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Cannabis Use Continues to Spread Despite Legal Holdups

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Illinois became the 11th U.S. state to legalize the adult-use of cannabis after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a recreational marijuana legalization bill in late June. The legislation is expected to take effect on January 1st, 2020. Illinois has already had its medical cannabis program operational since 2013 and as of June 2019, had over 73,000 qualifying patients in medical cannabis programs.

Now, with the passage of the legislation, market analysts predict that the recreational segment will eclipse the medical segment, as the Marijuana Business Daily projects that Illinois' recreational market could generate upwards of USD 2.5 Billion annually, depending on the large role tourists play.

The law will allow consumers 21 years and older to purchase up to 30 grams of cannabis flower or five grams of concentrates. Moreover, Illinois' residents will be allowed to cultivate up to five plants within their households. Overall, the state's legalization marks yet another major milestone within the cannabis industry. However, the federal legality of cannabis is still a conflict of interest swirling around the country's politicians, even as nearly seven-in-ten Democrats support the legalization of marijuana, as do 75% of the independents who lean towards the Democratic party, according to Pew Research Center.

On the other hand, the Republicans are divided, with only 45% in favor of and 51% opposed to legalization. And while the Republican public still leans toward the opposition, the number of those supporting legalization has drastically increased from 39% in 2015. Despite the federal split on the broad cannabis industry, the CBD marketplace is gaining traction within the U.S. Smart Decision, Inc., Harvest Health & Recreation Inc., MariMed, Inc., Aleafia Health Inc., Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc.

The growth of the CBD industry led to a proliferation of various products such as tinctures, topicals, and extracts. While extracts and dried flower remain popular, emerging products such as edibles and beverages are quickly gaining market shares. Typically, health conscious consumers that are interested in the CBD industry are keener to try edibles or beverages rather than traditional flower. Medical CBD is, of course, a popular subcategory on its own.

A recent study conducted by Jamie Corroon, the Founder and Medical Director of The Center for Medical Cannabis Education in California, and Joy A. Phillips, Research Assistant Professor at Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center in San Diego State University, determined that CBD is being used for numerous diverse medical conditions and noted that the study provides rational data for better understanding the cannabinoid.

In the research, it states that almost 62% of CBD users were using CBD to treat a medical condition. Among the top three conditions, the study uncovered that pain, anxiety, and depression were the most common. "Over the past decade I've covered a wide range of consumer markets, from foods and drinks to telecom, gaming and even cannabis. I have never seen anything like the explosion that we're seeing right now in CBD, even with the bizarre legal gray area where CBD now operates," said Bethany Gomez, Managing Director at Brightfield Group. "CBD is the next healthcare phenomenon. It is so effective for so many conditions, is natural, non-psychoactive and has no known serious side effects."

Smart Decision, Inc. announced earlier this week that, "it has launched their new platform: https://cbdsmartdecision.com, allowing consumers to find the best suited CBD products for their needs.

'We are excited to launch the first phase of our new CBD platform that will help simplify CBD buying decisions for consumers.  In the near future, we will be introducing the second phase, which will allow consumers to further dial-in to specific CBD products that meet their needs,' said Adam Green, CEO of Smart Decision, Inc.

Eric Gutmann, Treasurer & Secretary of Smart Decision, Inc. further states that, 'In addition to helping with the confusion of buying the right CBD for consumer's needs, CBD Smart Decision will also focus on educating the consumer.'

Smart Decision, Inc. will provide further details on additional Phases of their new platform in the near future.

About Smart Decision Inc: Smart Decision Inc. has researched and is developing algorithms for the consumer and business LED Lighting and CBD markets.  With their patent-pending "Smart Decision" algorithms, the confusion of selecting the right product(s), whether for LED or CBD, will be significantly reduced. Ultimately, Smart Decision Inc. believes that selecting the right product the first time, dramatically cuts down on product returns and creates of positive purchasing experience for the consumer."

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc., headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, is a multi-state cannabis operator (MSO) and vertically-integrated cannabis company. Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. recently announced the signing of an agreement to bring their popular Colors, CBx Essentials and Harvest-branded CBD product lines to more than 10,000 retail stores, including convenience stores and gas stations across the country. The multi-million-dollar partnership, which will roll out to the Asian American Trade Associations Council retailer network brings leading CBD products with significant demand to a system of every day strategic markets in small towns and major metropolitan regions. "This exclusive partnership enables a massive advance in distribution for Harvest-owned CBD brands and follows our strategic path of expanding the scale of our wholesale and retail distribution nationally," said Harvest Chairman Jason Vedadi. "Demand for CBD is unprecedented and by delivering leading products in 10,000 accessible locations gives us an unparalleled reach to consumers."

MariMed, Inc. is dedicated to improving health and wellness with the highest quality hemp and cannabis products. MariMed Hemp, a subsidiary of MariMed, Inc., recently launched the Hemp Engine™, a turnkey retail marketing platform for the fast-growing CBD sector. The platform supports sales and marketing decisions for a wide range of CBD products based on quality, popularity and price point, allowing distributors and retailers to maximize returns and increase sales efficiency. Co-developed with Sprout™, the leading CRM provider to the cannabis industry, the platform is driven by proprietary data and technology. "Hemp Engine creates powerful new distribution opportunities for our hemp-derived CBD brands," commented MariMed Chief Executive Officer, Robert Fireman. "It will help us further penetrate the growing hemp space. We expect to deliver the first in-store installations over the next several weeks."

Aleafia Health Inc. is a leading, vertically integrated cannabis health and wellness company with four primary business units: Cannabis Cultivation & Products, Health & Wellness Clinics, Cannabis Education, and Consumer Experience with ecommerce, retail distribution and provincial supply agreements. Recently, Aleafia Health Inc. had been granted approval by Health Canada for outdoor cannabis cultivation. On June 7th, 2019, the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary Aleafia Farms Inc., was granted a new Standard Cultivation License issued under Health Canada's Cannabis Regulations at the Company's Port Perry facility. "Our promise made last year to cultivate outdoors in 2019 is now a reality," said Aleafia Health Chairman Julian Fantino. "We will continue to lead the way in low-cost production. This milestone exponentially increases our total cultivation footprint while securing product supply for our medical cannabis patient base."

Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. is a Canadian licensed producer of cannabis products, with strategic initiatives focused on differentiated, value-added product development for medical and adult-use customers supported by novel intellectual property, large-scale cultivation, extraction, and softgel encapsulation, as well as unique marketing and distribution channels. Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. recently received its cultivation license from Health Canada for the 12-acre outdoor grow area at its new organic cannabis operation in Metro Vancouver, BC. The outdoor grow area is expected to be capable of producing approximately 10,000 kg of cannabis annually with multiple crops during a full growing season. With this license effective as of July 12th, 2019, Emerald is positioned to deliver one harvest and a portion of the expected full production volume this year. "As one of the few licensed producers licensed for outdoor growing, receiving this cultivation license highlights our planning and execution to achieve potentially very-low cost organic cannabis. We have been working for months on ground and seed preparation and are now preparing for planting," said Dr. Avtar Dhillon, Executive Chairman and President of Emerald. "With our team's extensive organic farming experience and expertise, we look forward to assessing multiple cannabis strains and refining cultivation practices for scalable outdoor growing."

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