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The Week In Cannabis: Big Pharma Makes Moves, Diddy & Wahlberg Go After CBD, Medicine Man Continues M&A Spree

Javier Hasse

This week, we saw Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NYSE: TEVA) make a big move in the cannabis industry, through a distribution deal between its subsidiary Salomon, Levin, Elstein, and InterCure Ltd (OTC: IRCLF) subsidiary Canndoc.

Meanwhile, Medicine Man Technologies, Inc. (OTC: MDCL) continued with its acquisition spree, buying four additional dispensaries in Colorado; Frankfurt-based Cansativa GmbH struck a deal to import medical cannabis from Australia, becoming the first European company to strike a deal with the Oceanic nation; and The Alkaline Water Company Inc (NASDAQ: WTER) acquired AQUAhydrate, retaining its backers Sean "Diddy" Combs and actor Mark Wahlberg as investors.

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We also learned exclusively that Vinzan International struck a deal to acquire 51% of Colombia Dreams Marihuana Inc., or CDM, opening a Vinzan Colombia subsidiary; Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) filed an 8-K disclosing it has signed a sales agreement with Cowen and Company, LLC, upon which the company can issue and sell shares via Cowen with a total offering price of up to $400 million; CannabCo Pharmaceutical Corp. signed an agreement with a technology provider to deploy cannabis technology for the production of near-odorless cannabis; and a new cannabis-focused real estate company, NewLake Capital Partners announced it has completed a private placement of $85.5 million in preferred stock.

Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB) posted fourth-quarter results, narrowly missing expectations on net revenue, which came in at CA$98.9 million ($74.9 million) after previously guiding to a range of CA$100-$107 million. Shares traded down following the report, while analysts issued mixed reviews.

On the policy front, New Jersey voted against Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed changes to the state’s cannabis records expungement program. However, the Senate introduced a new bill related to this same issue.

Rohan Marley, cannabis entrepreneur in the state, and son of the reggae legend Bob Marley, told Benzinga, “I am happy the state is moving towards advancing access to medical marijuana, and taking steps towards social justice reform through expungements. I think it’s time to remove the negative stigma regarding these types of marijuana convictions.”

And, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said it will propose to boost the amount of marijuana produced for research next year by nearly a third, to 3,200 kilograms. That would be almost triple the amount produced in 2018.

Click here for more information about the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Oct. 22-23 in Chicago.

Cannabis ETFs delivered moderate losses. Over the last five trading days:

• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) lost 2.63 percent

• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) tumbled 1.98 percent.

• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) was down 1.86 percent.

• The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) dove 3.1 percent.

• The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) decreased by 1.71 percent.

Check out our video of the week, where former NFL stars Calvin Johnson and Rob Sims discuss their partnership to study cannabis with Harvard University.

More News From The Week

Canndescent announced the closing of $27.5 million in Series C Preferred Funding. The investment will fuel Canndescent's expansion into vapes and ingestibles, as well as support the company’s current growth efforts in Massachusetts, Nevada, Canada and beyond. Green Acre Capital, a cannabis-specific venture fund from Canada, led the investment round and was joined by Carnegie Arch Capital, Senterra, LLC., Altitude Investment Management, JW Asset Management and a multinational beer company from Asia.

“In August, we broke our previous monthly revenue record by 38% and are now on glidepath to profitability," said Adrian Sedlin, CEO of Canndescent. “With this round, the institutional investment community has validated our attractive risk-reward profile and recognized the opportunity we have to deepen our investments in both of our brands – Canndescent in the ultra-premium segment, and goodbrands in middle market.”

Greenlane Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: GNLN) entered into a tenant representation agreement with Jamestown for the strategic North American expansion of its Higher Standards stores. Jamestown is a leading real estate investment and management company recognized internationally for its adaptive reuse projects.

A Greenlane spokesperson told Benzinga, “Jamestown is an excellent strategic partner and have been strong supporters of ours since the beginning of our relationship. Jamestown has brought strategic and creative resources to bear in order to help us build and expand the Higher Standards brand starting with our flagship stores in New York City and Atlanta, and now continuing with this agreement”

Helix TCS Inc (OTC: HLIX) closed the acquisition of blockchain based, wholesale Cannabis and Hemp exchange “Amercanex.” The trading platform will allow growers, processors, manufacturers, distributors and retailers to buy and sell in real time, allowing them access to products and consumers at the best price.

Prior to the acquisition, the Helix was able to begin integrating Amercanex with its industry leading seed to sale software platform, BiotrackTHC. The powerful platform is Helix's most recent addition to its comprehensive and synergistic suite of services which includes Cannabase, Colorado's oldest and largest B2B cannabis marketplace.

“The addition of the Amercanex platform brings a business line that allows our clients to access the only fully compliance-integrated, real-time, electronic wholesale cannabis market. This platform is also market flexible, and can create alternative product markets to support hemp, extracts and other products, along with their supporting testing and documentation requirements, in real time. In conjunction with Cannabase, our scope of operations in the wholesale cannabis marketplace is unrivaled,” Zachary L. Venegas, CEO and Executive Chairman of Helix TCS, told Benzinga.

Cannabis infused edibles, topicals and concentrates brand, Coda Signature launched in California, the world’s largest legal cannabis market. After launching in Colorado in 2015, the brand has grown immensely and earned accolades for its flavor combinations and rejuvenating formulas made from natural ingredients.

“California is an essential part of our brand’s growth and we look forward to bringing our products to the West Coast,” explained Mark Grindeland, Coda Signature Co-Founder and CEO.

“We look forward to rolling out our full line of products in the coming months,” added Elizabeth Cooke, Co-Founder, President and Chief Compliance Officer.

Bhang Inc. (OTC: BHNGF) acquired organic beverage company Red Ace. The company also announced it signed a licensing agreement with Cannavative Group to make and distribute Bhang’s THC-infused chocolates through Cannavative’s extensive dispensary channels in Nevada.

“As Bhang continues to extend our footprint wherever legal cannabis, hemp-derived CBD and terpene products are sold, we will continue to partner with only the best companies that share Bhang’s values,” Scott Van Rixel, Bhang Chairman and CEO, told Benzinga.

AXIM Biotechnologies Inc (OTC: AXIM) announced that its contract manufacturer Eurofins Amatsigroup has begun manufacturing AXIM’s patented cannabinoid-based chewing gum with dronabinol, a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for use in the company’s upcoming clinical studies on cannabis as a treatment for chemotherapy-related symptoms.

“We are excited to get started on manufacturing our gum containing dronabinol and proving that our delivery method can provide cancer patients with quicker and more efficient relief from their chemotherapy-related symptoms,” said John W. Huemoeller II, CEO of AXIM Biotech. “By offering delivery through the oral mucosa, our gum allows cannabinoids to bypass the stomach and the liver and be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.”

CannaTrac Technology, a cashless payment solution for the cannabis industry, announced that it has come to an agreement with Pacific Banking Corp. CannaTrac will provide state-licensed cannabis dispensaries and other retailers with the ability to apply for both the CannaCard mobile payments platform and banking services with PBC simultaneously.

“Our agreement with Pacific Banking Corp and our universal application allows us to sign up state-licensed dispensaries and retail merchants, including CBD distributors, to apply for both the CannaCard® mobile payments platform and banking services at the same time,” said Thomas Gavin IV, Vice Chairman and CEO of CannaTrac®. “With our streamlined process, operators can apply for both the safety and convenience of CannaCard® and the security of a bank solution with just one submission.”

TILT Holdings Inc. (OTC: TLLTF) changed its ticker symbol on the OTCQB Markets from “SVVTF” to the symbol “TLLT.” Mark Scatterday, interim CEO of TILT, said “We are excited to begin trading under our new symbol and believe that the new ticker matches our goal of continuing to strategically reposition TILT and move the business forward.”

CBD Unlimited (OTC: EDXC) announced that the company was issued an industrial hemp license to ship and cell in Michigan. This license will allow the company to service new customers and create key partnerships between suppliers and new retail locations.

Todd Davis, CEO & Chairman of CBD Unlimited told Benzinga, "As we look forward at the legalization initiatives in each state, we see a promising future for the cannabis industry. The production and sales of hemp-derived CBD have shown exponential growth following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. We at CBD Unlimited are striving to remain at the frontline of high-quality hemp products in order to service our customers nationwide and ultimately, worldwide. We look forward to making our high-quality products available to Michigan consumers.”

Jushi Holdings announced its dispensaries in Pennsylvania, BEYOND / HELLO is opening two additional retail locations. The dispensary will carry a wide array of medical cannabis products and a licensed pharmacist will be on-site to dispense products, answer questions, and provide services to patients and caregivers.

Organigram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX:OGI) said it has obtained approval from Health Canada for the licensing of 17 cultivation rooms under the Cannabis Regulations.

Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY) said its largest shareholder, Privateer Holdings, has signed a definitive agreement to extend the lock-up it has on Tilray shares and provide for the distribution of 77% of Tilray shares to Privateer equity holders over two years.

Biotechnology company Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. (NYSE: CANF) announced it has partnered with themedical cannabis company Univo Pharmaceuticalsto work on developing cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals for treating cancer, autoimmune, metabolicand inflammatory diseases.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTC: MMNFF) announced that the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 has expired concerning the planned acquisition of PharmaCann LLC.

Dutchie, a company that provides online cannabis ordering services, announced that it has closed a $15-million Series A round led by Gron Ventures.

Toronto-based tech company and cannabis review site Lift & Co. (TSXV: LIFT) (OTC: LFCOF) launched a new consumer data platform in Canada this week. Dubbed Cohesion, the platform was designed for marketers, seeking to help them answer questions like “are we building brand loyalty?” or “should our product pricing be reevaluated?

Vertically integrated cannabis company Stem Holdings, Inc., (OTC: STMH) (CSE: STEM) said it has executed merger agreements to acquire Consolidated Ventures of Oregon, Inc. and OPCO Holdings, Inc., which operateas TJ’s Gardens.

Canopy Rivers Inc (OTC: CNPOF) (TSX: RIV), a venture capital firm specializing in cannabis, which counts Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) as its largest investor, announced the first three members of its Strategic Advisory Board.

Top Stories Of The Week

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

• Meet Canivate, The New Cannabis Cultivation Company Seeking To Revolutionize The Way We Grow Weed

• Canopy Rivers Explains Its Investments, Atypical Financial Reporting

• Survey: 40% Of Food Service Workers Say Drugs, Alcohol 'Part Of The Workplace Culture'

• New Cannabis Products: Simplified Flower Strains, A Roll On, Vegan Gummies

• Morocco: Europe's Biggest Cannabis Supplier

• Trends Emerge And Converge As Two-Thirds Of Americans Gain Access To Legalized Forms Of Cannabis

• Litigation Looms As The Likeliest Outcome Of Oral Contracts Or Handshake Deals

• Cannabis Capital Raises Slow Down Alongside Capital Markets

• Cannabis Capital Raises Slow Down Alongside Capital Markets

• 3 Reasons To Consider Investing In Cannabis

• The Cannabis Capital Conference Is Going To The Windy City: Here's What To Do While You're There

• Florida's Vast Cannabis Market Potential Is The Difference Between 'And' Or 'Or'

• Cannabis Ink: Tattoos Of The Plant Are Gaining Popularity

• Michigan's Marijuana Regulatory Agency Releases Latest Weekly Licensing Report

• Exclusive: Canopy Growth Co-Founder Bruce Linton On His Next Steps, Says 'I'm Cheering For Entrepreneurs'

• Carson Palmer, Steve Garvey And Ann Meyers-Drysdale Discuss Their Involvement In CBD Brand Level Select

• Rob Gronkowski Talks CBD Partnership With Abacus Health: 'For The First Time In More Than A Decade, I'm Pain-Free'

• 2019: A Year Of Cannabis M&A Deals

• Chicago Cannabis Capital Conference: Meet The MSO Panel

Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabis

Events Calendar

September 18-19: The bi-annual industry event, Hall of Flowers, returns to Santa Rosa, CA this week for its third season at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The two-day show brings together the most innovative brands, retailers, and industry insiders to incubate the future of cannabis, with the first day reserved exclusively for dispensaries, retailers and press and day two opening up to cannabis and creative industry members. Day two will also feature their speaker series with a keynote by Shep Gordon as well as panels with Wall Street analyst Vivien Azer, hip hop legend and Saucey Farms partner, Jim Jones, Miss Grass’ Kate Miller, and Vanessa Lavorato from Bong Appétit.

September 23-28: National Expungement Week (N.E.W.), a nationwide effort highlighting the needs of those disenfranchised by the criminal justice system and the failed war on drugs, returns with events in close to 30 cities. Besides expungement assistance and other forms of legal relief to those with convictions, N.E.W. events offer legal education events, voter registration, health screenings, employment resources and other complementary social services. Presenting sponsors for N.E.W. 2019 are Houseplant and Canopy Growth Corporation, and the week is powered by dozens of local and grassroots community organizations focused on issues of social and reparative justice.  Last year’s inaugural N.E.W. events led 298 people to record clearing and sealing, and over 400 people received related social services. https://www.offtherecord.us/

September 23-24: Cannmed is hosting the CannMed Conference. Father of Cannabis Research” Dr. Raphael Mechoulam will be presenting the latest advancements in cannabis research, medicine, cultivation, and regulation. The events headline presentation will focus on the chemistry around a newly discovered family of stable cannabinoid acid molecules. These molecules have demonstrated higher potency and point towards promising implications for therapeutic treatments for patients in the areas of autoimmune, cancer, neurological, and other diseases.

September 26-29: Canex Jamaica returns with an impressive roster including yours truly and many other high level speakers including Bruce Linton, Steve DeAngelo, Vicente Fox, Cam Battley, Michael Miller, Tahira Rehmatullah, Emily Paxhia, Adam Levin, Douglas K. Gordon, Dr. Sandra Carillo, Jessica Steinberg, John Kagia, John Salley and Robert Hoban, among others.

October 4-6: Argentina will hold its first big cannabis conference, Expo Cannabis at the La Rural event hall in Buenos Aires. The event arrives at a key moment in the country’s regulatory history and the development of a nascent legal industry.

October 10-11: This year, New West Summit 5.0, in San Fransico welcomes keynote speakers Alicia Silverstone, Killer Mike, George Zimmer and many more! NWS curates over 50 exhibitors, two days of talks, engaging conversation, top-level investors, innovative brand developers and the best and the brightest in the industry.

October 11-12: CBD Expo MOUNTAIN will bring the largest CBD event platform to Denver, CO to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry. The event features more than 150+ exhibitors, along with a substantial lineup of speaker presentations, panel discussions, demos and workshops from experts in the research, production, globalization, distribution and sale of CBD products. The theme for CBD Expo MOUNTAIN will focus on compliance & regulation and investments & business.

October 11-12: the first ever Budtender Awards are coming to Las Vegas, sponsored by cannabis financial technology Canna Paid and cannabis educational program Clover Leaf University. The awards aim to pay homage to the nation’s top Budtenders and the many facets of cannabis culture. The two-day event offers panel discussions, a product and service expo, a closing night performance, awards show, and after party culminating in a performance by legendary hip hop artist Cypress Hill.

October 22-23: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Chicago, Illinois! You know you can’t miss it. Go to https://www.benzingacannabisconference.com/ for more information.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

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