Cannabis Market Begins Slow Shift Towards Recreational Dominance

NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In the past couple of years, cannabis has become a focal point on many countries' agendas. Specifically, many countries are undergoing extensive reviews into the proper use of cannabis for medical applications. The medical cannabis segment is expected to hold the largest share of the overall industry, while the recreational segment is projected to witness a significant growth rate. According to data compiled by Zion Market Research, the global legal cannabis market was valued at USD 16.71 Billion in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue of around USD 62.96 Billion. Additionally, the market is expected to register a robust CAGR of 21% throughout the forecast period from 2018 to 2024. The industry is undoubtedly being driven by the widespread legalization efforts currently ongoing around globe. Data suggests that countries like the U.S. and Canada are the main growth drivers for the industry, due to their relaxing regulatory stance on cannabis. Based on trends within the North American region, it is anticipated that a shift from medical cannabis to cannabis used for recreational purposes is imminent. Blueberries Medical Corp. (CSE: BBM), Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA), Canopy Rivers Inc. (OTC: CNPOF), Origin House (OTC: ORHOF), Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC: EMHTF)

The research and development of cannabis is leading many U.S. states and even other countries to consider legalization of cannabis. Within the U.S, states like New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are among the many who are exploring the industry. Globally, countries like Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are seeing immense support for legalization. Although most of the support revolving around cannabis is for medical applications, there could be a shift based on the growth rate of the recreational sector. "The end of marijuana prohibition is in sight and what that means for this market cannot be overstated," said Troy Dayton, Chief Executive Officer of the Arcview Group. "There are billions of dollars in institutional capital chomping at the bit to take advantage of this shift, but so far haven't found a major way in. This leaves a limited window for businesses to get a foothold and build value for liquidity events that might come sooner than any of us thought possible just a few months ago."

Blueberries Medical Corp. (CSE: BBM) after the market close yesterday announced breaking cannabis news that, "the completion of its business combination with Blueberries Cannabis Corp. (the "Private Company"), a leading Colombia-based licenced producer of medicinal cannabis and cannabis-derived products (the "Transaction"). Trading in the common shares of Blueberries (the "Blueberries Shares") is expected to commence on the Canadian Securities Exchange (the "CSE") at market open on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 under the symbol "BBM", following the issuance by the CSE of its final bulletin in respect of the Transaction, expected today.

"Our public listing in Canada marks the accomplishment of another important milestone for Blueberries as we continue to execute on our vision of becoming a leading producer of premium quality medicinal cannabis products internationally," stated Christian Toro, Chief Executive Officer. "Combining Canadian leadership in the cannabis industry, strategic global relationships and Colombian passion and expertise, at Blueberries Medical we do things better."

Operational and Corporate Update: Blueberries is continuing to advance its developments to become a large-scale producer of naturally grown premium quality cannabis with its primary operations well situated in the Bogotá savannah in central Colombia. Lead by a specialized team with proprietary expertise in agriculture, genetics, extraction, medicine, pharmacology and marketing, Blueberries has received all licenses required for the cultivation, production, domestic distribution, and international export of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)-based medical cannabis. Blueberries' combination of leading scientific expertise, agricultural advantages, and distribution arrangements has positioned the Company to become a leading international supplier of naturally grown, processed and standardized medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products.

Since the Transaction was initially announced on September 6, 2018, the Company has continued to execute on its strategic objectives. Key developments include:

    --  Receipt of cultivation license, making Blueberries fully licensed for
        cannabis cultivation, processing/extraction and export in Colombia and
    --  Completed a C$8,807,500 private placement, leaving the Company well
        capitalized to execute on its growth strategy (see "Subscription Receipt
        Financing" below).
    --  Pre-registration completed for 134 exclusive cannabis strains with high
        contents of CBD & THC.
    --  Commencement of cultivation in 107,000 ft(2) open-air greenhouse
        facility with commercial production anticipated in Q4 2019.
    --  Significant international sale and distribution agreements have been put
        in place for current products and products under development.
    --  Entered into a binding letter of intent with Harmony and Life SAS, a
        leading wellness clinic in Colombia pursuant to which the clinic will
        collaborate with Blueberries on the research, development,
        commercialization and distribution of cannabis-based products.
    --  Continued to further strengthen the Company's management and operational
        teams (See "New Board and Management" below).

Additional strategic milestones which the Company is continuing to pursue include:

    --  Expansion of the Company's cultivation facility has begun with the goal
        of growing to approximately 861,000 ft(2) by the end of 2019 to meet
        expected immediate demand. Blueberries has capacity to increase its
        cultivation capacity up to approximately 120 hectares (~13 million
        ft(2)) of total cultivation capacity.
    --  Engineering and design for a cannabis oil extract processing facility to
        provide for near-term oil production, with additional space to
        accommodate modular increases in production capacity as demand for the
        Company's products grows.
    --  Continue to expand product portfolio.
    --  Negotiation of additional sales and distribution agreements.

About Blueberries Medical Corp: Blueberries is seeking to become a large-scale producer of naturally grown premium quality cannabis with its primary operations well situated in the Bogotá savannah in central Colombia. Lead by a specialized team with proprietary expertise in agriculture, genetics, extraction, medicine, pharmacology and marketing, Blueberries has received all licenses required for the cultivation, production, domestic distribution, and international export of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)-based medical cannabis. Blueberries' combination of leading scientific expertise, agricultural advantages, and distribution arrangements has positioned the Company to become a leading international supplier of naturally grown, processed, and standardized medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products."

Aphria Inc. (NYSE: APHA) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to our people, product quality and innovation. Recently, Aphria Inc. has completed its first transfer of plant cuttings from four of the Company's cannabis strains to Denmark-based Schroll Medical, as part of the Company's previously announced Strategic Partnership with Schroll. The shipment was completed under permits issued by the relevant health authorities, including an export permit from Health Canada, an import permit from the Danish Medicines Agency and a phytosanitary certificate from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. "We are pleased to introduce the first four Aphria strains to be produced in Europe, through our strategic alliance with Schroll," said Hendrik Knopp, Managing Director of Aphria Germany, who is overseeing the Partnership on behalf of Aphria and Schroll. "This marks another important milestone for Aphria as we extend our leadership position in the European market, and it gives me joy to be able to say today that we literally have a good thing growing in Europe."

Canopy Rivers Inc. (OTC: CNPOF) is a unique investment and operating platform structured to pursue investment opportunities in the emerging global cannabis sector. Canopy Rivers Inc. recently announced it has completed an equity investment in 10663522 Canada Inc., or "Herbert", a unique brand platform that focuses on the adult-use cannabis beverage and edibles market. Canopy Rivers subscribed for CAD 1,500,000 of preferred shares in Herbert, and received incremental warrants entitling the Company to increase its economic interest in Herbert under certain circumstances, as well as other governance-related rights. "Herbert represents an opportunity for Canopy Rivers to be invested at a very early stage in a company focused on the adult-use cannabis beverage and edible product segment," said Narbe Alexandrian, President of Canopy Rivers. "In the US, cannabis-infused beverages have emerged as a high-growth segment within the ingestibles category, and include a variety of products in both THC- and CBD-dominant formats. In Canada, we expect similar growth beyond dried flower and oils, into food and beverage. Canopy Rivers believes that Herbert, equipped with existing R&D, marketing and manufacturing expertise, has the ability to enter this market quickly and achieve success in creating widely appealing THC-infused beverages and edibles under this new standalone brand."

Origin House (OTCQX: ORHOF) is a growing cannabis products and brands company operating across key markets in the U.S. and Canada, with a strategic focus on becoming a preeminent global house of cannabis brands. CannaRoyalty Corp. d/b/a Origin House recently announced that that the Company has entered into an agreement to provide strategic financing of USD 704,000 to Humboldt's Finest, an alliance of heritage cannabis farms representing Humboldt County. Humboldt's Finest produces sun-grown cannabis flower on their farms in Humboldt County, California, which is processed into products including jarred flower, pre-roll flower joints, live resin dabs/jars and/or live resin cartridges. "We are proud to announce Humboldt's Finest as a participant in our innovative brand acceleration program, following recently announced partnerships with Henry's Original and Utopia Cannabis," said Afzal Hasan, President and General Counsel of Origin House. "We believe that the low-impact, organic practices of cultivators such as Humboldt's Finest are the gold standard for high quality, sustainable, heritage cultivation. Humboldt County has come a long way socially, economically and environmentally, and the intellectual property rooted within the practices of this community is at the core of the brands that we are partnering with. We're excited to support operators in Humboldt County that are seeking to make the area a global nexus for cannabis cultivation, as these relationships have the potential to translate into strong returns for both the local communities and our stakeholders."

Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCQX: EMHTF) is a Canadian licensed producer of cannabis. Recently, Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. entered into a license with Indena S.p.A. of Milan, Italy, bearing certain exclusivity rights in Canada to use Indena's cannabidiol ("CBD") extraction technology, and contract manufacturing services for CBD extraction. In addition, Emerald has obtained exclusive use of Indena's proprietary Phytosome® technology for the purpose of developing novel cannabinoid-based products with superior utility, subject to a minimum volume agreement. This collaboration leverages Indena's decades-long global presence in the plant extraction industry and botanical experience in phytochemical research. Indena is the world's leading company in the identification, development, and production of plant-derived active ingredients for the pharmaceutical, health food, and personal care industries. It is adapting an existing proprietary extraction process to facilitate hemp extraction and will exclusively provide Emerald in Canada with this highly optimized process for extracting and isolating CBD to manufacture cannabinoid-based products. With multiple international large-scale extraction facilities, Indena will be the exclusive third party manufacturing supplier of CBD for Emerald. Emerald will use this CBD in its production of certain product lines. "Reinventing processes and replicating existing expertise does not make sense to us when we can work with the best. We welcome Indena's decision to work closely with our team," added Dr. Avtar Dhillon, President and Executive Chairman of Emerald Health Therapeutics. "We aim to bring together unbeatable global expertise, technology and infrastructure to innovate and commercialize value-added cannabinoid-based products, and we will do this with both internal resources and industry-leading partners."

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