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Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week

Javier Hasse

It was another news-filled week in the weed world...

Nelson Peltz joined Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB) as a strategic advisor;

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC: HRVSF) acquired Chicago-based Verano Holdings in an all-stock deal valued at $850 million;

Nielsen Holdings PLC (NYSE: NLSN), Deloitte and Headset are partnering up to provide market insights for cannabis businesses; and

Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) appointed Andrew Pucher, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE: GS), as its new Chief Corporate Development Officer.

“The prices keep climbing for cannabis companies. HEXO said it was willing to pay $263 million for Newstrike Brands," Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report told Benzinga. "Acreage Holdings said it paid $11 million for one dispensary in California. This seems like a bargain by comparison. Existing successful businesses want a lot of money and it seems they are getting it.”

The Cannabis Capital Conference is coming back to Toronto April 17-18!

Marijuana Stocks & ETFs

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) gained 4.9 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) rose roughly 4.6 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 2.5 percent.

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $400 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRZF): up 14.8 percent

• Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA): up 0.7 percent

• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB): up 24 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE: CTST): up 7.6 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): up 1 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): down 3.4 percent

Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC: CURLF): up 8.7 percent

Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC: GGBXF): up 2.2 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF): up 6.7 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF): up 10.5 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): up 3.9 percent

Hexo Corp (NYSE: HEXO): up 12.2 percent

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC: HRVSF): up 27.4 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): up 6.9 percent

Marimed Inc (OTC: MRMD): down 2.1 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF): up 6.3 percent

OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OTC: OGRMF): up 2.3 percent

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE: SMG): down 1.3 percent

• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): up 3.8 percent

Follow Benzinga Cannabis (@BZCannabis) on Twitter for up-to-date news and stories on cannabis, hemp and CBD.

In Other News

CanopyBoulder, a business accelerator and venture fund for ancillary cannabis businesses, raised over $4 million for its most recent fund. The capital will be used to make investments into 10 promising businesses operating in the legal cannabis industry. Each company accepted into the accelerator program will receive up to $130,000, mentorship, critical resources and introductions to industry experts and investors in exchange for a mixture of equity and convertible debt.

Medicine Man Technologies Inc. (OTC: MDCL) published its annual letter to shareholders, which includes details of the pending acquisitions of MedPharm Holdings and Medicine Man Denver. Both acquisitions are anticipated to close later in 2019, giving Medicine Man Technologies the only federal research license for cannabis, while adding $25 million of annual revenue.

“These acquisitions will greatly benefit from our existing relationships in 18 states and seven countries,” said Andy Williams, Co-Founder, and CEO of Medicine Man Technologies. “They will also position us to drive revenue through traditional partnerships only reserved for pharmaceutical companies while establishing a presence of four retail locations across Colorado.” 

Snoop Dogg and his media platform MERRY JANE teamed up to launch a new esports tournament series: “Gangsta Gaming League.” The series was broadcast live on multiple platforms.

“We were thrilled with the results and audience response to the first ever Gansta Gaming League event,” Jim Baudino, VP of corporate relations for MERRY JANE, told Benzinga. “eGaming has tremendous crossover with cannabis lifestyle, and MERRY JANE is leading the way to connect these growth industries.”

Green Flower announced the launch of its new “Cannabis Patient Care Certificate Program,” and its cannabis retail safety and compliance focused, “Sell SMaRTTM Certificate Program.” Created in partnership with Cannabis Trainers, the Sell SMaRT classes are available online as of this week. The Spring quarter also includes Green Flower’s popular “Fundamentals Certificate” and “Cultivation Certificate Programs,” both currently open for enrollment as well.

“We have developed two new Cannabis Certificate programs that are highly valuable to anyone seeking credibility, confidence, and skills within the cannabis industry,” said Max Simon, CEO of Green Flower. “With millions of people looking to use cannabis for the first time, our Cannabis Patient Care Certificate Program fills an important need of making sure people provide sound advice and guidance.”

Susan S. Hwang, CEO and founder of cannabis consulting firm SH Management Services and Jamestown Center dispensaries, was appointed new market leader of Women Grow Phoenix. A South Korean immigrant, Hwang is an international entrepreneur who has built a diverse portfolio of cannabis brands as well as a national chain of licensed dispensaries. This year, she will launch Best Dispensary with locations in Los Angeles, California, and Mesa, Arizona. Hwang is a strong advocate for gender and racial equality and looks forward to empowering other women and minorities in their own cannabusinesses at Women Grow. 

“Our family moved to the U.S. in 2000, when I was 12 years old with one piece of luggage," Hwang told Benzinga. "Adversities and hardships that I experienced as a child taught me that something can be created from nothing. Anything is possible in life and I am the living proof of it. I want to share my story with every man and woman to encourage them to know that they can also create something in life if they have the desire to do so. I did it and so can you."

Helix TCS Inc (OTC: HLIX)’s leading seed-to-sale and cannabis point of sale company, BioTrackTHC, received a two-year contract extension to continue providing Delaware’s medical cannabis tracking system until April 30, 2021. The company operates nine government cannabis tracking contracts across seven states, Puerto Rico, and the city of Arcata, California.

“We are pleased that our government clients remain confident in our technology solutions, as demonstrated by this extension for the State of Delaware. This is our second extension of a government contract, and we will continue to deliver the results that earned the extension,” said Zachary Venegas, Executive Chairman and CEO of Helix TCS. “As more states adopt cannabis programs and others evolve from medical to adult-use, we look forward to playing a vital role in that process.”

PRØHBTD announced the formation of a new strategic alliance with Licensing Expo As part of their multi-year agreement, PRØHBTD will be a creating and curating an exclusive marketplace for cannabis, hemp and CBD consumer brands to gain access to an event that brings together licensees and licensors from around the globe. Selected participants will be able to take advantage of opportunities to expand their distribution reach across the U.S. and internationally, as well as increase revenue streams through brand extension into new categories. The announcement is the latest in a series of strategic relationships PRØHBTD has entered into to help the cannabis industry mainstream the business.

“The future of cannabis, hemp and CBD will belong to the brands who directly connect with consumers at scale and make a positive difference in their lives. Our worldwide exclusive partnership with Global Licensing Expo will help industry players find new licensing partnerships with proven mainstream companies and extend their brands into new categories,” Drake Sutton-Shearer, CEO and founder of PRØHBTD told Benzinga.

California-based Next Green Wave (OTC: NXGWF) finalized a $27 million deal to acquire consumer products goods and extraction leader SD Cannabis.

“It’s a really exciting time for Next Green Wave as we begin to launch our premium cannabis products and permeate the California market along side SD Cannabis and our branding partners who share in our vison and values,” CEO Leigh Hughes told Benzinga.

Nonprofit Athletes For CARE (A4C) announced step one in its expansion to North America with its partnership with New Leaf Canada, one of Canada’s top cannabis wellness brands. New Leaf has committed to make a significant donation to fund research and education initiatives of Athletes for CARE Canada. A4C will register as a non-profit organization in Canada. Anna Valent will serve as Executive Director for A4C’s North American operations and Christina Michael will serve as A4C’s Director of Canadian Activation. NewLeaf will help A4C build their Canadian team of passionate organizations and professional athletes; as well as support A4C’s research and education initiatives.

U.S. medical cannabis health care network Compassionate Certification Centers hosted a public ribbon cutting ceremony for its Kittanning location on Friday. The new office is located inside chiropractic group The Rehab Centre and will provide medical cannabis evaluations and certifications. Compassionate Certification Centers will also have its THC-free, CBD product line available for purchase by patients and non-cardholders. 

Compassionate Certification Centers has helped thousands of patients in Pennsylvania receive alternative treatment options, including those suffering from opioid addiction. According to Pennsylvania's Armstrong-Indiana Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, the county saw a significant decrease in opioid overdose deaths in 2018, versus 41 in both 2016 and 2017. Compassionate Certification Centers is able to operate its locations with a retail component in every medical region in the country.  

“Pennsylvania was one of the first states to approve medical cannabis for opiate therapy. Since then, we have had many patients visit our centers to learn about cannabis as a natural treatment option while in recovery," said Darlene Geppert, Director of Clinical Cannabis Operations and Training at Compassionate Certification Centers.

Mary’s Nutritionals, Mary’s Medicinals’ CBD wellness brand, entered into a retail partnership with bohemian apparel and lifestyle company, Free People.

“Over the last year alone there has been an explosion of consumer interest in CBD,” said Lynn Honderd, CEO of Mary's. “But many are uncertain of the associated benefits, or unsure of how to find quality products. At Mary's, we organically cultivate our hemp plants on our farm in Colorado, source the highest quality ingredients and test during multiple stages of the manufacturing process both in-house and through third-party laboratories. This is all to ensure that the product received by the discerning customer at Free People is pure, potent and consistent. We look forward to educating Free People customers about the positive impact that comes with incorporating CBD into their daily wellness routine.”

California cannabis brand NUG will debut its flagship retail store in Sacramento on March 18. The vertically-integrated, seed-to-sale NUG is overseeing its products every step of the way, from the cultivation and extraction to the in-store experience and customer relations. Along with NUG’s signature products, there will be a carefully curated selection of products from NUG’s respected contemporaries.

CV Sciences Inc (OTC: CVSI) reported fourth-quarter earnings, with record revenue of $48.2 million for 2018, up 133 percent year over year, and record net income of $10.0 million, or 9 cents per fully diluted share. During the earnings call, CEO Joe Dowling said, “We further strengthened our competitive positioning with new product introductions, expanded retail distribution, and, we became the only company in our industry to achieve self-affirmed generally recognized as safe status, which significantly enhanced the credibility of our company and products. We are well positioned to capitalize on the growing market opportunity we have ahead of us.”

California-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. (NASDAQ: MBII) reported fourth-quarter 2018 revenues grew 72 percent to $5.7 million, while fiscal year 2018 revenues increased 17 percent to a record $21.2 million, primarily because of higher sales of the Venerate family of products. MBI expects Venerate to be used on millions of acres of row crops this year – including corn, soybeans and cotton – with plans for expansion in both row crops and specialty crops and distribution beyond the U.S. MBI-014, a biologically based herbicide 100 times more potent than glyphosate, discovered and patented by MBI, has been submitted to the EPA for approval and is a potential game-changer. Further, MBI is in the design phase of expanding its Michigan manufacturing facility to support expanding sales.

“Growers are increasingly adopting solutions that are more sustainable, but also increase their ROI,” said Dr. Pamela Marrone, founder and CEO. “Marrone Bio Innovations is on the forefront of this trend with a portfolio of products that address unmet market needs, serve as an alternative to existing technology, or can be used in tandem with existing products to boost effectiveness of the combined program. As such, Marrone Bio is growing at a pace above the fast-growth biological industry CAGR.”

True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. (OTC: TRLFF), a global cannabis and hemp wellness brand for pets, announced it will officially unveil a new brand identity, redesigned logo and product innovations next week at the pet industry’s biggest event – Global Pet Expo – to be held March 20-22 in Orlando, Florida. The research-inspired new look and product line reflect the company’s commitment to be the most trusted cannabis-for-pets brand world-wide.

Developed in partnership with Dossier Creative, the firm behind brands such as Vega Nutrition and Mike’s Hard Lemonade, the new brand inspires trust with pet owners who are looking for quality, transparency and education.

“True Leaf is a challenger brand leading the way in an entirely new product category called cannabis for pets,” said Don Chisholm, co-founder and Innovation Director of Dossier. “As a pet parent myself and knowing how much love and money that we spend on our pet companions, I’m confident that True Leaf’s new brand identity and architecture sets the company up for explosive growth and success.”

CannAmerica Brands Corp (OTC: CNNXF) entered into a binding letter of intent to create a joint venture with Sericea Labs S.A. de C.V. and CBDistribution Company Ltd. and intend to build a facility in Mexico for importing and warehousing licensed CBD products as well as CBD oils and tinctures destined for refining. Pending authorization under Mexican laws, they also plan to acquire, import and cultivate industrial hemp biomass for extraction into CBD isolate for multiple CBD product lines.

“Global distribution of CannAmerica products is our key focus in 2019,” said Dan Anglin, CEO and co-founder of CannAmerica. “Entering the Latin America region with our partners in Mexico marks an exciting milestone for our brands as we expand into the international CBD marketplace.”

Acreage Holdings Inc (OTC: ACRGF), the largest vertically integrated, multistate owner of cannabis licenses and assets in the U.S., reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results and announced the entry into the California dispensary market through the acquisition of Kanna.

Seedo Corp (OTC: SEDO) appointed the former CEO of SodaStream, Daniel Birnbaum, to its board of directors following his personal $550,000 investment in the company.

Read about these and other news with out friends at Marijuana Money.

Interesting Data & Information

The Fresh Toast, a cannabis-focused media outlet, broke a new benchmark by surpassing the 10K U.S. rank threshold on Alexa, and announced Canada’s largest media group, Postmedia cited it as its top cannabis content partner.

The Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) recently released its Model Municipal Social Equity Ordinance, after several month of stakeholder input from our members, and drafting assistance from the National Cannabis Industry Association and the Drug Policy Alliance.

Khurshid Khoja, co-fhair of the MCBA’s Policy Committee and one of the Model Ordinance's drafters said:

“We released our Model Ordinance in order to provide advocates for social equity in the cannabis industry a tool to jump start discussions with their own local lawmakers, and provide concrete legislative language establishing a basic framework for overlaying an equity program on existing local law and regulations licensing the operation of cannabis businesses. Among other concrete benefits, the Model Ordinance addresses those individual, families and communities hardest hit by discriminatory enforcement of drug laws, by providing application priority to entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately impacted. The Model Ordinance also creates mandates for the  employment of disproportionately impacted individuals, as well as reinvestment of cannabis tax dollars into financial assistance to qualified entrepreneurs, job training for affected individuals, and efforts to expunge prior drug convictions, among other community benefits. The Model Ordinance is a way to overcome initial resistance to equity programs, based on the argument that it’s too hard to tackle these critical social justice issues, alongside the introduction of local cannabis business licensing regimes. It can be done, and we are in a unique position at this time in the industry’s development to redress the historic injustices of the Drug War by building a more diverse, and ultimately more competitive cannabis industry.”

Data for Valentine’s Day 2019 is out. According to Flowhub, Valentine’s Day weekend 2019 (compared to 2018) saw:

• A 27-percent increase in the number of transactions, with a 3 percent increase sales (that's likely due to a decrease in prices, specifically in Oregon).

• An 18-percent increase in sales of edibles. Specifically sales for chocolates increased 33 percent and gummies increased 43 percent.

When comparing Valentine's Day weekend 2019 to an average weekend, there was:

• A 28-percent increase in the number of transactions, with a 2-percent increase in sales (again likely due to lower prices in Oregon).

Wealthsimple Trade, a Canadian stock-trading app, said that during pre-launch beta testing period, the top three most-traded stocks were cannabis stocks: Aurora Cannabis, Canopy Growth and Aphria.

“Stock trading can be an unapproachable experience — traditional brokerages have onerous sign-up processes, charge high fees and use confusing financial jargon,” said Mike Katchen, CEO and co-founder, Wealthsimple. “We wanted to build an amazing stock-trading experience for everyone, whether it's your first time engaging with financial markets, or you're a seasoned expert.”

More From Benzinga Cannabis

Here are some other interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.

By Benzinga staff writer Alex Oleinic:

Mile High Labs International Launches On-Farm Hemp Processing Solution

Canadian Cannabis Company Hexo Posts 135% Q2 Revenue Growth

Employees At Ontario Cannabis Store's Call Center Vote To Unionize

CURE Pharmaceutical Expands DEA License To Manufacture Cannabinoid Molecules

Jefferies Expects CBD Beauty Market To Reach Billion In 10 Years

Starbuds Canada Announces First Recreational Cannabis Store Opening

UK's First Medical Cannabis Clinic Opens In Manchester

Valens GroWorks, The Green Organic Dutchman Sign Cannabis, Hemp Extraction Agreement

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Adds Autism, DiGeorge Syndrome To Pipeline

Golden Developing Solutions Completes Acquisition of CBD Infusionz

By Benzinga staff writer Andrew Ward:

'A Bit Scrappier': How Cannabis Marketers Navigate Social Media Restrictions

Different Smokes For Different Folks: The Industry Reaction To Altria's .8B Cronos Group Investment

Choom Enters US Cannabis Market Through Investment In Prospective New Jersey Retailer

New Jersey Governor, State Democrats Resolve Cannabis Sticking Points, Likely Paving Way For Legalization Vote Soon

NexTech AR Launches Cannabis Consumer Experience Platform

By Benzinga Cannabis Managing Director Javier Hasse:

Seed CEO Matt Cutone Says Cannabis Tech Company Is Building A Platform That Improves Lives

Green Check Verified's CEO On Cannabis Regtech: 'Compliance Can't Simply Be Stated As A Mantra'

More From Benzinga Cannabis:

What Cannabis Retailers Can Learn From Marie Kondo, by LeafLink CEO Ryan Smith.

This St. Patrick's Day, Drink Options Offer Sláinte! With THC And CBD, by New Frontier Data.

Why Nelson Peltz Is A Good Fit For Aurora Cannabis, by Jayson Derrick.

Bulls And Bud Of The Week: Aleafia Health And Kikoko Tea, by Jeff Siegel.

Global Hemp, Poised To Make Its Impact With A Post-Industrial Heyday, by New Frontier Data.

Check out these and other cannabis stories in our cannabis portal.

Events Calendar

March 29–30: The NoCo Hemp Expo will gather hemp industry people at the Crowne Plaza DIA Convention Center in Denver. Morris Beegle, founder of NoCo Hemp Expo told Benzinga, “The sheer industry response and anticipation for this year's NoCo Hemp Expo has been off the charts. We have expanded our Business Conference and Farm Symposium programming by 50 percent, added a new Investor's Forum, and we sold out of exhibition space within 25 days of opening registration.”

April 8–10: Cannabis Science Conference will host its first east coast event at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland. The Cannabis Science Conference, organized by CSC Events, LLC, will feature television icons and cannabis advocates, Montel Williams and Ricki Lake, along with over 75 expert presenters.

April 17–18: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, the premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America, returns to Toronto, Canada. Keynote speakers include Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, Cam Battley, Alan Brochstein, Jon Najarian, Danny Moses, Jeanne M. Sullivan, Tim Seymour, and many more! Find all the info you need at bzcannabis.com

April 25-26: The CannaMéxico World Summit returns to Centro Fox, in Leon, Mexico. Hosted by former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, the conference elevates a safe and legal global cannabis market. By 2028, the Latin American cannabis industry could reach a valuation of $12.7 billion. More than 2,000 attendees are expected to converge at CannaMéxico 2019, as well as high-profile speakers, including: television host Montel Williams, scientist Inbar Maymon-Pomeranchik, and vice president of NORML Canada Deepak Anand.

May 7: DCM hill host its inaugural Cannabis Technology Summit, CannTech 2019, designed to accelerate the cannabis technology industry by bringing together entrepreneurs, industry executives and investors from all across North America. The agenda includes discussions on the most salient topics in the industry -- such as regulation, distribution, and financing -- and culminates in a startup pitch competition with a $30,000 prize to showcase some of the most exciting companies in the space. Featured speakers include Eaze CEO Jim Patterson, Pax CEO Bharat Vasan, and Dosist CEO Gunner Winston, with more to be announced.

“We've been optimistic about the cannabis industry for a while now, starting with our seed round investment in Eaze in 2014 which made DCM the first firm on Sand Hill Road to get in the space. We created CannTech to be a launchpad for emerging cannabis professionals to get funded, educated, and connected, and we're excited to hear the ‘big ideas’ brought to the table,” said Kyle Lui, Partner at DCM.

May 28–June 1: The Cons is a gathering of three trade and fan shows, the Cam Con, the Cannabis Con, and the Inked Con, all under one roof, at the SLS South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. The Cons 2019 will offer a variety of seminars with top industry panelist, networking parties and performance displays to benefit the industry’s content providers, models and affiliates. While these industries have differences, in many ways they overlap.

June 7–9: The Women Grow 2019 Leadership Summit is coming to the East Coast. Dr. Chanda Macias, the CEO of the woman-focused organization, will welcome multitudes to her hometown of Washington, D.C. for the largest cannabis event-of-its-kind. Macias said, “We look forward to amplifying our message of cannabis legalization, inclusion, and equality here in our nation’s capital. Being steps away from the U.S. Capitol, where we have witnessed an influx of women assuming leadership positions, is sure to inspire our community as a whole to connect, educate, and empower female leaders in this space.”

Traveling: CBD Expo Tour is kicking off. The events feature more than 70 exhibitors, along with a substantial lineup of speaker presentations and panel discussions from experts in the research, production, globalization, and sale of CBD products. “After a successful 2018 tour, our busy 2019 schedule opens with CBD Expo MIDWEST. We're taking it into a hard working area of America where the population is seeking natural pain relief. We will be continuing to educate on the benefits of CBD wellness and why the pharmaceutical companies, as well as the FDA's suppression efforts are self-serving,” said Celeste Miranda, Founder of CBD Expo Tour and CEO of MACE Media.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

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