#FFWD #EMMAC

Fastforward Innovations Limited
EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd

#cbdcakes

#FFWD is the only

AIM quoted company

with a direct investment in an operational medical cannabis company.

EMMAC acquires 100% of Terra Verde

16 July 2019, London. EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd, the leading European independent medical cannabis and wellness company, is pleased to announce that it has acquired 100% of Terra Verde, LDA (“Terra Verde”), a Portuguese genetics and cultivation company. This acquisition establishes EMMAC as the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in Europe, with operations in eight territories and licensed distribution channels for medical cannabis in Europe’s largest medical cannabis markets, namely Germany, Italy and the UK.

Terra Verde holds oldest cannabis cultivation licence in Portugal, establishes EMMAC as the largest vertically integrated medical cannabis and wellness company in Europe.

The acquisition of Terra Verde is EMMAC’s largest acquisition to date and completes the full integration of EMMAC’s supply chain, which to date comprises GACP cultivation, extraction and manufacturing in accordance with EU Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and licensed distribution channels for medical cannabis in the UK, Germany and Italy.

Terra Verde was founded by David Yarkoni, a world-renowned breeder and geneticist who has pioneered plant-based research and production for more than 30 years. In 2014, Terra Verde acquired Portugal’s first, and Europe’s second, active cultivation license. This license allows for eight hectares of greenhouse and outdoors cannabis cultivation. Its current crop of high-grade medical cannabis, which is grown in accordance with EU Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP), is due for harvest in 30 days.

Following completion of the acquisition, EMMAC will begin to invest significantly in Terra Verde’s facilities, including the construction of a GMP-certified facility for storage, processing and manufacturing at the Portuguese site that will serve both the domestic and the international markets.

Antonio Costanzo, CEO of EMMAC, commented: “We are delighted to have acquired Terra Verde, a unique asset in the European medical cannabis space that was founded by one of the most well-regarded plant-based researchers. With the acquisition of Terra Verde, EMMAC is now the largest vertically integrated European cannabis company and a leader in the industry. We are delighted to welcome David and his team in Portugal to EMMAC.

“With this milestone firmly achieved, EMMAC’s focus now is to extend the pan-European reach of our medical and wellness portfolio. We will continue to partner with the best organisations and businesses in the sector and support cutting-edge scientific research to further develop the medical cannabis sector.”

David Yarkoni, Founder of Terra Verde, commented: “Speaking on behalf Terra Verde’s team and shareholders, I am delighted to partner with EMMAC to maximise Terra Verde’s potential to be the best cultivation facility in Europe. We had been approached by multiple organisations, however we decided to partner with EMMAC due to its distribution network, world-class team and scientific approach. EMMAC has built the perfect platform to become the European leader. We look forward to working together.” 

Agreement with Farmalabor gives EMMAC immediate access to Italy, Europe’s second-largest Medical Cannabis Market

9 July 2019, London. EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd, the European independent medical cannabis company, is pleased to announce that it has formed a 50/50 joint venture company, Fontana S.R.L. (“Fontana JVCo”), with Sergio Fontana, the founder and major shareholder of Farmalabor S.R.L. (“Farmalabor”), one of Italy’s most active licensed importers and distributors of medical cannabis. Fontana S.R.L. has already submitted applications for licenses to import, store, manufacture and distribute medical cannabis products in Italy, which is the second-largest medical cannabis market in Europe. Pending the grant of such licences, Fontana JVCo will work with Farmalabor as its exclusive partner to commercialise medical cannabis and wellness products as well as commence operations and sales in Italy.

The partnership positions Fontana S.R.L. as Farmalabor’s dedicated cannabis partner. Fontana JVCo combines Farmalabor’s existing medical cannabis sales and operations, pharmacy network and expertise within Italy with EMMAC’s industry expertise and integrated supply chain for cultivation and manufacturing. The partnership agreement with Farmalabor will provide Fontana JVCo with sales services, including distribution to 12,000 pharmacies. It is expected Fontana JVCo has the potential to rapidly establish itself as the largest supplier of medical cannabis and wellness products in Italy.

Antonio Costanzo, CEO of EMMAC, commented: “We are delighted to announce this joint venture with Farmalabor which puts EMMAC in a fantastic position for expansion into the Italian market and extends our licensed medical cannabis and wellness operations beyond the UK, Spain and Germany. We believe that Farmalabor’s extensive experience of the Italian pharmaceutical industry makes it the ideal partner to unlock the full potential of this local market.”

Sergio Fontana, Founder and CEO of Farmalabor, commented: “Speaking on behalf of everyone at Farmalabor, I am delighted to partner with EMMAC on this project. With our extensive knowledge of the medical and pharmaceutical communities combined with EMMAC’s cannabis expertise and range of high-quality medical and wellness products under development, this is the perfect combination to serve Italian patients, doctors and pharmacies with high-quality products.”

EMMAC and Imperial College London manuscript to be published in peer-reviewed Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research Journal

4 July 2019, London. EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd, the European independent medical cannabis company, announces that the manuscript, “A comprehensive patient and public involvement programme evaluating perception of cannabis-derived medicinal products in the treatment of acute postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting using a qualitative thematic framework” has been published in ‘Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research’, the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the scientific, medical and psychosocial exploration of clinical cannabis, cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, and the official journal of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS).

The manuscript is part of EMMAC’s collaboration with Imperial College London, forged to deliver a long-term comprehensive research programme designed to inform and shape the future of the medical cannabis therapeutic industry. The programme aims to investigate mechanisms of action of cannabis-based medicinal products related to several clinical applications including pain and cancer, as well as characterise cannabis-based medicinal products in disease models with particular focus of chronic pain, spasticity and cancer.

This study represents the first stage of the clinical trial process and was carried out with the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU). It represents comprehensive patient and public involvement activities, and prior to peer reviewed publication these data were selected for presentation at the 5th International Emerald Conference in San Diego in February 2019, EMMAC Poster Emerald Conference.

Rokshaw granted General Pharmaceutical Council License to deliver Medical Cannabis direct to Patients across the UK EMMAC

EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd, the European independent medical cannabis company, is pleased to announce its wholly owned subsidiary, Rokshaw Limited (“Rokshaw”), a leading UK EU-GMP certified Specials manufacturer, has successfully obtained its General Pharmaceutical Council (‘GPhC’) pharmacy license.

The GPhC license, in conjunction with its existing licenses, allows Rokshaw to import, manufacture and securely deliver medical cannabis products (‘CBPMs’) direct to UK-based patients. Founded in 2012, Sunderland-based Rokshaw is a leading UK laboratory, manufacturing a wide range of Specials bespoke to patient requirements in an EU-GMP environment that ensures patients across the UK receive the highest-quality products. To date Rokshaw has manufactured more than 6,000 formulations for more than 2,000 pharmacies and hospitals across the United Kingdom.

Get ready for the boom in medical cannabis

Ed McDermott, Executive Director of FastForward Innovations (LON:FFWD), has an unrivalled record of investing in the cannabis sector. His investment boutique was behind the investment in NewEra Pharmacological Products which yielded a stellar return for his investors. FastForward is now behind a number of life sciences companies internationally.

Ed told us that you can evaluate a medical cannabis company in a similar way to evaluating a pharmaceutical company – but that there are additional imponderables, in particular additional legal and regulatory risk. As such, investments in the sector are high risk – but also, potentially, very high return.

In early 2018, I co-founded EMMAC
Life Sciences with a view to becoming
the European independent medical
cannabis champion. In just over a year,
the company has grown to nearly 100
extremely capable individuals and we are
operational in 8 countries and counting.
Despite early warning to the regulators,
FastForward was not approved to
take part in the seed round, which is
disappointing; however, FastForward
now owns 2.6% of EMMAC, which is
similar to its position in Nuuvera.
It is easy to talk about a company I know
and understand very well; it is always
more challenging to objectively look
at opportunities that have no related
parties involved. There are always good
opportunities circulating but whatever
industry you are investing in, I believe
the key things are assets, management
and cash.

#EMMAC and #FFWD

#LondonCannabisWeek

involved in a number of presentations, panels and events during

 EMMAC, the European independent medical cannabis company, is pleased to announce an exclusive collaboration with Hyris Ltd, a UK-based biotechnology company

#EMMAC partners with #Hyris to develop a Cannabinoid identification tool #FFWD

EMMAC commences construction of planned EU-GMP facility in Malta

Construction under way in Malta…💚

Billionaire-backed Chinese firm plans Asia’s first e-commerce CBD platform

#ffwd

A company backed by United Kingdom billionaire Jim Mellon and Nuuvera co-founder Lorne Abony plans to establish what they say will be Asia’s first e-commerce platform focusing on CBD-infused products.

The pair are part of a group of investors in Hong Kong-headquartered Regent Pacific that is closing in on a $15 million all-stock takeover of the e-commerce platform Yooya, also based in the city.

Mellon is Regent’s chairman and owns roughly 20% of its shares.

Abony, who founded Canadian cannabis firm Nuuvera before taking it public and selling it to Aphria last year for $425 million, will join the Yooya board on completion of the takeover.

The proposed transaction remains subject to conditions, including completion of due diligence and respective approvals of both companies’ boards.

But Regent CEO Jamie Gibson said he’s hopeful a final deal can be signed in the coming weeks and close shortly thereafter.

Regent plans to start selling CBD through Yooya within 90 days of closing the acquisition. Yooya currently does not sell any CBD products.

Gibson said Yooya would initially market CBD-infused products to overseas Chinese, so long as they live in a jurisdiction where CBD is federally regulated.

Yooya would effectively start as an e-commerce, business-to-business platform connecting overseas Chinese with companies selling CBD products in the jurisdictions where they live.

“Yooya expects to subsequently begin sales in China via cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) channels, including through the CBEC platforms from the PRC’s major e-commerce players – such as TMall and JD – and employing the market’s growing number of free trade zones, and particularly as the PRC regulatory framework for the importation of CBD-based products continues to clarify,” Gibson said.

Abony added: “Within the next 12 months we expect to establish a significant presence in mainland China.”

That would involve Yooya distributing own-branded products and partner brands.

Inside the plan

To fund expansion into new CBD product lines, Regent Pacific is issuing $17.5 million in convertible loan notes.

Gibson said Regent would also look to undertake domestic product sales through a wholly owned foreign entity, pending the acquisition of requisite licenses.

Gibson said the CBD could be sourced in North America, Europe and Australia.

Regent obtained legal analysis on the hemp industry in China from the Dentons law office in Kunming and the Zhong Lun Law Firm in Beijing.

That analysis, shared with Marijuana Business Daily, concluded that cultivating and processing hemp in China is not in conflict with federal law if it is conducted in a province with local hemp regulations and laws. Only the Yunnan and Heilongjiang provinces currently have such regulations.

‘Sleeping giant’

Brent Williams, founder of hedge fund and consulting firm Highwater Financial, said the “sleeping hemp giant” that is Asia is just now starting to wake up.

Williams expects Asian CBD companies to start listing on Asian stock exchanges.

He also does not believe it will be long before those companies have revenues surpassing their North American counterparts.

“The advantage that Yooya has inherently the same as their risk, the early mover advantage could establish early and loyal consumers,” Williams said. “There is no doubt that the Asian CBD market will be the largest in the world and Yooya could help supply consumers with these products.”

Japan is also seeing significant growth in its regulated market for CBD products, according to executives. International companies already tapping that market include Phivida Holdings and Elixinol Global.

Regent shares trade on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong as 575.

Smearing cannabis on your face: the latest Asian beauty craze

The market for beauty products made from cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants, is projected to be worth US$25 billion by 2029

By 2024, the CBD market in China alone would be worth about US$15 billion, said Jamie Gibson, chief executive of Hong Kong-based investment company Regent Pacific Group, which recently signed an agreement to acquire CBD-products e-commerce platform Yooya for US$15 million. They hope to close the acquisition by the third quarter of this year. “There’s no breakdown, but I would say that the [beauty and] wellness sector will be the main driver for this growth,” he said.

Gibson said the plan was for Yooya to become an online retailer for high-end CBD beauty products, including topical creams and skincare lines for domestic consumers in China, as well as overseas shoppers.

#GREENLEAF💚

cbdcakes

#EMMAC

announces acquisition of French wellness company.

EMMAC is the 2nd medical cannabis investment made by

#FFWD

we remain the only company on #AIM to be directly invested in

Regent Pacific enters exploding CBD market in Asia through proposed acquisition of Yooya

#Yooya #娱亚互动 💚

FastForward Innovations #FFWD announces an offer has been made for #Yooya FFWDs 15% stake equates to $2.25m

Yooya will expand its sector focus and become the first e-commerce marketing platform to focus on CBD infused products that are designed to awaken the body’s natural healing system and promote better health and sleep; and products that safely eliminate the psychoactive THC from hemp.

Shanghai China🙋

Yooya is a content-driven e-commerce platform that is reshaping the way that brands connect with Chinese consumers.  Total e-commerce revenue in China is forecast to top US$1.8 trillion by 2022. Yooya recognises that the way that Chinese consumers shop and the factors that influence purchase decisions have changed dramatically, with video content consumption being the single most popular activity on the internet in China. Japan, Asia’s second largest e-commerce market in dollar terms, will see nearly 90 million e-commerce shoppers by 2021.

FastForward Innovations Limited Company confirmed that Yooya, its investee company, had adopted the Factom® Harmony™ platform.

Lorne Abony, FastForward’s Chief Executive Officer, was happy to see two of their investee companies forming synergies. He noted that both Factom and Yooya have shown tremendous growth in recent years and believed that the newly formed partnership will bring further growth for all involved parties. Lorne said that his company believes that the Blockchain-as-a-service industry provides the potential of exceptional returns.

Factom Blockchain

The Factom blockchain is a decentralized publication protocol for building record systems that are immutable and independently verifiable. It enables secure storage of digital proofs for data provenance and integrity solutions without disclosing private data or requiring trusted intermediaries.

Unlike other public blockchains, Factom uses a distributed ledger architecture that allows related entries to be linked chronologically in a chain for more efficient storage and retrieval.  Entries can contain any kind of data, but are not intended for storing private data. Entry data is hashed before being written into an entry block, and the actual entry data is stored in distributed hash tables and shared peer-to-peer.

Each directory block is secured in the Factom blockchain is then further secured by cryptographic anchor entries written into Bitcoin. Anchoring into other public blockchains allows for interoperability and third-party security.

The public Factom blockchain is governed by a peer-to-peer network of federated servers whose membership is based on performance and community support. Anyone can read entries and submit write requests for a fixed cost based on chain and entry size.  The Factom protocol is open source and anyone can run a follower node or create a private network for development and production use cases.

EMMAC presents to Scientific Committee (CSST) in Paris

EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd, the European independent medical cannabis company, announces that on Wednesday 15th May, the Company presented to the French Scientific Committee (CSST), regarding EMMAC’s role in advancing scientific research into the medical usage of cannabis for the welfare of patients. The CSST, appointed by the Drug and Safety Agency (ANSM) is working to provide French authorities with recommendations concerning the opening of the French medical cannabis market. Dr Barbara Pacchetti, Chief Scientific Officer at EMMAC, outlined the Company’s vision to bring together cutting-edge scientific research with the latest innovations in cannabis cultivation, extraction and production. EMMAC joined six other companies invited to present to the CSST, including Tilray, Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis Inc., and Bedrocan. The full presentation to the CSST can be found here

Antonio Costanzo, CEO of EMMAC, commented: “We are grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate to the CSST how EMMAC is focused on advancing research and development to improve the industry’s understanding of the medical benefits of cannabis. EMMAC believes that the growth of the medical cannabis sector has to be underpinned by the most robust science and is working with leading academic institutions across Europe to advance what we consider to be a huge potential market with significant public health benefits for patients and clinicians.”

#emmac

committee of French medical experts interviewed representatives from some of the world’s largest cannabis companies today as the country mulls over medicinal cannabis legalization.

The marathon session lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes and it was streamed live on YouTube for anyone interested in developments. Canadian firms Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth, and Tilray were joined by U.S. company Columbia Care, Bedrocan of the Netherlands, Clever Leaves of Colombia, and British firm Emmac Life Sciences at the hearing.

The companies’ executives answered a wide range of questions on the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the dosages required, delivery methods, the costs involved and how France might be able to develop a framework for a legal medicinal marijuana trade.

France is one of the only major nations that is yet to legalize medical cannabis use after Germany, the UK, Italy, and the Netherlands all rolled out regulated industries.

The French Ministry of Health is in favour of medicinal marijuana. Towards the end of 2018, the French government authorized this committee of 13 independent healthcare experts to conduct an official study into the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

The health agency will take the recommendations on board, although it has already pledged to start a medicinal cannabis trial this year.

France has the world’s sixth largest economy, behind only the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, and the UK, so it represents a significant potential market for the global cannabis industry.

#ffwd

EMMAC to import cannabis products into Germany supply agreement with CC Pharma

EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd, the European independent medical cannabis company, announces that it has entered the German medical cannabis market through the incorporation of About Nature Health GmbH (“About Nature”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, which will lead the marketing and licensing process for EMMAC in Germany. Working in conjunction with Medalchemy, EMMAC’s fully-licensed GMP certified laboratory and research and development facility in Spain, About Nature has entered into a supply agreement (the “Agreement”) with CC Pharma GmbH (“CC Pharma”), a leading importer and distributor of EU-pharmaceuticals for the German market.

The Agreement allows EMMAC to import high-quality dried cannabis flowers and oils into the rapidly expanding German market, which is the largest medical cannabis market in Europe. According to the Bank of Montreal (1), the German medical cannabis market could potentially produce more than US$5 billion in revenue for global cannabis producers, with an assumption that in seven years, 7.5% of sleep, anxiety and pain prescriptions in Germany will be replaced with medical cannabis.

#EMMAC

Antonio Costanzo, CEO of EMMAC, commented: “The decision by CC Pharma to distribute EMMAC medical cannabis product in Germany validates our commitment to delivering the highest quality product and we are delighted to announce the Agreement today. Germany is an important market for EMMAC and we are committed to growing our regional presence, led by general manager, Florian Witt, to ensure that we capitalise on the significant commercial opportunity.

“EMMAC has had a positive start to 2019 and our entry into the German market is the latest significant milestone for the Group. Our tie-up with CC Pharma is a clear demonstration of the significant progress being made at EMMAC and is complementary to the acquisitions completed and key milestones achieved in 2019 in the UK, Malta, Spain and Switzerland. I look forward to updating our stakeholders as we continue to execute on our vision to become the leading European medical cannabis company.”

About CC Pharma GmbH

CC Pharma is a leading importer and distributor of EU-pharmaceuticals for the German market and distributes products to over 13,000 German pharmacies. Founded in 1999, today it has over 230 employees and offices in Germany, Denmark, and the Czech Republic. CC Pharma holds more than 1,800 pharmaceutical licenses and also operates a production, repackaging and labeling facility at its headquarters in Densborn, Germany. During 2018, CC Pharma generated revenue of approximately €262 million, with EBITDA of approximately €10.5 million.

We intend to invest the proceeds, approx £339,500, in the medical cannabis sector. #FFWD

#FFWD #MEDICALCANNABIS

Commenting on the Disposal, CEO Lorne Abony noted, “The partial sale of the Company’s interest in Vemo is the Company’s first exit from an investment in 2019. The Board believes further investments can be realized during the course of 2019 and intends to reinvest the proceeds in the medicinal cannabis sector, furthering FFWDs investment focus on life science, health and technology.”

The science of CBD.

Barbara Pacchetti discussing how EMMAC’s pioneering scientific approach is advancing the cannabis plant as the new medicine of our time

Medcannworldforum (Malta )

The Medical Cannabis World Forum will bring together a unique set of speakers who are shaping the global cannabis industry. From policy makers to business leaders, the forum will provide key insights from the people who are at the forefront of this industry.

The conference will take place on 19th – 21st of November 2019. Medical Cannabis World Forum will be bringing together global industry experts and professionals for a three-day conference on the island of Malta, focused on Legislation, Business, Regulatory, Education & Research.

How big could the cannabis market be in the UK and Europe?

EU GMP MEDICAL LAB

CANNABIS SPECIALIST ACQUIRES SUNDERLAND LAB

www.emmac.com

Medical cannabis company EMMAC Life Sciences has acquired Sunderland-based laboratory Rokshaw for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2012, Rokshaw produces specials – differently formulated versions of commonly used medications – which is approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It produces a wide range of specials tailored to patient requirements in an EU GMP environment.

Rokshaw’s licenses, which include Home Office controlled drugs schedule 2 and wholesale dealers authorisation, form part of the deal allowing EMMAC to import medical cannabis into the UK.

Rokshaw is also pursuing additional licenses to enable greater research into the benefits of cannabis-based products for medicinal use as regulations loosen.

Antonio Costanzo, chief executive of EMMAC, said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Rokshaw today.

“This investment not only brings with it an immediate revenue stream but also provides EMMAC instant access to the UK medical cannabis market with the opportunity to grow the existing 45 people-strong team into a centre of medical cannabis excellence for the UK.

“Joining us are the two founders of Rokshaw, Jonathan and Richard Hodgson, who have significant and relevant experience of working in this highly regulated industry as well as a proven track record of delivering high quality product.”

Jonathan and Richard Hodgson, co-founders of Rokshaw, said: “We are really pleased to have joined EMMAC at this exciting stage of its corporate development as we share its vision of becoming the leading European independent medical cannabis company.

“We are confident that the team here at Rokshaw can play an important role in EMMAC achieving its goal through the provision of high-quality product and services to patients across the UK, and by unlocking the potential for the medical cannabis market to meet growing clinician and patient demand.”

Rokshaw is the EMMAC’s second GMP-certified laboratory and will work in conjunction with Medalchemy, its research and development facility in Spain that was recently granted an importation permit by Spanish authorities.

Cannabis firm Emmac Life Sciences to light up in London

A medicinal cannabis start-up is eyeing a London float in what could be the first in a wave of listings amid rapid deregulation.

Emmac Life Sciences is believed to be working with broker Canaccord Genuity on a listing that could value it at £400m. Led by Antonio Costanzo, who previously worked at the Toronto-listed cannabis producer Nuuvera, Emmac was set up last year and aims to become Europe’s leading supplier and producer of the drug.

It is working with Imperial College London to research treatments for pain relief during surgery. Last year it bought a majority stake in drug maker Medalchemy.

UK doctors can now prescribe medicinal cannabis after an outcry over patients being denied a drug that can help control epilepsy.

#FFWD

Medalchemy EMMAC Spanish GMP certified laboratory

EMMAC, the European independent medical cannabis company, is pleased to announce that Medalchemy, EMMAC’s fully-licensed GMP certified laboratory in Alicante, Spain, has secured approval from the Spanish Health Authorities AEMPS to import medical cannabis for scientific research. This landmark announcement places Medalchemy at the forefront of medical cannabis research in Spain, and ensures EMMAC is well positioned to capitalise on anticipated regulatory changes, as demand for premium quality medical cannabis grows in Spain and across Europe.

With over a decade of experience in the research, development and manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), Medalchemy is an important part of EMMAC’s pan-European research and development initiative to allow the production, registration and exportation of GMP-certified cannabinoid-based APIs.

Antonio Costanzo, CEO of EMMAC, commented: “This is an important milestone for EMMAC, as the Company executes on its strategy to bring specific cannabis regulatory expertise to its expanding asset base, and create a vertically integrated multi-national operation that positions EMMAC at as a trusted leader in the rapidly-growing medical cannabis industry in Europe.”

EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd is the European medical cannabis company, working to join together the latest science and research with cutting-edge cultivation, extraction and production.

With supply and distribution partnerships throughout Europe, EMMAC is working to establish itself as both a thought leader in the industry, as well as the European leader in the production and supply of medical cannabis, hemp and other derivative products.

Cannabis firms head to London for £100bn POT of gold – but is it a good bet or set to go up in smoke?

#cbdcakes77

It’s an industry most of us associate with dingy, smoke-filled bars in Amsterdam and the more liberal states in the US and Canada.

But cannabis companies are making their way to London to tap into a £100billion European market and cash in on the Square Mile’s so-called ‘green rush’ among investors.

In the past few weeks alone, four firms have decided to ditch their previous business plans and instead switch their focus to cannabis-based medicines.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Kanabo Research – which is being bought by a shell company listed on London’s main market – has chosen to list in Britain instead of Israel, where it was founded, and is expected to float by summer.

That comes after Highlands Natural Resources, which is listed on the main market, raised £1.3million to launch a cannabis operation in Colorado. It said the new venture, called Zoetic Organics, would grow hemp and sell products such as organic hemp oil.

It will join Sativa Investments, which became the first London-listed cannabis investment vehicle when it floated a year ago. Since then, its share price has more than doubled to value the company at £38million.

The fourth firm to switch focus is Block Commodities, run by the cousin of Tory party deputy chairman James Cleverly. 

As revealed last month, Chris Cleverly has turned the focus of his agriculture business to cannabis. Block, also listed on the NEX, is buying a firm with licences to grow the crop on 4,000 acres of farmland in Sierra Leone.

Another company that has been active in recent months is FastForward Innovations, which is listed on London’s junior market AIM and is chaired by Jim Mellon, a friend of Nigel Farage and a Brexit donor.

It has just invested in EMMAC Life Sciences, a London-based medical cannabis company, in its second cannabis investment in 18 months, having previously focused on backing high-tech companies.

Another company eyeing a possible listing on AIM is Jacana, a medicinal cannabis firm founded by internet entrepreneur Alexandra Chong.

The businesswoman – who went to boarding school in England and previously ran a dating app – has a 100-acre farm in Jamaica, where she was born, and plans to sell medicinal cannabis to patients in North America, Europe and the UK.

Chong, whose lavish wedding to Sir Richard Branson’s nephew Jack Brockway was attended by Princess Eugenie and Kate Winslet, has raised £15million from angel investors including London venture capital star Eileen Burbidge.

The flurry of activity will only increase as other firms pile into the European market, experts believe. Until now, the US, Canada, and Israel have led the way in cannabis floats because they were the first to relax rules on the drug’s use.

But cannabis firms are convinced the City of London’s deep-pocketed investors and bankers are ready to plough into the market, which is estimated could be worth a staggering €115.7billion (£100million) by 2028 in Europe alone, according to consultancy Prohibition Partners.

Many of the companies choosing London have been spurred on by the changes to the NHS after the rules on marijuana-based treatments were relaxed last year.

Patients can now get a prescription through the NHS for medicines based on cannabidiol, better known as CBD, but only to treat epilepsy or nausea caused by chemotherapy and only if other treatments have not worked.

But with so many companies rushing to tap London’s funds, fears are rising of a ‘Wild West’ culture that could leave private investors vulnerable to being exploited amid the hype due to the lack of regulation.

There are many companies that have no assets – the only asset they have is a licence to cultivate cannabis. They haven’t constructed greenhouses or production facilities yet and they’re getting very high values.

He said: ‘In stock markets, you always have this wave of up and down. And for sure, prices will not go up forever. Having said that, it’s an industry that has real value, that generates nice sales already, and it’s an industry that’s seeing regulation moving forward.’

One City stockbroker said the regulators were being careful about which cannabis companies to allow to list in fear of damaging the reputation of the whole sector.

‘If something lists on Aim that’s cannabis and it goes straight to a £1billion market cap and then blows up, then the whole of London looks terrible,’ the broker warned. 

One factor is that cannabis is still illegal in the US despite some states decriminalising its use for medicine and recreational use.

Still, this has not stopped the marijuana industry from flourishing in North America, especially after Canada became the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to legalise recreational cannabis use. 

That has led to a wave of ‘pot stocks’ flotations in North America and a string of deals, such as Marlboro maker Atria Group paying $1.8billion for a 45 per cent stake in Canadian cannabinoid firm Cronos Group.

In London, there remains scepticism about ‘potmania’, which has seen entrepreneurs such as Alexandra Chong raise £15million to launch her medicinal cannabis firm, Jacana. Khalaf said: ‘Investors need to look at these cannabis companies with a fine tooth comb – they should take a good look under the bonnet.