An Expanding Legal Marketplace Fosters Innovation in the Cannabis Industry

NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The legalization of medical cannabis and its decriminalization in some countries has led to a significant decrease in the black market. Customers are now choosing to legally purchase cannabis products for medical as well as adult use. Typically, medical marijuana is used for the treatment of chronic conditions, such as cancer, arthritis, and neurological conditions, such as anxiety, depression, epilepsy, as well as Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease. In the recent election, the state of New Jersey voted in favor of legalization, yet some legislative obstacle remain. Nevertheless, other states are expected to follow. Matthew Schweich, Deputy Director of pro-legalization advocacy group, Marijuana Policy Project, explained, according to Politico that "we're now working in very red states… If we win in Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota … it becomes more difficult for those senators to oppose legislation that allows their home states to implement laws the voters have approved." HempFusion Wellness Inc. (TSX: CBD.U), Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC: GTBIF), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB), Curaleaf Hldgs Inc. (OTC: CURLF), Aphria Inc. (NASDAQ: APHA) (TSX: APHA)

Thanks to legalization in several states in recent years, government earnings through taxation have increased. For example, the total tax revenue collected for the state of California for the first two quarters of 2020 was around USD 470 Million. The revenue generated from these taxes could encourage local governments to fund several development programs for education and infrastructure. And, according to Grand View Research, the global legal marijuana market was valued at USD 17.7 Billion in 2019 and is expected to expand at a significant CAGR of 18.1% over the forecast period of 2020 to 2027.

HempFusion Wellness Inc. (TSX: CBD.U) announced breaking news yesterday that, 'its wholly owned subsidiary, Probulin Probiotics, LLC ("Probulin"), has increased its product selection in certain brick and mortar locations and expanded its distribution on Amazon through a unique eCommerce store within the Amazon platform. The broader product selection is available in major brick and mortar stores including Sprouts and Fresh Thyme and includes the Company's new Probulin Total Care Immune product.

Probulin, one of the fastest growing probiotic supplement brands in the United States, according to Spins syndicated data, has launched "The Probulin Store" on Amazon's robust eCommerce platform. Since the beta launch in early December 2020, Amazon has helped Probulin generate brand awareness, driving both sales and product education for Probulin's full line of scientifically formulated products. Initial results have generated a strong average return on ad spend (ROAS) of US$8.54 for every US$1 invested.

'We are incredibly excited to launch The Probulin Store on Amazon, which provides our brand with tremendous exposure to new customers,' commented Jason Mitchell, N.D., Chief Executive Officer of HempFusion. '70% of our immune system resides in the gut, so it's no surprise that today, more than ever, consumers are actively researching probiotics, looking for brands they can trust to support digestive and immune health as well as overall health and wellness. Launching our Probulin Store on the largest eCommerce platform globally is a tremendous step for the Company and supports our broader initiative of driving significant e-Commerce growth over the course of 2021 and beyond,' continued Dr. Mitchell.

Probulin is one of Amazon's only probiotic brands that ships cold and protected products straight to consumers' doors. The products are delivered in environmentally friendly insulated boxes, made from recycled cotton denim, and shipped on ice to protect the probiotic material. Probulin's scientifically validated MAKTrek-3-D Probiotic Delivery System provides a three step system of protection, ensuring better survival of the beneficial probiotic bacteria so that more of the probiotics can arrive in the gut alive.

Combining the digestive and immune support of pre, pro and post biotics, Probulin products are designed from scientifically documented strains of living probiotic beneficial bacteria. Manufactured in an NSF Certified cGMP facility, Probulin products are free of GMO's, wheat, gluten, magnesium stearate, phthalates and other harmful additives."

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Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTCQX: GTBIF) reported in November it will open Rise Kendall, its 50th retail location, on November 18. Profits from the first day of sales will be donated to Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), a grassroots, membership organization run by Returning Citizens (Formerly Convicted Persons) who are dedicated to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions, and creating a more comprehensive and humane reentry system that will enhance successful reentry, reduce recidivism, and increase public safety. "We are thrilled to open our 50th store in the nation as a green wave continues across the country with five more states voting to legalize medical or adult-use cannabis during the recent election," said Green Thumb Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ben Kovler. "We are also honored to donate our first day's profits to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and to support their important work in the state."

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) announced in November that it has entered into a strategic Supply Agreement with Cantek Holdings, one of Israel's leaders in the medical cannabis field. Under the terms of the Agreement, Aurora will supply Cantek with dried bulk flower over a two-year period, with the option to extend. The Company intends to provide Cantek with a minimum of 4,000 kgs of bulk dried flower annually, which will be processed into finished product, and co-branded under the Aurora and Cantek brand names for the Israeli market with the potential for additional international market sales. "We are excited about our strategic relationship with Cantek, a leader in the Israeli market. This Agreement provides Aurora with a great opportunity to expand our medical cannabis brand and industry leading science in one of our key international markets of focus," said Miguel Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora. "Today's announcement demonstrates more than just a supply agreement. It's about the strength and quality of the Aurora medical brand being validated once again by the world's medical cannabis markets, including countries like Israel in which we had no distribution prior to today. We consider this Agreement to be a significant step for Aurora, and we look forward to bringing our high-quality medical cannabis products to patients in Israel."

Curaleaf Hldgs Inc. (OTCQX: CURLF) announced earlier in October that it has expanded its award-winning line of Select Oil brand products to its 15th state, Illinois - the nation's second-largest adult-use market after California - starting with its Select Elite Live cannabis oil cartridges. "The Select brand has worked diligently to earn its place as an industry leader and is rapidly becoming the first nationally-recognized cannabis brand," said Joe Bayern, President at Curaleaf. "Illinois is one of the largest adult-use cannabis markets in the country and one that has worked incredibly hard to address the need for reparation and normalization of our industry. We look forward to becoming part of the Illinois community, and serving the patients and consumers with the best in class cannabis consumer products available anywhere."

Aphria Inc. (NASDAQ: APHA) (TSX: APHA) announced earlier last year its financial results for the first quarter ended August 31, 2020. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted and except for per gram, kilogram, kilogram equivalents, and per share amounts. "Our strong first quarter results reflect the continued robust growth and development of Aphria's adult-use cannabis brands in Canada," said Irwin D. Simon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We are consistently taking a diversified approach to our innovation, strategic partnerships, global expansion and corporate citizenship to fuel sustainable, long-term growth. We believe that the strength of our balance sheet and cash position, combined with our consistent focus on our highest-return priorities, will generate sustainable long-term value for all stakeholders." The Company reported Record gross revenue for adult-use cannabis of $69.6 million in the first quarter, an increase of 23% from prior quarter and the sixth consecutive quarter of growth.

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