Curio Wellness Launches Investment Fund To Combat Diversity And Inclusion Challenges Within Cannabis Industry

$30 Million in Capital will Provide 50 Diverse Entrepreneurs with Up to Ninety-Three Percent of the Capital Needed to Open a Curio Franchise in any one of eight states.

MARYLAND: Curio Wellness today announced a new funding program that will provide start-up capital for minority business owners to open their own Curio Wellness franchise location. Created for women, minorities and disabled veterans, Curio Wellness’s investment fund (the Fund) will allow the medical cannabis and wellness company to further its goal of serving patients with safe, effective and reliable cannabis-based medicine in multiple states through its unique Wellness Center retail business concept. A legally separate but affiliated entity from Curio Wellness, the Fund will connect diverse investors with up to 50 aspiring women, minority and disabled veteran entrepreneurs, providing $30 million in capital funding.

“In looking at the systemic barriers that women, minorities and disabled veterans face in accessing capital, we decided to develop a solution that directly addresses this massive economic disparity,” said Michael Bronfein, CEO. “The Fund provides qualifying entrepreneurs with the investment capital they need to become a Curio Wellness Center franchisee, while ensuring their success through our best in class business operations.”

Banks and other traditional financing sources generally do not provide equity, capital or loans for cannabis start-ups. While this hurts all potential cannabis business owners, it disproportionately impacts women, minorities and disabled veterans. Through the support of committed and diverse investors, the Fund will eliminate the most significant barrier preventing diverse participation in this burgeoning, rapidly growing industry: a lack of capital in concert with a proven business model and brand.

The Fund will invest in up to 50 women, minority and disabled veteran entrepreneurs seeking to open a Curio Wellness franchise location in states with thriving medical cannabis programs. The $30 million Private Equity Fund will expand diversity and enable economic empowerment by providing up to ninety-three percent of the start-up capital needed to launch a branded dispensary. Eligible entrepreneurs, through partnership with the Fund, will be enabled to launch a franchise as the majority owner from day one and enjoy a clear pathway to full ownership as a franchisee.

“The Fund will expand diversity and enable economic empowerment for entrepreneurs who otherwise would be locked out of the rapidly growing field,” said Jerel Registre, Director of Business Development at Curio Wellness and Managing Director of the Fund. “Our diverse set of entrepreneurs will repay the startup loans with their portion of the dispensary earnings, resulting in 100% ownership as a franchisee over time.”

The application process to become a Curio franchisee is expected to open in early 2021 as Curio is approved to establish franchises. The Fund will soon announce its first closing and is expecting to have a final closing before year end.

The First Cannabis IP-Licensing Company, Breeder’s Best, Officially Launches

New company brings together cannabis industry leaders including attorney-scientist Dale Hunt, researcher-physician Ethan Russo, and botanist-author Robert C. Clarke

CALIFORNIA: Cannabis industry pioneers, Dale Hunt, PhD, JD, Ethan Russo, MD, and Robert C. Clarke have joined forces to create Breeder’s Best, the first cannabis company to focus on intellectual property (IP) protection for independent plant breeders and licensing IP for access to markets worldwide. Breeder’s Best brings a global plant-licensing model, proven successful in other agriculture industries, to cannabis.

The liberalization of global cannabis laws and growing public acceptance of cannabis have created a rapidly escalating demand for cannabis flower, as well as therapeutics and products made with cannabis. According to a report by Prohibition Partners, the international cannabis industry is projected to grow to more than $103.6 billion by 2024.

While the cannabis industry presents significant opportunity, there exists a critical disconnect that separates the creativity of breeders from the markets that are demanding products with unique and proven genetic profiles. Additionally, there is typically very little IP protection to support good partnerships between breeders and cannabis brands. Breeder’s Best will connect these two key stakeholders while legally protecting the genetic inventiveness of breeders.

Breeder’s Best founder and CEO Dale Hunt says, “Our mission is to connect the best Cannabis genetics to the greatest needs and most promising commercial opportunities. To do that, we have assembled an unparalleled team of experts with deep experience at every level of the cannabis supply chain. As the industry matures, Breeder’s Best will be positioned to meet the demands of the increasingly professional and GMP-oriented marketplace while doing business in a way that benefits breeders and directs profitable and reliable business to growers who may otherwise be left behind. With our vision, team, model, know-how, and relationships, Breeder’s Best is poised to become the global leader in patented cannabis genetics and related products.” Dr. Hunt has been practicing IP law for 23 years. He has a PhD in plant cellular and molecular biology and has obtained thousands of patents and plant variety rights for his clients in more than 30 countries.

“Cannabis use is finally normalizing. At Breeder’s Best, we present independent Cannabis breeders the opportunity to protect their unique varieties and assist them in placing those genetics in lucrative markets. This is a great service to breeders who would prefer to focus on the art and science of breeding, instead of dealing with the mechanics of commercialization,” said Breeder’s Best Director of Agronomy and Genetics, Robert C. Clarke. Mr. Clarke is a 40-year cannabis industry veteran, revered for his books Marijuana Botany, published in 1982, and Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany, published in 2013.

The Cannabis plant produces over 450 chemical components, many of which are potentially therapeutic. However, decades of cannabis prohibition have resulted in a lack of genetic diversity worldwide and a predominance of only a small fraction of potential agents.

“We have just begun to scratch the surface of everything that cannabis can do to improve and enhance our lives,” said Dr. Ethan Russo. “That’s what Breeder’s Best will do. Identifying, selectively breeding for and utilizing specific chemical components will truly transform medicine in the coming decades.” Dr. Russo is a board-certified neurologist, preeminent medical cannabis expert, author of more than 50 peer-reviewed medical journal articles and a veteran of GW Pharmaceuticals where he served as Senior Medical Advisor as well as the Sativex® and Epidiolex® clinical trial Study Physician and Medical Monitor.


About Breeder’s Best:  Breeder’s Best is a privately held Cannabis IP genetics company organized as a B Corporation to demonstrate our commitment to independent Cannabis breeders and to meeting the worldwide needs of patients and consumers for superior products. To learn more about Breeder’s Best visit www.breedersbest.com.

Cannabis & CBD Retail Market To Reach $33 Billion In 2024

MARYLAND:  U.S. retail sales of cannabis and CBD products reached $14 billion in 2019, and are on pace to increase 18% per year to $33 billion in 2024, according to data published in Cannabis and CBD: U.S. Retail Market Trends and Opportunities, the latest report by leading market research firm Packaged Facts.

Cannabis products can be segmented by delivery format—i.e., the method by which the product’s desired compounds are ingested:

  • The most common delivery format, flower—smoked in the form of buds or pre-rolled cigarettes—accounts for nearly 40% of retail sales.
  • Another smokable product, vaporizer cartridges with concentrated THC or CBD compounds, comprises the second largest share. However, this share is falling as concerns about vaping-related lung illnesses rise and as states increasingly restrict sales of both nicotine- and cannabis-infused vaping products.

The fastest annual gains are projected for those delivery formats—namely edibles and topicals—that stand to benefit the most from federal legalization of hemp-based CBD. Major retailers—including foodservice establishments in certain states—are increasingly offering CBD-infused food, beverages, cosmetics, and toiletries that appeal to consumers because these products have the therapeutic benefits of CBD without the psychological effects of THC.

Other major delivery formats include tinctures, pills and capsules, and ingestible oils, which are used for both marijuana- and hemp-based products. Ingestible oils made from hemp seed oil (which does not include CBD or THC) have been available for decades and are used by health-conscious consumers for their purported nutritional benefits.

For more information on this emerging market purchase the report from our website.

A Family of Pioneers In Cannabinoid Medicine Host Their First Seminar In Portland, OR

OREGON: An Introduction to Endocannabinology is the first seminar presented by Doctors Knox, a family of physicians pioneering the fields of endocannabinology and cannabinoid medicine.

Through their seminar series, the Knox doctors seek to share their expertise in the endocannabinoid system and the use of cannabis as medicine with other key cannabis industry stakeholders to ensure mutual success across the industry.

At this inaugural seminar, attendees will receive a world-class orientation to the endocannabinoid system and cannabis as medicine from this family of subject matter experts. Additionally, the event offers 2.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits for healthcare professionals in the fields of pharmacy, nursing and medicine.

At the completion of An Introduction to Endocannabinology, attendees will be better prepared to engage meaningfully with the cannabis industry, whether discussing endocannabinoid health with colleagues, answering patients’ questions about cannabis use, assessing cannabis product quality, or advocating for sensible cannabis policy. 

The seminar takes place on Saturday, August 3rd from 9 am – 12 pm at Jupiter NEXT Hotel, located at 900 E Burnside St Portland, OR 97214. The event will also be live streamed for remote viewers.

What’s on the agenda?

8:30-9:00 Registration + Coffee Bar

9:00-9:15 Welcome + Gratitude

9:15-10:15 An Introduction to Endocannabinology: Past, Present, and Future

10:15-10:30 Q&A

10:30-10:45 Break + Sponsor Marketplace

10:45-11:45 The Doctors’ Roundtable

11:45-12:00 pm Q&A + Conclusion

12:00-12:30 Sponsor Marketplace

Interested parties can register to attend in-person or via live stream at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-doctors-knox-event-an-introduction-to-endocannabinology-tickets-63452161122

Maryland: Baltimore Prosecutor To No Longer Target Marijuana Possession Offenses

STATES ATTORNEY BALTIMORE

MARYLAND: Officials will no longer prosecute marijuana possession offenses in Baltimore, according to a newly announced public policy by the office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.

Under the plan, which takes immediate effect, the office will also move to expunge the criminal records of an estimated 5,000 citizens previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses. The office’s decision to cease targeting minor marijuana violations is similar to actions recently taken by prosecutors in a number of other major cities, including St. Louis, MissouriWestchester, New YorkPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania; and Norfolk, Virginia.

State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said that the new policy will provide “a major step forward in making Baltimore city safer, fairer, and more equitable, and even more just.”

The Office will continue to take action against felony cases involving the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, though prosecutors will refer all first-time offenders to diversion programs.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

NIH: Teen Marijuana Use Not Increasing Despite Legalization

MARYLAND: Self-reported marijuana use by adolescents has failed to increase in recent years despite the majority of states legalizing it for either medical or adult use, according to the latest data compiled by the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey, which is commissioned by the US National Institutes on Drug Abuse. NIDA is a part of the US National Institutes of Health.

Summarizing the findings in a press release, the agency acknowledged: “Rates of marijuana use by teens have been of great interest to researchers over the past decade, given major social and legislative shifts around the drug; it is now legal for adult recreational use in 10 states plus the District of Columbia, and it is available medicinally in many more. Fortunately, even as teens’ attitudes toward marijuana’s harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use.”

Marijuana use prevalence by young people did not change significantly between 2017 and 2018, the survey reported. Between the years 2012 and 2018, both rates of lifetime marijuana use and rates of annual marijuana use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders have declined. Ten states have enacted laws regulating adult marijuana use during this same period of time, and several others have legalized medical cannabis access.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Further data is available from NORML’s fact-sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”

 

Maryland Medical Cannabis Forum Is Thursday, November 8, 2018

Presents an In-Depth Discussion of MMJ Research and Practice

MARYLAND – Maryland doctors can enhance their knowledge about medical cannabis treatment at the inaugural Maryland Medical Cannabis Forum (MMCF), on Thursday, November 8th in Baltimore.  The MMCF was created to provide to the Maryland medical community current and credible information on the state of medical cannabis research and practices–and how it affects the 35,000-and-growing Maryland MMJ patients. Discussion topics for the evening include:

  • The endocannabinoid system and its relation to treating diseases
  • Cancer case studies utilizing cannabis for symptom relief and pain management
  • Cannabis treatment for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and autism
  • Cannabis and reduction in opioid dependency and other prescription medications
  • Proper dosing and understanding common side effects

The evening kicks off at 5:00 p.m. with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. with featured speakers Dr. Jokūbas Žiburkus (Canntelligence) and Dr. Dustin Sulak (Healer.com), followed by a panel discussion hosted by CNBC’s Tim Seymour and including Sid Taubenfeld of Tikun Olam’s TO Pharma and Joy Strand, Executive Director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, among others.

The MMCF is proud to have the support of MedChi (the Maryland State Medical Society), and sponsors including global medical cannabis brand Tikun Olam, MariMed Advisors and Kind Therapeutics to establish this event as a comprehensive and trustworthy forum for up-to-date information on medical cannabis for Maryland doctors to provide their patients. The registration fee for MMCF is $75, $50 for MedChi members; visit www.medicalcannabisforum.org.

IGC To Enter California Market With Hyalolex

MARYLAND: India Globalization Capital (IGC) has designated California as a priority market for Hyalolex, its lead cannabis-based supplement for treating and managing Alzheimer’s patients.

“The cannabis market is showing explosive growth and we are aggressively moving forward with our vision of owning and marketing the leading brands for large medical indications such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, PTSD, pain, veterinary medicine and cancer. With 8 patents filed, IGC has made significant strides towards achieving these goals and building value for our shareholders as a NYSE American listed company,” stated Ram Mukunda, CEO of IGC.

“California is considered to be the largest addressable U.S. market for cannabis with an environment that strongly embraces its acceptance. This represents a significant opportunity for Hyalolex and our brands, as such we are currently coordinating the necessary steps to efficiently and rapidly introduce our product to high-density regions in the state. It should be noted that according to U.S. Census data, California has an estimated population of 39.54 million and that total is larger than all of Canada,” continued Mukunda.

IGC’s management team has been actively meeting with California-based manufacturers and distributers to assemble the requisite combination of partners to efficiently bring Hyalolex to dispensaries, patients and caregivers in California. Our “Drops of Clarity” marketing program will highlight the potential benefits of Hyalolex as a supplement to cannabis physicians as well as to caregivers and patients via both a digital format and through grassroots outreach.

Maryland Hemp Distribution Bill Signed Into Law

MARYLAND:  Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has signed legislation into law expanding the state’s hemp production program.

House Bill 698 expands the state’s existing pilot program to explicitly permit for the distribution, marketing, and sale of hemp – both in state and out of state. Lawmakers had overwhelmingly passed the bill by a vote of 182 to 1.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

85% Of U.S. Doctors Suspect Their Patients Abuse Opioids

Survey shows 77% list medical marijuana as least preferred alternative

MASSACHUSETTS:  The opioid epidemic causes more than 100 overdoses daily in America and fewer than 1 in 5 treating physicians approve of the government’s handling of the crisis. These findings are from a new survey of 501 physicians conducted by InCrowd and McLean Hospital.

“The doctors we surveyed showed incredible passion for this topic—they had significant insight into fixing it,” says Danielle Schroth, InCrowd’s Director of Crowd Development. “They’re frustrated that they can’t do enough for their patients’ wellbeing.”

“Part of what got us into this current crisis was physician behavior, well-meaning physician behaviors,” says Rocco Iannucci, MD, of McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment. “The survey uncovered physicians’ pressures towards treating pain and addiction.”

The survey fielded by InCrowd, pioneer of real-time life science market intelligence, and McLean Hospital’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programming, also found:

  • Nearly half (47%) disapprove of the federal government’s response
  • Forty-four percent called for stricter regulations to curb opioid abuse, while 18% wanted to discontinue opioid prescriptions all together
  • Ten percent wanted to end patient satisfaction surveys, which put pressure on physicians for positive patient ratings
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are the most preferred treatment alternative (68%), followed by lifestyle changes.

“There is limited education historically on treatment of pain,” says Dr. Iannucci. “So, doctors may only be familiar with a few things—perhaps Tylenol, ibuprofen, and then they move to opioids. More systematic education of medical students and residents in all specialties, and not just in pain specialization, is really important.”