It was another busy week for the cannabis industry, with Aurora Cannabis Inc (OTC: ACBFF) applying to list on the New York Stock Exchange, tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) reportedly showing interest in in Aphria Inc. (OTC: APHQF), and Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) confirming it conducted “some preliminary fact-finding” related to selling cannabis-based products in its stores.
“This week’s move by MedMen shows that the company is hyper focused on grabbing as much market share, as early as it possibly can. It’s a big pivot from the company’s original strategy to stick to limited specific markets,” Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga. “Another big development this week was the reverse takeover plan from Cresco Labs, and the merge between MJ Freeway and MTech [see our notes below]. It’s possible that, with MJ Freeway getting listed on Nasdaq, we’ll get our first female CEO of a cannabis company to trade on a major exchange.”
Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) said it lifted its ban of search results for cannabis-related pages.
“It has been the best news Facebook has released all year,” said Abraham Villegas, owner of the digital marketing agency AV Social Strategies, and Founder of The Medical Cannabis Community. "I operate several online medical cannabis communities, and what is most disheartening is that people truly rely on our groups for information. Many people have no other way of finding out about cannabis and as a result, frequently resort to online searches for answers... I am so glad and grateful that this shadow ban has been lifted as it will once again allow people the chance to find our communities and obtain the relief they need.”
Marijuana Indexes & ETFs
The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., closed the week flat, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, gained almost 1 percent.
Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) rose 2.3 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) rose 1.2 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the week down 4.1 percent.
Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $100 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:
• 22nd Century Group Inc (NYSE: XXII): up 6.4 percent
• Aphria Inc (OTC: APHQF): up 16.4 percent
• Aurora Cannabis Inc (OTC: ACBFF): up 6.4 percent
• CannTrust Holdings Inc (OTC: CNTTF): up 13.7 percent
• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): up 4.7 percent
• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): up 0.8 percent
• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF): down 7.6 percent
• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF): up 3.1 percent
• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): down 5.6 percent
• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): down 5.2 percent
• Medical Marijuana Inc (OTC: MJNA): down 5.6 percent
• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF): up 36 percent
• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE: SMG): down 7.5 percent
• THC Biomed Intl Ltd (OTC: THCBF): down 3.3 percent
• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): up 1 percent
• Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ZYNE): down 6.4 percent
In Other News
The parliament in Lithuania voted to legalize medicines containing cannabis. “If the parliament is ready to adopt this decision, we will make a very important step towards guaranteeing the best possible treatment for patients suffering from serious illnesses,” Mykolas Majauskas, member of the parliament, said during the parliamentary debates.
Benzinga reached out to Eduardo Blasina, managing director of Cannabis Uruguay Ltd. and founder of the Montevideo Cannabis Museum.
“This reaffirms the huge opportunity that the cannabis market represents, not only in the U.S. and Canada, but also on a global scale. Take a country like Uruguay, which can export cannabis-derived products... The potential is massive,” he said. “Every step in the direction of legalization helps us advance on our ethical commitment to providing access to cannabis to anyone who needs it.”
MTech Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: MTEC) and MJ Freeway entered into a definitive merger agreement. Under the deal, Denver-based MJ Freeway and MTech will become subsidiaries of a newly-created company. The merger, which is subject to approval by equity holders of each company, is slated to close in early 2019.
"This merger allows us to amplify our vision and strategy, thus extending our leadership role along the cannabis technology ecosystem," said Jessica Billingsley, co-founder and CEO of MJ Freeway. "With an increased balance sheet, we have the financial support needed to help cannabis businesses make intelligent decisions faster. With our acquisition partners, MJ Freeway will fast-track growth and expand product offerings to meet the evolving demands of a highly regulated industry."
MediPharm Labs (OTC: MLCPF) announced a three-year Cannabis Concentrate Program Agreement with Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc (OTC: EMHTF) whereby Emerald will provide MediPharm with dried cannabis to create premium quality cannabis oils, marking the fifth agreement of this kind for the processor.
Medical Marijuana Inc. announced the launch of its newest brand, Dixie Botanicals Canada, partnering with Canadian extraction and formulation company Salvation Botanicals.
"The company is pleased to be launching this well-known brand to such a promising new market," said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. "Dixie Botanicals Canada now offers a collection of Triple Lab Tested CBD products while consistently meeting its ever-growing customers' needs."
Phoenix Life Sciences International Limited (OTC: MJMD) said it received approval from the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) to establish operations in the country and manufacture botanical pharmaceutical products.
“This is a major step for the company and our operations in Vanuatu,” said Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Life Martin Tindall. “With this application approval, we can begin to establish the necessary resources required to initiate clinical trials and develop scalable production capacity for our botanical pharmaceutical medications and begin leading the global health initiative to end the diabetes epidemic.”
Green Flower is expanding its educational initiatives, announcing this week a new strategic partnership with dialogEDU. The companies are working together to provide designs for online higher education cannabis programs for trade schools, colleges and universities entering the global cannabis education market. Green Flower will utilize its extensive library of videos and multimedia assets combined with dialogEDU to provide schools with designs for cannabis courses for online and on-ground students that may be used for programs leading to certificates, diplomas and degrees.
CannAmerica Brands announced it will list on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Oct. 15.
PotBotics Inc. announced it entered into a letter of intent to complete a reverse takeover of Express Capital Corp. Upon completion, the resulting entity will apply to list its common shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
"We're excited to give everyone the opportunity to take part in one of the leading medical cannabis technology companies. With an established AI ecosystem and the upcoming release of the first dose-measuring vaporizer, the RYAH, we hope to bring more professionalism and transparency to the medical community while tracking some of the most exciting analytics this industry desperately needs,” said David Goldstein, CEO of Potbotics.
Azuca, a line of fast-acting, chef-quality cannabis edibles and ingredients, launched in the Massachusetts medical market through a licensing of its Intellectual Property to iAnthus. Azuca products rely on a patent-pending technology that wraps cannabis molecules to make them more water soluble, allowing for easy digestion in the stomach, and avoiding the gut and liver where cannabis is degraded and absorption is slowed.
“I developed the Azuca brand in order to solve the most prominent issues facing the cannabis edibles sector today: lack of proper dosing and unpredictable effects. With fast-acting, consistent results in precise doses, Azuca products are designed to build trust among both new and seasoned cannabis consumers alike,” said Ron Silver, Founder and Chief Creative Officer. “Our team is in the midst of executing a multi-state—and global—expansion strategy, which will bring Azuca’s breakthrough technology to consumers worldwide who are looking for an approachable, tasty and reliable edibles experience.”
Cresco Labs announced its plans to reverse takeover Randsburg International Gold Corp. This move would allow Cresco to go public and seek approval to list its stock on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
Find out more about these news and others on Green Acre Capital, Canadian legalization and Aphria with our friends at Marijuana Money, who make a weekly video summary of the top financial and business news in the cannabis industry.
More From Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk
During the week, Benzinga also reported on:
New Frontier Data’s take on the DEA’s re-scheduling of cannabis-derived drugs, on California’s legalization of hemp cultivation, and on how cannabis production consumes less energy than McDonald's Corp (NYSE: MCD) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX).
Pyxus International Inc (NYSE: PYX)’s recent breakout and Citron Research’s bullish view.
The most actively-traded over-the-counter stocks for September.
Cowen’s view on Tilray, Canopy and the overall cannabis market.
The views of Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial, on cannabis stocks’ valuations.
New ways for cannabis companies to raise money.
Blockchain as an alternative solution for the industry’s banking challenges.
Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics released a report looking into the edibles market. According to the papers, people in the U.S. and Canada spent more than $1 billion in cannabis edibles last year and consumption is expected to surpass $4.1 billion by 2022.
Oct. 11–13: The New West Summit, a conference focused o disruptive developments in technology, science, media and investment within the cannabis space will hit Oakland, California. Speakers include Weediquette’s Krishna Andavolu, Slow Ventures’ Dave Morin, Berne, Steve DeAngelo, Ricardo Baca and others.
Oct. 16: Voters in five states (Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah) will have their say on how marijuana should be regulated. Ballotpedia, the encyclopedia of American politics, is hosting a free webinar tracking these measures. Editor-in-Chief Geoff Pallay told Benzinga: “Heading into November, 31 states and D.C. have legalized or decriminalized marijuana. Nine states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. The legalization, in one form or another, of marijuana has had far reaching implications for the country and ballot measures have been at the forefront of this legalization. 2018 will be no exception.”
Oct. 19–21: The Initiative presents Hustle Hard: A Cannabis Friendly Retreat For Women Who Mean Business, a three-day intensive retreat for women in cannabis in Bend, Oregon.
Oct. 20–27: A coalition of over 20 organizations working at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and reparative justice, will join local and community groups across the country for the inaugural National Expungement Week (N.E.W.). Conceived to aid those disenfranchised by the war on drugs, N.E.W. will offer free clinics to help to remove, seal, or reclassify eligible convictions from criminal records. N.E.W. events will be held in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Haven, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Organizers will also provide attendees with a varied (depending upon location) range of supportive services including employment resources, voter engagement, health screenings and more.
Oct. 24: Fast Company's Innovation Festival session on Cannabusiness is coming to New York City. Panelists include Verena VonPfetten, co-founder, Gossamer, Michael Steinmetz, CEO of Flow Kana, and Karan Wadhera, Managing Partner of Casa Verde Capital. Panel discussion will cover the three principal ways individuals are jumping into cannabis: from plant touching operations rooted in northern California’s sustainable cannabis community, to a celebrity-backed investment fund, to a woman-led media company.
Oct. 25–26: Enlighten, the first full-scale enterprise technology solution in the cannabis space will be partnering with Lemonhaze to put on The Lemonhaze Cannabis & Comedy Convention, taking place at the newly refurbished Tacoma Dome. This event hopes to be for Cannabis what SXSW has been for technology, pairing innovation and a hub of influence with fun and education. The event will feature comedy by Doug Benson and will combine a major networking event for the cannabis industry.
Oct. 30–31: Michigan is hosting its 1st Commercial Cannabis Conference & Expo. This inaugural year is special - celebrating its first year in a commercial framework and supporting the upcoming recreational legalization vote. Collectively, the state's cannabis community is taking a stand for a healthy and strong cannabis industry in Michigan. Sponsorship, booths, and tickets are available.
Nov. 1: The Arcview Group, CannaTech and URI Capital Management are co-hosting Hong Kong’s first-ever Cannabis Investor Symposium, focused on the global investment opportunity, with an emphasis in those attractive to the Asian market.
Photo by Javier Hasse.
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