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Technology Aides the Cannabis Industry to Overcome Regulatory Obstacles

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Cannabis legalization efforts are rapidly accelerating, yet under federal regulations, the plant is still classified as an illegal substance. Currently, more than half the U.S. has legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational use. The classification of plant   puts the cannabis industry in a difficult position. For instance, many banks explicitly mention they will not provide financial services such as loans or opening an account for a cannabis-related business. Shannon Hatton, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fiddler's Greens, a California-based tincture maker, said she experienced numerous issues with starting up her business because bank loans were not an option. If Hatton were to mention cannabis when applying for a loan, she could potentially run the risk of having her checking account closed, according to Leafly. Henceforth, creating a cannabis business is not a simple task and requires a large sum of money. For example, opening a legal adult-use business can cost anywhere from USD 2 Million to USD 5 Million. Additionally, businesses can also wait up to two years before they are approved for a license to operate. And for anyone attempting to start a business, the metrics could be very intimidating. As a result, entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity and created their own institutions to serve the cannabis industry. According to Mordor Intelligence, the cannabis market is expected to reach USD 89.1 Billion from USD 14.5 Billion in 2018. Additionally, the market is expected to register a CAGR of 37% during the forecast period from 2019 to 2024. 

Cannabis advocates and politicians have voiced their concerns over the restrictions imposed between the cannabis industry and banks. Many lawmakers have noted that the absence of a Congressional legislation is severely limiting the expansion of the cannabis industry. Moreover, many businesses are forced to hire security services in order to transport and guard physical cash piles. However, innovative technology companies have introduced digital payment platforms that have reshaped the cannabis industry. Digital payments have become a standard form of payment processing in any business that interacts with customers. The integration of digital payment processors speeds up the transaction process and increases customer satisfaction. In return, businesses can manage their monetary funds digitally. While it is a step forward, many activists are still aggressively pushing a reform to ease restrictions on the cannabis industry. In July, U.S. lawmakers attended a Senate hearing to discuss law reforms regarding cannabis. Witnesses testified on the financial challenges that cannabis-based businesses face due to legal concerns. Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, called the hearing an important step forward that the government needs to address. "In short, the states are leading on this issue, and the federal government has failed to respond," said Gardner, who is co-sponsor of legislation to reform cannabis banking laws. "It has closed its eyes and plugged its ears and pretended the issue will go away. It won't."

Global Payout, Inc. announced yesterday that, "the company has launched a massive update to its blockchain-powered payment platform, which includes the addition of new banking partners to provide a suite of enhancements to improve the merchant experience through added stability, reliability, and system integrity.

Many companies have attempted to solve the cash problem in Cannabis, and they most certainly have all come to realize the complexities of navigating the financial and regulatory challenges in this constantly evolving industry. The Schedule 1 classification persists as the main deterrent to financial institutions providing its services to cannabis merchants. "We continue to attract key banking partners with our compliant and seamless solution as an industry leader in this innovative financial technology space," said Mr. Kevin Curtis, MTrac Chief Strategy Officer. "These strategic updates to the MTrac platform are being done in order to further stabilize the platform and to continue serving our clients in this next growth phase we are embarking upon. The MTrac 3.0 launch is the culmination of key partnerships, significant market share, and our team's focus on compliance, service, and stability."

'As these new bank networks are being injected, MTrac is also downsizing the equipment needed to process transactions on the merchant side, which will reduce hardware costs and deployment time to the merchant to enable faster adoption, onboarding, and an improved checkout process for the customer.' Said David Flores EVP, 'These updates will also provide unlimited processing bandwidth and more secure transactions with EMV chip and pin debit features, which will allow for overall enhanced merchant and consumer experience.'

Since the Company's inception in 2009, Global Payout, Inc. has been a leading provider of comprehensive and customized prepaid payment solutions. From 2014 to 2017 Global focused on identifying the new state of the art technologies in a variety of industry sectors and successfully helped launch MoneyTrac Technology Inc. and other companies within the FinTech space. In 2018, Global completed a reverse triangular merger with MoneyTrac Technology Inc. resulting in Global retaining the wholly-owned subsidiary, MTrac Tech Corporation. Global's current focus is continuing to identify new business opportunities while it reorganizes its future business endeavors."

The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. recently announced the launch of Supreme Heights, an investment platform based in London, UK focused on opportunities in the UK and Europe's CBD health and wellness space. Supreme Heights intends to make strategic investments in and provide support services to differentiated high-growth health and wellness businesses with focused brands and premium CBD offerings. Supreme Cannabis has launched Supreme Heights as a separate entity that will solely address opportunities in the UK and Europe's CBD health and wellness market. Supreme Heights will benefit from Supreme Cannabis' regulatory, product commercialization, supply chain, marketing and capital markets expertise and corporate support services. Supreme Cannabis' management team has immense experience supporting health and wellness companies operating in Canada and international markets. Supreme Heights will draw on the Company's experience launching premium brands. "The rapidly evolving CBD markets in the UK and Europe present compelling investment opportunities given the promising environments for new health and wellness companies to establish differentiated brands and capture meaningful market share. Supreme Heights is positioned to quickly act on attractive opportunities and establish an early mover advantage in the space," said Navdeep Dhaliwal, Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Cannabis. "Supreme Heights will benefit from our experience launching some of the most premium cannabis brands in Canada and from the strong leadership and the deep industry connections of our UK partners. We look forward to driving value for Supreme Cannabis shareholders through this investment platform."

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. recently announced that it has entered into a hemp cultivation and purchase agreement (the "Agreement") pursuant to which the Company has agreed to act as the fiscal sponsor for the development of a hemp farming co-operative consisting of six individual hemp license holders pursuant to the Cannabis Act (collectively, the "Hemp Farmers") located in Prince Edward Island. "We are very excited to partner with experienced farmers in the province of PEI," said Hugo Alves, President of Auxly. "I'm proud of our Dosecann team for finding this opportunity and being able to demonstrate our continued support for Atlantic Canada. This project ensures our ability to meet the growing market demand for wellness and adult-use cannabidiol (CBD)-based products, and enhances our commitment to bringing innovative, branded derivative cannabis products to Canadian consumers."

Liberty Health Sciences Inc. recently announced that it opened its 16th dispensary in the capital city of Tallahassee, Florida on June 19th after obtaining approval from the Florida Department of Health on June 14, 2019. This is Liberty's first dispensary to open in Leon County. "On behalf of the entire Liberty team, it is truly an honor and a privilege to establish a dispensary in the state's capital," said Victor Mancebo, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Liberty. "As we continue to expand our Florida footprint, we are proud to provide patients access to our beautiful, modern, and educationally equipped dispensaries. We are also excited to continue to witness Liberty's growth and achievements in such a short time span, while at the same time executing on our solid growth strategy. Every day we strive to be the best at what we do and provide our patients with the best care and products on the market today."

United Cannabis Corporation recently announced that its Joint Venture, Jamaica-based Cannabinoid Research & Development ("CRD"), has been issued a license to cultivate cannabis within Jamaica by the Country's Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA). Earnest Blackmon, Chief Executive Officer of United Cannabis, commented on the announcement, "Jamaica represents a significant market opportunity and United Cannabis has made a material investment in building the foundation necessary to launch a full-scale operation there. The granting of this license is confirmation from the CLA that we are on our way. I am confident that our outstanding applications will be approved shortly, and we look forward to establishing Jamaica as the production hub for international distribution of United Cannabis products."

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