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Craft Cultivators Take Meticulous Steps to Ensure Cannabis Quality

NEW YORK, June 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- As cannabis continues to become more mainstream in modern day society, new users are eager to get their hands on the latest craze. However, every individual user has different tolerance levels, meaning some users may require much more to feel the effects, while some may need a comparatively insignificant amount. In particular, consumers who use cannabis for medicinal purposes can face issues if their tolerance level increases and the drug loses potency. According to Analytical Cannabis, there were 22 unique studies involving 629 participants to study the effects of intoxication. Of the 22 studies, 15 found some positive evidence that higher cannabis tolerance affected intoxication. As a result, most users take short breaks from cannabis use, or more commonly known as "t-breaks," which frequent recreational users have said that taking t-breaks can help reduce their tolerance levels. On the other hand, medical cannabis users that suffer from chronic pain or discomfort say that t-breaks are rarely an option. In order to meet the demands for both frequent and infrequent users, cultivators are tasked with the challenge of creating strains to please both markets. Typically, strains are either indica, sativa, or a hybrid mix. Indica and sativa are the two major types of the cannabis plant, but the two offer widely different effects. Indica strains are generally known to be more physically sedating, making them perfect for relaxing or sleeping. Meanwhile, sativa strains offer a more uplifting and cerebral effect. On the other hand, hybrid strains usually offer varied effects or a mix between the two depending on the THC to CBD ratio and the parent strains. For instance, a popular strain known as Girl Scout Cookies or "GSC" is a 60% indica and 40% sativa crossover of another hybrid strain and a sativa strain. GSC offers consumers a euphoric body high and a potent relaxation effect, making it optimal for both frequent recreational users and medical patients suffering from pain, nausea, and appetite loss. However, new users may be enticed by a strain that is weaker such as a CBD-dominant strain that simply only offers relaxation effects. Now, as the market continues to grow, the options for strains are virtually endless for consumers with dispensaries and retailers carrying a wide variety of strains. The rather ample selection attracts different demographic markets, helping the cannabis industry accelerate forward. According to data compiled by MarketsandMarkets research, the global cannabis market was valued at USD 10.3 Billion in 2018. By 2023, the market is expected to reach USD 39.4 Billion while growing at a CAGR of 30.7%. Pasha Brands Ltd. (CSE: CRFT), Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY), Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON), OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX-V: OGI), New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ: NBEV)

Cannabis growers normally breed to purify and strengthen strains, combine traits, or enhance specific characteristics such as a higher yield, specific aromas or even potency, according to Leafly. Moreover, growers pay close attention to their grow facility in order to obtain optimal traits and this precise and comprehensive growing procedure that certain breeders take on is known as "craft cannabis." Craft cannabis growers tend to stray away from the use of artificial products such as chemicals and closely monitor environmental conditions to ensure proper growth. Prior to growing, craft cannabis producers acquire specific seeds depending on their genetics to obtain an ideal end result. Some seeds may contain higher THC levels, while some may be predominantly CBD and breeders have the ability to select which traits they want from the parent strains and pass them onto the new hybrid strain. As a result, hybrid effects typically vary from one strain to another. For instance, some strains can be THC-dominant, meaning that users would be more likely to feel the strain's THC-derived effects. The lesser CBD content mildly relaxes the user, while also allowing the consumer to feel the more cerebral THC high. While breeding may affect the strength or enhance certain characteristics of strains, proper and advanced growing techniques can also factor into the outcome of the strain. In controlled growing environments, growers can manipulate conditions in order to obtain higher yields or more potent strains. Primarily, most growers look to produce more trichomes on their buds. Trichomes are the outgrowths on the cannabis plant that carry a significant amount of cannabinoids, which primarily dictate the potency. As such, environmental factors such as lighting, nutrient uptake, watering cycles, temperature, humidity, and airflow play a large role in the development of trichomes. "The staggering number of marijuana strains being developed is creating a connoisseur culture that favors small-scale, artisanal farms that can nimbly adapt to shifts in market demand. Because such farms can market themselves as small, sustainable, and local, they can better reflect 21st-century food movement ideals," said Ryan Stoa, Associate Professor of Law at Concordia University School of Law. "It is probably inevitable that Big Marijuana will take hold in some form, but that doesn't mean the market can't support the small businesses that have enabled marijuana to become a uniquely local and artisanal industry."

Pasha Brands Ltd. (CSE: CRFT) earlier this week announced, "the appointment of Dr. Brigitte Simons as its new Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Simons will bring extensive knowledge of chemistry, pharmaceutical drug development, and laboratory testing to the brand to strengthen the value chains accessed by craft cannabis growers, while ensuring proper compliance with Health Canada regulations. Dr. Simons aims to bridge the learning gap for craft growers who are navigating product lot release, quality control, genetics breeding programs, and product development, especially in future edibles and beverage markets. In addition, she will provide advanced expertise in scientific asset development for the international distribution of craft products.

'I have visited many cannabis cultivation and processing facilities across Canada, and I resonate with the passion that producers pour into their relationship with their plants to deliver highly recognized cultivars that are in demand,' said Dr. Simons. 'I wish to help make their craft cannabis a commercial reality, and build strong brands where quality is an experience by the consumer and backed by traceable science.'

Dr. Simons pulls craft cannabis ahead in its discovery for data-driven intelligence through analytical chemistry, using state-of-the art instrumentation such as mobile mass spectrometry and sampling robotics. She is revered as one of the few experts in technical quantitative reporting using mass spectrometry, a technology that is used to deliver accurate potency and testing of cannabis products. For over 16 years, she operated mass spectrometers for the National Institutes of Health (USA), and contracted partners of Canadian federal and provincial government agencies.  Her experience covered drug toxicology, product health, and environmental safety, and was essential to the construction of the framework of Bill C-45 for Good Production Practices of Cannabis. She has guided studies with the Canadian Food Inspection, Agriculture Canada, Environment Canada and Health Canada – where she spent over six years working in the government's analytical testing facilities. Most recently, Dr. Simons was Vice President of Laboratories and Operations at Molecular Science Corp., a Health Canada-licensed laboratory services company specializing in analytical testing with a mobile lab to service the cannabis industry.

'With Dr. Simons' rich experience in mass spectrometry and laboratory services combined with her passion for cannabis, there was no better choice when it came time to name a Chief Scientific Officer for Pasha,' said Patrick Brauckmann, Executive Chairman of Pasha. 'Dr. Simons spent a year getting to know us and played an invaluable role with Pasha is educating farmers throughout BC over the past few months.'

In addition to her lengthy list of qualifications, including a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from the University of Ottawa , as well as finished post-doctoral fellowships in the United States , Dr. Simons is currently enrolled in the Kellogg-Schulich Executive Master of Business Administration program – making her the first and only eMBA candidate with a thesis on the globalization of cannabis.

About Pasha Brands: Based in Vancouver, British Columbia , Pasha is a vertically integrated, prohibition-era brand house firmly rooted in BC's craft cannabis industry, which boasts an international reputation. With proven capabilities in cannabis cultivation, genetic research and development, product processing, and retail, Pasha is uniquely positioned in the new legal cannabis market through its network of hundreds of craft cannabis suppliers under the Pasha umbrella. Pasha's subsidiary Medcann Health Products Ltd. is a Health Canada approved licenced producer which includes a cultivation, processing and sales license in a facility on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Pasha's common shares trade on the CSE under the symbol "CRFT". For more information, please visit www.pashabrands.com

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Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is a global pioneer in the research, cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis and cannabinoids currently serving tens of thousands of patients and consumers in 12 countries spanning 5 continents. Tilray, Inc. recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Tilray Portugal Unipessoal Lda. had received a standard manufacturing license and a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certification, in accordance with the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) standards, for its Biocant Park manufacturing facility in Cantanhede, Portugal. This license and certification allow Tilray Portugal to manufacture and export GMP-certified dried cannabis as an active substance for medicinal products. Tilray's EU Campus in Portugal is a multi-faceted production facility that includes indoor, outdoor and greenhouse cultivation sites; research and quality control labs; as well as processing, packaging and distribution sites for medical cannabis and cannabinoid-containing medical products. To date, Tilray has invested approximately EUR 20 Million in the facility, which totals nearly 250,000 sq. ft. with additional room to expand. The site also serves as a hub supporting Tilray's clinical research and product development efforts across Europe. The Tilray EU Campus currently employs over 100 people, and that number is expected to double by the end of 2019, with production ramping up and multiple harvests anticipated in the coming months. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the inauguration of Tilray's EU Campus was hosted in April 2019. "This licensing and certification marks a critical milestone for our growth in Portugal and Europe. We're proud to increase our international export capacity and are looking forward to exporting dried cannabis as active substances from our EU Campus to legal jurisdictions in the EU and other international markets," said Sascha Mielcarek, Managing Director, Europe. "The next phase of GMP certification will allow us to utilize the full capacity of our multi-faceted facility and continue to serve more patients in-need."

Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) is an innovative global cannabinoid company with international production and distribution across five continents. Cronos Group Inc. recently announced that it had entered into a multi-year supply agreement with MediPharm Labs Corp. MediPharm Labs will supply Cronos Group with approximately USD 30 Million of high-quality private label cannabis concentrate over 18-months, and, subject to certain renewal and purchase options, potentially up to USD 60 Million over 24-months. In addition, Cronos Group and MediPharm Labs have entered into a multi-year tolling agreement, where Cronos Group will supply bulk cannabis to MediPharm Labs' state of the art extraction facility in Barrie, Ontario, to fulfill certain additional processing needs of the Company. "As the industry develops and matures, we see opportunity to work with companies like MediPharm Labs that provide specialized, high-quality services and inputs for our products," said Mike Gorenstein, Chief Executive Officer of Cronos Group. "Along with our internal capabilities, we are pleased to be working with MediPharm Labs to bring great products to consumers in anticipation of the derivative market launching in Canada this fall."

OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX-V: OGI) is a NASDAQ Global Select and TSX Venture Exchange-listed company whose wholly owned subsidiary, Organigram Inc., is a licensed producer of cannabis and cannabis-derived products in Canada. Organigram Holdings Inc. recently announced that it had been selected as one of the four Canadian launch partners of PAX Era, the premium oil vaporizer created by PAX Labs, Inc., a leading consumer technology brand in the design and development of premium vaporizers for dry flower and concentrates, when concentrates become legal in Canada later this year. Much like Organigram's own Edison Cannabis Co. brand, the PAX portfolio features disruptive, industry-leading technology, on course to redefine the experience of vaping in Canada – and around the world. Organigram will produce and fill Edison Cannabis Company-branded pods specifically for the PAX Era platform. The pods will be filled onsite at Organigram's Moncton facility at the Company's Phase 5 refurbishment. "Cannabis 2.0 – the next generation of legal, adult use cannabis products – represents a world of opportunity," says Greg Engel. "Innovative partnerships with exceptional companies like PAX mean our own product offering grows and our customers have access to cutting-edge technology and cannabis experiences."

New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ: NBEV) is a Colorado and Utah-based healthy beverage company dedicated to inspiring and educating consumers to "live healthy." New Age Beverages Corporation recently announced the global launch of its CBD product portfolio, with the unveiling of its line and shipment of CBD creams, lotions, and oils to be sold worldwide under its Health Sciences Division. New Age's CBD product line features full-spectrum CBD, which means the CBD has been distilled and stripped of lipids and fillers, but still maintains a full spectrum of CBD and other cannabinoids. This diversity in phytonutrients can facilitate the "entourage effect," which is a term used to describe synergy amongst cannabinoids. The hemp source, delicate CBD extraction, processing techniques, and the nature of the CBD itself all set the New Age CBD portfolio apart from competition. 'NHANCED CBD and the Health Sciences CBD products are sourced from hemp grown outdoors in farms located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The initial launch will feature three distinct products, CBD Body Cream at 150mg strength, CBD Roll-on Gel at 200mg strength, and CBD Oil at 500mg strength. All products will only be commercialized in locations within the United States or countries that legally allow the sale and use of CBD and CBD-infused products. Jerry Haase, M.D., Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the New Age Health Sciences Division commented, "The Health Sciences Division has worked exhaustively bringing all of our science, patented formulas, insights and more than 10 years of study to deliver superior clinical products to consumers. Our launch of CBD leverages all of that differentiated expertise, and specific study of cannabinoids over the past number of years for the benefit of these new products." Shon Whitney, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Morinda added that "The 'NHANCED CBD brand's promise is simple, we will bring you the most researched, most efficacious, and highest quality CBD products possible, that you can trust. We will never compromise quality in sourcing, processing, safety or ingredients to deliver a superior outcome in the finest CBD products available worldwide."

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