This week, U.S. lawmakers again introduced legislation that would put an end to the federal prohibition of cannabis, allowing states to decide on their own marijuana policies without the risk of federal interference. The law in question, dubbed The Marijuana Justice Act, was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), garnering 43 co-sponsors in the House and six others in the Senate in the last session.
It is, to date, the “most far-reaching and comprehensive cannabis policy reform legislation being considered in Congress,” explained Morgan Fox, Media Relations Director for the National Cannabis Industry Association. The Marijuana Justice Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act schedule and put an end to federal criminal penalties for possession, cultivation, manufacturing, importing and exporting of marijuana.
“NCIA is proud to support the Marijuana Justice Act and help move cannabis policy in a direction that recognizes and tries to repair the disproportionate harms caused by prohibition to marginalized communities, as well as increasing and diversifying the economic opportunities created by legal cannabis markets,” Fox told Benzinga. “We will do everything we can to make sure this legislation is seriously considered in the current congressional session.”
On the markets front, Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) and Sequential Brands Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SQBG) announced a deal to work on a line of CBD products in partnership with renowned entrepreneur and TV personality Martha Stewart, who will also take an advisory role at Canopy Growth. CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE: CTST) started trading on the NYSE.
“Martha Stewart's decision to license her name to a new line of CBD pet products is not surprising,” Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga. “It seems like just about everyone is now jumping on the CBD bandwagon. Most of these companies will never survive and while Canopy Growth may have gotten a feather in its cap for signing on Martha, it doesn't mean their product will be better or more effective. It just means it will get more attention. I expect we'll continue to see more celebrity endorsements and licensing deals.”
Rock legend David Crosby said he’s asking for $5 million to license his name to a cannabis company.
In addition, Benzinga's cannabis desk posted a few scoop:
On Thursday, we announced CB2 Insights, a global provider of predictive analytics tools, data-driven software and other services across the medical marijuana value chain, will begin trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange March 6 via a reverse takeover. It will trade under the ticker "CBII." Check out our interview with CEO Prad Sekar.
Marijuana Stocks & ETFs
Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) gained 3.25 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) rose roughly 1.5 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up almost 0.5 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): down 9.1 percent
• Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA): down 0.6 percent
• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB): up 5 percent
• CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE: CTST): up 1.5 percent
• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): up 5.8 percent
• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): down 1 percent
• Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC: CURLF): down 2.3 percent
• Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC: GGBXF): down 9.4 percent
• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF): up 17.3 percent
• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF): down 9 percent
• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): up 17.1 percent
• Hexo Corp (NYSE: HEXO): down 4.4 percent
• Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC: HRVSF): down 9.6 percent
• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): down 6.9 percent
• Marimed Inc (OTC: MRMD): up 2.1 percent
• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF): down 4.2 percent
• OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OTC: OGRMF): up 10 percent
• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE: SMG): up 2.5 percent
• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): up 0.6 percent
In Other News
Covalent Collective, a network of cannabis-centric enterprises, announced the completion of its first acquisition, internally referred to as the “Colorado 16”, which includes ownership of the real estate that leases multiple medical marijuana cultivations, production and a total of five Colorado medical cannabis dispensaries. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed.
Bill Gregorak, CEO of Covalent Collective told Benzinga, “The Colorado 16 portfolio of companies is the foundation for our vertically integrated strategy and fits perfectly into our long-term plan that will expand our footprint across the U.S. through organic growth and strategic acquisitions. The talent and intellectual property that comes with the Colorado 16 will be leveraged across our business as we build out a diversified and innovative collective of cannabis and cannabis related enterprises.”
SOL Global Investments Corp (OTC: SOLCF) released its quarterly earnings report, among other things highlighting the company’s recent U.S. and European cannabis investments. Earlier this year, SOL struck a strategic partnership with Dublin-based GreenLight Pharmaceuticals, a leader in European medical cannabis research.
Not included in Friday’s quarterly release was SOL Global’s recent formation of a wholly owned hemp and CBD-focused subsidiary, called Heavenly Rx. Heavenly will be the company’s launchpad for investments in the THC-free cannabinoid and hemp space. Heavenly announced its first investment this week, in the Knoxville, Tennessee-based hemp processing and extraction company Bluhen Botanicals.
“We’re excited about what’s ahead in the coming year for the entire sector encompassing of cannabis, hemp and CBD, you’re going to start to see increased momentum on a world-wide level,” said SOL Global CEO Brady Cobb. “Passage of the SAFE Banking Act, and hopefully, the STATES Act, will dramatically open up opportunities for new investment in the U.S. and the ability of U.S. companies to keep up with our global competitors. The passages will also allow for the expansion and the continuation of research into the important medical benefits and applications for cannabis. Our strategy is intrinsically built around these developments.”
The U.S. Hemp Authority announced the first 13 companies to earn its Certified Seal for safety and quality. As the marketplace for hemp-derived products, especially CBD continues to grow rapidly, more and more products are just not delivering what they promise. This program, the product of nearly two years of dialogue and input from around the industry, offers a way for responsible growers and processors to denote their commitment to quality and transparency. The third-party certification program provides certainty for consumers, regulators and law enforcement that the industry is ready to help ensure that these products are safe and reliable. Included in the first cohort was publicly traded CV Sciences Inc (OTC: CVSI).
Marielle Weintraub, president of the U.S. Hemp Authority told Benzinga, “This certification is a major milestone for the hemp industry. It sends a clear signal that we intend to set a high bar for safety and quality, and that we will push everyone to reach that bar. The companies who passed these third-party audits proved that they are truly leaders in this exciting space.”
Helix TCS, Inc. (OTC: HLIX) announced the former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quesada, will join their Board of Directors as a strategic advisor as they pursue further expansion into the international cannabis market. Fox serves on the Board of Directors for High Times and cannabis producer Khiron Life Sciences, and is a respected advocate of medical cannabis legalization throughout Latin America.
“The addition of Mr. Fox to our Board is an honor and we look forward to benefiting from his expertise as we assist globalizing businesses in their rapid expansion into emerging cannabis markets all over the world,” said Zachary L. Venegas, Chairman and CEO of Helix TCS. “As both domestic and international cannabis operators pursue new markets and regions, we look forward to playing a vital role in facilitating their critical infrastructure services related to supply chain management.”
True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. (CSE:MJ) (OTC: TRLFF), a global cannabis and hemp wellness brand for pets, reported the company’s third consecutive quarter of record sales with its best sales quarter ever for the three-months ended Dec. 31. Third-quarter growth increased 145 percent year over year to a total of $652,370 (CAD) for the quarter. Revenue for the nine-months ended Dec. 31, was $1,715,775 – the company’s highest revenue over three quarters to date.
“This record revenue growth is generated from the global sales of our legal hemp-based pet supplements,” said Darcy Bomford, Founder and CEO of True Leaf. “It's further evidence that cannabis-for-pets has gained worldwide popularity – and we’re not slowing down. True Leaf will unveil a whole new look and feel for the brand next month, based on knowledge learned from consumer and industry research the company undertook last year.
The American Psychological Association sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking that the government speed up the review of more than two dozen license applications for cultivation of cannabis for research purposes.
MedMen released second-quarter results that included a 39.1-percent quarter-over-quarter revenue gain to $29.9 million.
GW Pharmaceuticals reported its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2019. The company posted revenue growth of 67.5 percent. The report includes sales of the company's Epidiolex drug, which last year became the first cannabis-based drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Sales began in November.
Jennifer Romolini was named the first Editor In Chief of cannabisMD, the soon to be relaunched consumer education platform focusing on the potential health and wellness benefits of CBD and medical cannabis. Romolini will oversee all editorial operations for the site, including the creation of the site’s overall look and feel, manage the editorial team, and grow the site’s medical advisory roster.
Arcadia Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ: RKDA), an agricultural food ingredient company and leader in leveraging advanced, proprietary breeding techniques to improve the quality and nutritional content of wheat and soybeans, announced the company will apply its expertise to a new crop: cannabis.
“Arcadia Specialty Genomics, our new strategic business unit, will focus on the optimization and standardization of cannabis plant content, quality, disease resistance, climate resiliency and yield – all critical needs for a burgeoning industry experiencing high consumer demand in the face of unreliable crop consistency and increasing government scrutiny,” Matt Plavan, CFO of Arcadia Biosciences and President of Arcadia Specialty Genomics, told Benzinga. “The recent federal legalization of hemp opened a door to begin innovating on a crop that hasn’t seen concerted breeding a nearly 100 years. We’re enthusiastic about developing and commercializing high-quality, novel cannabis varieties and functional ingredients such as hemp oil and CBD, as well as the improved outcomes we can deliver to cultivators, food and nutraceutical industries and consumers.”
Canopy Rivers Inc (OTC: CNPOF) announced third-quarter results. The firm has made 14 investments to date, deployed $55 million in capital in the quarter and announced the closure of its bought deal co-led by CIBC Capital Markets and Eight Capital with a syndicate including three Schedule 1 banks. With a $120 million war chest now at its disposal, Canopy Rivers will be actively looking to make new domestic and international investments, and follow on investments in existing portfolio companies.
“We are well capitalized, have a strong and growing investment portfolio and a clear vision for where this industry heading. We are ready to act aggressively to advance our position as the cannabis industry’s premier public venture capital company,” said Narbe Alexandrian, President, Canopy Rivers.
At the launch of their new headquarters, Cape Town-based precision agriculture company Aerobotics announced it expanded its Series A funding round from $2 million to $4 million, bringing its total fundraising to $4.6 million.
“After four years of growing this company into what it is today, we still feel like we are at the beginning of the Aerobotics story,” said Aerobotics CEO James Paterson. “With our new offices, the expansion of our Series A funding round, senior level hires and exciting product updates, we are confident 2019 will be a big year for us.”
Therabis, the pet wellness subsidiary of Dixie Brands (OTC: DXBRF), announced the first-ever hemp-based cat treat to enter the domestic feline industry will debut in April. The cat treat market is estimated at approximately $2 billion.
“We developed our soft-chew cat treats with Full Spectrum Hemp to reduce anxiety and create a feeling of calm, even in high-stress situations,” said Bob Rubin, President of Therabis. “The first product of its kind, ‘Calm and Quiet’ soft chew treats build upon Therabis’ pioneering work with CBD-infused dog treats. We’re confident that cats who try them — not to mention their humans — will enjoy an improved quality of life.”
Rare cannabis formulation Doug’s Varin, which contains the highest concentrations of THCV available, hit the marketplace, for sale through SPARC’s five dispensaries in northern California. California Cannabinoids CEO David Lampach, the producer of Doug’s Varin said, “The market is hungry for access to this rare but promising cannabinoid. There is high demand for THCV, but until now there have been virtually no products. From a market perspective, I view the long-awaited release of Doug’s Varin to be just the tip of the iceberg."
CBD is everywhere and is popping up in skincare products for good reason. It’s a powerful antioxidant that works wonders on skin. But, not all products are created equally...
Culture-conscious brand consultancy IN GOOD CO has teamed with Saving Faces co-founder Jenny Evans to create a high-end, pure, CBD-infused line of skincare products called BeautyGrass.
“CBD is the wonder, super ingredient we've all been waiting for,” said Kirsten Ludwig, who founded IN GOOD CO in 2015. “After experiencing the magic of Jenny’s products, we knew we had to collaborate and innovate and bring BeautyGrass to market. The outdated tropes of the cannabis world are eroding as are the stigmas around CBD. Our Futures division exists to pursue brands and businesses we believe must come to life. BeautyGrass fits that bill.”
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the demand for jobs in the United States. HempStaff, a leader in recruiting in the cannabis and hemp industries announced the launch of the HempStaff Affiliate Program. The program is designed to help consultants and businesses earn additional revenue by helping place skilled employees in the cannabis industry. When a new employee is placed, the commission is $1,000 for a management position and $500 for entry-level or hourly positions.
“This program is designed to become an additional revenue stream for all those consultants and ancillary cannabis businesses who spend time "helping" their cannabis industry clients with recruiting information but don't get paid for any of that kindness. As an affiliate, if you refer any of your clients to our recruitment services for job placement and they hire one of our candidates, you get paid,” said HempStaff President, Rosie Yagielo.
Read about these and other news with out friends at Marijuana Money.
Interesting Data & Information
Scientists at UC Berkley managed to obtain THC and CBD from yeast.
Cowen issued a report saying the CBD market could represent a billion opportunity by 2025.
A study conducted by the University of New Mexico in partnership with Releaf App revealed patients find more relief on cannabis' THC than in CBD.
Published by Root Engineers, "Sustainable Cannabis Grow Room Design" analyzes data comparing equipment costs from the upfront, long-term, and payback perspectives. As the cannabis industry continues to mature and businesses become larger and more competitive, cultivation operations can incorporate efficient and sustainable practices that will impact profit margins when it comes to equipment selection.
Laura Breit, author of the white paper and founder of Root Engineers, said, “Over the past few years working in the cannabis space, we've learned a lot about what works - and what doesn't - when it comes to equipment selection. With sustainability goals taking a front seat, and businesses starting to come of age in this space, we're eager to share these lessons to help leaders make informed decisions for ongoing success.”
The world’s largest cannabis dispensary and entertainment complex, Planet 13, started construction on its Phase-2 expansion and will be adding a bistro/pizzeria and coffee shop to its massive 112,000 sq-ft facility. Planet 13 is the first dispensary to “go big” with entertainment and food offerings making it a destination rather than just a place to buy product.
“Our SuperStore is more than just a dispensary. Everything in our Phase 2 expansion is designed to give tourists and convention delegates more reasons to visit while they are in Las Vegas,” said Larry Scheffler, Co-CEO of Planet 13. “Customer traffic is growing; and there are many people that come to see the store that don’t buy cannabis. The coffee shop and bistro/pizzeria are dedicated to capturing revenue from non-cannabis consumers and to driving cross-over revenue from cannabis customers, and is only the first of several planned expansions for our 112,000 square foot site.”
The bistro/pizzeria will be operated by award-winning Arizona restaurant and craft brewery chain Rickety Cricket. The coffee shop will be operated under the name Purc Coffee, “Coffee for the Planet,” and will be a greenhouse concept, completely unique in Las Vegas.
More From Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk
Here are some other interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.
Feature of the week, by Andrew Ward: 'A Watershed Year': Why Cannabis Policies Matter More Than Ever For 2020 Presidential Hopefuls.
By Alex Oleinic:
• Jamaican Cannabis Company Jacana Raises Million, Completes First Export
• FDA Commissioner: Regulatory Process For CBD Edibles Kicks Off With April Hearings
• Cantor Reiterates Bullish View On GW Pharmaceuticals Following Earnings
• Valens GroWorks To Supply Tilray With Cannabis, Hemp Extracts
• Hound Labs Announces Positive Results Of Second Clinical Trial Of THC Breathalyzer
• UN's Commission On Narcotic Drug Delays Vote On Cannabis Recommendations
• Aurora Cannabis Enters Portugal Market Through Gaia Pharma Acquisition
• Cannex Capital Enters CBD Market Through Pure Ratios Holdings Acquisition
• Cresco Labs Creates Wellness Subsidiary, Enters Hemp-CBD Space
By Andrew Ward
• Curaleaf Signs Agreement To Acquire Eureka Investment Partners, Enters California Market
• BDS Analytics: Legal California Flower is 77% More Expensive, Market Share Declining
• Fed Chair Powell Says Banks In 'Very Difficult Position' With Cannabis
By Javier Hasse
• A Chat With Northern Swan CEO Kyle Detwiler: 'Our Key Competitive Advantage Is Our Hybrid Strategy'
• Video: Bob Hoban Explores Hemp, An Industry That Generates More Revenue Than The NFL
• Ascend Wellness Holdings CEO Abner Kurtin Talks M Funding Round, Eastern US Cannabis Market
More From Benzinga
• February Hemp Report, by PanXchange
• 'Sizable Amounts Of Short Covering' In Canopy Growth, by Wayne Duggan
• Agritech Arcadia Biosciences Rallies On Entry Into Cannabis Sector, by Shanti Rexaline
• Cannabis Companies Beginning To Ante Up For Bets On Hemp, by New Frontier Data
• Bulls And Bud Of The Week: Halo Labs And Eco-Friendly Packaging For Your Weed, by Jeff Siegel
• 6 Indexes That Can Help You Track The OTC Markets, by Spencer Israel
• Jim Cramer Shares His Thoughts On Canopy Growth, Iqiyi, Dropbox And More, by Craig Jones
• Zynerba's Patent Win Sends Cannabis Biotech's Shares Higher, by Shanti Rexaline
• Jefferies Bullish On Cannabis Stocks, Highlights Importance Of Medical And Recreational Exposure, by Wayne Duggan
• Ask Our Experts: Will Cannabis Legalization Impact Alcohol Sales?, by New Frontier Data
Check out these and other cannabis stories in our cannabis portal.
March 3–5: Deltec International Group will host its Annual Conference In Nassau, The Bahamas, bringing together leading experts in fintech, biotech, blockchain, and AI for a three-day event centered on the theme Trusting Disruption. Jean Chalopin, Deltec Chairman, told Benzinga, “To trust disruption, we need to understand what innovation means for us, so that we can adjust our vision and investment approach and be better armed to capture the next best opportunities.”
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. Ticket sales are well ahead of last year and we'll sellout again this year in a much larger capacity venue than our 2018 sellout event. Hemp is happening and happening now.”
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
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.
Photo by Javier Hasse.
See more from Benzinga
- A Chat With Northern Swan CEO Kyle Detwiler: 'Our Key Competitive Advantage Is Our Hybrid Strategy'
- Video: Bob Hoban Explores Hemp, An Industry That Generates More Revenue Than The NFL
- Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week
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