HempWire Editorial Coverage: When George Washington cultivated cannabis at his estate in Mt. Vernon, he was continuing a tradition that dates back 10,000 years. There are indications that cannabis sativa, grown as hemp, was farmed for its fiber content in Neolithic times. Since then, numerous uses have been discovered. As hemp, the plant has furnished a variety of commercial and industrial products. Hemp seeds are also edible, as they are high in protein and are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. And with 483 distinct chemical compounds, 66 of which are cannabinoids, the uses to which cannabis can be put are still being discovered. The future looks bright to SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile), GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), American Cannabis Company (AMMJ), AeroGrow International, Inc. (AERO) and MassRoots, Inc. (MSRT), a roster of companies who are reading those cannabis leaves and betting on their potential.
SinglePoint (SING) grew out of a text messaging and mobile payments business and has embarked on a strategy of acquiring small to mid-sized companies that offered mobile technologies. While initially focused on operating a mobile commerce and communications platform for vendors who wanted to accept mobile credit card payments, about two years ago SinglePoint began focusing on how to apply its mobile payments and merchant processing solutions to medical marijuana dispensaries.
Today, its POS terminals have the potential to allow patients and patrons of marijuana establishments to use their debit cards to make purchases. Now that seven of the eight marijuana initiatives on the November 8 ballot have succeeded, including those in California and Florida, the company is reviving its strategies to court marijuana dispensaries and recreational shops.
As it continues its acquisition strategy, SinglePoint is, however, playing it safe by only targeting businesses that do not ‘touch the plant.’ An example is the stake taken recently in the Jacksam Corp., doing business as Convectium, a profitable California-based provider of equipment, branding and packaging solutions for the cannabis industry.
Convectium has developed ‘the world’s first’ oil-filling system for cartridges and disposable vape pens for wholesale distribution to dispensaries. The company’s 710Shark and 710Seal system can fill and package 100+ cartridges or disposable vape pens in 30 seconds, making it the fastest filling and sealing system of its kind. With a market that extends to over 52 countries, Convectium expects 2017 revenues to continue to increase year over year.
Its treasure trove of close to 500 substances makes cannabis as close to being a panacea as ever existed. Each unique compound in the plant has, no doubt, some medicinal or other practical application. Pioneering outfit GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) (LSE: GWP) has already exploited that possibility by bringing to market a product based on the two main cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Sativex, as it is known, is an oromucosal spray that has been approved by regulatory authorities in 29 countries to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS), with astounding success. GW Pharmaceuticals is now exploring the use of other cannabinoids to treat a variety of serious unmet medical needs such as those related to autism and schizophrenia. Its present lead candidate is Epidiolex, which is currently being tested to treat certain rare and severe early-onset, drug-resistant epilepsy syndromes.
Like SinglePoint, The American Cannabis Company (AMMJ) employs a “hands off” approach by offering “end-to-end” solutions to existing and aspiring participants in the cannabis industry. AMMJ provides business planning and market assessment services and will assist with state licensing procurement, creation of business infrastructure and operational best practices. The company also has a line of branded products that include The Satchel, a child-resistant pouch, SoHum Living Soils, the Cultivation Cube and a High Density Cultivation System.
Meanwhile in Boulder, Colorado, AeroGrow International (AERO) is promoting its expertise in aeroponic garden systems to the cannabis crowd. The company has been marketing its indoor garden line under the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden brand since it entered into a strategic alliance with Scotts Miracle-Gro. Although not advertised as such, the AeroGarden system is widely used to grow cannabis at home. Sales are on track to almost double from $19.6 million in FY 2016 to $35 million in FY 2017.
And in the cybersphere, MassRoots (MSRT) has registered more than 1 million users on its platform that enables consumers to rate products and strains of cannabis based on their efficacy and then present that information in easy-to-use formats for consumers to make educated purchasing decisions at their local dispensary.
From these developments, it looks like cannabis will be around for quite some time to come.
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