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USA News Group: Vermont likely to legalize pot in 2018

December 13, 2017

USA News Group

The tide has turned with regard to public perception of marijuana use and the movement toward legalizing pot is moving in a wave.

Seven jurisdictions are most likely to approve legal use of cannabis in 2018. Some of the leading cannabis companies already preparing for the onslaught of new demand include Supreme Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX-V: FIRE) (OTC: SPRWF), MedReleaf Corp. (OTC: MEDFF), GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH), and MYM Nutraceuticals Inc. (CSE: MYM) (OTC: MYMMF).

It's evident that the tide has turned with regard to public perception of marijuana use.

CBS News conducted a poll in 1979 that found only 27% support for a nationwide legalization of recreational pot in the U.S. In April of this year, it conducted the same poll and found that support for nationwide legalization had more than doubled to an all-time record of 61% in favor.

It's not known which, if any, jurisdictions will ratify their mandate to legalize use, but 7 leading contenders hold the most promise for legalization.

Markets are rewarding companies that could benefit from the move to legal cannabis in these areas. Some prominent companies have already taken initiative by expanding capacity as like Supreme Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX-V: FIRE) (OTC: SPRWF), and others focusing on medicinal applications and therapies using cannabis, such as MedReleaf Corp. (OTC: MEDFF), and GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH).

A select number of companies are looking to support their efforts in developing formulations, extracts and supplying marijuana based on their Licensed Producer status. Among these, MYM Nutraceuticals Inc. (CSE: MYM(link is external)) (OTC: MYMMF(link is external)) tops the list. The company has announced it is developing some of the world's largest cannabis greenhouses, as well as diversified interests in cannabis derivatives, formulations and most recently, producing cannabis in Australia for that burgeoning market.

All of these companies will be bolstered by government efforts to adopt the legal use of cannabis.

Top 7 Jurisdictions Likely To Legalize Marijuana 

Depending on the jurisdiction's laws, legalization could occur either through a referendum or a state's legislature. More jurisdictions and their lawmakers will likely seek to legalize recreational use of cannabis, especially if they are located in an area surrounded by other states that have been generating revenue already.

1. Canada - It appears that Canada is fortifying its efforts to become the first developed country to legalize recreational cannabis. In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults ages 18 and up by as early July 1, 2018. The Canadian government has estimated that legalizing recreational cannabis would result in $5 billion to $7 billionin added revenue each year, and it would be a strong complement to Canada's rapidly growing medical-cannabis industry.

2. Arizona - In 2018, Arizona voters will possibly vote on an initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use. An organization called "Safer Arizona" is collecting signatures for the initiative.

3. Vermont - The state has nearly become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana through the state legislature rather than ballot initiative. But every bill that's been passed ended up getting vetoed by the state's governor. After the most recent veto, the governor sent the bill back to the legislature. It's currently being reworked.

4. Michigan - Marijuana advocacy groups in Michigan have tried to get recreational use on the ballot for years, but failed. This year may be very different. Ballot initiatives need to collect 252,523 signatures within a 180-day window to be considered. A recent ballot initiative for recreational marijuana reached 100,000 signatures ahead of the advocacy group's schedule meaning 2018 may be the year Michiganlegalizes recreational marijuana.

5. Connecticut - Connecticut's had multiple attempts to legalize marijuana for recreational use that did not pass. But the support is present there. The state is also facing budget problems that marijuana revenue could help offset.

6. Missouri - The state of Missouri allowed marijuana advocacy groups to begin collecting signatures last spring for a bill that would both legalize recreational use of cannabis and also expand the state's current medicinal program. Advocacy groups have until May 2018 to produce enough signatures to qualify for the November 2018 elections.

7. Illinois - Marijuana has often been proposed as a possible revenue generator for the state, but it's been shot down, mainly due to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. Experts believe Rauner is facing an uphill battle for re-election in 2018, which means a new Democratic governor who may be more open to marijuana could be the difference.

Legalization has a very direct and immediate impact on the demand for cannabis.

According to a recently released report from Marijuana Business Daily titled "Marijuana Business Factbook 2017," the U.S. legal cannabis industry is expected to grow by about 30% in 2017, 45% the following year, and an aggregate of 300% between 2016 and 2021.

For Canada, the numbers look even better: the annual retail marijuana market there could be at least $4.9 billion, but possibly as high as $8.7 billion considering ancillary markets.

At this point, there's a legitimate concern that supply would be unable to meet demand given that some leading producers already export some of their dried-cannabis production to foreign markets.

And while all of the leading cannabis companies are taking on massive capacity expansion projects, many of them could be pushing the deadline to be ready to handle the added demand for cannabis by 2018.

This has given rise to a race to create more product, and fast.
One of the up and comers in this space is MYM Nutraceuticals. Their aggressive strategy is based on a commitment to superior growing technology, well-crafted branding and innovative distribution strategies.

Through its majority-owned subsidiary CannCanada, MYM signed an exclusive deal with the Quebecmunicipality of Weedon to build a 1.5 million square foot facility. At completion, Weedon will be one of the largest greenhouse facilities dedicated to marijuana growth in the world, expected to produce over 150,000 kg of cannabis per year.

MYM has also announced two more production facilities; a smaller facility in Laval, Quebec which it expects to have online in by the end of 2017, and the other in Australia that's a co-venture with local government. That facility in New South Wales will house a 1 million square foot growing space slated to start in 2018.

The prospect of added demand coupled with solid news of governmental support has sent shares of the major cannabis producers and medical companies soaring higher. And adding new legal jurisdictions can only serve to add fuel to the fire.

Several states and Canada appear to be willing to take the initiative to legalize marijuana. And the cannabis companies appear to be moving hand-in-hand with each new initiative.

Critics expect that 2018 will be a pivotal year in the shift towards a new legal cannabis landscape.

Supreme Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSXV: FIRE) (OTC: SPRWF),
Supreme Pharmaceuticals, through its wholly owned subsidiary, 7ACRES, is one of the first 40 federally licensed Canadian producers of medical cannabis pursuant to the ACMPR. The company operates inside a 342,000 sq. ft. Hybrid Greenhouse facility located in Kincardine, Ontario. It is the largest facility of its kind to grow with advanced HVAC and C02 enrichment using the full-spectrum sun. The company has commenced its first sales of dried cannabis to Aurora Cannabis, possibly the largest and most trusted retail brand in the Canadian industry. 

MedReleaf Corp. (OTC: MEDFF)
MedReleaf sets The Medical Grade Standard for cannabis in Canada and around the world. The first and only ISO 9001 certified cannabis producer in North America, MedReleaf is a R&D-driven company dedicated to patient care, scientific innovation, research and advancing the understanding of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Sourced from around the world and perfected in one of two state of the art facilities in Ontario, MedReleaf delivers a variety of premium products to patients seeking safe, consistent and effective medical cannabis.

GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH)
GW has established a world leading position in the development of plant-derived cannabinoid therapeutics through its proven drug discovery and development processes, intellectual property portfolio and regulatory and manufacturing expertise. Their lead product candidate is Epidiolex® (cannabidiol) for certain rare and severe early-onset, drug-resistant epilepsy syndromes. GW successfully developed the world's first prescription medicine derived from the cannabis plant, Sativex®, now approved in over 29 countries outside of the United States for the treatment of spasticity due to Multiple Sclerosis. The company has a deep pipeline of additional clinical stage cannabinoid product candidates for both orphan and non-orphan indications with a particular focus on neurological conditions.



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