that’s changed a lot for companies like Grown Rogue. We’ve been able to start bringing in some top tier talents. We recently made hires of Adam August, who is our vice president of finance. He was the former financial vice president for Harry and David, which is a large multinational corporation that does a lot of fruits shipping.

We hired Adam Wolf, who’s our COO, recently. Adam has got experience in large corporations, including 1-800-FLOWERS, which is one the largest flower goods providers in the world. He was the COO for MJ Packaging, which at one point was the largest privately held marijuana packaging company. We’ve got existing team members like Jacques Habra, who is our chief strategy officer. Jacques joined our team very early in our development. He’s got an extremely productive background. He started his first company as a young man at the University of Michigan in the website development space back when e-commerce and the whole web was coming into the consumer’s vision.

Our board is also very good. Abhilash Patel is a seasoned marketing and agency executive. He built a company that he successfully sold several years ago, and he’s doing a lot of different things now both in cannabis and other industries. I could go on and on about our team as we have one of the best teams in the industry. I think, generally, the industry is maturing to a point where companies like Grown Rogue and our rivals or peers are able to attract the right talent to really build a business. Not just cannabis, but real businesses, and it’s been extremely exciting for everyone in the industry to see.

INN: What makes Michigan such an exciting opportunity in American cannabis?

OS: Well, there’s a number of reasons for that. It’s the first Midwest state to legalize, which is exciting as you start to see that perception across the US change. Up until Michigan, most of the legalization was on the West Coast, with a few on the East Coast. They have a very entrenched and large medical market. I believe they are the first in terms of total number of patients per capita in the US. I think they’re second as a total number behind California. By volume, they have the second-largest number of patients behind only California. So they come with an entrenched, large market. To put that in perspective, Michigan has 10 million people and Canada has 40 million. They have more medical patients in Michigan than they do in the entire country of Canada.

It’s a big market and a huge opportunity because Grown Rogue has identified the inflection point of transition from medical to recreational licensing. When the real market opens up, you go from these smaller medical licenses with fewer patients to full recreational adult use cannabis consumption.

The size of the medical market is a good proxy for the size of a recreational market. So we expect Michigan to be a $1.4 billion dollar market by 2022. We like the Midwest expansion, the footprint market size and the opportunity to bring the future of cannabis that we have here in Oregon into the present in the states like Michigan.

INN: What has Grown Rogue learned in Oregon and how will you be applying that knowledge in other states?

OS: Through necessity Oregon has trained up business units here that understand all of the different components of building a successful cannabis enterprise. This goes into the regulatory tracking requirements and the compliance, which becomes intimately important with regard to maintaining licensing status and ensuring that your testing procedures are correct. All the standard operating procedures have to be put in place to make sure that we’re following guidelines, understanding the licensing and staying on the right side with the agencies.

From a compliance perspective it’s been important to understand how that works. For instance, we use METRC in Oregon, and a lot of the states that we’re entering, California and Michigan included, both use METRC as their compliance software. It allows us to trial different solutions with regards to scaled agriculture. How do we build up different processes and controls to make sure we are scaling our cultivation methodology the way it has to be done?

Cultivation of scale in cannabis is a new challenge that a lot of people are facing. You hear the stories about Canada and how they’re trying to accomplish some of those things. It’s a new thing for the industry that’s never been done before. I think the most important thing we’ve seen is the understanding of the innovative products that we’re bringing to the market, because the brands and really the future of the industry are going to be built on the West Coast.

Learning and understanding what the consumer wants and placement in these new states is going to give us a huge advantage when it comes to our competitors. That really lies in the branding, the marketing, the quality of the products we’re making. We continue to trial new products in Oregon because the consumer is so experienced and advanced. We look forward to taking all those lessons into the new states that we are targeting for a part of our expansion.

INN: Moving on to another state, what is Grown Rogue’s strategy for success in California?

OS: California is going to be an interesting market. It’s big. It’s going to be the largest market in the US by far, in our opinion. Because it’s on the West Coast, we believe that California will suffer some of the same challenges as Oregon with regard to oversupply. You’re seeing a lot of cultivation capacity moving into the Eureka and Humboldt area. Humboldt is world renowned for the quality of its cannabis like we are here in Southern Oregon. You’re seeing a lot of development in Santa Barbara and those coastal communities, where there’s big agricultural and infrastructure setup for production in greenhouses.

With what we see in California, it’s not worth trying to be a grower. There’s a lot of good producers down there. We’re going to focus on our branded products and our distribution model inside of that state. The facility that we’ve secured in Eureka can have up to four different licenses. We’re probably going to deploy three of them, which will be a distribution license, a retail license at that facility and then a manufacturing license. Our goal there is to source and purchase with our partner farms inside of the areas where they meet our quality. Then we create the branded products. We do the packaging, labeling, the compliance and then, ultimately, create the sales relationships with the dispensaries in order to create traction inside of California.


This interview is sponsored by Grown Rogue (CSE:GRIN). This interview provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Grown Rogue, in order to help investors learn more about the company. Grown Rogue is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this interview.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with Grown Rogue and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

This interview may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, receipt of property titles, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements. The issuer relies upon litigation protection for forward-looking statements. Investing in companies comes with uncertainties as market values can fluctuate.

Progressive Planet Solutions Inc. (TSXV: PLAN) (“PLAN” or “Progressive Planet”), announces that, further to its news releases dated December 22, 2020 and January 7, 2021 the Company has closed its non-brokered private placement financing comprising of 7,500,000 units, at $0.10 per unit, for total gross proceeds of $750,000 .

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 Revive Therapeutics Ltd. (” Revive ” or the ” Company “) (CSE: RVV) ( USA : RVVTF), a specialty life sciences company focused on the research and development of therapeutics for medical needs and rare disorders, is pleased to announce that is has entered into an agreement with Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Leede Jones Gable Inc. as the co-lead underwriters (collectively, the ” Underwriters “), pursuant to which the Underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a bought-deal basis, 20,000,000 units (the ” Equity Units “) at a price of $0.50 per Equity Unit for gross proceeds to the Company of $10,000,000 (the ” Offering “).

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The Australian cannabis market has been maturing since medical marijuana was federally legalised in 2016.

The next year, Food Standards Australia New Zealand legalised low-THC hemp food for human consumption in Australia. The country went on to legalise medical marijuana exports in 2018, allowing medicinal marijuana products developed in Australia to be exported to licenced recipients in countries where the drug is legal.

Recreational cannabis remains federally illegal in the country, but recent legislation shows the door may be opening. In 2019, the Australian Capital Territory passed a bill allowing for the possession and growth of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. The law went into effect on January 31, 2020.

More recently, in late 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration greenlit the sale of low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) through over-the-counter methods without a prescription. The ruling from the Australian regulatory agency is expected to officially come into effect in February 2021.

With these and other changes in the works, Australia’s cannabis industry is projected to have long-term potential. The legal cannabis market in Oceania is expected to be worth US$1.55 billion by 2024, with Australia accounting for 79 percent of the region’s market, Prohibition Partners forecasts.

According to a study from FreshLeaf Analytics, the value of the medical market in Australia reached AU$95 million in 2020, and the firm expects revenue to jump again to over AU$150 million in 2021. In short, Australia’s role in the global cannabis industry will certainly continue to grow.

Here the Investing News Network profiles 10 ASX cannabis stocks with market caps between AU$30 million and AU$225 million. All ASX cannabis stocks below are listed in order of market capitalization from largest to smallest, with data compiled using TradingView’s stock screener on January 12, 2021.

1. Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH)

Market cap: AU$209.83 million

Creso Pharma was the first company to import medical cannabis into Australia and the first to launch these products in Switzerland for people, as well as animals. The cannabis company’s anibidiol product was the first hemp CBD complementary feed in animal health thanks to a partnership with Virbac Switzerland. Creso Pharma has also launched cannaQIX in Switzerland; it was the first CBD nutraceutical in human health.

The company’s medicinal cannabis product lines cover therapeutics, nutraceuticals, animal health, lifestyle and topicals.

2. Cann Group (ASX:CAN)

Market cap: AU$176.84 million

Cann Group provides a range of medicinal cannabis products for patients in Australia and globally. In 2017, the company was granted Australia’s first cannabis research licence, as well as the first medicinal marijuana cultivation licence. Cann Group partners with leading medical scientists in Australia to research and harness the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids, terpenes and other bioactive constituents of cannabis.

The company has secured supply agreements in global cannabis markets, including the UK, Germany and other European segments.

3. Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL)

Market cap: AU$166.42 million

Incannex Healthcare is a clinical-stage cannabinoid medicine company with global export capacity. It has four clinical programs underway for the development of a variety of cannabis medicinal products aimed at major unmet medical needs, including obstructive sleep apnea, traumatic brain injury/concussion, sepsis-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome and temporomandibular joint disorder.

In 2020, the company worked to advance its clinical trials. By the second half of the year, cannabinoid products accounted for Incannex’s entire revenue stream.

4. Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT)

Market cap: AU$131.37 million

Botanix Pharmaceuticals has a product pipeline that includes three advanced clinical programs using synthetic cannabidiol for the topical treatment of serious skin diseases and for antimicrobial applications. The company also has an exclusive licence to use a proprietary drug-delivery system called Permetrex for direct skin delivery of pharmaceuticals.

Botanix Pharmaceuticals’ programs are focused on treating acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis and microbial infection. The company secured a clear development path for its BTX 1801 synthetic cannabidiol antimicrobial product after the successful completion of a pre-investigational new drug meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration.

5. Althea Group Holdings (ASX:AGH)

Market cap: AU$114.2 million

Althea Group Holdings takes the concept of medical cannabis a step further with its work as a pharmaceutical-grade cannabis supplier. In addition to offering relief through accessible medical cannabis, the company is implementing components of the plant in its research on advanced drugs.

Althea has successfully expanded into the global cannabis market with a wholesale supply agreement to import a range of Althea-branded finished products for sale and distribution in South Africa beginning in Q2 2021. This agreement came on the heels of the news that the company is slated to become the first commercial supplier of Australian medicinal cannabis extract products to the German market, with all necessary licences for sale and distribution granted by the German government.

6. Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD)

Market cap: AU$113.79 million

Zelira Therapeutics’ efforts are on unmet clinical needs and on using medicinal cannabis to treat a range of diseases and disorders. Its most common target areas include pain, anxiety and sleep.

Zelira is largely focused on developing treatment options using plant-based medicinal marijuana, and currently has three clinical-stage programs with a focus on insomnia, autism and opioid reduction. The company is also conducting a pre-clinical research program to test cannabinoids in breast, brain and pancreatic cancer.

7. Medlab Clinical (ASX:MDC)

Market cap: AU$75.51 million

Medlab Clinical is a medical research and development company focused on novel biotherapeutics such as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. The company is also developing pharmaceutical cannabis products.

In early 2020, Medlab Clinical launched the NanaBis Observation Study in Australia. NanaBis is a cannabis-based pain treatment drug that may prove useful as an alternative to opioid medication. It is also being used to investigate cancer pain management.

8. BOD Australia (ASX:BDA)

Market cap: AU$49.25 million

BOD Australia is focused on cannabis and hemp-related products. It develops, distributes and markets health and skincare products created using plant-based extracts in Australia. The company secured a foothold in the European cannabis market in 2020 with a AU$200,000 purchase order for four Swiss-branded hemp seed oil products to be sold in France, the Netherlands and the UK.

BOD Australia’s reach in Australia ranges from selling prescription and over-the-counter products to more than 1,000 outlets, such as pharmacies, retail stores and healthcare chains. It also has distribution agreements with two pharmacy wholesalers in Australia.

9. IDT Australia (ASX:IDT)

Market cap: AU$42.47 million

One of Australia’s oldest listed life science companies, IDT Australia is a pharmaceutical manufacturing company with extensive experience in the development and production of pharmaceutical products. Through its GMP-compliant facilities, the company provides full-scale services for new drug development, plus scale-up and commercial active drug manufacturing for local and international clients.

IDT Australia’s clients include Cann Group; IDT Australia is the manufacturer of the medical cannabis products that are a part of two of Cann Group’s export supply agreements with European and UK partners.

10. MMJ Group Holdings (ASX:MMJ)

Market cap: AU$31.04 million

MMJ Group Holdings has a wide range of cannabis investments, including healthcare products, technology, infrastructure, logistics, processing, cultivation, equipment, retail and research and development.

Among other companies, it has invested in Harvest One Cannabis (TSXV:HVT,OTCQB:HRVOF), which develops health and wellness products; Fire & Flower Holdings (TSXV:FAF,OTCQX:FFLWF), a recreational cannabis retailer that’s developed a variety of cannabis products and accessories; and MediPharm Labs (TSXV:LABS,OTQQX:MEDIF), a cannabis extraction company that received its cannabis oil production licence from Health Canada in 2018. MediPharm Labs has launched cannabis extraction services in Australia.

Investor takeaway

The presence of these ASX-listed cannabis companies shows that the cannabis industry in Australia is undoubtedly growing, as are investment opportunities in Australia’s cannabis industry. While recreational marijuana remains illegal in the land down under, the medical cannabis industry is thriving, making that side of the sector worth considering.

So far, Australia has no timeline attached to the legality of recreational use of marijuana, but it will be a story to watch over the coming years for those interested in the space.

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Legal cannabis is spreading. According to a new report by Grand View Research, the global legal marijuana market is expected to reach US$73.6 billion by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent.

A survey of over 1,000 US consumers found that the modern cannabis user is largely representative of the general population. Moreover, cannabis consumption today blurs the lines between strictly recreational or medical. In fact, more than 50 percent of consumers report using cannabis for both purposes. As THC and CBD products make their way into an even wider array of product categories, our frame of reference for the modern cannabis user will continue to evolve.

In 2019, the medical cannabis market took home a leading revenue share of 71 percent, driven by the widespread adoption of cannabis as a pharmaceutical alternative for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and more. A growing need for effective pain management therapies is expected to boost product demand even further.

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Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (TSXV:KHRN) is a vertically-integrated medical cannabis company fully licensed to conduct its core operations in Colombia.Send me an Investor Kit

Major telehealth platforms in the medical cannabis industry

Telehealth represents the intersection between innovative technology and the forefront of medical science. While remote medical practice saw its beginnings more than half a century ago, recent technological advancements have connected more patients to physicians than ever before.

In the US, platforms like NuggMD and IndicaMD provide patients with an online medical cannabis card that enables remote purchase of the drug. Patients can meet with physicians over secure video chat and can be approved to access cannabis within minutes. Physicians typically follow-up with patients by email, recommending the types of cannabis that would best alleviate their ailments and ensuring that they don’t purchase the wrong products. Other platforms exist to oversee the rapid delivery of cannabis and hemp products to patients across participating states.

Other parts of the world are undergoing the same transition. It has been more than eight years since Colombia — a country that represents more than a quarter of the world’s total export quotas — decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the drug, and roughly four years since the country legalized medical cannabis. In 2019, Colombia’s Constitutional Court overruled a ban on the public consumption of cannabis, which many considered a stepping stone toward full legalization. Recently, Colombia became one of the first countries in the world to extend national health insurance for patients requiring medical cannabis as a first-line therapy.

Khiron Life Sciences (TSXV:KHRN) was the first firm in Colombia authorized to sell both high and low THC formulations of medical cannabis. The company owns a telehealth platform that has accounted for over 5,600 medical cannabis prescriptions issued to date. Additionally, in June 2020 the company’s Doctor Zerenia telehealth platform was responsible for 14 percent of Khiron’s total medical consultations.

Since becoming the first company to fill medical cannabis prescriptions in Colombia, Khiron reports that 92 percent of its patients have experienced a marked improvement in their primary condition after four months of treatment. In light of these results, the Government of Colombia issued a directive that Khiron’s medical cannabis products and clinic services be covered by the country’s major health insurance providers. While countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic have taken similar legislative actions, a key difference in Colombia is that cannabis is considered a first line therapy with a vast array of applicable medical conditions. With more than 94 percent of Colombia’s population carrying health insurance policies, Colombia is quickly becoming one of the most favourable jurisdictions in the world for patient access; moreover, it has been shown that patient uptake is significantly increased by insurance coverage.

The next step forward for telehealth platforms includes opportunities such as virtual patient education and the fast, reliable delivery of essential drugs such as medical marijuana. Virtual care is also expected to expand across different types of patients, including those requiring intensive care. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many long-term care facilities have already adapted remote patient monitoring to maintain the safety of staff and patients.

The focus: Accessibility and improving patient outcomes

Medical marijuana has the power to improve patient outcomes across demographics. In the wake of groundbreaking research, patients, physicians and retailers are working together to increase the drug’s accessibility for patients who require relief from a range of health conditions. Telehealth platforms have been instrumental in not only increasing accessibility to medical marijuana, but also in improving quality of life across diverse populations of people.

A recent study completed by Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC,TSX:WEED) in November 2020 found the absence of long-term toxicity despite long-term usage of CBD in a preclinical model, supporting the advancement of recent initiatives aimed at discovering CBD’s full range of therapeutic benefits. While CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) offer many of the same benefits, high levels of THC are responsible for most of cannabis’s psychoactive effects.

While the chronic pain segment dominated the medical cannabis market in 2019, application toward mental illness is expected to witness the fastest growth over the seven-year forecast period. Worldwide, a growing number of people suffer from depression, anxiety and other debilitating mental conditions with few low-risk pharmaceutical alternatives.

Medical cannabis is also becoming more popular among older adults. A recent study highlighted that cannabis use among individuals aged 65 and older has been steadily increasing, a trend that is consistent with reports from physicians who recommend cannabis in their daily practices. In the face of growing public acceptance and reduced stigma, we are beginning to see an increasing number of older adults rely on cannabis for relief against chronic pain, insomnia, neuropathy, anxiety and other conditions that traditionally call upon pharmaceuticals.

Much of the momentum in the medical cannabis market can be owed to the rise of telehealth platforms and health digitization efforts, increasing ease of access and promoting transparency. Over the next decade, legalization, increased awareness and the rise of remote medicine are expected to facilitate growth, creating lucrative opportunities for market stakeholders.

Takeaway

Telehealth platforms represent one of the easiest ways for patients, providers and retailers to collaborate remotely and fulfill needs faster. As more physicians and policymakers begin to recognize digital health tools as an advantage for maximizing efficiency and safety in health care, existing medical cannabis platforms are well-positioned to take advantage of a large-scale digital transition.

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 BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) (the “Company” or “BioHarvest”) invites its shareholders and the general public to join a Live Video Conference (“Webinar”) on Thursday, January 21st, 2021 at 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time). Ilan Sobel, CEO of BHSC, will host the event and discuss progress on Bioharvest’s Growth Plan, which will include highlights of the 2020 milestones achieved, key business capabilities built, and will provide an important overview of 2021 Priorities.

The presentation will be approximately 35 minutes, followed by a live question and answer session.

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