FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary
Cannabis has recently become the global rage, driven by the spur of legalization efforts ongoing in many states and abroad. Despite cannabis still being illegal in most countries, the movement for legalization is stronger than it's ever been. Recent trends, such as Canada legalizing cannabis entirely back in October, followed by U.S. states Missouri, Michigan, and Utah legalizing cannabis to a degree during their mid-term elections, are causing the industry to witness a period of tremendous strength. According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 7.7 Billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 65 Billion by 2023. Additionally, the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 37% throughout the forecast period from 2016 to 2023. Globally, the cannabis market growth is being accelerated by legalization for medical applications. The U.S. and Canada, however, are fueling the recreational market. The industry is specifically expected to be driven by the U.S., as it accounted for more than 85% of the global market value in 2017. Even though cannabis is still illegal Federally in the country, states such as California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington are already, or are expected to, deliver billions of dollars in sales. SLANG Worldwide Inc. (CSE: SLNG), Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY), Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB), Pyxus International Inc. (NYSE: PYX)
In the near future, other states such as New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Connecticut and New Mexico are all likely candidates to legalize cannabis as well. Additionally, some states like Rhode Island, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania are all open to exploring opportunities within the industry. On a global scale, Mexico's newly elected President is also pushing for the legalization of cannabis entirely, while European nations Switzerland and the United Kingdom are seeing growing support for legalization as well. Although most of the market value is expected to be delivered by the medical segment throughout the next few years, there could be a shift in the industry trend. According to ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics, the global spending on legal cannabis is expected to reach USD 57 Billion by 2027, with adult-use sales delivering USD 38.3 Billion and medical sales accounting for USD 19.1 Billion. "The industry is at about 5 percent of what it will be someday," concurs Tyler Stratford, Director of Client Operations for cannabis consulting firm Canna Advisors. "Even if the path forward isn't straight, we're certainly on a path forward. The tide has changed, and there's no turning it back now."
SLANG Worldwide Inc. (CSE: SLNG) announced breaking news last week that today the company will list publicly through an IPO, "the Company completed its previously announced offering of subscription receipts of the Company (the "Subscription Receipts") pursuant to which the Company issued 43,998,590 Subscription Receipts at a price of C$1.50 per Subscription Receipt for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $66 million (the "Subscription Receipt Offering"). SLANG has subsequently delivered an escrow release notice (the "Escrow Release Notice") to Odyssey Trust Company (the "Subscription Receipt Agent") pursuant to the terms of a subscription receipt agreement dated September 26, 2018 between SLANG, the Subscription Receipt Agent and Canaccord Genuity Corp. (the "Subscription Receipt Agreement") confirming that SLANG has satisfied all of the escrow release conditions, including (i) the completion or satisfaction or waiver of all conditions precedent (other than funding) to the completion of the Acquisitions (as defined herein); (ii) SLANG obtaining a receipt for its final (long-form) prospectus dated January 17, 2019 (the "Prospectus"); and (iii) SLANG obtaining conditional approval from the Canadian Securities Exchange (the "CSE") for the listing of the common shares in the capital of SLANG (the "Common Shares") on the CSE.
In connection with the delivery of the Escrow Release Notice, the escrowed funds held by the Subscription Receipt Agent, less certain commissions and expenses, have been released from escrow in order to allow SLANG to, among other things, acquire: (i) all of the interests and equity in National Concessions Group, Inc. ("Organa Brands") from the existing security holders of Organa Brands (the "Organa Brands Acquisition"); and (ii) all of the interests and equity in NWT Holdings, LLC ("Firefly") from the existing security holders of Firefly (the "Firefly Acquisition" and together with the Organa Brands Acquisition, the "Acquisitions"). Additionally, pursuant to the Organa Brands Acquisition, the Company has been granted an option to acquire all of the outstanding securities of Allied Concessions Group Inc. ("ACG") and an option to acquire all of the outstanding securities of NS Holdings, Inc. ("NCG"). NSH and ACG are state licensed entities with cannabis related operations further up the supply chain.
"These transactions establish SLANG as a leading consumer packaged goods company in the cannabis industry," said Peter Miller, SLANG Co-Founder and CEO. "We're on the frontier of one of the greatest opportunities in the history of consumer packaged goods."
The Acquisitions will complement SLANG's portfolio of brands in the global cannabis industry, which includes a right of first refusal to license the Green House Brands (Green House Seed Co. and Strain Hunters) in the United States. Management believes that SLANG's portfolio of brands is uniquely positioned to thrive in the highly competitive cannabis market, as each brand is built on intellectual property with a proven track record of success. The Company will continue to develop and market best-selling branded products that provide the high quality and consistency valued by loyal and prospective consumers. SLANG's products can now be found in over 2,600 stores across 10 US states and 14 countries.
"We believe that the greatest value in the industry will be created by strong brands that are widely distributed, and our strategy reflects that belief," said Billy Levy, Co-Founder and President. "SLANG expects to compete at the highest levels in mature cannabis markets while maintaining minimal exposure to commodity cannabis production."
About SLANG - SLANG is a leading cannabis-focused consumer packaged goods company. The Company is focused on acquiring and developing market-proven regional brands, as well as creating new brands to meet the needs of cannabis consumers worldwide.
About Organa Brands - Organa Brands revolutionized the cannabis industry with the introduction of the ground-breaking O.penVAPE device in 2012. Today, Organa Brands is home to some of the world's largest consumer cannabis brands. After developing O.penVAPE, Bakked, Pressies, and Organa Labs into world-class brands with nationwide distribution, the company acquired The Magic Buzz, and an interest in, and exclusive distribution rights for, District Edibles. Organa Brands sells one of its products every 4 seconds around the world, and has delivered over one billion puffs through its flagship O.penVAPE line. A pioneer in the cannabis space, Organa Brands products are available in 10 US states, Canada, and Jamaica.
About Firefly - Launched in 2013, Firefly develops premium portable vaporizers powered by world-class technology. The brand's Firefly 2 vaporizer is widely considered to be one of the leading premium dry herb vaporizers on the market and can be found today across 14 countries. Firefly's dynamic convection technology delivers rich, flavorful vapor in seconds and celebrates your flowers and concentrates at their freshest."
Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is a global pioneer in the research, cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis and cannabinoids currently serving tens of thousands of patients and consumers in twelve countries spanning five continents. Tilray, Inc. recently announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Tilray, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, will acquire all of the issued and outstanding securities of Natura Naturals Holdings Inc., the parent company of a licensed cultivator of cannabis. As a result of the acquisition, if completed, Tilray will obtain Natura's 662,000 sq. ft. greenhouse cultivation facility, of which 155,000 sq. ft. are currently licensed, and all subsequent cannabis output from this facility. Natura, through a wholly-owned subsidiary located in Leamington, Ontario, is a licensed cultivator under the Cannabis Act specializing in the greenhouse cultivation of cannabis. "We're very pleased to have an agreement in place that allows us to expand our capacity to supply high-quality branded cannabis products to the Canadian market," said Brendan Kennedy, Tilray President and Chief Executive Officer. "Through an extensive and thorough search for the right supply partner, we're pleased to have come to a mutually-beneficial agreement with Natura."
Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) is a world-leading diversified cannabis and hemp company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and Softgel capsule forms. Recently, Canopy Growth Corporation has been granted a license by New York State to process and produce hemp. Thanks to the work of key state and federal government officials from the State of New York, Canopy Growth is proud to outline its commitment to invest in New York in order to establish a Hemp Industrial Park. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's leadership at the state level led to the creation of the Hemp Research Pilot Program, a standout in the nation. U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer was instrumental in the passage of the Farm Bill, a transformative piece of legislation that gave Canopy Growth the federal guidance it needed to make a significant investment in New York. "Canopy Growth was founded to drive innovation within the cannabis and hemp industries. In New York we see an opportunity to create products that improve people's lives," said Bruce Linton, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Canopy Growth. "In the process, we will create jobs in an exciting, highly profitable new industry. I applaud the political leadership at the federal and state level that has allowed today's announcement to become reality."
Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with funded capacity in excess of 500,000 kg per annum and sales and operations in 22 countries across five continents, is one of the world's largest and leading cannabis companies. Aurora Cannabis Inc. recently announced that the Company has entered into a letter of intent ("LOI") to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of privately held Whistler Medical Marijuana Corporation ("Whistler"), in an all-share transaction valued at up to approximately USD 175 Million, including certain milestone payments. Located in Whistler, British Columbia, Whistler has developed one of Canada's most iconic cannabis brands, built on quality, award-winning organic certified BC bud. The Transaction is expected to provide Aurora with a premium and differentiated organic certified product suite, expanding both its medical and adult-use offerings, and reinforcing Aurora's presence in the well-established west coast cannabis market. "This transaction adds an iconic, organic certified BC-based brand with exceptional traction and a significant price premium in both the medical and retail markets," said Terry Booth, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora. "We intend to accelerate the completion of Whistler's Pemberton expansion project, and leverage our domestic and international distribution channels to increase market reach for their exceptional products. Whistler has established leadership in the organic cannabis market, and we look forward to welcoming Christopher and his team to the Aurora family."
Pyxus International Inc. (NYSE: PYX) is a global agricultural company with 145 years' experience delivering value-added products and services to businesses and customers. Pyxus International, Inc. recently announced that its joint venture, Criticality, an integrated North Carolina-based industrial hemp company operating under North Carolina's industrial hemp pilot program, has launched "Korent," its new line of cannabidiol (CBD) oil products. Korent's full-spectrum oil drops are available in Vanilla Mint and Grape flavors, in multiple sizes and concentrations. Flavors were custom designed for hemp products in partnership with Purilum, LLC, a leading flavor manufacturer and Pyxus-affiliated company. "Criticality's science-based approach to the extraction, refinement and formulation of high-quality CBD products makes it well positioned in the market and presents a huge growth opportunity for both Criticality and Pyxus," said Pieter Sikkel, Pyxus' president, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the board.
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