Global cannabis firms ink letter of intent on distribution

(source: Unsplash/Esteban Lopez)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 August, 2019 at 10:40 am by Christian Keszthelyi

The Greater Cannabis Company Inc (GCAN) entered into a letter of intent with Israel Cannabis Ltd (iCAN), GCAN agreeing to expand its eluting patch platform distribution into what the company describes as key global markets. The agreement, once coming to effect, might affect Malta too.

GCAN is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development and commercialisation of innovative delivery systems for the cannabis market. iCAN is an Israeli developer of cannabis-based formulations, clinical trials and cannabis testing.

The eluting patch platform is an “innovative delivery system, which uses a patented mucoadhesive and multilayered orally dissolving thin film to deliver a precise dose of cannabinoids into the body through the buccal mucosa,” the press release says. Clinical studies, funded in part by the US-based National Institutes of Health (NIH), have shown the delivery system’s capability in achieving higher bioavailability in the body using lower and controlled, dosing when compared to other routes of administration, according to the press release.

The agreement with iCAN will include commercial-ready formulations to meet medical and recreational market demands. Distribution and marketing rights for iCAN will consist of Malta, along with another list of countries — Israel, Australia, South Africa, Netherlands, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Macedonia, and Portuguese territories.

Focusing globally on the cannabis ecosystem, iCAN operates a global platform for distribution of such products through its iCAN Serve unit and works with a portfolio of like-minded companies, including but not limited to CannRx, CMTREX, CannaTech and endoCRO.

“I am very excited about the prospect of offering GCAN’s products through our many distribution channels,” says Saul Kaye, CEO of iCAN. “I have seen many groundbreaking innovations come through our CannaTech conferences, and the eluting patch technology was a platform I was particularly impressed with. I believe this technology can redefine how consumers think about cannabis. From the lower-dosage form to the controlled and slow-release mechanisms, and the ability to use it anywhere, I believe the product will resonate really well with consumers and generate rapid traction in the markets we intend to bring it to,” he adds.

“I am pleased to announce our partnership with iCAN,” says Aitan Zacharin, CEO of GCAN. “Saul [Kaye, iCAN CEO] is an industry leader who is at the forefront of everything tech in cannabis. His desire to partner with us is a testament to the strength of our technology and its capabilities. We are excited to establish this important partnership in the medical and adult-use cannabis industry. We are focused on transactions that will accelerate the commercialisation of our products, and the iCAN deal does that globally. iCAN shares our enthusiasm for seeing healthier, standardised, pharmaceutical-grade, and more cost-effective cannabis products introduced into the market. We look forward to working with iCAN to bring our cutting-edge technology to consumers worldwide,” he adds.

Cannabis in Malta

Views on cannabis have been transforming globally in recent years. Many countries have made measures of decriminalisation, allowing medical usage and some even legalising recreational usage to a certain extent. Malta has already made steps towards decriminalisation and medical usage, in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

New policies were introduced in 2015 in Malta to decriminalise cannabis, though simple possession is still considered as an “arrestable offence”, according to press reports. People caught with quantities smaller than 3.5g of cannabis are subject to fines ranging between €50 and €100, but they do not need to appear in court but before a Justice Commissioner. However, the police is allowed to detain people caught with small quantities for up to 48 hours to interrogate them for information to fight drug trafficking.

The Maltese legislation is more lenient towards cannabis than any other drugs. An individual caught possessing small quantities of drugs other than cannabis for the second time in two years will need to appear before the Drug Offenders Rehabilitation Board and attend due rehabilitation. However, in the case of cannabis, offenders are exempted from appearing before the board, regardless of how many times they are caught.

At the same time, pressure had appeared to be growing in terms of the medical use of cannabis. Although the 2015 reform partially legalised medical cannabis as a last resort solution for patients suffering from chronic pain, news reports suggested only a few patients had been treated in practice due to a stock shortage of such products, as well as hiking prices of the ones available on shelves, according to a report by Malta Today.

In 2018, Malta officially legalised medical cannabis. After its third and final reading, amendments to the Drug Dependence Act were enacted by Parliament on the 26th of March. The law allows family doctors to prescribe non-smoking forms of medicine available at pharmacies for patients, after the Superintendent of Public Health has approved of a control card, according to another report by Malta Today.

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