Government Interest in Hemp Diversity Signals Strong Future for American Cannabis Industry

CannabisNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Recent U.S. government interest in ensuring industrial hemp supply signals a period of growth for the cannabinoid industry. Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTC: MCOA) (MCOA Profile) is contributing to this growth through new hemp cultivation projects in both Canada and the U.S., to support its hempSMART subsidiary. Cronos Group Inc. (TSX: CRON) (NASDAQ: CRON) is benefiting from a cross-border venture that gives it access to new scientific advances and has seen its shares reach top exchanges. Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) has secured government licensing needed to become one of Canada’s leading retailers, while acquiring a subsidiary company in Lesotho to cater to an international market. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB) (OTCQX: ACBFF) has announced a new range of products that provide medical cannabis with a high concentration of active ingredients. OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (TSX-V: OGI) (OTCQB: OGRMF) has struck a deal for access to advanced extraction technology, while also gaining a license to export its products to Australia.

Senate Signals Support for Cannabis Seedbank

The United States government has a complicated relationship with cannabis. Since the mid-20th Century, it has clamped down on the use of the plant for any purpose, particularly during the “war on drugs” from the 1980s onward. Over the past decade, some states have legalized the farming and sale of the cannabis sativa plant either as medicine, as a recreational drug, or in the form of industrial hemp. But the federal government has remained reticent about shifting its stance.

It seems that perceptions are now changing. The Senate Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful bodies in government, has acknowledged the growing importance of industrial hemp for American farmers and called for the creation of a hemp seed back. Half a million dollars will be spent ensuring that America has a genetically strong stock of high quality hemp seeds, to support both farmers and researchers.

Building Better Strains

While the committee’s plan to build up seed stocks is intended to support the national interest, some companies are already working on improving industrial hemp growth for reasons of self-interest. Developing a diverse range of strains, each tailored to different purposes, is important for these companies. Industrial hemp is often valued for the quality of its fibres and the medicinal cannabinoids that can be extracted from the plant and implementing better growing techniques can lead to improved crops yields.

Among the companies looking to create more efficient hemp yields is the Marijuana Company of America (MCOA Profile). A company with a diverse portfolio of investments and joint ventures in the cannabis and industrial hemp sectors, MCOA is involved in several projects intended to improve the plants available to producers and consumers.

Together with the Global Hemp Group, MCOA has launched a project to encourage industrial hemp cultivation in New Brunswick. Previous attempts to develop the industry in the region failed twenty years ago, but now the market for the product has grown. The aim is to develop an industrial cluster around the hemp crop, ensuring a market for farmers, consistent job opportunities, and to implement the proper structure to develop Hemp Agro-Industrial Zones, or HAIZ, projects in other areas.

Scientific testing to improve the growing process is an important part of HAIZ. This has been made possible through cooperation with the Canadian government’s Department of Aquaculture Agriculture and Fisheries (DAAF). The department will be contributing fertilizers to the project and carrying out fertility trials on reserved plots of land. Together with soil testing and crop rotation, this will help to develop more fertile organic growing conditions for the hemp.

With legalization of the extraction of cannabinoids from industrial hemp on the horizon, Canada is an important market for cannabinoid-based companies. Recreational use alone is expected to contribute $900 million to the industry, which already serves medical users in Canada. The work in New Brunswick gives MCOA an important foothold in this market.

More Facilities for a Growing Market

The collaboration with GHG is now taking place on both sides of the border, thanks to the establishment of a new industrial hemp project in Scio, Oregon. Once again, the companies are collaborating to create a facility that will push forward techniques in hemp cultivation while providing a steady profit.

The heart of this operation is a 109-acre property in the Willamette Valley, a fertile area with a recent history of successful cannabis cultivation. The site has soil rich in organic matter and established irrigation infrastructure, meaning that it is well set to support a new agricultural project. The use of high yield hemp clones will help to maximise the output of the project.

Multiple approaches to cultivation will feed into the Scio facility’s output. Traditional outdoor cultivation will take place alongside five greenhouses, which will provide over 19,000 square feet of indoor growing space. This will ensure a year-round supply of hemp.

As in New Brunswick, data collection and analysis will play an important part at the farm in Oregon. By checking on the performance of the growing techniques and the quality of the plants, the companies aim to support strains which are rich in cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient important in derivative products designed to support well-being.

A Growing Global Industry

The new project comes at a perfect time for MCOA. Demand for CBD is high thanks to the growing global market for cannabinoid-based products. A facility that can provide the companies with a steady supply of high-quality CBD plants will make it easier to take a substantial place in this expanding sector.

One of MCOA’s most important subsidiaries is hempSMART. This company develops and markets hemp-based wellness products that make use of cannabinoids, the active compounds that can be extracted from the hemp plant. HempSMART also aims to educate consumers on the possibilities offered by hemp, possibilities that the U.S. senate has started to acknowledge through its establishment of the new seed bank. Educators and health professionals are among the experts hempSMART has brought into its team, to make it more than just a source of wellness products.

With investments in everything from payment systems to cultivation facility rentals, Marijuana Company of America has built a broad base of innovative cannabis-related products.

More Companies Signal Strong Future

It’s a sign of the health of cannabis industry that MCOA faces competition from a number of companies, both in hemp production and in the wider cannabis market.

Cronos Group, Inc. (TSX: CRON) (NASDAQ: CRON) is one of the highest profile companies in this sector. In February 2018, it became the first pure play cannabis company traded on the Nasdaq, a sign of the interest in cannabis by mainstream investors. A recent upgrade of its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange reflects the way that cannabis companies are solidifying their position, proving that they are here to stay. A recently announced cross-border venture with MedMen means that Cronos will benefit from scientific advances being made by the Los Angeles company, which prides itself on its research work.

Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) is becoming a leader in the cannabis retail field. Within Canada, it has established itself as a trusted company, being granted one of the first retail licenses in the province of Manitoba. This gives Canopy a strong starting point to sell to customers when recreational cannabis becomes legal in Canada later this year. Further afield, it recently acquired a cannabis company in the Kingdom of Lesotho. This will provide access to an African market largely ignored by western cannabis companies. It will also let the company grow medical cannabis in ideal conditions, with 300 days of sunshine a year, excellent humidity, and great growing conditions for greenhouse grown cannabis.

One of the largest cannabis companies, Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX: ACB) (OTCQX: ACBFF) has recently expanded its activities to cover both the recreational and medical sectors. The company leans heavily on research to improve its sales, with the announcement in late May of a new range of high-THC content cannabis products. It has also made moves to expand its market reach over recent months, with the largest corporate acquisition in the history of the cannabis industry in the form of the purchase of CanniMed, as well as a supplier agreement with Shoppers Drug Mart.

OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (TSX-V: OGI) (OTCQB: OGRMF) is looking beyond the American market. The company has recently been granted a license to export cannabis to Australia. This will introduce OrganiGram’s product to a new territory through a deal with a licensed Australian medical cannabis dealer. Organigram’s success will be further bolstered by a recent deal with TGS Colorado, a company with expertise in extract technology. This will provide Organigram with access to best-in-class technologies, products, and designs with which to make the most of its expanding cultivation base.

Increasing government backing, combined with advances in cultivation and technology, ensures that there’s a healthy future for all varieties of cannabis, from medical marijuana to industrial hemp.

For more information about Marijuana Company of America, please visit Marijuana Company of America (MCOA).

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