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Ottawa to speed up approval process for pot producers

The federal government is getting ready to drastically speed up its licensing process to increase the numbers of companies that are authorized to produce marijuana for the recreational market that will open up in the first half of 2018, sources said.

A senior federal official said that in addition to tabling legislation to legalize marijuana on Thursday, the federal government will announce a push to authorize new producers of marijuana. At this point, there are 42 companies that have the necessary authorizations from Health Canada to produce marijuana for medical purposes across the country.

The official said the current holders of licences will have a head start once the market is opened up to recreational users, but added that the federal government will add staff and resources at Health Canada to speed up the approval process for new producers

A key concern is ensuring that the supply of marijuana will meet the demand for the drug once it is legalized by the unofficial deadline of July 1, 2018. As Ottawa works toward squeezing out illegal producers of marijuana, federal officials are worried that a shortage of cannabis would hurt their plans in the initial stages of legalization.

Another priority for the government will be to ensure that there is a broad variety of producers of marijuana serving the recreational market, and not just the existing network that includes many large-scale facilities.

“It’s obvious that the producers who are already licensed have an advantage going in. But there is also a clear desire on the government’s part to have a mix of big and small producers,” said the federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the tabling of the legislation.

“There is a great deal of awareness to the needs of smaller producers in the government,” the official added.

Federal officials said the government will table its legislation on Thursday, but that a number of key issues will only be addressed in the rules and regulations that will be unveiled at a later date.

Ottawa will give itself broad powers to oversee the production of marijuana and to design rules on the marketing of the product, which are expected to be similar to the ones that govern Canada’s tobacco industry.

The federal government will leave the provinces and territories entirely in charge of overseeing the distribution and sale of marijuana, in line with Canada’s alcohol regime.

“We are going to let them make their own choices on the sales side,” the federal official said. “It’s going to be similar to the situation with alcohol. In Alberta, it’s in the hands of the private sector, whereas in Quebec and Ontario, it’s run by the state.”

After it is tabled in the House, the legislation to legalize marijuana will be studied in committee. At the same time, the provinces will be expected to develop their own plans to distribute and sell the product.

The federal government will also be working to develop an “interim system” by which marijuana would be available across Canada even if some provinces do not develop their own distribution mechanisms quickly enough. Sources said the project remains in development, although Canada Post could deliver recreational marijuana by mail, as it currently does with medical marijuana.

The federal legislation will be inspired in large part by a task force led by former Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan, which proposed a complete legalization model in a well-received report last year.

The task force urged the government to allow Canadians to buy or carry 30 grams of marijuana for personal use, and to grow up to four plants at home. The task force also recommended a system that would feature storefront sales and mail-order distribution, and allow a wide range of producers to operate legally, including “craft” growers and the current producers of medical marijuana.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already endorsed one of its key recommendations: that marijuana should be legal for people who are of legal drinking age – 18 or 19 years old, depending on the province they live in.

Original Article: DANIEL LEBLANC, Ottawa — The Globe and Mail, Published Tuesday, Apr. 11, 2017 12:31PM EDT

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Invest In MJ News (#IMJ) Update for March 15 2017

As we mentioned a few days ago, we are in a healthy correction in the Cannabis sector for stock price and valuations.  In Canada, the valuations of the licensed producers have gotten way ahead of itself over the last few months; they should start to build a base during the summer before moving higher going into fall and winter of 2018.

Looks like the sector will move sideways for some time, this creates a good trading opportunity, new entry points for new positions or adding to existing positions.  Sign up for our newsletter to get more ideas on investing and trading the MJ Stocks.

One of the companies we provide coverage on is Emblem Cannabis, the chart below is some initial technical analysis we provide as part of our research.  You can view price charts and company info on Emblem from our company directory.  Our latest news letter provides more details on Emblem, investment and trading strategies. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_EMCchart_mar13.jpg

Our company directory listing provides detailed information on various publicly traded companies including price charts.  You are welcome to use the charting tool and perform your own technical analysis to the price action of the company’s stock. 

Latest Company Financing News:

Organigram Announces Issuance of Stock Options

MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK--(Marketwired - March 14, 2017) - Organigram Holdings Inc. (TSX VENTURE:OGI)(OTCQB:OGRMF) ("Organigram" or the "Company") announces that it has issued an aggregate of 1,500,000 incentive stock options to Greg Engel, a director of the Company and the Company's Chief Executive Officer, at an exercise price of $2.36 per share. View Company Directory Listing on #IMJ

Kitrinor Metals Inc. and Scythian Biosciences Inc. Announce Closing of Subscription Receipt Financing of $13,085,000 With Strategic Lead Investment From Aphria Inc.
Scythian Biosciences Inc. is developing a proprietary Cannabinoid combination therapy for the prevention and treatment of concussions and traumatic brain injury

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 14, 2017) - NOT FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES

Further to the press release dated February 21, 2017, Kitrinor Metals Inc. (TSX VENTURE:KIT) (the "Company") and Scythian Biosciences Inc. ("Scythian"), a company incorporated under the federal laws of Canada, are pleased to announce that Scythian completed an initial tranche of a brokered private placement offering of subscription receipts ("Subscription Receipts") led by Clarus Securities Inc. (the "Lead Agent"), together with Haywood Securities Inc. and Canaccord Genuity Corp. (collectively, the "Agents"), for gross proceeds of C$13,085,000 (the "Offering"). 

GrowGeneration Secures $1,650,000 in Capital From Merida Capital Partners to Continue to Fuel Growth
DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - March 14, 2017) - GrowGeneration Corp. (OTCQB: GRWG)

METATRON (OTC PINK: MRNJ) Announces $1,000,000 Reg A Capital Raise to fund Cannabis & Vaporize, a Secure Chat App
DOVER, DE--(Marketwired - Mar 14, 2017)

 

 

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Marijuana Investments: A Word to the Wise

With more cannabis retailers and dispensaries entering the market, marijuana entrepreneurs are having an increasingly difficult time distinguishing their brands and product lines. The need to stand out is not only necessary to secure to new customers (once the company is up and running) but more importantly, to initially entice investors and convince them that the business model is sufficiently unique to succeed.  Indeed, raising capital from investors is absolutely critical for many marijuana entrepreneurs and as a corollary, an exciting proposition for investors looking to capitalize on this popular and growing industry. 

Cannabis Investors or Cannabis Lenders?

Cannabis investors may provide capital to cannabis entrepreneurs in (generally speaking) one of two ways; equity or debt.  A simple capital-for-equity model is fairly straightforward - investors buy into the company at a given valuation and in return, own a part of the company.  The second option, debt, is often a much more complex transaction and involves the "investor", who may not be an investor in any pure sense of the word, loaning the company money at a high rate of interest. Unfortunately, many smaller investors (or lenders, depending on your perspective) are not sufficiently equipped to protect their interests in the event that the marijuana business goes under.   

What happens when the invested in cannabis defaults on the loan? Here are your two options:

(1) Renegotiate the Marijuana Startup's Debt

Promissory notes that are well drafted typically contain a statement regarding an uncured event of default, which causes the debt to accelerate. Thus, if the cannabis business you have invested in misses a payment and does not make a late payment by a cure date, that company’s entire debt is due. When this happens, partners tend to negotiate an extension, and you as the financer can extract concessions from your borrower (i.e. security interests, personal guarantees, or pledges of ownership in the company). This generally happens so that your borrower can avoid you obtaining a judgment against them.

(2) Get A Judgment Against Your Cannabis Borrower

If you have the money to obtain a judgment against your borrower, you can use that judgment to levy on the borrower’s business assets.  The idea here of course is to seize assets of your borrower that are sufficiently valuable to cover your losses.  In many states, if you are indeed awarded a judgment against your marijuana borrower, you may also be eligible to be reimbursed for attorney fees and other associated costs.

A Note of Caution: Fraudulent Transfers

Unfortunately, it is not too uncommon for companies in debt to do everything in their power to avoid paying it.  Once such method used to this end is the employment of a fraudulent transfer. A fraudulent transfer occurs when a borrower transfers the company’s property to a third party, without receiving something back of equal value, in order to deplete the company of the funds required to repay the financer. This is undoubtedly a dirtier tactic and if intent can be established may rise to the level of criminal liability.

Be Proactive in Protecting Your Assets

Ultimately, if you are planning to finance or lend to a cannabis company, it is important to develop a contingency plan that accounts for the possibility of a failed business. Is your agreement with the marijuana company tight and drafted in such a way as to maximize your protections?  If the business goes under, can you sustain the loss of your entire investment? Do you have funds to litigate in court?  Unfortunately, the legalization of cannabis does not guarantee businesses financial success.

Blog Provided By: Abe Cohn is COO of THC Legal Group, a Marijuana Law Firm specializing legal protection for the cannabis industry.  For more information, please visit their website at http://www.THCLegalGroup.com

For more information on THC Legal Group, view the company directory listing on Invest In MJ

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Does The Trump Govt Threaten Recreational Marijuana?

There were always some questions about what a Trump Gov’t would mean to the cannabis industry.  With very little mention of it during the elections and after him taking office, industry participants and companies had no clear indication on what his presidency would mean to the cannabis industry.  Today, comments from press secretary Sean Spicer has shed some light on what their thoughts are on the subject of medical and recreational marijuana.  

While the comments haven’t given a green light for moving forwards with cannabis reforms at the federal level, it does look like the president appreciates medical marijuana laws.  However the recreational marijuana initiatives by various states may come under scrutiny and become questionable under Jeff Sessions at the Dept. of Justice.   The comments below don’t give much indication on what this would mean to the recreational market, but it does create a lot more uncertainty.    The question around the recreational market will be left to the Dept. of Justice and Secretary Sean Spicer does believe there will be greater enforcement around it and the DOJ will be looking into it further.  What “greater enforcement” means to States who have current or planned recreational laws is uncertain, but we are confident they will get more aggressive with the illegal and grey market area when it comes to marijuana sales and use.

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 2/23/2017, #15

Q     I have a question on medical marijuana.  Our state voters passed a medical marijuana amendment in November.  Now we're in conflict with federal law, as many other states are.  The Obama administration kind of chose not to strictly enforce those federal marijuana laws.  My question to you is:  With Jeff Sessions over at the Department of Justice as AG, what’s going to be the Trump administration’s position on marijuana legalization where it’s in a state-federal conflict like this?

MR. SPICER:   There’s two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.  

I think medical marijuana, I’ve said before that the President understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them.  And that's one that Congress, through a rider in 2011 -- looking for a little help -- I think put in an appropriations bill saying the Department of Justice wouldn’t be funded to go after those folks.  

There is a big difference between that and recreational marijuana.  And I think that when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing that we should be doing is encouraging people.  There is still a federal law that we need to abide by in terms of the medical -- when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.  

So I think there’s a big difference between medical marijuana, which states have a -- the states where it’s allowed, in accordance with the appropriations rider, have set forth a process to administer and regulate that usage, versus recreational marijuana.  That’s a very, very different subject.

Q:  So is the federal government then going to take some sort of action around this recreational marijuana in some of these states?

MR. SPICER:  Well, I think that’s a question for the Department of Justice.  I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement of it.  Because again, there’s a big difference between the medical use which Congress has, through an appropriations rider in 2014, made very clear what their intent was in terms of how the Department of Justice would handle that issue.  That’s very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice I think will be further looking into.  

So what does this mean for companies operating in the recreational market?  It surely does create uncertainty and that is something the market doesn’t like.   The cannabis sector has gained much attention over the last year, especially leading up to the US elections and after.  Many of the stock prices has risen significantly over the last 6 months as the industry is anticipating the recreational market will continue to expand in the various states which have moved towards legalization. 

What does this mean for investments in the US related cannabis industry?  We believe that the euphoria in company valuations and the stock price rising as it has over the last 6 months will become subdued.  The sector needs to take a breather and digest the potential outcome of anti-recreational DOJ.  While we remain optimistic on the sector overall, investors should keep in mind the stock prices and valuations probably have gotten ahead of themselves and are likely for a correction.  We will be providing an update to our newsletter subscribers very shortly on what this means to their current and future investment strategies and objectives when it comes marijuana stocks with exposure to US markets.  Sign up for our newsletter to get additional insights and opportunities on the cannabis sector.

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Canadian Market Overview

The Canadian cannabis sector continues to be blazing hot over the last year, especially in the last 2 months.  The following chart shows the performance of the Canadian marijuana sector in general, the Marijuana Index Canada  contains a list of 10 publicly traded Canadian companies in the space, their stock prices and market caps.  Just looking at this chart, there has been a parabolic rise in share price since May of this year.  Most parabolic rises like this are usually followed by a correction and then a basing period before any further advances can be made.  The chart does show a clear break out and passed overhead resistance, this means we are in a new bull market for cannabis stocks in Canada.  We will provide an update on the American cannabis sector shortly.

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