Q&A With Robert Kane on US Firm’s Plans for Cannabis R&D, Treatment Facility in Canada
A US medical marijuana company is moving full speed ahead with plans to build a first-of-its-kind cannabis campus that will include a treatment center, hospital facilities, a lab for research and product development and a cultivation site that will grow both MMJ and hemp.
The X-Change Corp. – one of the few publicly traded companies in the medical cannabis space (ticker symbol XCHC) – hopes to one day treat patients from around the world at the facility, offering cannabis-based remedies for their ailments.
How is this possible, given that marijuana is still illegal federally and state MMJ laws don’t cover these types of operations? The X-Change Corp. plans to build the campus on a big swath of land in New Brunswick, Canada, belonging to the Maliseet First Nation, the indigenous people of the region. The tribe – which has its own government and laws – has agreed to partner with the firm and the two sides are now hammering out details, including a projected timeline and the overall scope of the project. The partnership allows The X-Change Corp. to avoid the legal issues that prevent it from building such a facility elsewhere in Canada or the US – though there are still many challenges involved.
The X-Change Corp. actually bought the rights to the project from another US company, Cannabis Science, which planned to move forward with the development last year but has been unable to do so because of competing priorities.
Robert Kane, who is president of The X-Change Corp. and also handles investor relations for Cannabis Science, spoke with Medical Marijuana Business Daily about the project and what it means for the future of the marijuana business. Following are excerpts of that conversation:
On why this is important for the medical cannabis industry…
A large portion of the information we as an industry have about the medical benefits of cannabis is anecdotal. There have been global studies before, but in general this type of data is lacking. In our opinion, this project is going to progress the industry because we’ll hopefully get scientific results from the research and development conducted at this facility. We’ll have a place to actually test and get quality research.
On partnering with the Maliseet First Nation…
The reason we decided to go with them is that they are cannabis-friendly and understand what the world needs at this point. And because of their legal framework, we can do this in a legally compliant manner.
On what the project includes…
There are several things that make this project unique. The Maliseet Nation dedicated a large amount of land to open a legal cannabis growing facility, clinical laboratory, manufacturing and production facility and treatment center. The goal of this joint venture is to facilitate medical cannabis and hemp research, clinical trials and treatments, among numerous other opportunities. There are plans to create a commercial kitchen and other production facilities for formulations and products. We’ll have a research and development facility focusing on cannabis extract-based formulations that will be able to treat people with health issues such as cancer, PTSD, asthma, Alzheimer’s and a wide range of other conditions. We will treat them in a clinical fashion and collect data that can be used to hopefully progress the science behind cannabis-based medicine and to create quality standards.
On the types of products the facility will develop…
It’ll be a full range of cosmeceutical and nutraceutical products. The whole point of opening up is to see if we can come up with a suppository or oral gel cap or topical cream. It could be a sunblock or a shampoo or a cosmetic product like makeup. We’ll have a variety of different formulations – such as an over-the-counter hemp formulation – so we can be in all markets to some degree without facing compliance issues. We’ll also develop a cannabis-based extract formulation for states and countries where medical cannabis is legal. And we do fully see in our vision that the US will be one of these countries.
On what this means for XCHC financially and from a long-term strategic perspective…
First of all it creates a revenue stream for over-the-counter products. Our goal is to create enough revenues to hit positive earnings per share. We also want to add a few more products to our product line, primarily personal care products like shampoos and creams. This project will allow us to produce a lot of new products through research and development. We eventually could open our own line of edibles.
On how X-Change Corp. became involved in this partnership…
Cannabis Science actually started this project last year, and we purchased it from them. They sold it to us because they were progressing faster than expected in other areas of the company, so there was a conflict of projects.
On the project’s timeline…
We’re really just getting everything started now. The agreement was just finalized so there is going to be some time dedicated for proper development of this facility. There is also going to be time to finalize all of the legal compliance that is required. Our teams are working relentlessly around the clock to get everything completed in an efficient manner. We will announce progress as it is made.
On who can get treated at the facility…
We are aware of having to be fully compliant with international law. With that said, if you have a condition that we could treat at this facility then you would be able to travel there and get care as long as it is in accordance with your country’s law and international law.
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