Medical marijuana company to list on ASX

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Medical marijuana company to list on ASX

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"http://www.smh.com.au/business/medical- ... 1dlv1.html

Sydney Morning Herald - November 1, 2014 - Stephen Cauchi

Medical marijuana company to list on ASX

In the United States, it is known as the dot bong boom. And although in Australia cannabis does not - yet - flow as freely, the first medical marijuana company is about to list on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Perth-based PhytoTech Medical will lodge its disclosure document in late November, with the aim of raising $5 million through 25 million shares at 20¢ each. The float will be fully underwritten by BBY.

Image
Phytotech Medical founder Ross Smith.

At its helm is Ross Smith, 51, who rode the highs and lows of the dotcom boom and who has a long and colourful history with both marijuana and sharemarket floats. Mr Smith, Israeli-based, smoked and sold cannabis as a teenager and young man, and was convicted and fined $15,000 for possessing and cultivating marijuana in 1989.

His online sharetrading company daytraderHQ was all over the headlines in 2000 and 2001 as its stock price rollercoasted - from 50¢ to $2.10 to 1.5¢ - amid legal action from former employees over their termination. Pilbara Mines - of which he was managing director - endured an even more dramatic run, its shares going from 5¢ to $8.07 to 19¢.

"The daytraderHQ days were 14 years ago and crazy times," Mr Smith said. "I was corporately naive back then and, yes, mistakes were made."

He pointed out that Pilbara Mines - renamed Jabiru Metals - was eventually sold for $531 million and another of Mr Smith's companies, RequestDSL, for $78 million.

Although listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, PhytoTech will use marijuana grown in California and Uruguay to develop medical products in Israel. These will then be sold in Israel, Europe, the US and Canada.

If medical use of marijuana is legalised in Australia, the company aims to be a major player here as well.
Recreational use of marijuana in Australia is effectively decriminalised for small amounts. Worldwide, about 20 countries - as well as more than 20 states in the US - have legalised medical cannabis. Colorado and Washington have also legalised the sale of cannabis for recreational use.

Marijuana stocks are touted as the next big thing in the US, with stocks such as Hemp, GreenGro Technologies, Advanced Cannabis Solutions and Tranzbyte enjoying enormous gains in 2014. Investors, meanwhile, are cashing in on the trend. Possibly the best known of these is the so-called "Wolf of Weed Street" who has reportedly made more than $US500,000 ($568,000) trading in green stocks.

Mr Smith said his interest in medical marijuana stemmed from a broken back he suffered at age 25. In his late 40s, suffering "severe" arthritic pain from a laminectomy on his back, the anti-inflammatories and painkillers "were causing me serious grief". A hunting and fishing holiday with a marijuana-smoking friend led to an epiphany: "After three days of enjoying a puff every night, I found that I didn't need to take my medication."

PhytoTech's other directors include chairman and co-founder Peter Wall, partner of Perth law firm Steinepreis Paganin, who is currently non-executive chairman of miners Galicia, Minbos and Aziana. Non-executive director Winton Willesee has sat on the board of numerous Perth-based small miners, while the fourth member of the board is Israeli medical cannabis pioneer/activist Boaz Wachtel.

"One of the guys we've got [Dr Yehuda Baruch] headed the Israeli health department medical cannabis division ... We've got the who's who of the world authorities. In Israel, they've been researching medical cannabis for more than 40 years," Mr Smith said.

Besides Dr Baruch, the other three members of Phytotech's medical advisory board are the chief of haematology/oncology at San Francisco General Hospital, Donald Abrams, and Israeli medical academics Av Domb and Reuven Or.

With a long-term aim of cracking the Australian market, should medical marijuana become legalised, Mr Smith is bringing Professor Or to Australia for a series of talks with health ministers. Currently, there are clinical trails of cannabis-based medicine in Victoria and New South Wales, while the Victorian Labor Party has pledged to legalise access to medical marijuana for people with life-threatening conditions if it wins government.

The Australian Medical Association supports the trial of medical cannabis products, provided they have been fully tested and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. However, the raw plant, and any oils or tinctures made from it, should continue to be banned, the AMA believes.

"What we are seeking to do is exactly what any other new medicine would be required to do coming onto the market," the head of AMA's Victorian branch, Tony Bartone, said recently.

Federally, Greens senator Richard Di Natale, chairman of the cross-party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy and Law Reform, is finalising a bill allowing medicinal cannabis.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott indicated in a letter in August that he would support the bill, stating: "I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates."

However, Mr Smith said he was not expecting medical marijuana to be legalised soon in Australia. "It's still talk and they need to do trials. I can give you 40 years of medical evidence if that's what they want. There are people in Australia who need this medication now. The government has been irresponsible to deny Australians access to this."

The company has no plans to get into the recreational cannabis market, he said. "It's not our thing. We're very corporate ... there's not a hippy in sight."



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Re: Medical marijuana company to list on ASX

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"http://www.smh.com.au/business/ross-smi ... 1zsuf.html

The Sydney Morning Herald - December 4th - Scott Parker

Ross Smith to list Phytotech Medical to capitalise on medical marijuana industry

Image
Phytotech founder Ross Smith with medical marijuana in Israel. Photo: Supplied

He's been branded "the Wolf of Weed Street", is involved in what many are calling the "dot bong boom" and admits to fantasising about being the "George Clooney of medicinal cannabis".

But beyond the one-liners, Ross Smith is deadly serious about the emergence and legalisation of the medical marijuana industry.

In just under three weeks, he will become the first man to list on the Australian stock exchange a company with plans to sell marijuana.

Image
The Phytotech vaporiser.

It's an interesting development for a man who 25 years ago was fined $15,000 for possessing and growing the plant.

"I like the truth, there's less to remember," Mr Smith, the founder of Phytotech Medical, said. "It's like my cannabis conviction here in '89 in Australia, I just think it's so ironic.

"There I was having police arrest me for cultivating and having cannabis and 25 years later I've founded a company determined to develop the medical benefits associated with it.

"Luckily I didn't have to do any jail time, I'm too pretty for jail."

Smith is a serial entrepreneur. He has founded companies including Jabiru Metals, Colonial Brewing Co and a broadband company, Request DSL.

His latest project is Phytotech Medical, which will list on the ASX on December 22. It plans to work with farmers in Uruguay and the United States to set up marijuana crops, which it will cultivate and distribute in countries where medicinal use of the plant is legal.

The marijuana will be sold as an ingredient for use in disposable vaporisers which the company will also sell to patients with conditions like cancer.

About 20 other countries have decriminalised marijuana use, including North Korea, where cannabis is completely legal, Iran, where regulated use is legal, and Uruguay, where it's legal for personal use.

Smith said medical marijuana had the potential to become the 'Model T Ford' of the 21st century. Already it is estimated to be worth $US1 billion in California alone and about $100 billion worldwide.

Patients use about 1 gram a day and pay $US14-$US20 for it.

Medical marijuana has been legalised in more than 20 states in the US; in Washington state and Colorado, it can also be bought or grown for recreational use.

While growing or using marijuana is illegal in Australia, NSW and Victoria are holding clinical trials to analyse its use as a pain-reliever.

South Australia, the ACT and Tasmania are also interested in joining the study.

Smith said he has been speaking with American cannabis advocate Steve DeAngelo about using Phytotech's vaporiser and crops to supply his 140,000 patients in the United States.

He said he was willing to be the face of the industry, as Clooney has been for Nespresso, the market leader in the coffee-capsule business.

"I'm just a handsome devil and George is a couple of years older than me, my hair's darker and I've got an incredibly good physique and what's more I'm still on the market," Smith said of comments he made comparing himself with the actor this week.

"I have this vision of me on Lake Como with two very attractive Italian models, blazing away on my vaporiser, and they say 'is that a Phytotech vaporiser you have there', and I say well yes it is."

While Phytotech will be listed in Australia and run its back office from Perth, Smith and the operations team, including business partner and managing director Boaz Wachtel, are all based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Smith said Wachtel was "the father of the medical cannabis movement", citing his early work with Israeli soldiers using medical cannabis to reduce the effects of post traumatic stress disorder and associated suicide.

The pair are equal partners in the company and will focus on different parts of the business, Smith on distribution and strategy and Wachtel on operations and active management.

The Phytotech float is being handled by stockbroker BBY. The offer is priced at 20 cents a share and the company hopes to raise $5 million. Smith said the offer, which closes on December 12, has been oversubscribed to the value of $15 million and would more than likely be closed early."

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Re: Medical marijuana company to list on ASX

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"http://www.smh.com.au/business/phytotec ... 2bkx2.html

The Sydney Morning Herald - December 22, 2014 - 12:15AM - Stephen Cauchi

PhytoTech float delayed over legal assurances

Image
Perth-based PhytoTech was due to list on the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday in an IPO. Photo: MCT

Australia's first initial public offering in a medical marijuana company, scheduled for this week, has been postponed until early next year.

Perth-based PhytoTech was due to list on the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday in an IPO, underwritten by BBY, seeking to raise $5 million through 25 million shares at 20 cents each.

PhytoTech executive director Ross Smith said the hold-up was caused by the ASX requesting assurances about the legality of the company's products.

Although listed on the ASX, PhytoTech will use marijuana grown in California and Uruguay to develop medical products in Israel. These will be sold in Israel, Europe, the United States and Canada - and Australia, if medical marijuana is legalised in this country.

"They have requested a legal sign-off from Israel and Australia in relation to what we are doing so as to not to be breaking any laws," Mr Smith said.

"It's fair enough but we already know that we aren't."

The Israeli legalities had been completed and the Australian sign-off was under way, he said.

"There's no rush. It looks like we will list early in the new year.

"This is the only hold-up at present, as we are moving to finalise allocations and issue holding statements to our shareholders.

"The ASX has written to us advising of our admission to the official list."

Mr Smith, 51, said the IPO had been oversubscribed three times.

"We got smashed with applications and had to cut some of our sophisticated investors back to allow some of the public in," he said. "In the end we selected 265 general public applications and gave them the minimum $2000 allotment."

PhytoTech is planning a range of medical marijuana delivery systems, including skin patches, vaporisation and nasal sprays.

Mr Smith, who is based in Israel, was known previously for his involvement in several dotcom companies that suffered rollercoaster share prices in the early 2000s. His interest in medical marijuana stems from a broken back he suffered as a young man and the pain relief he gained by smoking the drug.

Recreational use of marijuana in Australia is effectively decriminalised for small amounts and the states are moving towards legalising cannabis for medical purposes.

A bill to legalise medical marijuana could be put to Victoria's Parliament before the end of next year, with the Labor government determined to reform the state's drug laws.

Marijuana stocks are touted as the next big thing in the US, with companies such as Hemp, GreenGro Technologies, Advanced Cannabis Solutions and Tranzbyte enjoying enormous gains this year. Investors are cashing in on the trend, including the so-called "Wolf of Weed Street", who has reportedly made more than $US500,000 trading in "green" stocks."

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