WeedLife News Network

Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife News Network.

Crypto platform CanaBoyz offers virtual cannabis cultivation

Play-to-earn (P2E) games, cryptocurrency, and non-fungible tokens truly are the hottest terms when it comes to the business of digital currency, and they have had an unexpected impact on today's financial markets. These developments have taken centre stage in 2022, and we'd like to hear your opinions on what might happen if these (so far) major and global trends mix with another quite controversial industry, that surrounding cannabis.

 

What exactly is CanaBoyz?

CanaBoyz is a digital gaming platform that immerses users in a one-of-a-kind gangland with the sole objective of building the world's most lucrative enterprise through virtual cannabis cultivation. This game allows users to enjoy unfettered economic benefits through the sale of in-game assets. Indeed, users will be able to raise virtual crops on CanaBoyz that will earn them real-life cash through cryptocurrency. Players will have complete control over their assets, which they will manage and scale through smart decision making and tactics.

This game is built around the players' economic relationships and existing smart contracts. The players' primary goal is to develop farms and manage in-game assets. Users have access to multiple scenarios for managing their in-game assets, such as CNB and Kush tokens, seeds, bushes, artefacts, and coffee shops, via a versatile platform. Players are able to construct an internal economic zone thanks to their freedom of action, where the main goal is to raise crops and sell them profitably.

On CanaBoyz, every player will have the ability to manage in-game items while deciding on how they should grow their business. A user has the freedom to choose whether to create their virtual business on their own or in a group with other players. They can use the CanaBoyz in-game platform to manage their tokens, seeds, bushes, artefacts, and characters regardless of the kind of strategy used. CanaBoyz's biggest feature is that every in-game item is a genuine NFT.

The idea for CanaBoyz came about due to a combination of the most prominent developments over the previous several years: the metaverse, Web 3.0, NFTs, Crypto, and the now legalised cannabis industry. CanaBoyz' creators discovered that, upon unification of their ideas, they had a truly fantastic concept for a game.

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First-ever export of Israeli medical cannabis seeds heads to US

Agriculture Ministry hails development as a major step toward country becoming a significant player in the global cannabis market

The first-ever export shipment of Israeli cannabis seeds has left for the US, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement Wednesday, hailing the move as a major step toward becoming a global pioneer in the field.

Efforts to arrange the “experimental and initial” shipment, which departed on Tuesday night, have been ongoing for the past year.

The cargo contained seeds from the local BetterSeeds company, which has a research license from the Health Ministry.

They will be examined on arrival “to verify their suitability for the US market,” the ministry said.

“Israel has the ability to make its mark [on the industry] and be among the world’s leaders,” Agriculture Minister Oded Forer said in the statement.

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Carbon correction: The cannabis and climate connection no one is talking about

Maybe you've heard that cultivating cannabis is bad for the environment. Perhaps you've seen headlines saying that growing an ounce of indoor cannabis emits the equivalent amount of carbon as burning a full tank of gas. Or maybe you've read reports that say growing a few pounds of weed yields the same environmental toll as driving across America seven times. 

All of this is (mostly) true. Indoor cannabis cultivation is not environmentally friendly. This method requires hours of blasting air conditioning, heating (if you live in snowy regions), lighting, air filtration systems and irrigation. Aside from swapping high voltage lights with LEDs, there are few green solutions for indoor grows to lessen their carbon footprint.

Outdoor cannabis grows aren't perfect, either. They've earned a negative reputation thanks to illegal operators polluting National Park lands, stealing water from protected rivers and leaking pesticides into watersheds. Even legal outdoor grows can contribute to soil erosion, nutrient loss and increased soil acidity. Monoculture, or producing one type of crop to the exclusion of others, in cannabis is equally damaging to soil as it is in traditional agriculture.

But the research highlighting the harms of cannabis cultivation lacks nuance. Why? Because growing cannabis can remediate the Earth and aid in the fight against climate change if done properly. Regenerative farming, for example, is a system of agriculture practices that involves working with plants to utilize photosynthesis and maintain "living soil." Plants draw carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in healthy soil — grazed and naturally fertilized by animals — where it transforms into stable carbon.

"The idea of regenerative farming is simple," says Leah Penniman, co-director and farm manager of Soul Fire Farm, in an interview with Now This News.

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Bloomios expands production capacity by 300%, setting stage for strong growth in 2022

 

 Bloomios, Inc. (OTCQB: BLMS), a leading hemp and nutraceutical manufacturer specializing in full service product development, R&D and compliance solutions, has completed a major expansion of the company's manufacturing and fulfillment systems at its new state-of-the-art 50,000 sf. manufacturing facility in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The expansion increased manufacturing and fulfillment capacity by approximately 300%, as well as lowered operating expense. It now supports more than 80 turnkey products across seven popular format categories, as well as the company's plans to enter new market verticals.

Bloomios estimates the new equipment has increased overall capacity by about 300%, while enabling many process improvements. By the third quarter of 2022, the company expects to increase its infused gummy output capacity to exceed more than 1 million gummies per day or a 5x increase in output capacity from current levels.

"Our first quarter was a transitional period where we completed the first phase of our expansion and retooling of our manufacturing facility in preparation for strong growth this year," stated Bloomios CEO, Michael Hill.

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Broadcasters are still fighting to win clearance to air Cannabis ads.

The Safe Advertising Coalition -- the year-old organization created by a group of nearly two dozen state broadcast associations spent another $50,000 on Washington lobbying during the first three months of the year. That is on top of the $120,000 they ponied up last year in their quest to bring “parity” to cannabis advertising, mostly by securing federal government clearance to allow local radio and television stations to air ads in states where recreational or medical marijuana is now legal.

Broadcasters have been pushing Congress to clarify federal law paving the way for cannabis ads on the airwaves without putting radio or TV licenses at risk. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or the MORE Act (H.R. 3617) was passed by the House in April, but unlike earlier bills it does not include any provisions that would clear the way to help broadcasters. Prospects are also slim in the Senate, where little Republican support exists.

One hurdle is that a champion of changing ad rules is no longer in Congress. Colorado Democrat Jared Polis, who previously introduced legislation that if passed would have treated cannabis advertising like alcohol ads, left Washington to become his state’s governor.

Broadcasters have also looked to the Federal Communications Commission. Although the FCC has generally warned stations not to advertise “illegal” products, to date, it has so far sidestepping the issue of whether it would target radio or TV stations for license reviews if the agency received a complaint about cannabis ads.

FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington told the Massachusetts Broadcast Association during a speech last November that he doubted current rules allow stations in states where marijuana has been decriminalized to accept ad dollars from cannabis dispensaries.

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How to discover and connect with Discord’s budding digital cannabis community

 

In seven years, Discord has emerged as a voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) leader.

Once primarily catering to gamers, Discord now offers public and private channels for a range of popular topics, including but far from limited to NFTs, politics, school, and cannabis.

Discord has corralled just about every possible way a person can connect online. Community members can connect via chat rooms, video calls, and voice chats. Unlike social media apps that have succeeded to varying degrees with multi-chat options, Discord has done so rather successfully so far.

The platform has gained users and financial backers. Today, it boasts 150 million active monthly users and $482 million in venture capital funds raised to date, according to Earthweb. 

Discord’s cannabis community is not as prominent as enthusiasts may desire. But sources tell High Times that it is changing as more servers launch, either entirely focusing on the plant or having a dedicated space to discuss it.

Discord did not answer a request for its opinion regarding cannabis servers and forums. Even so, the plant’s popularity on the platform is a refreshing change. When much of the Internet can’t or won’t allow pot communities to flourish, Discord appears to be doing so.

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What should buying cannabis look like on your phone?

UberEats or Shopify for weed.

There's an ongoing refinement of user experiences on all online shopping platforms. The continuous improvement of UX design has boosted online shopping experiences. Consumers can more or less experience shopping in the real world without leaving the comfort of their homes. It's all thanks to the talented UX designers working day and night to improve the user experience across all platforms.

Cannabis companies are in on the scoop. The majority have hired UX designers to work their magic on the shopping platforms to increase sales. Businesses across all industries now work to make sure the sales and purchase process is seamless for employees and customers. Many companies now hire based on the applicant's chances of fitting into the company's innovative culture of design crafting.

Cannabis online shopping

Gone are the days when consumers had to visit stores in real life to purchase an item. Or the days when you couldn't purchase cannabis without visiting a street corner or alleyway. Now, you can stay in the comfort of your home to purchase your favorite cannabis products. Online cannabis stores are all the rage right now.

Cannabis companies are increasingly relying on user experience (UX) design to guarantee that online clients have a pleasant and effortless time shopping and ordering items through their websites. The CEO of Santa Cruz, Socrates Rosenfeld, said that cannabis shopping should be a fun activity. Santa Cruz is a California-based cannabis technology platform that uses Jane technologies. Rosenfeld added that shopping on their platform isn't anything close to doing taxes.

Many businesses have attempted to strengthen their internet presence (if they haven't done so previously).

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Marijuana and the metaverse: How LA cannabis startups are lighting up the virtual realm

 

With West Hollywood becoming a hub for cannabis consumption lounges and many Silicon Beach companies embracing virtual reality, it was only a matter of time before two of Los Angeles’ two burgeoning industries started mingling.

While many cannabis firms are still figuring out how to incorporate the metaverse and Web3 applications like NFTs, Canoga Park’s Saucey Farms & Extracts has become one of the first business to offer THC products in the metaverse as part of a dispensary in Cryptovoxels, a virtual platform build on the Ethereum blockchain. Local weed brand Califari, meanwhile, recently sold NFT artwork to support the cannabis-oriented criminal justice nonprofit The Last Prisoner Project. Then there’s groups like the Crypto Cannabis Club (CCC), an organization centered around 10,000 “NFTokers” that gives holders discounts on cannabis products and has hosted weed-themed meetups in the Decentraland metaverse.

According to Crypto Cannabis Club CEO Ryan Hunter, about 20% of the community is based in California, with the organization’s most active chapter located in Southern California. Hunter said that CCC uses different metaverses based on its needs; if the Club wants to host virtual 4/20 or 7/10 gatherings for all of its members, those would take place in Decentraland because it’s “more of a wide-open space,” while interactive gaming experience would be on The Sandbox platform, where noted weed entrepreneur Snoop Dogg has already staked a claim.

Hunter views the metaverse as a bridge between real-world cannabis enthusiasts and those who are passionate about virtual experiences.

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Top YouTube channels for growing your own weed

If you’re truly in need of in-depth knowledge and information about how to grow and cultivate weed or general information about a specific strain of weed, you can always rely on these platforms to give you the answer.

In need of tricks and tips on how to grow healthy cannabis plants? YouTube is the place to visit as it offers various audiovisual approaches to growing healthy cannabis plants. YouTube is one of the best platforms for novice marijuana farmers can get accurate and useful information about cultivating marijuana.

More often than not, YouTube channels and users have been sanctioned for publishing cannabis-related content. However, YouTube remains one of the top platforms to get cannabis culture tips and general information.

So, if you need to learn how to expertly cultivate cannabis from seedlings to harvest or learn how to create your setup, Youtube is the right platform. It offers a wide and deep perspective into the modern global cultivation of cannabis

Here is a list of the top 10 best YouTube channels that offers the best knowledge about growing and cultivating cannabis plants.

1. Cali Green

Cali Green publishes some of the easiest and most accurate content on cannabis cultivation. Operated by a medical cannabis patient based in California, the changes cover topics across strain and product reviews, beginner tips, and many more.

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Spanish seed house Intersemillas begins research into medical cannabis

The research, development and improvement company Inveseed, technological partner of the Intersemillas group, has been authorized by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) to carry out research on medical cannabis. The firm is being advised by the company CBD Therapy S.L. The main objective of the project is the creation of varieties with a high content of medicinal cannabinoids, specifically cannabidiol (CBD).

Scientific studies show that cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid with potential therapeutic effects as a natural analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, etc.

"It is more than evident that cannabidiol (CBD) has beneficial therapeutic effects. It is a component of cannabis that does not have psychotropic or psychoactive effects," explains Pablo Pérez Moreno, CEO Plant Breeder of Intersemillas.

This sector is booming. "Large pharmaceutical companies and health ministries in many countries are demanding greater quantities of cannabidiol (CBD), so it is necessary to obtain varieties with homogeneous and profitable productions to meet the demand and guarantee legal security to avoid any risk," says Pablo Pérez.

"This kind of crop requires a level of research that Inveseed has been delivering in vegetable breeding for the last 10 years. This is the opportunity to put our know-how into practice and obtain varieties that the sector's entire chain can benefit from: producers, pharmaceutical companies and end customers," he says. 

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Branded Legacy, Inc. adds multiple new accounts

Spikes CBDX Expands THC-0/Delta-8 Gummies

Branded Legacy, Inc. (OTCPK: BLEG), a holding company focused on the commercial development of hemp and cannabinoid-infused beverages, along with an array of CBD topicals and tinctures is pleased to announce it has added two new stores to its growing list of retail locations. Pipe Smoke shop, located in downtown Orlando, FL, has added the new TCH-0/Delta-8 gummies store. In addition, Massage Renaissance in Jacksonville, FL, which specializes in holistic approaches to healing the mind and body via acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, and herbal remedies will now be carrying Spikes CBDX products. They are very excited about adding Spikes CBDx oils, CyroGel and gummies to their list of holistic treatments for their customers. 

Branded Legacy Inc. is also excited to bring aboard two new recent UCF graduates to the marketing team. They will be tasked with managing and creating the content on all current social media accounts as well as expanding Spikes CBDX content into TikTok and Snapchat. The marketing team will be launching fresh content featuring Spikes CBDX THC-0/Delta-8 gummies, the Companies highest revenue generating product. Spikes CBDX is pleased to announce a new coffee flavor to the THC-0/Delta-8 gummies which will be released in the coming weeks. 

Brandon White, President of Branded Legacy, Inc., stated, "I'm very proud at the success we are seeing. CBD/Smoke shop locations continue to grow, and we are gaining some serious steam in the therapeutic areas. Our new marketing team will surely bring the awareness needed, via the social media platforms, to help take our brand to the next level."

About Spikes CBDX: Spikes CBDX is a line of CBD products designed to assist athletes perform better, recover faster, and avoid injuries. The Company believes that post workout recovery, with Spikes CBDX products, can lower inflammation, aid in making your body stronger, and help recover from injuries naturally. The CBD line also targets individuals who are looking for pain relief, better sleep, faster recovery and lowering inflammation. Spikes CBDX provides tinctures, lotions, moisturizer, and cryo-gel roll-ons. 

About Elev8 Hemp: Elev8 Hemp's mission is simple: craft the highest-quality, organic hemp products for consumers in search of a healthier, happier lifestyle. Everyone needs to get the proper amount of healthy proteins to keep them feeling better and more energetic. We source only the best organic hemp protein powders—naturally full of powerhouse amino acids and Omegas-3, 6, and 9—so we can infuse your daily coffee and tea with an abundance of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. 

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22nd Century Group acquires GVB Biopharma, a leading hemp/cannabis company

 

22nd Century Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: XXII), a leading agricultural biotechnology company dedicated to improving human health with reduced nicotine tobacco, hemp/cannabis, and hops advanced plant technology, today announced the acquisition of privately held GVB Biopharma. As a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), GVB is believed to be one of the largest providers of hemp-derived active ingredients for the pharmaceutical and consumer goods industries worldwide based on total tonnage.

GVB has industry leading market positions and expertise in all facets of the hemp/cannabis industry, which include:

Research and geneticsProprietary cryogenic hemp extractionRefining, conversion, and product formulation technologyLeading supplier of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)Low-cost, scalable manufacturing capabilitiesRegulatory and compliance expertiseIndustry trusted high-quality productsCurrent international capabilities

GVB’s strengths complement 22nd Century’s existing upstream and downstream value chains, which includes expertise in cannabinoid receptor science with CannaMetrix, plant research and proprietary genetics through its KeyGene partnership, breeding expertise with Extractas, and cultivation capabilities at Needle Rock Farms. The combination with 22nd Century establishes a global one-of-a-kind asset to serve the rapidly growing hemp/cannabis ingredient market.

GVB expects 2022 revenue of approximately $48 million, a 58% increase year-over-year, gross margin in excess of 44% and positive cash flow. Upon closing, the transaction is expected to more than double 22nd Century’s revenue, be immediately accretive to adjusted EBITDA, and generate positive cash flow from the acquired assets in the near term.

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Cannaverse Technologies launches Cannaland™ world's first cannabis metaverse

Cannaland™ provides businesses and Brands with the ability to globally scale and monetize

Cannaverse Technologies ("Cannaversetech™"), the pioneering cannabis Metaverse platform that assists companies entering the new Web3 and the Metaverse, announces the launch of the world's first cannabis focused Metaverse, Cannaland™, connecting every facet of the cannabis and hemp communities, revolutionizing the marketplace and opening the landscape for globalization of current and future brands.

Utilizing their experience in the blockchain, crypto, and cannabis industries, Cannaversetech™ has created Cannaland™ a complete cannabis-themed community and meta marketplace where all aspects of socially responsible cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, distribution, retail sale, and consumption of cannabis and hemp products can be enjoyed by residents of the community.  Cannaland's Metaverse has an innovative approach to community building, revenue generation, and product marketing, manufacturing, and merchandising for cannabis brands looking to distinguish themselves in an increasingly crowded physical marketplace.

"With the recent exponential growth of the cannabis industry along with the growing popularity of Crypto, Tokens, and EFT's, right now is the perfect time to support the industry by providing them with the tools and marketplace to revolutionize the industry," said Cannaverse CEO Mark Bonner.

 "At Cannaversetech™ we saw the convergence of cannabis and crypto and are working to modernize the trade by addressing and resolving the existing gaps in the industry."

Cannaland™ is a unique platform which enables worldwide businesses to operate virtually within one domain without boundaries and without the constraints of the localized regulations that exist. This opens the landscape for the globalization of current and future cannabis brands, while providing major consumer products, beverages, and other related products with a way to enter the virtual cannabis market and build their own brands.

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Cannabis breathalyzers might be missing the mark

It's not about the presence of THC, but about impairment.

Cannabis use, both recreational and medicinal, has increased dramatically in the United States. As more people incorporate it into their lives, businesses remain concerned about protecting their workforce from impaired employees on the job. To combat cannabis intoxication, some companies have turned to breathalyzers; it's a familiar tech, and they are accurate when testing for the presence of THC.

However, according to Ken Fichtler, CEO and founder of Gaize AI, the problem isn't the presence of THC. He says it all comes down to impairment. Fichtler says that while breathalyzers can detect THC, they don't detect impairment. This is because studies have shown that measuring THC in the body cannot be correlated to a predictable level of impairment.

Fichtler is currently developing the Gaize Cannabis Impairment Test, a video evidence impairment test that uses a VR headset to provide automated field sobriety tests. 

Each substance impacts eye movement differently, and Gaize has automated the tests to take human error out of the equation and improve accuracy. 

According to Fichtler, a human officer in lab conditions is only accurate 60 to 85 percent of the time. He expects to detect cannabis impairment with greater than 90 percent accuracy with his automated test. The tech will also use machine learning to become more accurate over time. 

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US cannabis market provides greenfield for digital payment startups

Startups worth watching 

Payment startups are tapping the cannabis industry with solutions aimed at digitizing the historically cash dependent sector.

CanPay. The Colorado-based startup’s app lets customers at more than 800 cannabis dispensaries make Automated Clearing House Payments (ACH) payments by scanning a QR code at checkout. Partner merchants are required to bank with CanPay-approved financial institutions (FI) that are compliant with federal guidelines.SuperNet. Customers can use the fintech’s card to pay for products at 100 California dispensaries. SuperNet also processes transactions for the dispensaries and offers a loyalty program.POSabit. The Washington-based fintech offers point-of-sale hardware and software for cannabis dispensaries. POSabit recently expanded into several states, including Georgia, Texas, and West Virginia.

Why it matters

 The cannabis market is huge—but federal regulation prevents mainstream FIs from offering payment services to customers and merchants.

Legal cannabis sales in the US hit a record $17.5 billion in 2020—a 46% year-over-year (YoY) increase, per data from BDSA cited by Forbes. Overall sales are likely significantly larger if illicit marijuana sales are taken into account. Cannabis is also growing more popular as an investment: 43% of US investors currently hold at least one cannabis-related stock, according to a 2021 MagnifyMoney study.

But because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, banks are hesitant to offer transaction services for the industry.

Legislators have tried to address this: The Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would prohibit federal regulators from penalizing FIs for serving legitimate cannabis-related businesses, has passed in the House six times—only to burn out in the Senate each time.This is why major banks have yet to serve the cannabis sector—though smaller regional banks and credit unions tend to be “more comfortable” serving the market, Dan Muller, founder and CEO of digital payments firm Aeropay told Banking Dive.

The big takeaway

 Startups like CanPay, SuperNet, and POSabit see an opportunity to fill the digital payments gap in the cannabis space.

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Navisite is expanding into cannabis industry, will enhance SAP services for various aspects of industry

Navisite, a managed cloud service provider that renders integrated business management computer systems designed to model and automate the different areas of a company and the administration of its resources (SAP services), announced Tuesday that it is expanding its services to the cannabis industry. (Benzinga)

The company offers agricultural, medical and recreational cannabis companies solutions that “span the seed-to-sale process.”

"Cannabis companies need highly scalable, flexible systems that can keep pace with demand, delivering greater intelligence and agility across their entire operations," said Gina Murphy, president and chief transformation officer at Navisite.

"With our cannabis solutions, we bring a unique combination of SAP, business process, and technology expertise to help our customers modernize on SAP and fully capitalize on new market opportunities."

According to a company press release: 

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Marijuana breathalyzers: Cannabix Technologies correlates THC in breath & blood in new experimental study

Cannabix Technologies Inc. reported that it has successfully tested a supplemental version of its FAIMS technology for the detection of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and related analytes in human breath in an independent experimental study. (Benzinga)

The study showed a correlation between breath samples collected and analyzed with Cannabix hardware and blood plasma levels of THC.

The company’s handheld Breath Collection Unit and newly developed laboratory MS Breath Sampler were used together to provide a new ground-breaking method for drug detection.

Cannabix has developed a unique breath analysis system capable of sampling breath for low volatility analytes, like THC, and can be completed within seconds, with no sample preparation needed.

The study

The experimental study included six subjects with a 60%-40% between men and women with an average age of 23 years.

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Steep Hill enters license agreement for a licensed lab in Vermont

Steep Hill also announces grant of stock options

Steep Hill Inc. (CSE:STPH) ("Steep Hill" or the "Company"), a pioneer and leader in cannabis analytical testing announces that it has entered into a licensing agreement (the "Licence Agreement") with SH Lab Holdings LLC ("Steep Hill Vermont"), expanding its network of licensees to the state of Vermont.

Under the terms of the License Agreement signed on April 20, 2022, the Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Steep Hill (US) granted to Steep Hill Vermont certain exclusive licenses with respect to Steep Hill's know-how and procedures, for purposes of operating a laboratory for testing cannabis, hemp and cannabis and hemp derived products in the state of Vermont under the "Steep Hill" brand.

Steep Hill CEO, Sameet Kanade, stated, "We are delighted to partner with Steep Hill Vermont, which has a dynamic, entrepreneurial team with a comprehensive industrial, scientific, and business management background and a rich experience in the cannabis industry. We look forward to working with them to bring robust safety compliance testing to Vermont's medical patients and adult consumers."

Steep Hill Vermont's Lab Director, Callie Chapman, added, "Working with the State of Vermont, our laboratory plans to expand cannabis testing services, while offering quick turnaround times and educational resources for cultivators, manufacturers, and other industry participants. Our goal is to be a key partner in the success of the Green Mountain State's adult use market and continue to grow our industry. Steep Hill Vermont is projected to support cannabis and hemp cultivation and processor customers by fall of 2022."

Steep Hill approves issuance of stock options

The Company announces the grant of stock options (each an "Option") pursuant to the Company's stock option plan. The Company has granted an aggregate of 9,000,000 Options to certain directors, officers, employees, and consultants of the Company, including to executives and employees at its wholly owned subsidiary, Steep Hill (US) Inc. The Options are exercisable at a price of $0.08 per Option. The Options granted vest in four months and expire on May 3, 2025. Each Option is exercisable to purchase one common share in the capital of the Company.

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Growing hemp's ag-tech potential

The transition from academia to manufacturing was challenging for Michael Long, but he was able to use his experience in natural science to start a company with the mission of bringing an eco-friendly alternative to the textile industry.
 
Long is the founder and vice president of operations at Renaissance Fiber, a manufacturer of hemp fiber. The startup describes itself as being clean tech with an emphasis on “working for, and not against, nature,” Long said.
 
Long began his professional career in marine science, which brought him to Wilmington. However, his family roots are in Yadkinville at a farm where tobacco was grown for many generations. When growing tobacco was no longer profitable, however, Long looked to hemp.
 
“When North Carolina opened up its industrial hemp pilot project back in 2017, I got involved as early as I could, and haven’t looked back,” Long said.
 
Since then, Long has learned two things: that he is not a farmer with the trade taking years to learn, and that farmers will not grow what they can’t sell. So he decided to be a crop buyer.
 
“It was crystal clear very early on that the most valuable target for hemp was textiles,” he said.
 
Hemp is a plant with long, slender fibers on its outer stalk. According to an article on Textile Today, it was probably first used in Asia. As Long explains, hemp fiber is cellulose just like cotton, wood or corn stalk and is used in many things from T-shirts to hardwood tables to paper and packaging.
 
The use of hemp for textiles can replace cotton and be more environmentally friendly since hemp plants do not need artificial pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, unlike cotton which needs a lot of pesticides, according to the article.
 
“In the simplest interpretation, hemp can provide lots of textile fiber without the associated impact on natural resources of other more traditional sources,” Long said.

“From my perspective, being able to produce lots of valuable stuff without hurting our natural systems is a must-have for 21st-century industries.”
 
Because hemp fibers are bound up in the structure of the stalk, a chemical process is used to create the best fiber outcome, he said. Some use harsh methods, and Long said he was “not willing to do dirty chemistry,” so he used his natural chemistry knowledge and conducted some experiments that eventually led to a patent.
 
Renaissance Fiber was built around its patented hemp degumming process that is low cost and ecologically invisible, according to its website.
 
Renaissance Fiber is in a lucrative industry with the hemp fiber market projected to reach a value of $43 billion by 2027, up from its $4.6 billion value in 2019, according to Verified Market Research. Plus, there are still lots of opportunities to be explored with hemp, Long said.
 
“There’s really a lot of work happening. And with modern manufacturing technology, the opportunity for innovation is vast,” he said.

“This is something we really look forward to seeing bear out.”

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With a $120 million war chest, Brightseed is unlocking the fat-fighting power of hemp

The AI-powered company is unlocking the hidden healing potential of plants by finding active compounds that could target specific conditions. Next up: diabetes and sleep disorders.

For six weeks in July 2017, Lee Chae, a Stanford-educated plant biologist, sat at his kitchen table in San Francisco—where he can smell and hear the Pacific Ocean—and opened up his laptop. It sounds like a typical workday morning for many, but Chae did something more than just fill out a few spreadsheets. He began building an artificial intelligence platform that can identify bioactive compounds in plants and identify potential remedies for specific human ailments.

That same year, Chae, along with co-founders Jim Flatt and Sofia Elizondo, launched bioscience startup Brightseed to identify unknown compounds present in plants and develop them into various food ingredients, supplements and medicines. For the last five years, the trio have been collecting plants that humans have been using as food and medicine for millennia, grinding them into powder, extracting the active chemicals and running them through their AI platform—which they affectionately call “Forager”—to find the next blockbuster supplement.

The company’s first discovery is a pair of compounds—N-trans-caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans-feruloyltyramine (NFT)—found in cannabis seed shells and black pepper that have shown promise in two preclinical studies on mice to remove fat from the liver. The studies, both of which were published in Cell Death and Disease, a Nature peer-reviewed journal, suggest that these compounds could be used to manage non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a chronic condition that afflicts about a quarter of the world’s population. Currently, there is no FDA-approved treatment for NAFLD but patients are encouraged to lose weight and eat healthy. Serious cases require weight-loss surgery or even a liver transplant.

“Cannabis is known for THC and CBD,” says Chae, naming the psychoactive component in pot that gets people high and the chemical compound associated with anti-inflammation and other health-related benefits.

“And yet, there are these other two compounds that have been sitting in there after all this time and it's a totally different chemical that helps us process fat from the liver. It just tells you how little we know, even of plants that we have a very intimate knowledge, that there's still a lot to discover in how you can use plants.”

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