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Robix Signs LOI With Mexico Consortium to Jointly Market the COV in Mexico

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 7:52 AM on Friday, March 27th, 2015

LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA–(March 27, 2015) - Robix Alternative Fuels, Inc. (“Robix” or the “Company”) (CSE:RZX)(FRANKFURT:R0X) is pleased to announce that it has formed a Mexican subsidiary, Corris Technologies Mexico S.A. de C.V. (Corris) and through Corris it has entered into a non-binding Letter of Intent (LOI) with Grupo Macomax S.A. de C.V. in Mexico. Grupo Macomax is a Mexican Corporation that offers solutions to environmental emergencies in the whole Mexican territory. Grupo Macomax is a holding company that is part of a multi-million dollar consortium that has been in business for more than 17 years and has developed strong ties with Pemex and the Mexican Federal Government as a reliable service provider.

The purpose of the LOI is to reflect the desire of the parties to agree upon the terms of a commercial transaction, whereby Robix’s Clean Ocean Vessel (COV) technology will be introduced to Mexico and utilized for oil spill recovery and remediation in that country. Efforts are currently underway to arrange for shipping the recently manufactured COV to Mexico for reassembly, testing and deployment upon the execution of a definitive agreement.

In addition, Corris has retained the services of local Mexican marketing experts Fidus & Creare to assist with the marketing of the COV in Mexico. For more information on Corris and the COV please visit the newly launched website www.corristechnologiesmexico.mx.

About Robix Alternative Fuels

The Corporation is an “industrial products/technology” company, which has developed the Clean Ocean Vessel (“COV”), an oil spill recovery vessel design with the capability to recover oil not only in rough and debris laden sea conditions but more contained environments such as lakes and rivers. Robix has recognized a worldwide market opportunity for effective containment, recovery and disposal equipment, particularly in the oil spill protection industry. The business model is focused on Robix becoming a large-scale provider of services and/or equipment under licensing agreements with other industry participants, wherein Robix will use its COV patented design solution.

No stock exchange or any securities regulatory body has reviewed the contents of this news release.

Robix Alternative Fuels Inc.
Nathan Hansen
President & CEO
250-683-8957
nathan@robixfuels.com

Robix Alternative Fuels Inc.
Robin Ray
Chief Financial Officer
403-327-3094
robin@robixfuels.com
www.robixfuels.com

The Howard Group
Jeff Walker
Vice-President
(403) (888) 221-0915
Jeff@howardgroupinc.com

The Howard Group
Brad Dryer
Associate
(403) (888) 221-0915
brad@howardgroupinc.com
www.howardgroupinc.com

Lexaria’s New President from BioPharmaceutical Industry

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:12 AM on Thursday, March 26th, 2015

KELOWNA, BC / March 26, 2015 / Lexaria Corp. (OTCQB:LXRP) (CNSX:LXX) (the “Company”) is pleased to announce an important addition to the Lexaria management team.

John Docherty, M.Sc. is the new President of Lexaria Corp, replacing Chris Bunka who will continue at his existing positions of CEO and Chairman. Mr. Docherty was former President and Chief Operating officer of Helix BioPharma Corp. (TSX:HBP), where he led the company’s pharmaceutical development programs for its plant and recombinantly derived therapeutic protein product candidates.

“It is with tremendous pleasure that I join Lexaria as President,” said Mr. Docherty. “Lexaria’s patent-pending lipid infusion technology is a significant innovation for the delivery of cannabinoid compounds from natural products, as it has already demonstrated through the launch of its ViPova(TM)-branded CBD tea. I look forward to working with the Lexaria team to grow the Company’s technology and product offerings and build upon this success, in order to add value for Lexaria’s customer and shareholder base alike.”

Mr. Docherty is a senior operations and management executive with a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical sectors. He has worked with large multinational companies and emerging, private and publicly held, Canadian start-ups; and he also brings specialized knowhow in the field of naturally-derived products and technologies specifically.

“Mr. Docherty’s expertise will be instrumental as we execute and expand upon our business plan to develop and commercialize healthy cannabinoid products to our large and growing marketplace,” said outgoing President Chris Bunka. “Lexaria could not have found a better-equipped person to accelerate our transformation into a food-sciences company focused on unique methods of delivering compounds like cannabidiol, through popular food categories.”

Mr. Docherty has over twenty years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. At Helix, Mr. Docherty was also instrumental in the areas of investor/stakeholder relations, capital raising, capital markets development, strategic partnering, regulatory authority interactions and media relations, and he also served as a management member of its board of directors. Prior to this, Mr. Docherty was President and a board member of PharmaDerm Laboratories Ltd., a Canadian drug delivery company that developed unique microencapsulation formulation technologies for use with a range of active compounds.

Mr. Docherty has also held positions with companies such as Astra Pharma Inc., Nu-Pharm Inc. and PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ former global pharmaceutical industry consulting practice. He is a named inventor on issued and pending patents and he has a M.Sc. in pharmacology and a B.Sc. in Toxicology from the University of Toronto.

Mr. Docherty’s expertise will be of great value to the Company as it continues to develop its CBD-based products and builds and strengthens its intellectual property portfolio in the sector.

Mr. Docherty will immediately be granted 500,000 stock options good to purchase 500,000 shares of common stock priced at US$0.10 each, valid for up to five years, and can earn additional share and option awards linked to performance milestones.

All issued shares will be subject to a hold period, for any resale into the USA under Rule 144, of six months and one day. The share issuance is subject to normal regulatory approvals. The securities referred to herein will not be or have not been registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from registration requirements.

About Lexaria

Lexaria’s shares are quoted in the USA with symbol LXRP and in Canada with symbol LXX. The company searches for projects that could provide potential above-market returns.http://www.lexariaenergy.com/.

About ViPova(TM)

ViPova(TM) uses only legal CBD oil extracts, grown from legal hemp in locations where it is legal to do so, in ViPova(TM)-branded tea. ViPova(TM) uses its patent-pending process to infuse concentrated amounts of CBD within lipids in its tea, providing more bioactivity and comfort to the body during the absorption process. Only ViPova(TM) has this ground-breaking technology for CBD/lipid infusion. www.vipova.com

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Lexaria Corp.
Chris Bunka
Chairman & CEO
(250) 765-6424

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release includes forward-looking statements. Statements which are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. The Company makes forward-looking public statements concerning its expected future financial position, results of operations, cash flows, financing plans, business strategy, products and services, competitive positions, growth opportunities, plans and objectives of management for future operations, including statements that include words such as “anticipate,” “if,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “could,” “should,” “will,” and other similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are estimates reflecting the Company’s best judgment based upon current information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurance that other factors will not affect the accuracy of such forward-looking statements. Access to capital, or lack thereof, is a major risk and there is no assurance that the Company will be able to raise required working capital. Current oil and gas production rates may not be sustainable and targeted production rates may not occur. Factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from those estimated by the Company include, but are not limited to, government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition and other factors which may be identified from time to time in the Company’s public announcements and filings. There is no assurance that the medical marijuana, CBD sector, or alternative health businesses will provide any benefit to Lexaria, or that the Company will experience any growth through participation in these sectors. There is no assurance that existing capital is sufficient for the Company’s needs or that it will need to attempt to raise additional capital. There is no assurance that any planned corporate activity, business venture, or initiative will be pursued, or if pursued, will be successful. There is no assurance that any cannabinoid-based product will promote, assist, or maintain any beneficial human health conditions whatsoever. No statement herein has been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). ViPova(TM) products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The CSE has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE: Lexaria Corp.

TRADING ALERT: (URBF: OTCQB) Urban Barns Foods Up 19.5% on 285K Shares

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 12:20 PM on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

LAST: $0.03 UP: $0.005

Percentage: +19.5% Vol. 285K

—————————–

Why Urban Barn Foods?

  • Unknown story due to no previous IR = best opportunity to get in
  • Many top restaurants in Quebec
  • I have personally visited the facility.
  • My family food business is in the process of becoming a partner/customer
  • Much more coming down the pipeline
  • 320 square feet = 3 acres of farm production
  • Take a $5,000 – $10,000 position to start. Risk/Reward Is Great At That Level
  • Watch this video clipto see what production looks like
  • Watch this video clipto see what the Executive Chef at Chateau Frontenac has to say
  • I took my entire compensation in stock. I expect this to be a massive winner for us.
  • Would appreciate you getting this to your network. Better that we all profit together

A sneak peek at the next generation of CUBIC FARMING™ machines! The company been growing a bounty of sustainable, green, fresh and local produce using our Generation 3 machines, now it’s time for a sneak peek.

Hub On AGORACOM / Corporate Website

VIDEO INTERVIEW: KWG Discusses Ring Of Fire & Talks With Noront Resources

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:21 AM on Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Welcome to our CEO Interview, a production of AGORACOM in which we speak with small cap executives. With us today is Frank C. Smeenk President & Chief Executive Officer of KWG Resources Inc. Mr. Smeenk discusses recent conversation with Noront Resources after proposed acquisition of Cliffs Chromite was announced.

Hub On AGORACOM / Corporate Website / Watch Interview Now

Irons in the Fire: NEAH Power Signs New Partnership Deal

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 12:55 PM on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

WHITEFISH, MT / March 24, 2015 / The global market for fuel cells is expected to grow at a 22.6% clip between 2014 and 2020 to reach 664.5 GW in size, according to Grand View Research, due to an increasing shift toward renewable energies. Portable applications dominated the market for the energy sources, accounting for 71.2% of total unit shipments in 2013, driven by military applications and other markets requiring energy on-the-go.

In this article, we’ll take a look at NEAH Power Systems Inc.’s (OTC: NPWZ) innovative power solutions and some recent deals that could generate significant shareholder value over the short- and long-term.

Formira HOD(TM) Integrates with BANTAM

NEAH Power Systems’ Formira Hydrogen on Demand – Formira HOD(R) is a reformer platform for direct on-site generation of hydrogen gas. Using the platform, customers can carry a liquid with a better safety profile and generate hydrogen gas at the point of use rather than carrying around dangerous high-pressure gas cylinders. The improved safety profile is particularly helpful in military and commercial applications with a lot at stake.

In a recent shareholder letter, President & CEO Chris D’Couto indicated that the company has been in regular discussions with leading unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”), automotive, off-grid power, and medical device companies regarding the integration of the Formira(TM) technology to improve the safety and performance of off-grid power systems across a wide array of applications.

The technology received a more recent vote of confidence on March 17th when the company entered into an international partnership agreement with Tectonica Australia. By integratingFormira(TM) with the company’s BANTAM(R) System and other new products developed using its integration expertise, NEAH Power Systems has created yet another promising channel for its innovative technology.

SECFilings.com Executive Interview Series | Chris D’Couto / CEO of Neah Power Systems, (NPWZ) fromTDM Financial on Vimeo.

PowerChip(R) is Validated by DRDO

NEAH Power Systems’ PowerChip(R) is a silicon-based fuel cell is capable of operate without air, which makes it ideal for applications where the quality of surrounding air is unpredictable or unavailable. In addition to these unique properties, the fuel fells have higher power densities, lower costs, and more compact form factors that make them perfect for underwater or other critical air-less applications.

In November 2013, the company announced initial orders from India’s Department of Defense Organization (“DRDO”) estimated to be worth $172,000. Management shipped and completed the testing of these units in February of 2015, which represents a critical milestone in the licensing agreement. In the release, the company hinted toward a potential “significant contract” in the future.

The completion of the DRDO order also represents a critical validation of the technology. With a commercial proof-of-concept in place, the company can leverage the deal when selling the same type of units to other customers across a wide range of industries, including many different private sectors. The combination of the short-term DRDO contract and long-term adoption yields a great opportunity.

Buzzbar(TM) Moves into Production

NEAH Power Systems’ BuzzBar(TM) technology suite is designed to take power inputs from a variety of source – from wall outlets to solar panels – and use it to charge a convenient fuel cell that’s comparable in size to many smartphones. After launching on IndieGoGo as the only compact off-grid recharging solution for USB devices, the company has shipped most of its initial orders and is iterating on the product.

According to its 10-K SEC filing, the company has already presented the product to “Big Box” retailers that have expressed and interest and sent proposals to move the purchasing process along. No official agreements have been announced so far, but the potential for a large consumer distribution agreement creates a big potential catalyst for potential investors and existing shareholders.

Shorai Acquisition Adds Revenue

NEAH Power Systems signed a definitive agreement to acquire Shorai Inc., a leading provider of lithium-ion power sports and starter battery solutions for the consumer motorsport industry. With over $4 million in unaudited 2014 revenue and cash flow positive operations, the acquisition provides shareholders with immediate and likely accretive revenue, as well as product and operational (manufacturing, shipping, distribution, brand recognition) synergies between the companies.

Shorai plans to introduce an exciting new control technology in 2015 to improve their competitive position within the performance lithium-ion battery space. In addition, the firm is nearing production of an all-new product that addresses wider markets in motorcycle, automotive, and military sales channels, which could significantly expand its top-line performance and unlock even more value.

Finally, there are many potential synergies between the companies given the similarity of their product lines. Management anticipates numerous product, operational, and marketing synergies, including cross-marketing opportunities with its Formira(TM) and BuzzBar(TM) product lines. Investors may want to keep a close eye on these developments given the potential to accelerate organic revenue.

Valuation & Looking Ahead

NEAH currently has 12 patents, 4 patents pending, and 8 patent applications covering the Formira HOD®, PowerChip(R) and BuzzBar(R) products. The Company has a strong differentiation in the space for its unique technology, has won various awards including Best of What’s New 2010 Popular Science award and MIT Magazine of Innovation and it has already received funding from the likes of the US Navy and Intel Capital.

NEAH Power Systems trades with a market capitalization of just $7.8 million, despite its promising products and potential near-term catalysts. Last quarter, the company reported $179,261 in revenue, which could expand to reach a quarterly run rate of over $1 million following the Shorai acquisition alone. The company’s high gross margins mean only its fixed costs remain to be covered before profits.

With advanced battery companies like Ultralife Corp. (NASDAQ: UBLI) trading at 0.6x EV/Revenue, energy storage companies like ZBB Energy Corporation (AMEX: ZBB) trading at 1.0x EV/Revenue, and fuel cell companies like Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) trading at nearly 7x EV/Revenue, the company’s modest $9.8 million EV and at least $4 million in revenue suggest it could be undervalued.

In the end, the company has developed stable revenue streams with large potential upside and a near-term cash flow breakeven point. The high margin business could quickly generate significant shareholder value, with its fully-outsourced manufacturing model and customer-funded development.

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

Legal Disclaimer:

Except for the historical information presented herein, matters discussed in this release contain forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Emerging Growth LLC is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority, and does not provide nor claims to provide investment advice or recommendations to readers of this release. Emerging Growth LLC may from time to time have a position in the securities mentioned herein and may increase or decrease such positions without notice. For making specific investment decisions, readers should seek their own advice. Emerging Growth LLC may be compensated for its services in the form of cash-based compensation or equity securities in the companies it writes about, or a combination of the two. For full disclosure please visit:http://secfilings.com/Disclaimer.aspx.

SOURCE: Emerging Growth LLC

Lexaria Announces Lower Prices for ViPovaTM Tea Due to Production Efficiencies

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:28 AM on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Kelowna, British Columbia–(March 24, 2015) – Lexaria, Corp. (OTCQB: LXRP) (CSE: LXX) (the “Company”) announces an immediate reduction in price for ViPovaTM CBD-infused tea from US$129 to US$99.

Efficiencies in the production process are allowing us to achieve lower costs, and those savings are being passed on to consumers. The lipid-infusion process is a patent-pending method used to bind the cannabidiol (CBD) with lipids for a more comforting and efficient experience.

Most competitors simply mix raw CBD contained with hemp oil into their edible products, but some studies have indicated that bioabsorption of CBD in this way is very poor. According to a story published February 27 byMainStreet, George Anastassov said “The compounds get destroyed by acid in the gastrointestinal tract, so there’s not much left of the benefits of CBD’s to be delivered to the blood stream. It’s not only about a product containing CBD’s but how much your body absorbs.”

ViPova’s patent-pending technology takes a little more time to incorporate into products than competitors who just add raw hemp oil, but in the last several months we have learned how to implement our techniques with greater efficiency and this has led to lower consumer prices.

The www.vipova.com website has already been changed to reflect the new pricing, and the coupon good for 30% off your second order remains in effect.

About Lexaria

Lexaria’s shares are quoted in the USA with symbol LXRP and in Canada with symbol LXX. The company searches for projects that could provide potential above-market returns.www.lexarienergy.com

About ViPovaTM

ViPovaTM uses only legal CBD oil extracts, grown from legal hemp in locations where it is legal to do so, in ViPovaTM-branded tea. ViPovaTMuses its patent-pending process to infuse concentrated amounts of CBD within lipids in its tea, providing more bioactivity and comfort to the body during the absorption process. Only ViPovaTM has this ground-breaking technology for CBD/lipid infusion.www.vipova.com

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Lexaria Corp.
Chris Bunka
Chairman & CEO
(250) 765-6424

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release includes forward-looking statements. Statements which are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. The Company makes forward-looking public statements concerning its expected future financial position, results of operations, cash flows, financing plans, business strategy, products and services, competitive positions, growth opportunities, plans and objectives of management for future operations, including statements that include words such as “anticipate,” “if,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “could,” “should,” “will,” and other similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are estimates reflecting the Company’s best judgment based upon current information and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and there can be no assurance that other factors will not affect the accuracy of such forward-looking statements. Access to capital, or lack thereof, is a major risk and there is no assurance that the Company will be able to raise required working capital. Current oil and gas production rates may not be sustainable and targeted production rates may not occur. Factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from those estimated by the Company include, but are not limited to, government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition and other factors which may be identified from time to time in the Company’s public announcements and filings. There is no assurance that the medical marijuana, CBD sector, or alternative health businesses will provide any benefit to Lexaria, or that the Company will experience any growth through participation in these sectors. There is no assurance that existing capital is sufficient for the Company’s needs or that it will need to attempt to raise additional capital. There is no assurance that any planned corporate activity, business venture, or initiative will be pursued, or if pursued, will be successful. There is no assurance that any cannabinoid-based product will promote, assist, or maintain any beneficial human health conditions whatsoever. No statement herein has been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). ViPovaTM products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The CSE has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

KWG and Noront to Talk After Proposed Acquisition of Cliffs Chromite Announced

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 3:22 PM on Monday, March 23rd, 2015

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(March 23, 2015) - KWG Resources Inc. (“KWG”) (CSE:KWG)(TSX VENTURE:KWG)(FRANKFURT:KW6)(OTCBB:KWGBF) is pleased to have been invited to talks with Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront“) when informed this morning of the proposed purchase by Noront of the Ring of Fire assets of Cliffs Quebec Iron Mining ULC.

“This is positive news for us,” said KWG CEO Frank Smeenk. “Noront CEO Al Coutts has invited us to discuss our future plans to develop our properties in partnership with the First Nations. We are delighted with this evolution of the Ring of Fire’s opportunities and are hopeful that our relationship with our Big Daddy joint venture partner will become more constructive and collaborative. We think that the transportation and processing options we have developed can now be pursued in concert with our two governments and the First Nations constituencies to see the mineral assets of both Noront and KWG go into production.”

About KWG: KWG has a 30% interest in the Big Daddy chromite deposit and the right to earn 80% of the Black Horse chromite where resources are being defined. KWG also owns 100% of Canada Chrome Corporation which has staked claims and conducted a $15 million surveying and soil testing program, originally for the engineering and construction of a railroad to the Ring of Fire from Aroland, Ontario. KWG subsequently acquired patent interests, including a method for the direct reduction of chromite to metalized iron and chrome using natural gas. The company has determined that the reduction method can be employed to metalize finely ground chromite which may be recovered from slurry delivered to Aroland in an underground pipeline constructed within the Canada Chrome claims.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

FORWARD -LOOKING INFORMATION

This press release contains forward-looking information which is not comprised of historical facts. Forward-looking information involves risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events, results, performance and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Forward-looking information contained in this press release relates, but may not be limited to, the occurrence of future discussions between KWG and Noront and any resulting development partnerships.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, a decision by KWG, Noront or both parties not to proceed with future discussions and the decision by KWG, Noront or both parties not to proceed with a development partnership as a result of such discussions, as well as certain other risks set out in the Company’s public documents, including its annual information form dated June 3, 2014, filed under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

The forward-looking information in this press release reflects the current expectations, assumptions and/or beliefs of the Company based on information currently available to the Company. In connection with the forward-looking information contained in this press release, the Company has made assumptions about the benefits of discussions with Norton as well as the benefits of a future development partnership with Noront. The Company has also assumed that no significant events occur outside of the Company’s normal course of business. Although the Company believes that the assumptions inherent in the forward-looking information are reasonable, forward-looking information is not a guarantee of future performance and accordingly undue reliance should not be put on such information due to the inherent uncertainty therein.

Shares issued and outstanding: 778,163,798

KWG Resources Inc.
Bruce Hodgman
Vice-President
416-642-3575
info@kwgresources.com

Private insurer covers medical marijuana costs

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 11:18 AM on Monday, March 23rd, 2015

A university student’s medical marijuana is being paid for by his private insurance company – a feat some industry insiders say is unprecedented.

Sun Life Financial is covering the medical marijuana costs of University of Waterloo student Jonathan Zaid.

Peter Power / For The Toronto Star

Sun Life Financial is covering the medical marijuana costs of University of Waterloo student Jonathan Zaid.

By: Isabel Teotonio Living reporter, Published on Fri Mar 20 2015

After a hard-fought battle, Jonathan Zaid’s medical marijuana is being paid for by his private insurance company — a feat some industry insiders say is unprecedented.

Now, the third-year University of Waterloo student, who suffers from a rare illness called new daily persistent headache, is hoping this victory clears the way for other patients seeking coverage for cannabis.

“I had to fight a lot of battles to get to where I am,” says the 22-year-old Toronto native. “My persistence paid off in the end.”

Last summer, Zaid submitted a claim for his medical marijuana to insurance giant Sun Life Financial. It was denied. Insurance companies don’t typically pay for cannabis. Although medical marijuana is federally regulated it is not an approved medicine in Canada and has no Drug Identification Number (DIN).

But Zaid wouldn’t give up. He was frustrated with always asking his parents for money to buy his “medicine” from a licensed producer. And after trying 48 different drugs over the years, only marijuana eased his chronic headaches. He figured it should be recognized as prescription medication — after all, it was prescribed by a doctor.

Zaid, the son of a retired lawyer, presented research on his condition and the medicinal benefits of marijuana to an oversight committee of the University of Waterloo student union, which administers the student health plan. It would be up to the student association as the plan’s sponsor — that’s the organization or employer that sets up the healthcare plan — to ask Sun Life to make an exception.

Student Ben Balfour, who is part of the committee, says there was initial concern about approving Zaid’s request because it was their first time dealing with marijuana.

“We were testing the waters and we didn’t know how people would react,” says Balfour, vice-president of operations and finance for the Federation of Students.

But after much back and forth between Zaid and the committee, which includes a physician, his request was approved in December. The committee found Zaid’s evidence to be persuasive, that the plan could support the cost and that having Zaid’s medicinal marijuana covered would positively impact his academic success and wellbeing.

“It’s really something new and I was very excited to be a part of it,” says Balfour. “I’m just very glad that we were able to figure it all out in the end.”

Sun Life issued a cheque reimbursing Zaid for nearly $3,000, covering the costs of cannabis and a $750 vaporizer — he gave the money to his parents. His triumph doesn’t mean other U of W students are automatically covered for medicinal marijuana, which has not been added to the formulary. But, it opens the door for others to follow his lead and go through the same process.

Sun Life can’t comment on the specifics of this case or benefit plan. While medical marijuana is not an eligible expense in its standard benefit plans, Sun Life does consider requests for exceptions if directed by the organization or employer responsible for the benefit plan. Insurance behemoth Manulife has a similar policy, but is not aware of having made any exception for medical cannabis.

There are cases of the government paying for medical marijuana: Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Quebec’s Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST), and Veterans Affairs, via

Medavie Blue Cross, have covered cannabis costs.

It’s unclear how unusual Zaid’s case is because Sun Life will not comment on if other patients, or benefit plans, have requested similar coverage.

And, it’s unknown what effect, if any, it will have on future claims for cannabis made to insurers, says Wendy Hope, vice-president of external relations for the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. Hope says this sort of claim is not unprecedented and that some private insurers have, for some time now, been reimbursing costs for medical marijuana through health spending accounts – although it is rare.

Zaid attributes his success to not giving up, but realizes few patients have the strength, or know-how, to accomplish what he did.

“We’re talking about very sick people and lots of them don’t have the resources to spend in order to fight for fair access,” says Zaid. His advocacy work prompted him to launch the non-profit Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana and he now sits on the patient advisory board of licensed producer Bedrocan Canada.

Sarah Smith, who pays $180 a month out-of-pocket for medical cannabis after being denied by her private insurer, hopes Zaid’s case will impact insurance practices. Unlike Zaid, she says, “I didn’t have the fight in me.”

“I’m optimistic this will help open the eyes of insurance companies that not all prescriptions are pills, sometimes it’s an herb,” says Smith, not her real name. “They shouldn’t be differentiating — a prescription is a prescription.”

Zaid’s case is precedent-setting, says Marc Wayne, CEO of Bedrocan Canada and chair of the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association.

“It’s an example of the way this type of thing has to work. . . Insurance companies aren’t going to come out and say, ‘We’re going to cover medicinal cannabis for everybody.’ It’s a case-by-case approach and hopefully it will reach a tipping point.”

Source: http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2015/03/20/private-insurer-covers-medical-marijuana-costs.html

Modern life’s devices under China’s grip?

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 8:57 AM on Monday, March 23rd, 2015

From smartphones to cars and defense missiles, modern U.S. life depends on rare earth elements but China dominates the industry

Editor’s Note: In September 2014, while we were working on this story, a Pentagon spokesman emailed us to say:

“The Department of Defense is confident in the ability of the defense industry to remain supplied with all necessary rare earths for U.S. defense acquisition programs. The Department continuously monitors and assesses its raw materials requirements, and if necessary, will again take action to ensure their availability to the defense industrial base.”

That confidence is at odds with the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s Office, which issued a report on July 3, 2014 that concluded:

“DoD [Department of Defense] lacked a comprehensive and reliable process to assess REE supply and demand…. [and] As a result, DoD may not have identified all REEs with expected shortfalls, increasing the risk that those shortfalls will adversely affect critical weapons systems production in the DIB, and overall DoD readiness.”


The following is a script from “Rare Earth Elements” which aired on March 22, 2015. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Graham Messick and Kevin Livelli, producers.

What do cars, precision-guided missiles and the television you’re watching right now have in common? They all depend on something called rare earth elements, unusual metals that are sprinkled inside almost every piece of high-tech you can think of. Most people have never heard of them. But we have become so reliant on rare earths that a few years ago, an intense global power struggle broke out over their free flow. The reason is that one country has a virtual monopoly – roughly 90 percent — of the mining, refining and processing of rare earths — China. And in 2010, it used that power to disrupt the world’s supply. It’s especially troubling, because it was the United States that started the rare earth revolution in the first place.

Rare earth elements: Not so rare after all

It all began here at this mine in Mountain Pass, California, an hour west of Las Vegas, when geologists first identified rare earth elements deep in the Mojave Desert. They were considered geological oddities, until the 60s when it was discovered that one of these elements, “europium,” enhanced the color red in TV sets and soon the rare earth industry was born.Constantine Karayannopoulos: Rare earth chemistry is fascinating. There’s so many more things that we could be doing with rare earths.

Constantine Karayannopoulos, chairman of Molycorp, which has owned and operated the Mountain Pass mine for six decades, took us to the heart of the operation.

mountainpass.jpg

Mine in Mountain Pass, California
CBS News

Lesley Stahl: Is this considered a big mine?Constantine Karayannopoulos: In terms of rare earth standards, yes. It’s one of the biggest in the world.

Lesley Stahl: Are we actually walking on rare earth elements right now?

Constantine Karayannopoulos: We’re physically on the ore body.

Lesley Stahl: We are right on it?

Constantine Karayannopoulos: It starts at the top of the mine, then comes down and we’re walking on it and it goes in that direction.

So what are rare earth elements? If you ever took high school chemistry you learned that they’re clumped together at the end of the periodic table…atomic numbers 57 through 71… and they have difficult-to-pronounce Greek or Scandanavian names.

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, praseodymium, samarium, terbium…

Some of them are phosphorescent. Erbium amplifies light, and is used in fiber-optic cables. Gadolinium has magnetic properties and is used in MRI machines and X-rays. As for neodymium? You may be carrying some of it in your pocket.

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Next time your phone vibrates, think of us because the vibration motor is a small motor that contains a tiny neodymium magnet in it.

Karayannopoulos showed us around a new model home to illustrate that rare earths are making our appliances energy efficient like state-of-the-art refrigerators, touch screen thermostats, energy efficient light bulbs, the air conditioning systems. They’re also in our cars in the form of catalytic converters, sensors and hybrid car batteries.

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Hybrids, in particular use a lot more because they contain electric motors that would not function without rare earths.

A Prius has roughly 25 pounds of rare earths. And they’re hidden in plain sight in our every day lives, in our computers and gadgets, even the lights and cameras we used to film this story are chock full of rare earths.

Lesley Stahl: What I’m getting from you is that modern life depends on these elements.

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Absolutely.

Despite their name – rare earths are not rare. Small amounts can be found in your backyard. They’re trapped in what looks like ordinary rock.

But there are only a few places on earth with concentrations high enough to mine.

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Rare earths normally are found in very, very low concentrations. This is probably running something in the 25 percent grade.

Lesley Stahl: That’s good?

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Which is remarkable. To anyone who has ever worked with rare earths, this is a thing of beauty.

But getting the rare earths out of that rock is nasty business requiring toxic acids and lots of water. In fact, the mine was shut down by the state of California in 1998 after radioactive water seeped into the surrounding Mojave Desert from an underground pipe. The mine lay dormant for a decade, giving China an opportunity.

Dan McGroarty: The Chinese made a very conscious decision to enter that industry.

Dan McGroarty was special assistant to President George H.W. Bush and today advises the U.S. government on critical materials. When the Molycorp mine closed, he says China was already well on its way to becoming the king of rare earths.

Dan McGroarty: There’s a point at which the lines cross. The United States production declines. Chinese production’s ramping up. Those lines cross somewhere around 1986.

Lesley Stahl: So how did they pull it off? What were the factors that allowed them to basically take this away from us?

Dan McGroarty: Well, the advantage of lower labor costs, would be a place to start. Also, environmentally, very, almost no environmental constraints around mining–safety considerations for the miners doing mining, in huge contrast to the United States. So, that translates directly into lower pricing. And lower pricing can push other people out of the market.

Lesley Stahl: And that’s basically what happened?

Dan McGroarty: That’s basically what happened.

The Chinese also had orders from the top. In a little-noticed speech in 1992, Deng Xiaoping signaled China’s intention to corner the market.

Lesley Stahl: What exactly did he say?

Dan McGroarty: ‘The Middle East has oil. China has rare earths.’

Lesley Stahl: He actually said that, Deng Xiaoping.

Dan McGroarty: Actually said that. I think it’s fair to say, at that point, people in the rest of the world, who had been saying, ‘What are – what is he talking about?’

Lesley Stahl: Just went right over our heads.

Dan McGroarty: I think so.

Lesley Stahl: Did we just not foresee what they foresaw?

Dan McGroarty: It’s extraordinary if they actually foresaw all the uses. Our designers and developers advanced the miniaturized applications for laptops and cell phones while the Chinese were going after the metals and materials out of which these things are actually built.

Lesley Stahl: How did they get the know-how?

Dan McGroarty: An enormous amount of investment. It’s kind of like the Chinese moon shot, the moon program.

China poured billions into the industry, ignoring the consequences. We obtained this video from a freelance cameraman showing the area near Baotou, China’s rare earth capital, where the air, land and water are so saturated with chemical toxins, the Chinese have had to relocate entire villages. This is one of the few places where rare earths are turned into metals, which are then alloyed — or blended — into things like permanent magnets.

Ed Richardson: These are magnets that once you magnetize them, they stay that way.

Ed Richardson, president of the U.S. Magnetic Materials Association, says the most important use of rare earths is in magnets. Only a small amount can produce magnets able to lift a thousand times their weight.

Ed Richardson: This is a cell phone.

He showed us how miniaturized rare earth magnets can be.

Ed Richardson: So I’m going to take it apart layer by layer and we’re going to get to the point where we can actually see the magnets, the rare earth magnets that are inside there.

Lesley Stahl: Oh, let me see this.

Ed Richardson: There’s three little magnets in there.

Lesley Stahl: Oh, one, two, three.

Ed Richardson: Right. If you put the paperclip you can see how it sticks.

Lesley Stahl: And this little tiny thing is the speaker.

Ed Richardson: Right. This is how devices have gotten small, very powerful, because the magnets are so powerful, you don’t have to use much of it.

The U.S. developed this technology, but China bought most of it right out from under us. For instance, in 1995, China bought the biggest American rare earth magnet company, “Magnequench” which was based in Indiana.

Ed Richardson: When they bought the factory, they now had the patents. They now had the equipment. And they actually had some of the Magnequench employees in the United States go to China and teach the people how to make the products.

Lesley Stahl: Did we not understand the strategic importance of keeping that industry here?

Ed Richardson: We didn’t get it and unfortunately the technology was transferred to China before that technology was appreciated. And now, we’re seeing so many, for instance, defense systems that are dependent on it.

Lesley Stahl: Does that make us dependent on China for our defense systems?

Ed Richardson: Oh, we are very dependent on China.

Lesley Stahl: We are dependent on China for our weaponry.

Ed Richardson: Right.

A prime example of that is the new F-35 fighter jet, the most technologically advanced weapons system in history. Each one contains nearly half a ton of rare earths. Former White House Official Dan McGroarty says that’s just for starters.

Dan McGroarty: The guidance systems on weapons system and tomahawk cruise missile, any of the smart bombs have rare earths in them. Lasers. I’d be hard-pressed to name anything that we would consider worth building today and going forward that would not have a rare earth compound in it.

Lesley Stahl: Because of this. Because of the monopoly on rare earths, does China threaten our national security?

Dan McGroarty: Unchecked, yes.

What finally woke up the U.S. government was an incident at sea in 2010. A Chinese fishing trawler rammed a Japanese coast guard ship in a territorial dispute.

The Japanese seized the boat’s captain… and two weeks later, China stopped shipping rare earths to Japan.

Dan McGroarty: The Chinese cut them off. And for 30 to 40 days, the rare earths did not flow to Japan. So it was a real shot across the bow for the Japanese that this is something that you have to be worried with.

It was a wake up call. Finally, 20 years after Deng Xiaoping’s speech, rare earths were on the U.S. radar screen.

[President Obama: This case involves something called rare earth materials…]

President Obama announced a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization against China for creating shortages for foreign buyers and last August the WTO ruled against Beijing.

No one in the Obama administration would talk to us on camera about rare earths and our dependence on China… including the Department of Energy… the Pentagon… or the U.S. trade representative. Even the private sector didn’t want to discuss the problem.

Lesley Stahl: We tried to get interviews with heads of companies that use the magnets and other products coming out of China, and they would not talk to us. Is there fear in high-tech companies that if they say something negative, maybe China won’t sell them what they need?

Dan McGroarty: I think that there is grave concern in these companies, but perhaps not a willingness to talk about that on a street corner.

So what is the U.S. doing to restore the industry here? Out in California, Molycorp was allowed to re-open after it developed new technology that protects the environment. But even when it’s at full capacity, the mine will only produce a fraction of the world’s supply of rare earths.

The Pentagon has begun stockpiling rare earths, and industry is researching new technologies that would replace them.

Lesley Stahl: Do you get any help from the U.S. government? They want to have a rare earth industry here.

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Encouragement, yeah.

Lesley Stahl: Encouragement, that’s it?

Constantine Karayannopoulos: Yeah.

The government is not offering incentives like tax breaks or subsidies that would lure businesses into the market.

Lesley Stahl: What needs to change to bring more of the industry back to the United States?

Constantine Karayannopoulos: First of all, we need to take a long-term view. It took 20 years to lose the dominant position– at least 20 years. And it’s probably going to take us 10, 15 years, if we execute, for some of these supply chains to start coming back.

But trouble is once again looming for the U.S. rare earth industry. Since restarting operations two years ago, Molycorp’s mountain pass mine has yet to turn a profit, and so deeply in debt that just last week, its own auditor warned it may not be able to stay in business.

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rare-earth-elements-china-monopoly-60-minutes-lesley-stahl/

AGORACOM Welcomes Urban Barns Foods Inc. (URBF: OTCQB) Revolutionizing Cubic Farming

Posted by AGORACOM-JC at 3:36 PM on Thursday, March 19th, 2015

URBF: OTCQB

What is Cubic Farming?

 

  • A revolution in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)
  • Propriety, patent-pending, looped conveyer growing system
  • Advanced uniform LED technology
  • Automated watering and nutrients
  • Optimal conditions for crops to transition from seeds to maturity through pre-set germination, growing and harvesting phases.

Why Urban Barn Foods?

Marquee Customers Include:

Strong Institutional Ownership, 39% Owned By:

Modern Agriculture Needs Green Innovation

The Cubic Farming Advantage

  • 100% controlled environment
  • Growing 365 days a year
  • No pesticides, herbicides or fungicides
  • No GMOs
  • Minimal water requirements
  • Superior nutritional values
  • Longer shelf life
  • Consistency

Consumers Demand Clean Food

  • Globally, the BFY (BETTER FOR YOU) food category is projected to grow by 25% to over $199.8 billion in 2015.
  • GMOs, a major concern for North American consumers
  • 72% of consumers say it is important to avoid GMOs when they shop
  • 40% of consumers say they look for non-GMO claims on food
  • Natural & clean foods are increasingly mainstream
  • Not only for higher income, most educated privileged segment. It is becoming a social movement.


Urban Barns Is the Solution


Hub On AGORACOM / Read Press Release