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$VSQTF Among Five Blockchain Companies to Watch in 2018

February 21, 2018

NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency unarguably have the potential to alter the future of money, finance, transportation and national security. While an increasing number of blockchain plays wind their way through the investment community, Victory Square Technologies Inc. (CSE: VST) (OTC: VSQTF) (FRANKFURT: 6F6) (WKN: A2AKL8) (VSQTF Profile) is demonstrating a particular measure of blockchain innovation potential in a wide range of industries, including payment processing, mobile gaming, and more.  Other companies seizing territory in the blockchain technology space include tech-giant IBM (NYSE: IBM), Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Visa (NYSE: V) and Hive BlockChain Technologies (TSX:HIVE.V) (OTC: HVBTF).

Why Victory Square Technologies is One to Watch

Experienced in backing new ventures, Victory Square Technologies Inc. (CSE: VST) (OTC: VSQTF) (FRANKFURT: 6F6) (WKN: A2AKL8) finances and engages entrepreneurs, bringing them into a fold of education programs, global mentor networks, and effective distribution partnerships.

The company has corporate history in entertainment, sports, finance, energy infrastructure, healthcare and gaming, and thus can intelligently ease pathways for blockchain technologies and companies into those sectors and others.

Victory Square’s impending CAD $1.9 million investment in emerging merchant processor PayVida Solutions Inc. is just one of the company’s anchors in the blockchain space (http://nnw.fm/jVxk5).

While the acquisition of a stake in PayVida enables Victory Square to invest in payment processing, the company’s most recent investment enables a unique position in one of the highest grossing segments of the entertainment industry.

Recognizing the opportunity to leverage blockchain with in the burgeoning global gaming market, Victory Square in mid-February disclosed an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Vancouver-based V2 Games Inc. for $2 million CAD (US$1.6 million) (http://nnw.fm/mD40h).

Founded as a game development and publishing studio, V2 Games now boasts an operating history of licensing large IPs, and was the first Canadian company to license the PAC-MAN IP for a mobile game. The company’s licensing portfolio also includes Hello Kitty, the NFL and the NBA. Leveraging its success in mobile gaming, V2 Games invests its returns into other gaming companies, providing them with seed capital and expertise needed to growth their business. Recent investments include Flow, an equity crowdfunding platform for blockchain-powered games; and AR blockchain company, Shape Immersive.

The virtual nature of modern gaming is pushing the global gaming industry into overdrive. Analysts forecast that the industry will reach nearly $109 billion by 2017 (http://nnw.fm/DW28q), with the mobile gaming segment gobbling up 42 percent of the market.

The integration of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies into this burgeoning industry will likely push gaming to unprecedented heights by providing gamers with even more options, rewards and upgrades.

V2 Games’ strategy is to leverage this growth, along with Victory’s Square’s expertise in blockchain and the public markets, to offer top-tier opportunities to retail investors while facilitating new financing opportunities in the gaming industry.

Establishing Industry Roots

For Victory Square, exponential success in blockchain means embedding in and pursuing opportunities in the broader ecosystem.

In December 2017, Victory Square Technologies joined the Blockchain Investors Consortium (“BIC”), an influential group with more than $2 billion of digital assets. BIC pools member experience and expertise in shared due diligence efforts to identify investment opportunities in the most promising and disruptive blockchain-enabled companies.

The membership enabled a pathway for Victory Square Technologies to take an early-mover position in the Initial Coin Offering (“ICO”) rush via participation in Bluzelle’s (“BLZ”) early contributor round token sale (http://nnw.fm/8kxfC). With the purchase of a $250,000 allocation of BLZ tokens, Victory Square also received 25 percent more tokens for its contribution.

Victory Square also retained Bluzelle CEO Pavel Bains as a strategic advisor to help advance Victory Square’s Blockchain Assembly portfolio company, leveraging his expertise in blockchain and fintech, including ICOs and tokens.

History of Blockchain Investments

As an early investor in blockchain technologies, Victory Square has a deep background and insights to share with affiliated companies. More than three years ago, Victory Square incubated and invested in BTL Group Ltd. (TSX:BTL), the first publicly traded blockchain company (http://nnw.fm/aUcJ3) with a current market cap of over US$220 million. It has also enabled the integration of blockchain technology into the betting website FansUnite, creating a blockchain FAN token to place wagers and building a more-easily verifiable and transparent betting platform.

At FansUnite, the success of blockchain’s technology is such that Darius Eghdami, co-founder and CEO of FansUnite, said, “We are confident it will become the gold standard among sports betting sites around the world.”

Aside from sports betting, Victory Square has diversified its portfolio into VR/AR gaming, personalized health and film.

Victory Square’s track record of strategic investments not only expands its portfolio of disruptive technology investments, but builds its momentum and pace in the broader blockchain industry.

Other Notable Companies in the Blockchain Space

IBM (NYSE: IBM) has already taken a big lead in blockchain tech for supply chain management, aiming to reduce cash cycle time, increase transaction visibility, and reduce the overhead and number of cost intermediates (http://nnw.fm/ct4LZ). Customs declarations are seen as a growth market for the technology (http://nnw.fm/5cxPP), due in large part to blockchain’s ability to ensure asset transfer integrity across a company’s entire supply chain via distributed ledger authentication, a network-driven capacity hailed as the answer to the difficult, costly, time-consuming and risk-inviting practice of maintaining such records via antiquated, sole-source in-house methods.

Walmart (NYSE:WMT), in collaboration with IBM, Chinese retailer JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory,  recently reported the creation of a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance to improve food tracking and safety in China (http://nnw.fm/5Ip1c). In a test program, Walmart showed that the application of blockchain technology reduced the time it took to trace a grocery store’s mango supply chain back to its farm origins to two seconds from what had taken several days. While mangoes are rarely if ever lethal, each year one in 10 people fall ill globally as a result of food-borne diseases; of those, about 420,000 die. The blockchain-enabled ability to rapidly trace bad food to the source and eliminate it from the food chain will mark an important advance in food safety.

Visa (NYSE:V) began testing a new cross-border payments solution dubbed B2B Connect in late January, tying in with financial institutions such as UnionBank, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (NYSE:MTU), and Korea-based Shinhan Financial Group. Visa said B2B Connect eliminates friction for cross-border transactions by using distributed ledger (blockchain) technology to enhance the speed, security and reliability of transactions. Other companies involved in the Visa BTB payment effort include blockchain firm Blocko, the Japan Bank Consortium and Woori Bank.

Hive BlockChain Technologies (HIVE.V, HVBTF), which listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange last September, plans to build bridges from the blockchain sector to traditional capital markets. HIVE has partnered with Genesis Mining Ltd., touted as the world’s largest cloud-based blockchain and cryptocurrency mining company, to build the next generation of blockchain infrastructure. HIVE owns state-of-the-art GPU-based digital currency mining facilities in Iceland that produce newly minted virgin digital currency like Ethereum around the clock, and is in the midst of a major expansion of operations into Sweden.

The Next Act

The rapid emergence of blockchain technology and its acceptance in multiple marketplaces present a possibility of a once-in-a-generation investment opportunities in a transformational technology, somewhat akin to the early dot-com days.  The words “creative destruction” or “disruptive technology” hardly do credit to the beneficial upheavals pending in finance, payment processing, transportation and other industries as blockchain platforms become pervasive.

Especially well-positioned will be those tested investor-practitioners, such as Victory Square Technologies, who have the added perspective of industry experience outside of software to anticipate in which sectors blockchain platforms will be especially accepted, useful or profitable.

One thing is certain, there will be plenty of room for winners in the blockchain space. The market for blockchain-related products and services is expected to reach $7.7 billion in 2022, up from $242 million in 2017, an astonishing 32-fold increase, reports researcher Markets & Markets.

That huge increase in blockchain-related enterprise is expected in the next five years. But, as with the Internet, the real growth and shape of blockchain applications will likely be decades in the making.

For more information on Victory Square Technologies Inc. please visit: Victory Square Technologies Inc. (CSE: VST) (OTC: VSQTF) or please read: Blockchain Revolution Triggers Massive Profit Opportunity

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Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 News Comments Off

$CIIX Diversifies Methods of Reaching Global Chinese-speaking Audience

February 12, 2018

  • CIIX diversifies methods of reaching its global Chinese-speaking audience, with projects ranging from a daily video broadcast from the NYSE on cryptocurrencies to the development of a new social media mobile app for the cannabis industry
  • Company’s new mobile app expected to be the first Chinese-language app offering reviews and discussion of cannabis products
  • ‘Bitcoin MultiMillionaire’ is the company’s daily video broadcast from the NYSE prepared for its unique and expansive audience

ChineseInvestors.com, Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) is reaching out to the global Chinese-speaking community through both daily video broadcasts on cryptocurrencies and, soon, a new mobile app focused on reviews and discussion of cannabis products. CIIX is involved in both product areas. The company is a diverse educational and consulting firm targeting the Chinese-speaking community in both China and the U.S.

In cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the company is active in educational activities, produces a daily video broadcast from the NYSE titled ‘Bitcoin MultiMillionaire’ and hosts a Bitcoin ATM in the lobby of its San Gabriel, California, headquarters.

In cannabis, CIIX has ChineseHempOil.com, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary. That company markets, both online and through traditional retail, a line of hemp-based health products. The line consists of premium private label oil made from non-industrial hemp, manufactured using a CO2 extraction process.

The company’s new cannabis mobile app, focused on marijuana reaching social media, was noted in the January editions of both the Tiny Gems Newsletter (http://cnw.fm/hDX1G) and the Serious Traders Newsletter (http://cnw.fm/4qtlF).

While the company reaches out to its audience in new ways, its subsidiary, CBD Biotechnology Co., Ltd., is also expanding its line of luxury skincare products (http://cnw.fm/Eauh2). Its products have been approved for sale in China by the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). CIIX has scheduled the launch of four new hemp-infused products and a breakthrough magnetic mask. Additionally, as part of its strategic plan to boost revenues, it has aligned with China GuiZhou HanTai Wine, Inc. (http://cnw.fm/5krVp) to begin baijiu liquor sales. Baijiu is a grain-based Chinese alcoholic beverage.

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ChineseInvestors.com

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Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 News Comments Off

$STLHF Rapid Extraction Process Reinventing Lithium Industry

The lithium industry needs to modernize and upgrade its extraction processes if it is going to keep up with escalating market demand for battery grade lithium.  And as Bloomberg reports, the world needs a lot of lithium – fast.

The industry needs a modernizing evolution because extraction methods border on archaic – the process was designed around the 1960’s, and it hasn’t been advanced because the demand for battery-grade lithium materials has only really taken off in the last few years.

Currently Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) is the only company producing lithium inside the United States – in Nevada’s Clayton Valley. Companies like  Chilean multinational Sociedad Química y Minera (NYSE: SQM), Nemaska Lithium (NMX. TO) and Lithium Americas (NYSE: LAC) are scrambling to speed up processes.

A main reason for Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) existence is that Lithium ion batteries have a high-enough charge capacity to make Battery Electric Vehicles viable.

Headquartered in Vancouver, the junior mining company capital of the world, Standard Lithium (TSX.V:SLL) (OTC:STLHF) is building an impressive portfolio of brownfield U.S. based lithium brine assets,  fast-tracking a path to production and linking lithium carbonate to global markets ­from its project sites deep in the investor heartland of the United States.

CEO Robert Mintak and President Dr. Andrew Robinson partnered to launch Standard Lithium last year. The pair formerly founded and operated Pure Energy Minerals, recognized as the top mining company in the 2016 TSX Venture 50.

“Batteries are now 40 per cent of the use of lithium worldwide – and it’s going to be approaching 60% by 2020,” Mintak said. “The industry is now looking for an evolution. It’s at a tipping point where brine producers need to step up their game if they’re going to compete with hard rock producers to bring projects online quickly.”

“The industry has been operating, basically, with mid-20th century technology for the past 50 plus years. Over half of the lithium can be lost when it is being extracted from the ground because the process is so rudimentary. A lot of companies are chasing after modern processing.”

In January, Standard entered into an agreement with Canaccord Genuity, as sole bookrunner and lead underwriter on behalf of a syndicate of underwriters. The Underwriters agreed to purchase 9,530,000 units of the Company for $20 million. Standard also signed an agreement with TETRA Technologies (NYSE: TTI) for up to 33,000 acres of brine leases in a key production fairway in Southern Arkansas.

Standard has two Lithium brine projects: Bristol Dry Lake in California’s Mojave Desert, and the Smackover Project in Southern Arkansas. At both sites, but especially in Arkansas, the company is set to revolutionize the Lithium Industry by applying modern processing methodologies with the goal of fast-tracking production – bringing the lithium recovery from brine process time down from as long as two years to an astonishing 72 hours.

The location of the Smackover projet is ideal, the agreements that Standard has signed allows them immediate access to brine, and the Arkansas project sits in close proximity to key infrastructure already in place.  The site is close to the ports of the Gulf of Mexico.

Until now, no one has built a new lithium project using modern extraction methods.

Standard Lithium is demonstrating faster production through its immediate access to thousands of litres of brine with good lithium concentration. This modernized, 72-hour selected extraction process is a game changer, Mintak said.

“In the same way that shale, or unconventional oil, affected the oil and gas industry, a modern, selective extraction process will reinvent the way people look at lithium projects,” he said.

Mintak says the best place in the world to demonstrate that is Arkansas. “We have everything we need; we have brine that is rich in lithium — it can be produced in amazing volumes.”

“The demand for lithium is real. The world is going to need a lot more lithium, and there are a lot of companies chasing after it, but you need to be able to show a path to production – and a fast-track to production,” Mintak said.  “There are a lot of companies chasing after modernizing the Lithium extraction process. The smart ones are looking to go in as few steps from raw brine to a battery-grade lithium material.”

“Generally exploration companies chase after grade all they want – but lithium projects these are chemical processes facilities, you need manpower, infrastructure, re-agents and water to name a few if aim to produce high-quality, high- margin materails that the end user is going to require,” Mintak said.

Standard is pioneering a range of new technologies, and in addition to aligning with existing permitted operators like Tetra, Standard is working with  a range of  technology partners to apply the right process technology appropriate to the  project.

“We knew the only significant, large-scale opportunity in North America where we could execute our business model was in Arkansas. “We recognized that we couldn’t secure a large land position by ourselves because the mineral claims reside on private property, so we built a great relationship with an operator there, and that relationship has allowed us to turn Arkansas into arguably the biggest opportunity in the Lithium space right now.”

“It is the best showcase in the world for a modern lithium process to be staged.”

Infrastructure exists on the Smackover site that doesn’t exist on other Lithium sites in remote locations, such as high-altitude sites in South America.  At the Arkansas site, producers have been extracting for decades, with billions and billions of barrels of brine successfully pulled out and put back into the basin.

“The infrastructure is amazing, we have a highly trained workforce of brine handlers, and we’ve put together a really strong team of technical engineers who are very familiar with the chemistry process required – extraction experts,” Mintak said.  “We’ve aligned ourselves with the current operators in Southern Arkansas to manage to secure the only large land lease available.”

Mintak believes that this  is the only available chunk of brine leases that producers can access now. It could take years for competitors to try to piece together a land package.

Standard also signed an agreement to build a pilot plant adjacent to one of the existing brine processing chemical facilities in Southern Arkansas, where they will be able to tie into an existing pipeline, gain access to the existing brine supply, and work inside a permitted facility. And for the initial demonstration pilot plant stage, brine will also be shipped from Standard’s California site to Arkansas by rail car enabling the company to run both projects through the same test facility.

“We’ve got the perfect alignment, with the agreements and projects that we have secured, to demonstrate and build a US lithium asset utilizing a modern process,” Mintak said. “While other companies are chasing around, saying they are working on around trying to do it, we have access to all the elements required. It’s already underway, we are working on this everyday. And we’re going to build upon it.”

COMPARABLES:

Albemarle (NYSE: ALB)

Albemarle Corporation globally develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals, with project sites across the United States, and in South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The company is currently producing lithium from brines in Nevada, producing over 6,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year from its Silver Peak operations. Albermarle announced that it has developed a technology that can increase production up to 125,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent without additional brine pumping and is expected to increase production to 80,000 tons a year by 2020.

Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX: NMX) (OTCQX: NMKEF)

Nemaska engages in the exploration and evaluation of lithium hard rock mining properties in Canada. Its Whabouchi property consists of 33 claims covering an area of 1,716 hectares located in the Eeyou Istchee/James Bay area of Quebec; and its Sirmac property, comprises 24 mining claims covering an area of 1,101 hectares located to the north-west of Chibougamau.

Lithium Americas (TSX: LAC) (NYSE: LAC)

Lithium Americas, together with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (“SQM”), is developing the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, located in the Province of Jujuy, Argentina, through its 50% interest in Minera Exar S.A. In addition, Lithium Americas owns 100% of the Lithium Nevada project (formerly Kings Valley project), and RheoMinerals Inc., a supplier of rheology modifiers for oil-based drilling fluids, coatings, and specialty chemicals.

Tesla Inc.  (NASDAQ: TSLA)

Tesla, Inc. (formerly Tesla Motors) specializes in electric automotives, energy storage and solar panel manufacturing. Founded in 2003 by Elon Musk, the company specializes in electric cars, lithium-ion battery energy storage, and residential photovoltaic panels.Tesla also sells the Tesla Powerwall ad Powerpack batteries, solar panels and solar roof tiles. Tesla’s Model S was the world’s best-selling plug-in electric car in 2015 and 2016.

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 News Comments Off

$DJACF Hiku Brands Awarded Prized Retail Cannabis License In Manitoba

Hiku Brands is one of only four proposals selected to operate cannabis retail stores in Manitoba as part of world’s first RFP process for federally legal cannabis retail

TORONTO, Feb. 16, 2018 – Hiku Brands Company Ltd. (“Hiku” or the “Company“) (CSE:HIKU), is pleased to announce that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tokyo Smoke, with participation by BOBHQ, has been conditionally awarded one of four master retail licenses (the “License“) in Manitoba’s highly competitive Request for Proposal (“RFP“) process for the right to operate retail cannabis stores. The License gives Tokyo Smoke the ability to operate legal retail cannabis stores and an online cannabis sales platform in Manitoba. This represents a significant milestone for Hiku and BOBHQ as one of only four successful entities selected in a highly competitive process.

Hiku is excited to bring its award winning retail experience to Manitoba and Manitoba cannabis consumers. The Company commends the leadership shown by the Province of Manitoba in setting up a competitive, privatized cannabis retail system to ensure the responsible management of cannabis distribution and sales within the province ahead of the anticipated adult-use legalization date of Summer 2018.

“We are honoured to be selected as one of four companies to operate retail cannabis stores in Manitoba“, said Alan Gertner, CEO of Hiku. “This achievement is a validation of our business model and vision of creating an unsurpassed retail experience for cannabis consumers. It is also a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our team and consultants — BOBHQ and 4Front Advisors — who helped us achieve this milestone. We look forward to participating in future licensing processes across the country to grow our national retail footprint and bring our unique retail experience to more Canadians.”

“We are thrilled to have been awarded one of four licenses in our home province of Manitoba alongside our valued partners at Hiku”, said BOBHQ co-founder Robert Ritchot. “We have the utmost confidence in our ability to provide our community with an industry-leading retail experience, while closely adhering to both Provincial and Federal legislation.”

As a retail cannabis organization, Tokyo Smoke will also participate in and contribute to social responsibility programs to provide comprehensive cannabis education to retail cannabis store customers and raise awareness of the social responsibility that comes with adult cannabis use. The Company is fully supportive of the Manitoba government’s clear policy initiatives as it relates to cannabis retail, including, social responsibility, education, protecting children and youth and preventing diversion of product to the black market.

About Hiku
Hiku is focused on building a portfolio of iconic, engaging cannabis brands, immersive retail experiences and handcrafted cannabis production. With a national retail footprint led by Tokyo Smoke, craft cannabis production through DOJA’s ACMPR licensed grow, and Van der Pop’s female-focused educational platforms, Hiku houses an industry-leading portfolio that sets the bar for cannabis brands in Canada.

DOJA Cannabis, Hiku’s wholly-owned subsidiary, is a federally licensed producer of craft cannabis pursuant to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (the “ACMPR“).  DOJA owns and operates two production facilities in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. The Company operates a network of retail stores selling coffee, clothing and curated accessories, across British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

About BOBHQ
BOBHQ, a division of Humble & Fume, is a leading North American distributor of smoke shop and counterculture products with many decades of experience. With retail locations in Manitoba and distribution facilities in Canada and across the U.S., the company is able to efficiently distribute over 10,000 different products to thousands of customers throughout North America and abroad.

Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains statements that constitute “forward-looking statements”. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Hiku’s actual results, performance or achievements, or developments in the industry to differ materially from the anticipated results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the words “expects,” “plans”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “intends”, “estimates”, “projects”, “potential” and similar expressions, or that events or conditions “will”, “would”, “may”, “could” or “should” occur.

Forward-looking statements in this document include the Company’s expectation that adult-use legalization of cannabis will occur in the of Summer 2018. By their nature, forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the information is made, and is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Hiku is not under any obligation, and expressly disclaims any intention or obligation, to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by applicable law.

The Canadian Securities Exchange has not approved nor disapproved the contents of this news release.

Friday, February 16th, 2018 News Comments Off