Ignite International Brands, Ltd. (CSE:BILZ;OTCQX:BILZF) (“Ignite” or the “Company”) announces the appointment of John Schaefer as Senior Vice President of Operations and Sam Sarulloas Chief Digital Officer.

John Schaefer joins Ignite as Senior Vice President, Operations. Mr. Schaefer brings a wealth of experience, previously serving as the Vice President of Operations at MedMen. With Medmen, Mr. Schaefer was responsible for cultivation, extraction and manufacturing across North America ensuring successful creation and execution of operations strategies. In addition, Mr. Schaefer was with Bayer/Monsanto as Vice President – North America Supply Chain Manufacturing, where he was responsible for providing leadership teams the tools to modernize supply chains and implement innovative methods for operations.


Sam Sarullo joins the Company as Chief Digital Officer. Mr. Sarullo previously served as Head of E-Commerce at PacSun and ULTA Beauty, where he was responsible for growing e-commerce sales, optimizing digital marketing acquisition, and creating a best-in-class website customer experience.

“John and Sam bring outstanding value and experience to the leadership team at Ignite,” said Jim McCormick, President of Ignite. “As the brand continues to expand and flourish, it’s important to add both their expertise and executive leadership to help us smartly scale and serve our customers well.”

About Ignite International Brands, Ltd.

Ignite is a CSE-listed and OTCQX traded company operating in permissible CBD and cannabis sectors. Ignite intends to expand its business, which currently includes branding, marketing, licensing, sales and distribution, across the United States, Canada and into international jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom and Mexico by leveraging multiple product platforms. The Company intends to effect this expansion through brand leverage, product development, targeted marketing and strategic supply chain partnerships in each of its active and target jurisdictions.

For further information, please contact:
Eddie Mattei, Chief Financial Officer Tel: 905-669-0212 Email: ir@ignite.co

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release includes certain “forward-looking statements” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to Ignite’s expansion and intended business focus and strategy. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon several estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; ability of Ignite to give effect to its business plan; reliance on the “IGNITE” brand which may not prove to be as successful as contemplated; the ability to and risks associated with unlocking future licensing opportunities with the “IGNITE” brand, building a global CBD and cannabis brand and the ability of Ignite to capture significant market share; and the uncertainties surrounding the CBD and cannabis industries in North America and internationally. There can be no assurance that any of the forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Ignite disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Click here to connect with Ignite International Brands (CSE:BILZ) for an Investor Presentation

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Cannabis Market Update: Q3 2020 in Review

Click here to read the previous cannabis update.

During the first few months of investment time in 2021, cannabis faced some volatility alongside optimism about federal changes in the most important market for the drug.

The cannabis business found its stride during Q1 thanks to policy change signals and consolidation.

To find out more, the Investing News Network (INN) asked experts about progress in the market during the first major period of the new year, and which developments investors should watch out for.

 

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Cannabis market update: New York and US potential boost operations

New York state’s legalization of recreational cannabis was a huge Q1 announcement that added pressure to the federal government when it comes to cannabis policy, said George Mancheril, co-founder and CEO of Bespoke Financial, a debt financing business with a particular focus on servicing cannabis businesses.

“It’s going to add to the chorus of voices in the federal scene to basically move sooner rather than later,” he explained to INN.

Following the US election in 2020, the momentum for cannabis businesses went on the upswing, as did company valuations, with the idea of expansion at the heart of it all, according to Mancheril.

Before starting Bespoke Financial, Mancheril spent his time learning from traditional investment banks, where he worked on lending, fixed income and debt markets with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Guggenheim Partners.

Nawan Butt, portfolio manager with Purpose Investments, agrees with Mancheril. The financial expert told INN the ongoing legalization process seen in the US market is leading to expansion.

“It’s becoming more of a national move, then small pockets of proliferation. That’s very exciting about cannabis right now,” said Butt, who acts as the co-manager of the Purpose Marijuana Opportunities Fund (NEO:MJJ).

This proliferation effect is causing a change in valuations and enthusiasm for US-based operations. Mancheril told INN that by the end of Q1, multi-state operators (MSOs) had raised approximately US$3.3 billion.

The cannabis lender said he sees the industry as having grown from the woes of 2019; it is now seeing a return to form by way of the excitement for an ongoing opening process in the US.

The expert explained that there is likely to be a windfall of capital in the wake of major federal changes for cannabis policy, although the timeline for these changes is becoming increasingly hard to predict.

Leading up to that capital influx, Mancheril said he wants to see operators really drill down on the value of desired assets and whether they make sense.

 

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“What I’d hope is that we continue to see bullish sentiment, but with some measure of responsibility, and let’s not just get over ahead of ourselves,” Mancheril told INN. “The idea is let’s minimize the volatility and continue growing responsibly.”

As far as struggles go, Butt explained that the cannabis industry has cemented itself as a growth-type sector, and as such there are macro environment pressures affecting the way these assets operate.

“We’ve seen this preference for cash flows at growth in the current or in the near future, rather than in the far future, and that’s what we’re seeing as far as valuations go in the broad market,” Butt said.

Cannabis market update: Volatility continues to rule as industry foundations build

Despite the current potential of the industry and the growing pains it has gone through as a whole in both the US and Canada, volatility remains a key factor in the investment scene for cannabis.

Butt explained the current shareholder base still lacks enough institutional support to avoid the day-to-day volatility cannabis has been known for before.

“A lot of these institutions’ strategies are not about short-term profits, but they’re about long-term sustainability of the businesses themselves,” Butt said.

As such, hedge funds and retail investors still represent the dominant portion of the shareholder base for cannabis stocks. These two investor groups, Butt said, can be easily spooked and excited by the news of the day when it comes to their investments.

“That’s why you see a lot of volatility in the space and that’s essentially what we’ve seen over the past, I’d say, three to two months as well,” Butt said.

So for investors asking themselves when volatility will leave the industry, don’t expect that anytime soon.

“It’s not about whether we continue to expect volatility because we do,” Butt said. “We really think that the volatility will be taken out when the shareholder base becomes more institutional, but it’s really about understanding why there is volatility in the first place.”

Cannabis market update Canadians talk up US business potential, but questions remain

A surge of merger and acquisition deals have taken over the Canadian cannabis sector as more producers see the potential within the American opportunity.

One of the biggest announcements in this regard was Organigram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI,TSX:OGI) securing a C$221 million investment deal from British American Tobacco (BAT) (NYSE:BTI,LSE:BATS).

 

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Using the funds, the two will work in tandem to develop new branded products designed to work at the international stage, including the US. Organigram CEO Greg Engel previously told INN, the US represents a critical opportunity for Canadian companies, but that entry point isn’t as clean as it could be at the moment.

While the long-term potential may be exciting for investors, Butt told INN he’s still unsure how the approach will work for the Canadians.

The Purpose Investments expert said there will be plenty of space for the biggest Canadian names to pursue US market entries, beyond the initial hemp-derived CBD ones some operators have done, since the US represents the biggest market in the world.

“But there’s just way too many unknowns right now to say exactly what that participation is going to look like or when that participation will happen,” he said.

“What we do know is that currently the US MSOs are in a wonderful sort of position to expand on their market leadership that they have. And it will be tough for Canadians to come in and compete with them,” Butt said.

Canadians, however, still retain the upper hand at times in terms of valuation, which still confuses both Butt and Dan Ahrens, chief operating officer and portfolio manager at AdvisorShares.

“The performance in quarterly earnings of US companies has been rather spectacular. They’ve knocked it out of the park in most instances,” Ahrens told INN.

Butt praised the recent performance reports from MSOs across the board with year-over-year growth lines and projections for continued positive performance.

However, in his view the numbers still don’t reflect the value. “Those are really being discounted at this point,” Butt told INN.

Ahrens doesn’t see the same kind of stock performance match what the MSOs have been able to produce by way of their financial results.

“We’ve seen the Canadian LPs be really hot stock performance-wise, outpacing the US (MSOs) and I’ll say it’s rather nonsensical to me,” said Ahrens, who oversees the AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (ARCA:YOLO) and the most recently launched AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (ARCA:MSOS).

Cannabis market update: Investor takeaway

The cannabis investment proposition finds itself at an interesting moment in time, as the entire sector eagerly awaits for US confirmation from a federal level.

While for some, the Canadians waiting on the sidelines, this development can feel like a major necessity to address current financial struggles, for others, US-based operators, the heat around the corner will represent an increase to their already thriving operations.

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