NEW YORK, April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Last week, the state of Virginia became the 16th state in the U.S to fully legalize cannabis products, both for medical and recreational use. The state also made history, as it is the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to do so. Nevertheless, the politics surrounding the cannabis industry remain complex. Virginia passed the bill with a tie-breaking vote coming from Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax after the state senate voted 20-20, without any Republican support. A report by Yahoo Finance indicates that the public in the state is supportive of the proposition, as a Virginia poll from February showed 68% of voters in the state backed legalizing marijuana, matching the national trend. A Gallup poll from earlier in November showed that a record 68% of Americans support legalizing cannabis, up from 60% in 2016. Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF) (CSE: BLO), Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTC: PLNHF), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB), Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY), HEXO Corp. (NYSE: HEXO)

However, the growing popularity of cannabis raises some regulation concerns. For instance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse highlighted that the long-term effects of constant cannabis use can alter brain development and cause memory impairment and affect learning functions. Consequently, this can affect a user’s ability to perform daily functions. In fact, one of the major concerns over cannabis abuse revolves around operating a vehicle while impaired. Generally, law enforcement officers may conduct field tests such as sobriety tests or even sample tests. However, sobriety tests can be inaccurate, while sample tests may not receive results for days or even weeks. As a result, companies within the cannabis marketspace have begun to develop the necessary technology for law enforcement agencies to use in a crackdown on drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

Cannabix Technologies Inc. (OTC: BLOZF) (CSE: BLO) announced last week breaking news that, “it will begin beta testing its THC Breath Analyzer (“THCBA”) with a private drug testing clinic located in the Northwestern United States. Cannabix expects to deliver its version 3.0 THCBA prototype to this clinic in the coming weeks to begin a breath testing with select patients. The Company and the clinic have entered into a non-disclosure agreement. The collaborating clinic has a robust drug testing operation and is one of the top drug testing providers to employers within its respective state. The high-volume clinic has a diverse range of patients and focuses on private sector testing for alcohol and illicit drugs.  The clinic has extensive experience beta testing with new drug testing technologies. In the recent past, the collaborating clinic was selected to be an early tester of oral swab devices, which have been authorized for use in certain jurisdictions.  

Beta-testing of the THCBA prototype will be focused on training the device’s machine learning database, to help determine sensitivity ranges and improving user and administrator experience. Furthermore, this data will help with identifying cross-reactivity of other substances with the study population. The THCBA is a drug screening device for employers and other markets who are seeking a way to quickly, easily and non-invasively test for recent use of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) – the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes impairment.

Current forms of testing for marijuana use can identify THC ranging from minutes to days prior to actual use, making it difficult to show the difference between the two. Studies¹ have shown that breath is a better indicator of impairment than saliva and urine because THC is present in breath for a relatively short period of time (1-3 hours); whereas, it is excreted at detectable levels in other body fluids for many hours, days, or even weeks after smoking. This short time period of detection in breath aligns with the peak impairment window.”

(1) Olla P, Ishraque MT, Bartol S. 2020. Evaluation of Breath and Plasma Tetrahydrocannabinol Concentration Trends Postcannabis Exposure in Medical Cannabis Patients. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Res.; 99-104.

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Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTCQX: PLNHF) announced on February 3rd, that the Company has received all building permits and has begun construction of the Orange County Cannabis SuperStore Entertainment Complex (“Orange County SuperStore”) located at 3400 Warner Ave Suite A, Santa Ana, California. “We are pleased to announce the completion of a major milestone – the receipt of final permits and the start of construction of our first dispensary in the Golden State – the Orange County SuperStore. The combination of our exhaustive design process, attention to detail, and deep focus on customer experience will make it a truly exceptional experiential space for California’s discerning cannabis consumers,” said Larry Scheffler Co-CEO of Planet 13. “We are excited about embarking on our first out-of-state expansion and look forward to bringing the unique Planet 13 customer experience to California.”

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) announced on January 14th, that it has entered into an agreement with Great North Distributors Inc. (“Great North”), Canada’s first national sales broker for legalized adult-use cannabis. Under the agreement, Great North will be the exclusive representative for Aurora’s leading portfolio of brands across the Canadian cannabis retail environment.  “The agreement is designed to significantly bolster Aurora’s market position in Canada. Great North brings deep experience across the spectrum of sales capabilities that will further differentiate Aurora as a leader in the growing cannabis space,” said Miguel Martin, CEO, Aurora Cannabis. “We have selected Great North for their outstanding execution across regulated businesses. Combining their executional strength with Aurora’s leading portfolio of brands is a recipe for success.”

Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) announced on March 10th, that it has received the necessary approvals from New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and the Medicinal Cannabis Agency to launch Tilray medical cannabis products across the country.  Brendan Kennedy, Tilray’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “As medical cannabis regulations continue to progress around the world, we’re incredibly honored to be recognized as a trusted partner in offering the highest-quality medical cannabis products. We are grateful to partner with New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and the Medicinal Cannabis Agency to improve access for patients in need across the country.”

HEXO Corp. (NYSE: HEXO) announced on April 6th, the launch of its latest brand, Bake Sale. Bake Sale offers Canadian consumers one of the lowest prices per gram in the country, in some cases as much as 20% less than competitor’s products.  “Bake Sale is HEXO’s latest market disruptor,” said HEXO CEO and co-founder, Sebastien St-Louis. “The brand’s low price point and approachable potency should allow HEXO to capture even more consumer segments and support HEXO’s continued quest to increase market share across the country. Initial response from provincial boards has been extremely positive, and we hope for a similarly excellent response from Canadian consumers with an increase in sales to follow.”

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