420 with CNW – Ontario Golf Course Set to be the First Marijuana Themed Course in Canada

Rolling Greens, a golf course found near Smith Falls in Ontario, is set to take the “green” in its name to a whole new level by becoming the first golf course to allow cannabis smoking on its grounds.

Gordon Weiske, the Director of Entertainment at the golf course, revealed that while other people were clamoring to acquire licenses to grow or retail cannabis, Rolling Greens decided to be different and become a golf course with a cannabis theme.

He says that they decided to allow golfers to enjoy cannabis while playing the game. While strict rules prevent the consumption of cannabis in public, golf courses are free to make their own rules. Besides, smoking is allowed on golf courses, and cannabis smoking is usually allowed in places where one can smoke a cigarette.

The management of Rolling Greens therefore decided to take a different approach from other golf courses that banned smoking marijuana on their grounds. Rolling Greens felt that there was no reason to ban cannabis smoking if cigarette smokers are allowed on the property.

Currently, there is no cannabis sold at the golf course, so users have to carry their own cannabis products if they wish to enjoy cannabis at the golf course.

Rolling Greens doesn’t just want to be known as a golf club where one can smoke weed. They have set their eyes on bigger things.

For example, they intend to set up an age-restricted entertainment park where a mini-putt, drive-in movie theatre and virtual reality games will be available.

Such a facility will be easy for them to create because the golf course sits on a massive 164 acres of land. Space is certainly not one of the problems they face.

The golf course also has plans to partner with cannabis producers who will then set up their own sponsored theme on one of the holes of the golf course.

It should be noted that this golf club hasn’t always been called Rolling Greens. This name was introduced as part of a rebrand of the facility after it was acquired by new owners. Previously, the golf course was called Lombard Glen Golf and Country Club.

In effect, Rolling Greens is approximately two months old. The club intends to host a soft launch on April 20 to give clients and fans a chance to sample what the facility has to offer. Bigger launch events will also be held over the coming months.

Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX.V: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and ChineseInvestors.com (OTCQB: CIIX) congratulate Rolling Greens upon their trailblazing activities that are widening the boundaries of the cannabis industry while creating new opportunities.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Is Thailand Ready for Cannabis Legalization?

A drafting committee in the Thai Legislative Assembly is working on a bill to legalize marijuana in the state. However, many people are wondering whether the country is ready for this move. An analysis of the factors on the ground shows that the road to legalization has a lot going for it while some obstacles remain, as explored in the discussion below.

Why It May Be Time for Legalization

A long history of cannabis use. Cannabis had been used for centuries in Thailand before it was outlawed in 1934. Laborers had for long used it to relax their sore muscles while expectant mothers used it to ease labor pains. The plant was also used as a cooking ingredient. These deep roots of cannabis use also gave the industry the word “bong” derived from Thai. This long history of use therefore makes the legalization of cannabis a no-brainer for this country.

The locals are experts in cultivating the plant. The benefit of the long history of cannabis use in Thailand has also resulted in generations of expert cannabis cultivators in the country. The locals are so good at this that they can identify a seed that will grow into a male plant! Legalization would allow these experts to practice their craft and earn from it.

Thailand is home to a unique cannabis strain. Thailand has a unique cannabis sativa strain that is sought after across the world because of its high THC content. This strain has a citrus aroma and it gives a high that doesn’t cause the user to be lethargic or drowsy. Legalization can allow this gift of nature to be exploited commercially.

But, There Are Roadblocks…

U.S. influence may delay legalization. Thailand has deep ties with the U.S. spanning decades. In fact, the banning of cannabis in 1934 was a result of U.S. pressure on the country. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) even maintains an office in the country. As things stand at the federal level in the U.S., it would be expecting too much for one to think that the U.S. will not try to influence the process of discussing whether marijuana should be legalized or not.

Concerns over foreign firms. The road to legalization is likely to be bumpy as local firms jostle with foreign entities for control of the cannabis industry. Already, a storm is brewing about pending patents that have been filed by foreign companies. Locals see this as an attempt to lock them out of the industry, and they aren’t taking it lying down. The bill being drafted may stall while a way out of this storm is found.

All in all, global trends and the need to boost the agriculture-based economy of Thailand are likely to provide the momentum needed to pass medical cannabis legislation quickly in order to take advantage of the opportunities available.

VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) and Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF) hope that any stumbling blocks can be resolved quickly so that the people of Thailand can enjoy the economic and medical benefits that the marijuana industry has to offer.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Pennsylvania Senators Seek Cosponsors for Cannabis Legalization Bill

Two senators in Pennsylvania have drafted a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, and they are now seeking cosponsors for their initiative.

State Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) have drafted the bill that reads like a dream come true for any marijuana advocate.

The bill intends to allow adults who are 21 or older to grow a maximum of six mature cannabis plants at home for their own use.

Home delivery of marijuana and its products will also be legal if the bill is enacted.

While it would be illegal to consume cannabis in public, the legislators included provisions that would permit the opening of marijuana consumption lounges where adults can go and indulge.

SB 350 goes further to suggest that not only will minor marijuana convictions and arrests be expunged from people’s criminal records, all individuals on similar charges who are serving time in Pennsylvania jails will be released as well. This goes far beyond what other states have done after legalizing recreational weed.

The bill also touches on where the tax revenue from recreational marijuana will be spent. Sens. Sharif and Leach propose that most of the taxes collected from the industry should go to revamping the public schools in the state.

The taxes generated may be considerable if the projected $600 million in sales for the first year materializes and increases in the subsequent years.

Some of the states that have legalized recreational marijuana have failed to invest cannabis taxes in social services because the funds went to meeting the costs of regulation and law enforcement.

The Pennsylvania Senators want to change that trend by including provisions on tax expenditure in the cannabis law so that there will be no risk of diverting the tax revenue to other expenditure areas.

Senator Sharif Street explains that the legalization of marijuana would help to address the opioid crisis in the state. He cites research data from other states showing that opioid use has reduced by about 33 percent after the legalization of medical marijuana.

While Gov. Tom Wolf is cautiously supportive of cannabis legalization, not everyone is ecstatic about the possibility.

For example, Jake Corman, the Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, says legalizing marijuana is “reckless and irresponsible.” He has gone further to vow that he will do whatever he can to stop any legalization bill from passing.

Cannabis advocates therefore have their work cut out for them if they want to see the bill become law. Therma Bright, Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) and TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) look forward to hearing vibrant debates about the issues related to cannabis legalization before a decision is made for the good of all Pennsylvanians.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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Staggering Growth Predicted for CBD Industry as Impact of Farm Bill Seen

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD sales have continued their massive growth in the United States and beyond.

  • Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical found in cannabis, has seen a huge growth in sales over the past few years.
  • CBD can be derived from hemp, and the passing of a new farm bill in the States makes this form of cultivation legal at a federal level.
  • This forms part of wider growth in the cannabis market, as companies expand their operations in North America and even beyond.

Wildflower Brands Inc. (OTCQB: WLDFF) (CSE: SUN) (WLDFF Profile) is among the companies benefiting from this market, with an increase of more than 300 percent in online sales for its CBD products last year. Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is expanding with its acquisition of hemp foods company Manitoba Harvest. Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED) announced revenue for its fiscal third quarter rose more than 280 percent compared to a year ago. In December, Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) announced that tobacco company Altria would be taking a $1.8 billion stake in the company. And Aphria (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) has just completed expansion projects that allows it to substantially increase its output.

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

CBD Drives Growth for Hemp

Hemp, a plant that has long been out of the public eye, is returning to the spotlight in a big way. A nonintoxicating form of cannabis, hemp was primarily used for centuries as a natural source of fibers, which were used in cloth, rope and even building materials. Many ships in the great age of sailing relied on hemp for their riggings.

But in the sweeping anti-drug crusades of the 20th century, hemp became caught up in attacks on cannabis. Campaigners who were determined to save consumers from their own pleasures had cannabis outlawed at a time when there was little effective way of distinguishing between hemp and other forms of cannabis. No longer needed for cloth and rigging, hemp was made illegal.

Now all that has changed — nowhere more dramatically than in the United States of America.

The Farm Bill

Hemp is making a comeback thanks to the growing popularity of cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient found in many forms of cannabis. It’s an ingredient that companies such as Wildflower Brands Inc. (OTCQB: WLDFF) (CSE: SUN), a creator of plant-based health and wellness products, have been making extensive use of in recent years. Combined with other naturally occurring plant compounds, full-spectrum CBD is used in a range of Wildflower products, including capsules, topicals, soaps, tinctures and vaporizers.

Until recently, the production of CBD in the United States faced serious restrictions and uncertainties. Many states had legalized the production of cannabis in some form, either for medical or for recreational use. In addition, there were licensed trials of the cultivation of hemp, which can be rich in CBD. But all of these plants were illegal at a federal level, meaning that even with state-level approval, cultivators faced financial limitations and the threat of government action.

All that changed in December with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. One of a regular series of bills governing the U.S. agricultural sector, this bill removes hemp from the list of controlled substances, making it unambiguously legal for farmers to grow hemp. This changes the landscape for CBD products in the States. Companies such as Wildflower, which has already got its products into many outlets in the health and wellness sector, will be able to expand their reach even further.

States have the right to set their own rules around restricted substances, and some states have taken an unsympathetic attitude to CBD. The Farm Bill doesn’t force states to change this attitude, but there are already signs that public opinion on all levels are changing. The regulations in many states assume adherence to the federal guidelines, and some states, such as Alabama, have already softened their stance since the Farm Bill became law.

Under the Farm Bill, hemp production will be tightly regulated. Most states already have existing regulations in place, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be developing its own regulations as well. But for an established company such as Wildflower, which already works in California, Washington and New York, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Cannabis companies are accustomed to working in a tightly controlled environment and meeting the legal standards set by state legislators, as well as the product standards required by retail outlets. In that context, working within new federal regulations shouldn’t present a significant challenge, while the existence of consistent national standards will create opportunities for growth.

CBD Demand Grows

The Farm Bill has been driven in large part by the growing demand for CBD. An obscure and seldom discussed chemical a decade ago, CBD has emerged as an important consumer product. The gradual legalization of cannabis and research into its medical effects drew attention to the fact that those benefits were not all related to THC, the psychoactive chemical that gets cannabis users high. Identified as a chemical with great potential for health and wellness, CBD has started to be marketed in its own right and is used in products such as the Wildflower Wellness line.

Public interest in CBD has grown seemingly from nowhere. Tapping into interest in both cannabis and natural remedies, and offering treatments that may succeed where others have failed, CBD sales have soared. Hemp-derived CBD alone was a $390 million market in 2018 and is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2022. And that doesn’t even include all the CBD products derived from other forms of cannabis.

The results for producers have been staggering. Wildflower saw its online sales grow by more than 300 percent in just nine months in 2018. In response, the company opened its first New York retail store, a sure sign of a product’s popularity in an age when so many companies are shedding their brick-and-mortar presence.

Looked at globally, CBD is in even better health. The Brightfield Group has estimated that CBD’s value will reach $5.7 billion this year and $22 billion by 2022. While research on the topic is still in its infancy, there is growing evidence that CBD could be used to treat a number of ailments, including certain extreme forms of childhood epilepsy. Even the United Kingdom, a country whose government remains staunchly opposed to the legalization of cannabis, has allowed the use of a CBD drug for this purpose.

Companies producing and selling CBD products are springing up across North America, Europe and beyond. Demand is growing, especially among millennials. That’s bolstering the impressive sales of companies such as Wildflower and putting pressure on politicians to further liberalize the laws around hemp.

Making the Most of a New Market

A lot of companies are now making the most of the growing popularity of cannabis, CBD and hemp. With its acquisition of Manitoba Forest, Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is tapping into an extensive U.S. distribution network and an upcoming line of CBD products. Manitoba Harvest sells hemp-based granola, protein powder, milk and other food products at more than 13,000 points of sale across the United States.

Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED) impressive increase in sales was boosted by the company’s first sales of legal recreational marijuana in Canada, which accounted for more than 70 percent of gross revenue. Chairman and co-CEO Bruce Linton attributed the lift to the company’s decision to make early, “meaningful” investments that helped it corner a big part of the Canadian market when the law took effect. Canopy Growth is a world-leading diversified cannabis and hemp company, offering distinct brands and curated cannabis varieties in dried, oil and softgel capsule forms.

Cronos Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON), which became the first marijuana stock to uplist from the over-the-counter exchange to a major U.S. exchange, appears poised to benefit from its move with Altria. Altria now has a 45 percent stake in Cronos, with the ability to exercise warrants it also received to boost its stake up to 55 percent. Should those warrants be exercised, Cronos would receive an additional $1.05 billion. Cronos Group is a globally diversified and vertically integrated cannabis company with a presence across five continents. Cronos Group operates two wholly-owned Canadian licensed producers: Peace Naturals Project Inc., which was the first non-incumbent medical cannabis license granted by Health Canada, and Original BC Ltd., which is based in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

Aphria (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) recently announced that Health Canada has granted the company its license amendment, permitting Aphria to commence production in an additional 800,000 square feet of facilities at its Aphria One location, as part of the company’s completed Part IV and Part V expansions. Headquartered in Leamington, Ontario – the greenhouse capital of Canada – Aphria has been setting the standard for the low-cost production of safe, clean and pure pharmaceutical-grade cannabis at scale, grown in the most natural conditions possible.

Savvy companies, such as Wildflower Brands Inc., are making the most of legal moves in the United States and Canada that have created momentum and exciting opportunities for growth.

For more information on Wildflower Brands, visit Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF)

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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420 with CNW – Research Suggests You Could Be Storing Cannabis Improperly

Ask anyone how they store their cannabis and you are likely to hear that they place it in an airtight plastic container stored away from direct sunlight. While this has been the norm for cannabis storage, new research suggests that such a method may not preserve the ingredients of your valuable stash for long.

The Italian study compared how THC content was preserved if cannabis was stored in four different ways for 100 days.

First, the researchers looked at what would happen to cannabis if it were stored for 100 days in a bright room at room temperature. This method of storage resulted in a 13 percent drop in the THC content of the cannabis.

The researchers also looked into what would happen to the THC content of cannabis that has been stored in a dark room at room temperature. The cannabis lost 11 percent of its THC content.

How do most processors store their cannabis? You guessed right, in a dark room at room temperature. These manufacturers may be slapping themselves in the face as they read this!

Next, the researchers looked at what would happen if a batch of cannabis was stored inside a refrigerator whose temperature was maintained at 4°C. There was a substantial reduction in the drop of THC using this method of storage.

The researchers then upped the ante and kept some marijuana in a freezer for 100 days. The temperature inside the freezer was maintained at -20°C. Tests revealed that there was no noticeable change in the THC content if the cannabis was stored in the freezer.

The researchers concluded that the best way to store cannabis in order to preserve its constituents was by freezing it. Storage in an airtight container in a dark room only works for short-term storage, they added.

The researchers also revealed that the CBD content of cannabis barely changes over time regardless of how you choose to store the marijuana. People who have no interest in THC shouldn’t therefore fret about how they keep their cannabis products.

However, the findings of this study should not be generalized as applicable to all the attributes or components of cannabis. For example, the study didn’t look into how the flavor or scent of cannabis was affected by the four storage methods investigated.

As you wait for research to be done on that, you can conduct your own little experiments to see how your perception of those attributes is affected when you store marijuana in different ways.

Youngevity International, Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) and Cannabis Strategic Ventures, Inc. (OTC: NUGS) welcome the insights that the study has shed on the different storage options for cannabis products.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

To receive instant SMS alerts, text CANNABIS to 21000

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420 with CNW – Lawmakers in Connecticut Unveil Marijuana Legalization Plan

At the end of last week (March 14), lawmakers in Connecticut’s Assembly held a press conference at which they outlined a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

Rep. Michael D’Agostino, the chair of the General Law Committee, led the proceedings by giving a brief outline of the legalization plan.

He revealed that three major areas would be looked at when pushing the legalization plan forward. These are regulation, monetization and decriminalization. These three areas would be handled by different committees that are mandated to legislate in those areas.

D’Agostino added that the different committees would formulate various bills covering the cannabis legalization areas within their mandate before all those different bills are merged into one comprehensive bill. This will be after the committee bills are modified and agreed upon by all or most of the committee members.

The chair of the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. Steve Stafstrom) was next on the microphone and he talked about the three bills in his committee. One was focused on legalizing cannabis possession by adults 21 or older while also laying out how marijuana misdemeanor crimes would be expunged from the criminal records of residents.

A second bill in this committee looks at issues of impaired driving. One notable provision of this bill would see resources ring-fenced for training law enforcement to be experts at recognizing and screening drivers who may be under the influence.

The third bill for this committee will absolve employers from making any exceptions for employees who use weed. This means that if the bill becomes law, an employer may refuse to hire anyone who tests positive for marijuana, or fire an employee who is under the influence at work.

Rep. Jason Rojas, who sits on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee spoke about the tax structure that Connecticut may adopt once recreational marijuana is permitted. He revealed that they were cautious and would propose a 20 percent tax so that Connecticut’s weed doesn’t cost more than what is available in Massachusetts where adult-use cannabis retails sales are already a reality.

Otherwise, people may buy recreational cannabis out-of-state instead of spending their money on Connecticut’s supply. The details of the tax structure would be made clearer in due course, Rojas added.

What came out strongly during the press briefing was that it is still early days to start talking timelines to the availability of recreational cannabis. A lot of work needs to be done to get the law in place, and this fact is brought home by the memory of what happened last year when legalization by legislative means failed after a bill that had been passed by a slim majority in the Appropriations Committee was stalled by the House Speaker until the end of the legislative session.

Hope is high this time round since Democrats control both chambers. Choom Holdings Inc. (CSE: CHOO) (OTCQB: CHOOF) and Earth Science Tech, Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) wish the cannabis advocates good luck as they try to get the people of Connecticut to enjoy what the residents of 10 other U.S. states are already enjoying.

About CannabisNewsWire

CannabisNewsWire (CNW) is an information service that provides (1) access to our news aggregation and syndication servers, (2) CannabisNewsBreaks that summarize corporate news and information, (3) enhanced press release services, (4) social media distribution and optimization services, and (5) a full array of corporate communication solutions. As a multifaceted financial news and content distribution company with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, CNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. CNW has an ever-growing distribution network of more than 5,000 key syndication outlets across the country. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, CNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. CNW is where news, content and information converge.

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CBD Beverages – Possible Next Big Disruptor in the Drinks Industry

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Drinks infused with cannabis-derived cannabidiol (CBD) are in a prime position to bring disruption to the beverage sector.

  • The growing consumer interest in hemp-derived CBD as a health supplement along with the recent passing of the Farm Bill has spawned a growing interest in CBD-infused drinks.
  • The ever-increasing global trend to legalizing cannabis is also creating demand for “harder” beverages derived from marijuana
  • Big alcohol companies have taken a particular interest in investing in cannabis producers.
  • The relationship is also working in an inverse direction, with CBD producers recruiting experienced beverage executives to help launch new products.

Corporate interest in building a cannabis-infused beverage profile demonstrates the level of potential growth for such an industry, with key developments being made across multiple channels. To address the needs of the wellness-oriented consumer, Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF) (PHVAF Profile) has created a line of active hemp extract (CBD)-infused drinks that are just starting to hit store shelves and is expected to be distributed to a thousand retail outlets in Q2. In the adult beverage sector, Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) has made a $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED), fueling research into cannabis drinks which suggests a proactive approach to addressing the potential sales impact in markets where consumer use of marijuana is legal. The Canadian business unit of Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP) has also made a deal with a cannabis producer to create beverages for that market. In the health supplements sector, Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: CWBHF) (CSE: CWEB), which markets hemp-derived CBD oil, has recruited a former Coca-Cola executive to bring beverage sector expertise into the company.

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

The Changing Beverage Space

Beverages are among the most trend-driven of all food industry products with continuing innovations in packaging, flavors and formulations being made to drive consumer interest. Decades ago, store shelves consisted of a few cola and fruit-flavored drinks. Since then, there have been introductions of enhanced fruit juices, bottled iced teas and more recently energy drinks, which created an entirely new drink category. Consumer tastes have grown considerably as well, especially when considering the popularity of the fermented tea drink kombucha.

Now a fresh wave of innovation is on the cusp of altering the beverage industry. The growing interest in hemp-derived CBD as a health supplement along with the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in several jurisdictions has led manufacturers to explore new products and expand their consumer base. This has led to the creation of a new product category — CBD-infused beverages.

The Rise of CBD Beverages

Few companies currently have a strong focus on CBD drinks. However, among those looking to take advantage of this market is Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTC: PHVAF). Through its Oki brand of active-hemp, extract-infused waters and iced teas, Phivida is targeting health-conscious consumers who are looking for newer ways to enhance their well-being. Backed by its own market research, Phivida expects that introducing an attractive beverage formulated with the flavors and features most desired by this segment will have strong market acceptance.

Driving the growth of this new segment is the rocketing popularity of CBD as a health supplement. One of the many active ingredients in cannabis, CBD doesn’t produce a high in users, unlike cannabis’ more famous constituent, THC. While research into CBD is in its early stages, consumers are increasingly looking for products containing CBD to address a variety of health issues such as anxiety, pain, and immune health. This has been aided by the passing of the Farm Bill in December 2018 which legalized hemp — defined as a variety of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3 percent THC — and allows its production and sale in all 50 states. For companies such as Phivida, which process the hemp plant into their products, this has provided them with a significantly large market to grow into.

Launching into the CBD-infused Drink Market

Chances are that, within a decade, every store may have a CBD-infused drinks section. But currently, companies are entering new territory and strategizing the best steps that will lead to success.

A critical step some are taking is to reach into the established beverage industry to tap into seasoned expertise and leverage previous success. For example, hemp-derived CBD supplement producer Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: CWBHF) (CSE: CWEB) recently recruited former Coca-Cola executive Eugenio Mendez as its chief growth officer. The company has stated its strategy is to expand into new segments, and Mendez could provide vital experience for a move into beverages.

For Phivida, that process also started with finding the right people to manage the project. Last March, Jim Bailey and Mike Cornwell stepped in as new management at the company. Veteran executives from Red Bull, they brought with them large beverage company expertise in product formulation, package design, product distribution and marketing. Coming from the last company to truly innovate and trigger a widespread disruption in the beverage industry, the two executives look well-equipped to repeat that achievement at Phivida.

Another key step is designing a beverage that will have the most consumer appeal. To align with the sentiments of their target consumers, Phivida’s Oki brand flavored waters and iced teas contain non-GMO, natural and organic ingredients; are plant based and vegan friendly; and are packaged in sleek 100 percent recyclable glass containers. The flavor line-up, which includes Watermelon Relax and Lemon Ginger Harmony, are aligned with the current preferences of the health-conscious consumer. Phivida’s surveys have resulted in product testing scores as high as 80 percent from its sample group of 1,200 individuals for its OKI beverage.

The new leadership team has also put in significant effort to ensure that Oki has the distribution channels necessary to reach consumers. Company officials have been working with one of the nation’s largest grocery distributors and meeting with both national and regional chains to secure retail contracts. Several retail contracts are in development, and Phivida expects Oki to be available in more than 1,000 outlets by the second quarter of this year.

Beer Makes Its Cannabis Move

So far, one of the most significant moves by the beverage industry into cannabis has been made by Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ). The company behind brands such as Corona beer and Svedka vodka has taken an active interest in the cannabis sector. Through two rounds of investment over the past two years, Constellation has provided $4 billion to Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED), one of Canada’s largest and most successful cannabis companies. This investment provides Constellation with one-third ownership of Canopy Growth and the potential to take that investment further.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of speculation about how this money will be spent. Canopy Growth has been using its increased financial clout to expand its business from Canada into the United States. Canopy is establishing a production facility in New York State that, for now at least, will produce industrial hemp from which CBD can be extracted.

In another team-up between a brewer and a Canadian cannabis company, Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP) announced last summer that its Canadian arm would be working with the Hydropothecary Corporation on a joint partnership to produce cannabis-infused drinks in anticipation of the expansion of that country’s cannabis legalization. Cannabis beverages and edibles are expected to be made available by October 2019, and Molson will be positioned to serve that new sector once it is made legal.

The market for both CBD- and THC-based cannabis drinks has barely begun to take shape, but given the dramatic growth in the popularity of cannabis, it could become a major disruptor for the beverage industry over the next few years.

For more information on Phivida Holdings, visit Phivida Holdings Inc. (CSE: VIDA) (OTCQX: PHVAF)

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