LAKESHORE, ON -- (Marketwired) -- 12/31/14 -- Creative Edge Nutrition, Inc. (OTC PINK: FITX) is pleased to release an interview with our Internal Public Relations addressing shareholder questions.
"Today I had the exclusive opportunity to speak to CEN Biotech Inc., whom after a number of scathing reports in the media on what is perceived as 'questionable' activities internal to CEN Biotech Inc and that of their CEO, Bill Chaaban, we are grateful to sit down with CEN Biotech's Internal Public Relations Spokesperson, Isak Weber during this busy time of year."
Addison - Thank you for meeting with us.
CEN - Anytime -- happy to be here. And Happy Holidays to you.
Addison - As well as with you. So tell me....what's going on with CEN Biotech these days? We see and hear of a number of reports starting in October with the Town of Lakeshore on issues with zoning and numerous media outlets in Canada reporting on non-compliance, and so forth. Share with us if you might, what's your perspective?
CEN - Thank you. Well, like any other business immersed in zoning, federal regulations, and so forth, you have really in essence a complex maze if you will of complying with a number of regulatory and legal mediums that need to be adhered to and addressed. It's no secret CEN was awarded a Ready to Build letter with support from the Town of Lakeshore; there's a fully functional and inspected operations within the Town as we all know awaiting a license to proceed and generate operational income for the company and the Town/municipality also with much needed jobs. With that came a long process of due diligence with current in place bylaws in compliance with the requirements of the MMPR regulation at a federal level and local municipal zoning; also being aware and cognoscente of the provincial authorities on this very issue.
Addison - ...so if I can just stop there for a second....where do you think the process or the impression fell apart like it appeared to in October?
CEN - great question and one I think we are all still trying to figure out. It very much felt 11th hour for us to be publicly supported by the Town, then to have what feels the rug pulled out from underneath you is very unnerving and confusing at the same time. The other aspect is we know we have a program that is extremely exciting for patients not only in Canada, and the US, but across the globe awaiting for a potential alternative to their health issues. With that comes changes within the Regulation we continue to adhere to like amendments in April of this year. We have to respect the Office of Controlled Substances and share our organization fluidly to maintain that compliance.
Addison - and that's not cheap? I mean even without a license, CEN Biotech had no income correct?
CEN - that's correct and unfortunate all the same. The program as it's designed today impresses on incumbents to make a substantial upfront investment in order to secure a license ultimately. And rightfully so in a lot of ways; look at some of the recalls that Health Canada had to issue with product in the last year, or finding out licensed producers were breaking the law across the country from having shipments seized or syphoning power for their operations.
Addison - So when the program claims in media reports of over 1,000 applicants, you also have to roll with the punches if you will, correct? You're just another folder in the pile?
CEN - correct. And we are being patient with the process. We have spoken to many within the Government of Canada, not just the Ministry of Health where the MMPR is regulated and we self-reflect, "hey maybe we are missing something ourselves". All indications we have is we are progressing no differently than any other applicant in the program and an inspection during the summer was a good indication we are closing in on becoming a successful applicant. Has it been frustrating? Sure! We all at times want something right away, but we have to respect the hard work the Government of Canada is undertaking in this program; this is bleeding edge in our eyes. Shaking up a few industries as society bears some pressure on alternative treatments.
Addison - so let's go back to the Town for a second? What's the next step?
CEN - well as we all know, the Town did pass an amendment to their bylaws well after we completed our construction and inspection and they are awaiting approval from the County of Essex on their proposed amendment. They, like us, have a number of due diligence steps to undertake when proposing and passing bylaws on zoning and they need to be in compliance with current common law. And that is with the County right now. Will it pass? It does bear a whole new argument on the unique nature of our application, location within the municipality, and the needs of the Town. We know there is a middle ground that is achievable on all levels and we know the Town has had some pressures away from CEN over our facilty; some misinformation, and some who see an opportunity to potentially interfere....that's just business...
Addison - so you think you are being interfered with?
CEN - well, when the momentum changes at the 11th hour....it makes one wonder. The Town stands to gain substantially from jobs, taxation, and being on the map as helping patients across Canada by allowing operations to commence in their municipality. There is a tremendous benefit for so many people perhaps outside the purview of the Town or the Council. It's bigger than a zoning perception, or whatever the core issue is with the Town at this current time. People need help, and we want to help the best way we know how. We can definitely admit that these last second delays frustrate us as we want to help our patients that are daily communicating with us on a status.
Addison - so let me deviate for a second on that point? Did you read the Windsor Star today? And the article?
CEN - yes, I did.....it was a bit shocking to read to have a physician compare this program with the 'medicinal' benefits of alcohol back in the early 1900's. It almost read like we forgot the modern advancements of the last 100 years on how scientific theory has helped us to better research, technology to be able to ascertain more reliably if something has a medicinal benefit to society. I almost, with all due respect to the physician in the article, compare this to flashing a picture of a trebuchet from the medieval era, and claiming it can take out a fighter jet....not really a direct nor fair comparison.
Addison - so do you agree with the statements?
CEN - I agree physicians like anything else they prescribe need to exercise caution. That's 100%! Regardless if it's a narcotic or a medicinal product, the same caution needs to be exercised; no argument there. All walks of medical treatment whether western medicine, naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, you name it; it's the physician's responsibility to ensure their patients safety is top priority. The article seemed to attack the MMPR program on a whole, almost in an indirect way. It seemed a bit ill-informed.
Addison - how so?
CEN - if you read the story of the MMAR appeal applicant like we have, Neil Allard, it's so disheartening to hear his story. For years, he has tried almost every form of treatment his doctors have prescribed him. The list is long and in the end, his expert medical team caring for his health decided to issue medicinal marijuana to help him with his conditions and low and behold, he feels that he can manage his ailments in a more effective manner. And of course his arguments on the economics of growing himself vs. commercial supply is valid hence why we not only have a compassionate care program but also insurance to offer our patient base. Access to the best forms of medicinal marijuana and patented forms that can target specific ailments is our goal.
Addison - and without a license, you can't help?
CEN - can't help, can't grow, can't generate operating income to keep helping others; the cycle repeats.
Addison - that takes me to my next line of questions? What do you think about people on internet forums bashing the CEO Mr. Chaaban for selling his shares?
CEN - you know, that's such a sore spot for us. Let's be honest here; there are so many ways to raise capital to commence a business of this scale, and one that requires so much considerable investment upfront before you're licensed to generate a single dollar. You can go to a bank and mortgage your house and they'll gladly throw you all the money you like; find a private investor like many popular TV shows depict for equity, or future royalties; go to family and friends to raise the funds; and in CEN's case, they chose to go public on the OTC markets like thousands of other companies. That's not new. Raising funds is critical to a company's success and it's not very easy to do so. In Bill's case as far as I know he hasn't mortgaged property, or taken out private loans to fund his business; he's actually selling his stake in his OWN business to fund operations. He needs to pay for security and the facility in Lakeshore while we await Health Canada's license to operate under the MMPR. He has to attend to business like we all know he has been attending to across the globe; in the US, Africa, Ukraine, and whatever future plans he and the company has. Using his own stake in the company to fund operations is almost a selfless approach. He's not keeping the stake and mortgaging the company into infinitium and creating a long list of liabilities for the company so early on. He's selling his stake. In Lakeshore alone there are two properties requiring continuous funding to keep the bills paid and critical services like security. Keeping the lights on is not cheap and his shareholders are helping him while we all wait for Health Canada to issue a license and generate revenue.
Addison - so what do you say to these boards, or even the Globe and Mail?
CEN - laughs....
Addison - you want to talk about the Globe and Mail for a second?
CEN - sure
Addison - so.....how about their recent article over the weekend?
CEN - well.....not much we can say. I think they printed in black in white, no pun intended, why there is a reason why Bill turned them down so many times just by the nature of the article they wrote. It read like a rant because Bill didn't ante up the info they wanted to hear so they created their own story.
Addison - created?
CEN - well, let's look at it this way. This is an extremely hot topic, no doubt about it anymore. CEN has a massive following, and we hit the headlines; some good and some not so good. But the reality is we know we will succeed and we know our company can help those seeking us out. It's no secret this program is here to stay, and its talked about across North America; like the legalization of marijuana.
Addison - so where do you think the Globe is wrong here?
CEN - simple math to start. Not sure how they got to their calculations, but they are grossly misstated. And further to that, they could really replace Bill's name with any other CEO out there for selling their stake or shares. Bill isn't even paid yet! He draws not a single dollar in salary but he has to have food on his table, cloth his children and provide for his family all the while trying to get this company to the next stage and move it forward. CEOs sell their shares all the time; this isn't any different. If anything, he'd rather sell his own stake to keep CEN afloat to wait for their licensing rather than indebt the company to bankruptcy before they ship a single order. I think if you really dive into the passion Bill has, it's about his clients and patients, and the shareholders who have supported him so far. Will he have challenges along the way, absolutely! Just hopefully not as public as the Town came forward, rather than working with us directly without causing such a controversy.
Addison - what do you say to the Globe then?
CEN - well, they can print what they'd like, as misleading as they'd like to and create a reality in print to satisfy their readers - that's their right I suppose. But I'd like to have this talk in three months after some of our goals are achieved and announced.
Addison - laughs - fair enough....
CEN - well, it's true. Media is a bit relentless....it's almost to the point they appear dissatisfied unless we give them our business strategy for the next three years and explain every single aspect of our operations and decisions being made. It isn't going to happen, so they can stop asking. Our competition reads the news too you know....
Addison - too true. Here's the thing on my mind just as you're saying that.....do you think your competition feels threatened?
CEN - I really can't comment on that.....
Addison - let's be realistic though....don't you wonder that your Canadian competition feels a bit intimidated by the following of CEN and its market cap to even sell a single order to its patients?
CEN - we welcome healthy competition and our patients deserve the best - the beauty of free enterprise is the freedom to choose and buy what you feel is the best solution or product for your problem, regardless if it's medicinal, or I want a new car.....we are excited to enter the market, there is no doubt. The stigma society and political views place on what we see is a powerful botanical with tremendous benefits in all sorts of applications, especially in the medical field for the care of patients with a variety of acute and chronic conditions is something we look forward to disproving.
Addison - so where do you see the market moving towards?
CEN - I see legalization as a possible option. The only issue with legalization in our commercial field is what value you receive from home grown botanicals if decriminalized or legalized. That's where we see the leisure use vs. medicinal use lines drawn for the time being. Regulation ensures proper and safe use. Many patients require substantial amounts of strains specifically derived to treat their conditions and to relieve their symptoms so where do we as in the industry, patients, and lawmakers strike a balance.
Addison - so....let me ask you this....why so quiet these days? You let the media chisel at you, bashers attempt to discredit everything you do.....why so quiet?
CEN - to be in compliance with SEC regulations, and our current in train split of the company(s), we can't comment anything further at this point in time. We must and will adhere and respect the SEC and our compliance to any forward looking statements during our quiet period. It's common sense really in all fairness to shareholders alike and strict adherence of the law that governs us.
Addison - quiet period?
CEN - correct. The SEC is extremely prohibitive to any promotional activities for a period of some 40 to 90 days. We are extremely limited on the information we can release currently.
Addison - so....
CEN - laughs - NO you can't ask....besides, I won't tell you.
Addison - ok ok.....so exciting times for CEN then?
CEN - absolutely. You know, we feel a bit guilty. We are busting at the seams with wanting to share our path forward and what lies ahead for CEN.....but we really can't......ok, we need to change the subject....please? (laughs)
Addison - you bet. OK let's move onto some final questions then. Let's talk bashers for a second....online and public bashing.....do they exist?
CEN - absolutely! Like lobbying, this form of either promoting or demoting competition is normal course of business. We choose not to pay too much attention to it simply because that's what they seek....a distraction from our operations to fuel their objectives.
Addison - but you eventually have to address their concerns don't you?
CEN - sure....when they are derived from facts. The majority of rants online or even in the media are driven from hearsay or even opinions. There is no room for a healthy exchange of dialogue when someone is attacking your company.....it's an attack, usually unprovoked. Just to from what we know is true, to entice sensitive information from our company for the use or dissemination to our competition, or worse yet commence in a barrage of communication to give rise to more disconcerting comments from people who don't understand or just choose to target you as a company. Many Fortune 500 companies are familiar with the threats of consumer based bias that comes with the territory of running big business, or controversial up and coming industry trends like ours.
Addison - it's drives debate?
CEN - sure it does, and that's great. But the conversation needs to be effective and bilateral. Not just a concerted effort to deface our company or our efforts.
Addison - the internet is kind of a cesspool of information?
CEN - it can be both good and bad. How many times have you been criticized for looking up something on your favorite search engine and being denounced as hogwash? I know I have......social media and blogs help understand the purview of the public, but only to a certain degree. The amount of information that is simply fabricated is so vast it's crazy. And in today's day and age where we flog to our computers to 'research' is almost a lost cause due to so much information at our fingertips....what's true? What's not?
Addison - so what's the real deal then?
CEN - we have to run a company.....plain and simple. Our shareholders have invested in us and expect licensing and operational income for years to come. We don't see any issue with being licensed. The report that was leaked clearly showed we had very few deficiencies, if you can even call them that. Our facility was built in compliance with the program and in most cases we believe with the team we have, were built above specification of the MMPR program. We believe in placing our best foot forward and once Health Canada issues their license to our facility in Lakeshore, it's just the beginning.
Addison - just the beginning?
CEN - I'd be lying if expansion isn't already in the works in Canada and in other parts of the world. Canada only represents a mere portion of our overall corporate global strategy.
Addison - global?
CEN - correct. There are so many opportunities for us that we have been working on across the globe that will be released once completed. We don't want to upset the bashers out there or give them a reason to pounce all over us.
Addison - do you really think that's the case?
CEN - we need to be honest - we get really excited how we are received across the globe. Welcome with open arms wherever we go. We enjoy coming home to our shareholders and sharing our journey with them; but the media and bashers put a damper on that for us. So, we hold back a bit now these days....but we can definitely say the best is definitely yet to come.
Addison - so how do you address that?
CEN - in today's era, it's difficult. If you display your path forward, critics are quick to jump and claim it's nonsense even though you have a picture! Laughs....but if you keep your path forward close to your chest, then the media attacks you claiming you're not transparent enough. We can't please everyone clearly, but it's our reality in this market that clearly has such a following, a patronage that can't be explained in any other market currently.
Addison - let's talk about leaks and the pre-inspection report......
CEN - sure
Addison - what do you think was the purpose of that? Leaking it whomever it was...
CEN - well, going back to our previous point....people are relentless.....maybe the media more so. But regardless, it definitely didn't harm us when that document leaked. It merely confirmed the truth we shared with our shareholders. We were completely truthful about our inspection that is so critical. We definitely didn't deceive our shareholder, nor would we ever do such. It actually was a blessing in disguise given we were being attacked by everyone claiming we must have 'failed'. The inspection was clear. As was our message to our shareholders.....
Addison - our last question -- what's going on for CEN around the globe?
CEN - well, again to adhere to SEC regulations, we can't comment forward looking at this point. But I think our intentions are clear based on where we have been. We have been extremely well received and maintain those relationships to this day to secure our future position moving forward.
Addison - that's it eh? You just won't cough it up??
CEN - laughs....nope! Nice try though...
Addison - Our thanks to Isak with CEN Biotech Inc for this exclusive opportunity to clear the air and address some of the publicity they have faced in the last two days.
About CEN Biotech
CEN Biotech, Inc. was established in 2013 as a partially owned subsidiary of Creative Edge Nutrition (OTC PINK: FITX) (PINKSHEETS: FITX) for the sole purpose of supplying the Canadian public with pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis under the newly established Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR). CEN Biotech Inc. has submitted a comprehensive application to become a licensed producer (LP) of dried marihuana for medicinal purposes and has received a ready-to-build approval from Health Canada.
About Creative Edge Nutrition, Inc.
Creative Edge Nutrition is a holding company and a Nutritional Supplement Company focused on developing innovative, high quality supplements. The company offers a broad spectrum of capsules, tablets, and powders, as well as science based products in the principal categories of weight management, nutrition challenges, energy and fitness. The Company manufactures under strict GMP guidelines at GMP Certified and/or FDA registered facilities. http://www.cenergynutrition.com and https://www.facebook.com/CenergyNutrition
FOR INVESTOR RELATIONS
Creative Edge Nutrition, Inc.