Global Consumer Spending on Cannabis to Rise as Equity Financing of Startups Grows

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NEW YORK, September 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

According to a report released by Arcview Market Research, in partnership with BDS Analytics, worldwide consumer spending on legal cannabis is expected to reach USD 57 Billion by 2027. Recreational cannabis spending is anticipated to reach USD 38.3 Billion, while medical cannabis spending will hit USD 19.1 Billion. The North American market will account for most of the total spending, growing from USD 9.2 Billion in 2017 to USD 47.3 Billion in 2027 and at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%. Consumer spending on legal cannabis in the rest of the world is projected to grow at a higher rate of 47%. Victory Square Technologies Inc. (OTC: VSQTF), Aphria Inc. (OTC: APHQF), Emblem Corp (OTC: EMMBF), Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. (OTC: LBUY), Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF)

Advancements in technology in the cannabis sector is one of the factors that drive the market growth. According to a report from CB Insights last year, global funding to cannabis startups has surged since 2013. Equity financing to private cannabis companies grew from only USD 13 Million in 2013 to over USD 200 Million in 2015 and 2016. The U.S. accounted for 84% of global funding deals between 2012 to 2016, while Canada made up 13% of the global equity deals.

Victory Square Technologies Inc. (OTCQX: VSQTF) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: VST). This week, the Company named, “Barinder Rasode, the highly-touted CEO of the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education, as the Chief Executive Officer of Grow Tech Labs (GTL), the company’s newly-established cannabis accelerator.

The timing of Rasode’s appointment is fortuitous given that the Grow Tech Labs accelerator program is being launched in association with the October 2018 legalization of cannabis in Canada.

‘We are very pleased that someone of Barinder’s experience and profile within the cannabis industry has agreed to help lead this exciting new initiative,’ said Shafin Diamond Tejani, CEO of Victory Square Technologies. ‘In addition to attracting a diverse group of multi-generational leaders from the cannabis sector across Canada and around the world to Vancouver, Barinder will ensure that Grow Tech Labs delivers world class programs for participants that are rooted in innovation, scalable growth opportunities, entrepreneurship and mentorship. She literally checks all of the boxes for us.’

Ms. Rasode brings to Grow Tech Labs her unique background as both entrepreneur and long-time civil servant to the role of CEO. She carries key credentials such as in-depth experience with government policy acquired during her time as an elected Councillor for the City of Surrey, in healthcare as a member of Board of Directors for Fraser Health, and in the cannabis industry as co-founder and CEO of the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education (NICHE) and co-founder of Cannabis Wise, a national product quality certification program.

Additionally, Barinder is a strong advocate for women in business as host of “SheTalks” radio and as a co-founder of the “SheTalks” conference series in British Columbia.

‘I’m thrilled to join this Victory Square initiative to work together with leading industry partners to deliver world-class programs for participants that are rooted in innovation, entrepreneurship and mentorship,’ said Rasode. ‘I’m so looking forward to working with our team at Grow Tech Labs to attract a diverse generation of cannabis sector leaders from across Canada and around the world to Vancouver.’

The Grow Tech Lab mandate is to help reaffirm BC’s status as a leading hub for global cannabis excellence and innovation. The company will:

  • Provide direct support, access to capital, mentorship and licensed space to locate innovative start-up Canadian companies in BC.
  • Deliver world class programs rooted in innovation, entrepreneurship and mentorship.
  • Attract international investment.
  • Accelerate the participation of small BC producers and processors in the legal marketplace.
  • Establish dedicated programming for female and Indigenous-founded/owned companies.
  • Establish partnerships with community, government, business and education organizations.
  • Develop a culture of corporate social responsibility in new and emerging sector.

Victory Square Technologies Inc. is a technology accelerator company that uses its experience, expertise and resources to help grow and scale its 23 portfolio companies. These companies are working on innovative and disruptive projects in every sector of the global economy, including Finance, Health, Cannabis, Real Estate, Insurance, Entertainment and Education.

Victory Square Technologies Inc. provides its stakeholders with a curated portfolio of emerging technology companies focused on: Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), Blockchain, Esports, Virtual Reality (“VR”), and Augmented Reality (“AR”), with the ability to provide significant upside to shareholders through monetization strategies that include IPO’s, RTO’s, and M&A activity.”

Aphria Inc. (OTCQB: APHQF) is a leading global cannabis company driven by an unrelenting commitment to its people, product quality and innovation. Aphria Inc. and Rapid Dose Therapeutics Inc. (“RDT”), a Canadian bio-technology company focused on innovative drug delivery solutions, recently announced that they have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) related to RDT’s QuickStrip™ products. Under the terms of the MOU, the companies intend to enter into a definitive agreement in the near future, pursuant to which RDT will provide Aphria with exclusive global preferred rights to produce, distribute and sell QuickStrip™ products for cannabis markets around the world. “Aphria is committed to bringing breakthrough innovations to the global cannabis market, which is why we are excited to introduce RDT as a strategic innovation partner,” said Jakob Ripshtein, Chief Commercial Officer at Aphria. “They have developed a truly innovative product that will offer both patients and consumers a new way to consume and experience cannabis. We eagerly anticipate launching QuickStrip™ delivery technology across our portfolio of medical and adult-use brands and look forward to extending this valuable partnership to other markets around the world.”

Emblem Corp (OTCQX: EMMBF), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Emblem Cannabis Corporation, is a fully integrated licensed producer and distributor of medical cannabis and cannabis derivatives in Canada under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations. Emblem Corp. recently announced that it has completed an equity investment in DriveABLE Assessment Centres Inc., a global leader in cognitive-based driving evaluations that measure the risk of impairment. Through this investment – to Emblem’s knowledge, the first of its kind in the cannabis space – Emblem will support DriveABLE as it seeks to tackle the issue of impairment on roads and in the workplace with new mobile technology. “As each person metabolizes cannabis at different rates, measuring THC levels – one of the main intoxicating compounds in cannabis – alone should not be used as the sole factor for determining impairment. We believe that a broader approach to evaluating impairment, regardless of the cause, is critical to making our communities safer,” said Nick Dean, Chief Executive Officer, Emblem Corp. “Impairment – whether from alcohol, cannabis, fatigue, underlying medical conditions, or narcotics – is a serious issue that affects safety on roads and in the workplace. We have the responsibility to ensure that people are safe and are committed to working with DriveABLE to bring additional research and evaluation solutions to the table to address impairment.”

Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. (OTCQB: LBUY) is one of the most comprehensive online sources for cannabis deals and information. Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. recently announced that it has entered the final development phases of the industry’s first large-scale platform based on blockchain technology. Final development is expected to be completed in October. A market launch is expected as soon as December 2018. “This first-of-its-kind blockchain solution offers complete transparency between cannabis businesses and the end consumer, which, we expect, will add significant value to Leafbuyer’s platform. This, in turn, should open more revenue possibilities as we broaden the platform. The possible applications with blockchain technology are extraordinary, and we look forward to implementing this initiative to drive the growth of our company,” said Leafbuyer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kurt Rossner.

Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF) is a leader in marijuana breathalyzer development for law enforcement and the workplace. Cannabix Technologies Inc. recently reported that characterization work has demonstrated the ability to isolate ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) and suppress background substrates effectively. Cannabix is developing an innovative FAIMS (field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry) based instrument for the detection of THC. Using the gold standard of mass spectrometry in tandem with the Cannabix FAIMS prototype device, Graph A and B below show suppression of background matrix allowing the THC peak to be easily recognized. This demonstrates the capability of the FAIMS device to isolate and detect THC from complex background matrix. The characterization work has been conducted using a bench version of the FAIMS device. Cannabix scientists have been actively tuning the FAIMS device coupled to real-time switchable mass spectrometry to detect key molecules and their complex pathways in the body to enable the identification of recency of use.

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