Celebrities Dipping Into the CBD Market

Celebrities Dipping Into the CBD Market

PR Newswire

LAS VEGAS, April 11, 2018

LAS VEGAS, April 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

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It seems only natural that Tommy Chong, of the stoner comedy duo Cheech and Chong, would have his own marijuana brand. "I'm the most recognizable pot head, probably, in the world," Chong told CNNMoney. Chong lends his name to Chong's Choice, a marijuana brand. Celebrities with instant brand recognition like Chong have plenty of incentive for getting into this market. Mentioned in today's commentary include: NightFood Holdings, Inc. (OTC: NGTF), GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH), INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY), Terra Tech Corp. (OTC: TRTCD) (OTC:TRTC), and General Cannabis Corp. (OTC: CANN).

Sales totaled $8 billion last year, according to New Frontier Data, which estimates that US sales will grow to $23 billion by 2020. Canada is expected to legalize recreational marijuana this summer. "Legalization has opened the doors to all the celebrity branding," said Steve Bloom, a former High Times editor who runs a web site called Celebstoner.com. "It's not surprising that all the most likely celebrities are jumping aboard." Recreational marijuana is legal in nine states, as well as Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, but it's still prohibited by the federal government.

Chong, who licenses his name to growers, joins a list of pot-friendly celebrities who have tied their names to the marijuana industry, including Willie Nelson, who lends his name to "Willie's Reserve", and Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus, who has "Leafs by Snoop." The estate of the late Bob Marley, including his widow Rita and his 11 children, are among the most prominent players in the marijuana industry. Their company, Marley Natural, includes branded marijuana, body care products and pipes.

Marley Natural is backed by the Seattle-based investment firm Privateer Holdings, which has raised $200 million and is funding the Marleys' expansion into Canada. "Bob Marley is more closely tied to the product than anyone we could think of," said Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy. "In some places people even say, 'Let's go smoke a Bob Marley.'"

The Marleys, Chongs and Snoops of the world are easy fits, but for the industry to grow beyond the realm of stoners, it needs other faces, says Troy Dayton, CEO of The Arcview Group, an investment and market research company for cannabis. "One of the biggest challenges cannabis has is a certain narrow stereotype associated with it," Dayton said. "When a celebrity who doesn't fit the stereotype [of a pot smoker] gets into promoting cannabis, it expands the conceptual footprint that cannabis has in the minds of current and potential consumers."

That's why it's important for the industry to have celebrities like "Whoopi" Goldberg and Melissa Etheridge, who are not necessarily known for marijuana. Both recently launched brands that promote marijuana as a health supplement. Goldberg boasts of it as a treatment for menstrual cramps, and Etheridge promotes it as a way to alleviate cancer symptoms.

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons invested $10 million in the Canadian cannabis grower Invictus, even though he's never smoked pot. "I've got $10 million wrapped up in the stock because I believe in it. For me, it's a business move," the entrepreneur and reality TV star told CNNMoney. Invictus went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange last month with a ticker bearing his name: GENE.

Mike Tyson, the former boxer, recently broke ground on Tyson Ranch, a project to build a pot farm in California City, about 50 miles from Los Angeles. Rob Hickman, an investor backing Tyson Ranch, told CNNMoney that the brand makes sense because Tyson "doesn't drink anymore, he's a heavy CBD and a heavy marijuana user." "The news of Mike Tyson setting up a cannabis farm caught many by surprise because he's not necessarily a figure that you would associate with cannabis use," said John Kagia, a cannabis industry analyst for New Frontier Data. "But everyone knows who Tyson is."

Some public companies in the marijuana and CBD space include: NightFood Holdings, Inc. (OTC: NGTF), GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH), INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY), Terra Tech Corp. (OTCQX: TRTC), and General Cannabis Corp. (OTCQB: CANN)

NightFood Holdings, Inc. (OTC: NGTF) 

Market Cap: $8.40M, current share price: $.219 

NightFood Holdings, Inc. (NGTF), a brand development company pioneering the projected billion dollar nighttime nutrition category, and developing unique products in the marijuana/cannabis/cbd related snack space, recently announced that Global Investigative Services (GIS) has been retained by the Company in response to recent suspicious trading activities related to Company common stock.

In recent sessions, Company management has identified a pattern of trading that raises strong suspicion that one or more market makers is possibly engaging in "naked shorting" and illegal market manipulation. Typically, an individual or entity involved in naked shorting will profit by illegally driving down a company's stock price while enticing unsophisticated investors to sell their shares so they may further increase their own profit. This type of market manipulation is done at the expense of both the shareholder base and the Company, which is why it is illegal.

GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ: GWPH) 

Market Cap: $3.27 B, current share price: $116.09 

GW Pharmaceuticals plc, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, along with its U.S. subsidiary Greenwich Biosciences, recently announced receipt of Notices of Allowance for five new Epidiolex® patent applications that will be listed in the Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations (commonly known as the Orange Book) if the NDA for Epidiolex is approved. Once issued, these patents are set to expire in 2035. One or more patents may be eligible for additional patent term through patent term adjustment and/or regulatory exclusivities.

INSYS Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: INSY) 

Market Cap: $452.17M, current share price: $6.13 

INSYS Therapeutics, Inc., a leader in the development, manufacture and commercialization of pharmaceutical cannabinoids and spray technology, recently announced the appointment of Trudy Vanhove as a new independent member of its Board of Directors. Given her extensive experience in clinical development and medical affairs, Dr. Vanhove will also serve on the Board's R&D committee.

Terra Tech Corp. (OTCQX: TRTC) 

Market Cap: $259.38M, current share price: $.27 

Terra Tech Corp., a vertically integrated cannabis-focused agriculture company, recently announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017. Derek Peterson, Chief Executive Officer of Terra Tech, commented on the achievements from the year, "The rapid growth of the legal cannabis market, coupled with our aggressive expansion strategy, has led to Terra Tech's emergence as a pre-eminent retail and wholesale cannabis company in the United States. Our strategy to establish our BlümTM and IVXXTM brands as premium cannabis experiences in targeted states set the foundation for the Company to quickly expand into the adult use market when Nevada welcomed legalization in July, 2017, followed by California in January, 2018. These regulatory milestones significantly expanded our addressable market and transformed the Company's potential growth path.

General Cannabis Corp. (OTCQB: CANN) 

Market Cap: $94.25M, current share price: $2.66 

CANN, the comprehensive national resource to the regulated cannabis industry, recently announced financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017. "Along with growth through acquisitions, we are also focused on organic growth and driving each segment to profitability," said Joe Hodas, Chief Operating Officer of General Cannabis. "I have spent extensive time with each of our segment leaders, diving into staffing models, revenue projections and challenges. With initial analyses in hand and the existing General Cannabis infrastructure, I believe we can capitalize on new lines of business, cross-sale opportunities between segments, and operating efficiencies. I am eager to work with the great team in place here at General Cannabis to drive strong top line and bottom line results."

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