Deciphering marijuana policy under the Trump Administration can be difficult, given differing statements by White House officials. Federal laws are at odds with a number of states that have legalized marijuana for medical and/or recreational use, and businesses like SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile), Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. (CRBP), Medical Marijuana, Inc. (MJNA), Cannabis Science, Inc. (CBIS) and ChineseInvestors.com, Inc. (CIIX) (CIIX Profile) operate in a manner that hedges them against certain risks of federal prohibition.
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump said of medical marijuana on Fox News: “I’m in favor of it a hundred percent.” With regard to the recreational use of marijuana, his stated preference was to leave it up to each state. At a briefing on February 23, however, Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted that President Trump sees “a big difference” between the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, leaving many wondering about a federal crackdown.
Additionally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 15, 2017, at a meeting of law enforcement personnel in Virginia, said: “I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana.”
The AG went on to say that marijuana was “only slightly less awful” than heroin, leaving cannabis companies that do touch the plant in limbo of what may come next. Particular defensive tactics vary, but most fall under a broad strategy of diversification and operations that involve servicing the broader industry by means of providing accessories, technological solutions, financial services and real estate, among others.
Case-in-point is SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) (SING Profile), a company that specializes in the acquisition of small to mid-sized companies. Through its wholly owned SingleSeed.com subsidiary, which several years ago geared up to offer payment-processing services to marijuana dispensaries, SinglePoint continues to explore ways to provide financial services to marijuana establishments.
The provision of payment services is part of SinglePoint’s “no-touch” strategy, an approach best demonstrated by its acquisition of a portion of Jacksam Corp., dba Convectium, a profitable California-based provider of equipment, branding, and packaging solutions for the cannabis industry. Singlepoint recently announced it had closed the first round of funding for the acquisition (http://nnw.fm/oS8U5).
“We have evaluated numerous investment prospects in the cannabis space, and found there is nothing that compares to this opportunity we have with Convectium. With this transaction, we will acquire a stake in a cannabis business that never touches a marijuana plant. This is the strategy we will use as we move forward to hedge us against changing federal and state laws,” SinglePoint CEO Greg Lambrecht states in the press release.
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 be about $3.5 million. This would represent an increase of 150 percent over 2016 revenues of $1.4 million.
The route taken by Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings (CRBP) is also likely to escape any cannabis clamp-down since the company is developing a synthetic drug that will be screened as it goes through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory process. Its lead candidate, Anabasum, is a pioneering, synthetic oral endocannabinoid-mimetic drug that resolves chronic inflammation and halts fibrotic processes, which is currently being evaluated in four phase II clinical trials. Endocannabinoid-mimetics are substances that stimulate the body’s natural production of cannabinoids. One of the most popular and widely used drugs for the treatment of pain and fever, called variously paracetamol or acetaminophen, is thought to work this way.
Also likely to be excluded from any crackdown on cannabis is Medical Marijuana (MJNA), which on its website states that its “operations in the federally legal hemp cannabidiol (CBD) market are unaffected by recent statements from Trump administration officials hinting at a crackdown on recreational marijuana. Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s hemp-based CBD products are unaffected by recreational laws or current political stances. The Company’s products are legal and if necessary will eventually be brought through the FDA approval process.” Medical Marijuana, it appears, focuses its operations to products derived from legal CBD hemp oil.
ChineseInvestors.com, Inc. (CIIX) (CIIX Profile) is also taking the high road with hemp. Late last month, the company announced it was launching the world’s first CBD health products online store in the Chinese language under the domain name www.ChineseCBDoil.com. CIIX will use the site to sell CBD oil products to customers in Chinese mainland where hemp oil-derived products are legal and Chinese speakers in U.S. and Canada.
Another marijuana player is Cannabis Science (CBIS), which conducts research into cannabinoids to develop therapies for the treatment of multiple critical ailments from cancer and infections to age-related illnesses and neurobehavioral disorders. Over 60 cannabinoids are to be found in cannabis. Some, like CBDs, are legal; others, like tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), are subject to various legal restrictions. Nevertheless, a broad-based cannabinoid platform seems likely to offer opportunities to shift strategy as the new administrations continues to huff and puff about marijuana.
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