Marijuana Industry Pushing Toward Federal Acceptance, Expanded Research in 2017
For the marijuana industry, 2016 was a successful year by any standards, reaching an estimated $7 billion in transactions and bringing the total number of states to legalize marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes to 28. However, deemed America’s fastest growing industry in recent years, the market still has some major obstacles to overcome in 2017, such as gaining access to legal banking services, obtaining federal drug reclassification, and more. Removing marijuana from the federal list of Schedule I drugs would be a major step forward for the industry, with massive implications and benefits trickling through to reach cannabis-related product manufacturers and distributors and ancillary service providers such as Cannabis Sativa, Inc. (OTCQB: CBDS), Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTC: CBIS), Eco Science Solutions, Inc. (OTC: ESSI), Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA), and SinglePoint, Inc. (OTC: SING)
According to Cannabiz Media research firm, the industry headed into 2017 with over 4,300 cultivators, more than 2,500 producers, 3,300 dispensaries and almost 4,000 retailers nationwide. The numbers are expected to grow significantly in light of the recent vote by eight more states to legalize medical or recreational marijuana use. Driven by this impressive growth, the industry will look to make a bigger impact this year, primarily by gaining federal acceptance. The industry is already lobbying in favor of removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs, where it is currently listed alongside heroin, ecstasy and LSD. It may take as long as four to eight years to gain federal acceptance, experts say, but the tide is in favor of the industry and, ultimately, the administration will likely adhere to the wishes of the American majority.
There are concerns that under the Trump Administration, and especially with marijuana opponent U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as attorney general, the industry will struggle more and might lose rights gained at a state level. President Donald Trump, who spoke in favor of the marijuana market during the campaign, has yet to make his official position known. In the meantime, a group of 10 prominent lawmakers are pressing for banking reform to allow cannabis and related businesses access to financial services. In an open letter, the lawmakers asked the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to issue clear guidance on the matter in order to make it easier for the industry to access banking services.
As a leading provider of mobile technology and payment solutions serving various industries, including the marijuana market via subsidiary SingleSeed Payments, SinglePoint, Inc. (SING) would welcome updated guidance from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, as this could help the business attain its full potential serving a rapidly expanding, legitimate market.
Since SingleSeed’s “reawakening” after voters in eight states voted to legalize marijuana last November, SingleSeed’s main goal has been to help legitimize the industry by helping medical or retail cannabis providers grow their business securely and safely. For that purpose, the company is providing several state-of-the-art payment solutions and mobile marketing tools.
Representing the diverse nature of the cannabis industry, SinglePoint earlier this week signed a Letter of Intent to acquire an interest in Convectium, a profitable California-based company that has created the world’s first oil filling machine focused on the cannabis industry that is capable of filling cartridges or disposable vape pens for wholesale distribution to dispensaries. Convectium’s 710Shark and 710Seal system can fill and package up 100+ cartridges or disposable vape pens within 30 seconds. The company forecasts revenues for 2017 at $3.5 million, which would be a 150% increase over revenue of $1.4 million for 2016.
“To say we are excited about this opportunity is an understatement. Convectium’s 710Shark and 710Seal system is incredible, and its capabilities are unmatched. After looking at hundreds of cannabis companies, finding an acquisition opportunity like we have found in Convecitum adds a new dynamic to our endeavors and the cannabis industry as a whole,” SinglePoint CEO Greg Lambrecht stated in a news release on 1/31/17.
Banking reform would also have a positive impact on other providers of ancillary services, including e-commerce company Eco Science Solutions, Inc. (ESSI), which enables cannabis enthusiasts to locate and connect with other enthusiasts or with cannabis businesses, ultimately facilitating the purchasing of related products. Another company that would benefit is Medical Marijuana, Inc. (MJNA), one of the first manufacturers and providers of medical marijuana products and worldwide distributor of Cannabidiol (CBD). In addition to manufacturing cannabis-based pharmaceutical and consumer products, the company also offers infrastructure and support services for the entire industry.
Besides federal acceptance and banking reform, the industry is also trying to achieve expanded research opportunities. If marijuana is declassified as a Substance I drug, this will pave the way to continued research into the effects of the substance and cannabinoid makeup, which could ultimately help the industry not only show that marijuana isn’t as harmful as opponents claim, but also come up with better, more efficient formulations and products. Extended research opportunities would greatly benefit companies such as Cannabis Science, Inc. (CBIS) a company dedicated to developing innovative cannabinoid-based therapies for unmet medical needs, or Cannabis Sativa, Inc. (CBDS), a company that manufactures and commercializes a wide range of marijuana-based product under affiliated brand names, ranging from CBD-infused bottled water and CBD capsules to skin care products and more.
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