TORONTO (BUSINESS WIRE) — Easton Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company that designs, develops, and markets a premium array of topically-delivered therapeutic healthcare products, today announced updates to its Canadian and United States Medical Marijuana initiatives.
Easton, in its quest to enter into new business segments and products, has entered into discussions with 2 private independent companies in Canada for a proposed joint venture or partnership where it would share in any revenues generated in the medical Marijuana industry. Both of the companies currently possess growers licenses within various Provinces in Canada with one of them having affiliations within a clinical marijuana friendly state. Terms being discussed are issuing shares of Easton stock, cash payments to be made by Easton or a combination of both. The companies are considered well respected and due to the fact they currently maintain growers licenses, it is believed they would have a better chance in obtaining licenses under the proposed new medical marijuana rules set to launch in March of 2014.
Using already approved third parties will spare Easton from going through time consuming Health Canada hurdles and credibility background checks although the company has not ruled this option out as it has previously involved the services of third parties to lead it towards its own application with Health Canada. Both third party companies presently possess licenses within various Provinces in Canada, allowing them to grow a certain amount of marijuana plants. The Canadian government recently approved a law to commence in March of 2014 that would allow newly approved licensed growers under the new laws the rights to sell and supply to regulated dispensaries who would ultimately provide it to consumers with valid medical conditions and other reasons. Another decision by the Canadian government regarding its medical marijuana laws is expected to be handed down sometime in September to provide further clarity and any proposed changes. Initially, it is expected that only an estimated 30 to 50 or so licenses are to be issued. The license holders must prove they have valid well secured facilities that follow all governmental guidelines, which are to be fully inspected on a regular on-going basis. All individuals of any such programs must undergo periodic drug testing and thorough background checks.
In addition to its Canadian initiatives, the company maintains its strong desire to pursue and participate in the growing trend towards medical marijuana within certain states of the United States. Additional and more detailed updates on its U.S. initiatives are expected shortly which may include a possible new product possessing edible hemp. Similar products from other companies are presently commanding premium pricing and are gaining popularity. To be able to participate in the so called friendly states, any licensed companies or individuals would need to utilize fulltime workers or employees based in that particular state and follow very strict guidelines which differ from state to state. The state of Illinois recently approved the use of medical marijuana making it the second most populated state next to California to have approved it. Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, and Michigan are currently the only states to utilize dispensaries to sell medical cannabis. Connecticut will be the eighth but has yet to issue any licenses. California’s medical cannabis industry took in about $2 billion a year and generated $100 million in state sales with an estimated 2,100 dispensaries, co-operatives, wellness clinics and taxi delivery services in the sector colloquially known as “cannabusiness”. Laws currently sitting in other States were expected to have been heard and acted on but were put on hold until sometime later in 2013 or early 2014.
Until such time as the Company is able to secure valid licences in both the U.S. and Canada either through its own applications or through third party applications, the company’s main focus will continue to be towards its Viorra product and its other line of products that possess its reformulated transdermal delivery system. There are no assurances that it will be successful in obtaining the required licences or finalizing an acceptable deal with third parties
According to a report by the financial news firm, See Change Strategy, the medical Marijuana industry could reach nearly $9 billion nationwide in five years, as more states in the United States clear the way to likely legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. One of marijuana’s greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions. There is no known case of a lethal overdose. On the basis of animal models, the ratio of lethal to effective dose is estimated as 40,000 to 1. By comparison, the ratio is between 3 and 50 to 1 for secobarbital, and between 4 and 10 to 1 for ethanol. Marijuana is also far less addictive and far less subject to abuse than many drugs now used as muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics. The chief legitimate concern is the effect of smoking on the lungs. Cannabis smoke carries more tars and other particulate matter than tobacco smoke. But the amount smoked is much less, especially in medical use, and once marihuana is an openly recognized medicine, solutions may be found such as vaporization, tinctures, extracts and oils. At present, the greatest danger in medical use of marijuana is its illegality, which imposes much anxiety and expense on suffering people, forces them to bargain with illicit drug dealers, and exposes them to the threat of criminal prosecution.