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We’ve arrived at 2017! Many of us know that being a cannabis entrepreneur means keeping up to date with the latest industry insights and trends; to know where the conversations surrounding cannabis are being held and where the dialogue will evolve next.

As a fellow entrepreneur, my start of the year is fast paced and already being filled with scheduling conferences, sit-down meeting agendas, and arming myself with the latest insights on how the cannabis industry will evolve as many states move towards recreational use this year.

Many topics are becoming the forefront of discussion for our industry for 2017, such as Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, banking and finance issues that will continue to arise, expansion and limitations of cultivation and market growth.

DCN caught up with a few key leaders in the industry to gain some insight from their perspective on these topics, as we all prepare for the big changes that are to come for the cannabis industry.

New Administration

Frank Lane, President CFN Media

“Donald Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, is staunchly opposed to the legalization of marijuana having once stated that ‘good people don’t smoke marijuana’.

At the same time, marijuana legalization has become broadly popular and Mr. Trump indicated that he fully supports medical marijuana as well as states making their own decisions about whether to legalize marijuana during a Nevada campaign stop.

We believe the appointment of Sessions significantly diminishes the likelihood of a cohesive nationwide framework over the next four years, but that Sessions will abide by the Cole Memo, which leaves the door open to state-level decisions with potential new safety, dosing, or labeling guidelines set by the federal government.

Ultimately, Trump and his administration will view the nascent industry as a jobs program, which also generates huge tax receipts for legal states, that he will not want to disrupt.”

Matt Stang, Chief Revenue Officer of High Times Magazine

“With Nevada passing adult-use legalization we expect the market to grow significantly in 2017. High Times is excited to help facilitate this growth by holding our inaugural US Cannabis Cup in Las Vegas to enhance cannabis tourism. We see this as the next growth phase for the tremendous tourism that already exists in Vegas and are incredibly excited to be a part of accelerating that growth.”

Throughout the campaign, President Elect Trump promised to respect states rights when it comes to cannabis and we expect that promise will be kept. Millions of voters across America—including in conservative states like Montana and Arkansas—have approved these laws and the federal government should absolutely respect the people’s decisions.

Jeanine Moss, CEO of AnnaBis (AnnaBis makes the world’s first line of luxury aroma-blocking handbags and accessories)

“The stigma of cannabis will get an extended shelf life with the prohibitionists in power in Washington. This prejudice is part of the reason we created AnnaBis, and two of our top three states for sales are New York and Texas where doctors, lawyers and other professionals must remain underground for fear of losing their licenses.

On the flip side, California is our number one state for sales exactly because there is less stigma. Here, our fashionably discreet aroma-blocking accessories do exceptionally well because customers are more social and want to feel free, sophisticated and confident when carrying their cannabis. So both legalization and repression work for our particular products.

Steve Gormley, managing partner of 7th Point

“Most people I know in the cannabis industry voted for Hillary Clinton. While I don’t believe Trump will make cannabis opposition a priority, or even an issue, his victory will likely give pause to some investors in the in the industry.

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I think we will see a contraction in the pricing of dispensary acquisitions. That’s a good thing for those of us who are focused in acquisitions in distribution and production.”

Market Growth

Jeanine Moss, CEO of AnnaBis

“I believe cannabis market growth will mirror technology adoption models. In the beginning came the “innovators,” the large producers and distributors and “early adopters” who spearheaded the movement from an activist standpoint.

We’re well into the “early majority” phase now with companies like AnnaBis creating new ideas and influencing perceptions, supported by consumers who are socially active, younger and well educated. But the “late majority” is coming with each new legalization. These are mainstream consumers who don’t identify with the movement, but endorse the medicinal and recreational benefits.

Finally come the laggards, and though there will always be those who don’t embrace cannabis, I believe even they will come aboard as the health benefits of the plant become more clear.”

Sasha Kadey, CMO of Greenlane (formerly VapeWorld), the largest distributor of vaporizers in North America

“As more licenses scale their operations, market supply is growing rapidly and resulting in downward pricing pressure with a something of a commoditizing effect.

This is leading to ‘premiumization’, much like the alcohol industry experienced during its maturation, with producers now seeking to differentiate with premium packaging, brand building, so called “seed to sale” storytelling, and other value adds.

We are the largest distributor of premium accessories in the space, and we are already seeing a strong trend toward upgraded (child resistant) packaging, especially for scarcer, higher end strains. I don’t think it will be long before we see elaborate custom bottles and vessels. The good news for the consumer is that they will be getting higher quality product at great prices.

Each legal state is truly its own market right now, and within each market there is competition for market share.

I believe we are going to soon see dominant players emerge who have either or all, the best expertise, cheapest real estate, or most sophisticated premium branding, emerge in each market that can consolidate substantial market share, and some of the weaker players will shake out.

There are a number of budding national brands which are finally making progress piecing together licensees (aka production partners) in each state to create a cohesive presence in every major legal market. They are solving the problems of offering consistency in the face of supply chain variables and working out the kinks of managing this model. I think this year we will see a lot of those kinks worked out.”

Harris Shapiro, CEO of Cannabis Stock Picks

“The outlook for the cannabis industry (both medical and recreational) is extremely bright as we head into 2017. With the recent recreational legalization vote in California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, the United States industry return is set to double in a few short years.

Arcview Market Research, the leading cannabis research firm in the U.S., called the recent recreational cannabis approval ‘the vote heard round the world,’ and expects in the legal U.S. cannabis market to achieve $21.8 billion dollars by 2020, which is more than three times the expected $6.7 billion for 2016. With California’s recreational legalization, the industry may even achieve $18 before 2020, $6 billion of it in the Golden State alone.

This is the time to invest in the cannabis industry, both nationally and internationally. The process is established, tested, and highly successful in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Countries like Canada, the United States, and Israel are aware of the potential of recreational and medical cannabis from the standpoint of medical welfare and safety, as well as from the standpoint of pure profit and innovation.

TFST Publishing, the publisher of The Focused Stock Trader, will be at the forefront of the recreational and medical cannabis space, driving knowledge, information, and investment opportunities for those who want to be involved in the green rush. Cannabis Stock Picks is the brainchild of The Focused Stock Trader, and provides up-to-the-minute news on cannabis stocks and opportunities for all types of cannabis industry investors.

In the coming year, the international cannabis industry could top $50 billion dollars. More and more states are expected to legalize both recreationally and medically, increasing the growth of the industry rapidly; the Marijuana Policy Projects estimated that there are about 1,444,069 medical marijuana patients in the United States alone.

Recreational cannabis revenue is soaring, and expected to climb to dizzying heights following the legalization of recreational cannabis in California. The end of the cannabis green rush and boom is nowhere in sight, and the intense bolster to the international and national economies that will take place in the future is currently unlimited.”

Women in The Industry

Jeanine Moss, CEO of AnnaBis

“Historically, women were left out of emerging industries because they didn’t have the socio-economic clout to stake their claim.

Even now, women are underserved in the cannabis industry. But we are at a convergence of two megatrends: the emergence of the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. (cannabis) and women as economic powerhouses, highly educated and with two generations of business acumen behind them.

This is an unprecedented point in history, and when you add women’s purchasing power, the fact that they are in charge of family health care and their significant political power, it seems clear that women are key to the future of marijuana legalization.”

Innovation and Science

Jeffrey Korentur, CEO of Teewinot Life Sciences Corporation

“Teewinot is exploring FDA-approved pharmaceutical development opportunities for our patent-pending cannabinoid prodrugs and with molecules that have been historically difficult to produce using either botanical or chemical manufacturing methods.

Our wholly owned subsidiary, Full Spectrum Laboratories, Ltd., is working to bring disruptive technologies to the area of pharmaceutical cannabinoid manufacturing. Our patented biocatalytic production methods and equipment offer the potential to improve not only purity and variety, but also the speed and cost of producing pharmaceutical cannabinoid molecules.”

Seth Yakatan, CEO of Kalytera

We are expecting 2017 to be a major year for research into medical cannabis and cannabinoids. With AG Sessions and the DEA’s clarification that plant derived CBD isn’t legal federally, there will likely be interest in synthetic forms of CBD, which is what Kalytera has been testing the efficacy of for a few years. As one of a handful of companies in the field, we are looking well positioned to bring new and exciting drugs to the market.

We believe that 2107 will be important for biotech, where companies like California-based Kalytera and British behemoth GW are making promising progress in using non-psychoactive elements of the cannabis plant to create pharmaceuticals targeted to combat ailments like multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis.

Companies like these should benefit from the DEA’s recent decision to tighten restrictions around medical research of the plant.

Why use synthetic cannabinoids rather than naturally occurring cannabis compounds? Aside from various patentability concerns associated with plant-based drugs, naturally occurring cannabis compounds are illegal under federal law; all marijuana is.

Alternately, synthetic cannabis molecules are far more likely to gain FDA approval.

Medical cannabis very clearly has an effect on patients, but it’s not an effect that’s been proven under the set of requirements the FDA and US regulatory bodies demand. Synthetic cannabinoids also affect patients – anecdotally, maybe not as well as natural occurring cannabinoids do – but because they are synthetic, researchers have been able to prove their effects.

They’ve been proven in research studies and large trials, because the federal government has allowed that to happen with synthetic cannabinoids.

Andy Williams, CEO, Medicine Man Technologies (MDCL:OTC)

“Research into therapies and economic impact will be broad, putting new medicines within reach and giving patients the help that they need. The research possibilities and healing properties of the plant are endless and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg.”

Uri Zeevi, CEO of Seedo

As far as the admin and the cannabis studies, I think that in 2017 the home growing devices will start to take place in households, as a result the growing will be much more accurate and precise, and so is the quality. I also believe that more people will research the plant as the accessibility of lab conditions at home with accurate climate control will be available.

Unlike growing in soil, hydroponics is a science with very defined and controllable variables.

What’s great about Seedo is that everything is done automatically, that is why there are no mistakes during the hydroponic growth. Therefore, by the way, we do not recommend opening the door during the growth.

I expect that cannabis research market to expand dramatically, as more people will have the accessibility to research cannabis at home via couple of Seedo machines (instead of driving to laboratory or university).

This could create a mass market of research and knowledge, not necessarily among agronomist or biologists. They could research the growth of difference strains at same conditions (temp / humidity, etc), or researching same strains with minor changes in conditions (i.e one temperature difference or 5% less humidity)

In addition, the consistency of the growth will be easier to preserve, due to the possibility of having the exact climate conditions again and again.

But, I think that the biggest future revolution that Seedo offers is the shift from growing from seeds to growing from tissue culture. Seedo hydroponic growing plans knows how to grow tissue culture.

The meaning of it is that people will be able to grow the same tissue culture at the same accurate climate control and by that having a identical medical weed in every growth, same exact THC & same exact CBD. In other words, growing your accurate medicine at home, with no chemical process at all – REVOLUTION!

As far as the cannabis market future due to the enter of Seedo and other automatic growing machines, the variety of the medical strains will go dramatically up. People will no longer go to their specific dispensary that is in their area, they will bring the seed they like based on internet reviews and grow what they like upon their needs, whether it’s high THC or high CBD. In other words, the freedom to grow what i really want and not to be dependable on the availability around me.”

Sustainability Importance

Serge Chistov, early investor in Honest Marijuana

“For the sake of promoting sustainability alone, it seems quite likely that high-quality, well thought-out packaging will become more commonplace in the cannabis industry in 2017.

It’s worth noting that today’s average cannabis consumer is well educated on the importance of implementing sustainable practices, and improving the design of a product’s packaging from this standpoint will not only lessen one’s environmental impact but also increase interest from would-be consumers. This is to say nothing of the value of visual appeal, which plays a major role in a customer’s decision to buy.”

Financial Economics

Paul Rosenberg, CEO of MCIG

“With over 60% of states with approved Cannabis laws, 65% of US adults agreeing with legalizing Cannabis, and over 80% of the population living in states with approved cannabis laws. It would be hard to imagine congressman and senators voted in to protect their states interests being superseded by federal law makers like sessions. We imagine with federal acceptance there will be an autonomy of state and probably a federal tax.”

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