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The Week In Cannabis: Davos, Aphria's Funding, Moves In Alaska, New York And Vermont

Javier Hasse

As the World Economic Forum unfolded in Davos, Switzerland, world leaders gathered to discuss, among other important topics, cannabis, its potential, its legalization, and the hurdles of such a process. Benzinga attended the pot-related events being held and you can check out our coverage here.

Among notable moves that took place there was cannabis data and consulting company NOBL finalizing a Series A funding round of $1.64 million. The round was supported by Altitude Investment Management, Enexis AB and Artemis Growth Partners, among others.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Vermont filed a bill seeking to decriminalize psychedelic substances psilocybin, ayahuasca and peyote, as well as kratom, a plant with medicinal properties. Alaska regulators announced the approval of the first retail stores with authorization for on-site cannabis consumption, becoming the first state government to allow this.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented his fiscal 2021 budget proposal, which included fiscal revenue from legal, adult-use marijuana sales, suggesting legalization is just around the corner for the Empire State.

And finally, President Donald Trump was reportedly recorded saying marijuana makes people “lose IQ points.” Trump apparently quoted increased accidents in Colorado to justify his position, adding he’d continue to allow states to decide what to do about cannabis. It should be noted the recording leaked this weekend was taken in 2018.

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In the capital markets realm, Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA) (NYSE: APHA) closed a strategic investment from an institutional investor who agreed to buy 14.04 million units (consisting of one common share and one-half of one common share purchase warrant) at a price of CA$7.12 ($5.42) per unit, for a total of CA$100 million in gross proceeds.

The company's subsidiary ARA-Avanti Rx Analytics obtained a European Union Good Manufacturing Practices certification in connection with medicinal products for human use (including investigational ones), from the Malta Medicines Authority. The company chose the Malta Medicines Authority to conduct the EU GMP examination because it has the most demanding and rigorous criteria in the EU.

Cannabis CPG company Bhang Inc. (CSE: BHNG) (OTC: BHNGF) appointed Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs as its chief brand strategist. DJ Muggs will focus on the “creative direction and strategy of the company."

In the international arena, New Zealand said it was overturning a law that prohibits cannabis vaporizers. The reversal is expected before new regulations around the country’s medical cannabis program come into effect April 1.

“Currently, vaporizers are prohibited under the Misuse of Drugs (Prohibition of Cannabis Utensils and Methamphetamine Utensils) Notice,” a Health Ministry spokesperson told MJBizDaily. The website also reported edibles will not be allowed under the new rules.

In the U.K., Farmako GmbH subsidiary Farmako Limited obtained its Home Office Controlled Drug License to start wholesaling medical cannabis. The company plans to launch sales by the mid-2020, counting on the imports of Bedrocan products from the Netherlands.

Here is a look at how cannabis ETFs moved over the last five trading sessions:

   •  The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) was down 6.6%.

   •  The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) lost 7.04%.

   •  The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) tumbled 7.04%.

   •  The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) slipped 7.45%.

   •  The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) lost 7.08%.

   •  The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period down 0.96%.

More News From The Week

Cannabis-infused tonic brand Cann closed a $5 million seed funding round, to support its 2020 development in California and across other new states. The funding round was co-led by Imaginary and JM10 Partners and joined by Navy Capital, GlobalFounders Capital, Cresco Capital, Brian Spaly of Bonobos and Trunk Club, among others.

Panacea Life Sciences gifted $1.5 million to Colorado State University to help create a cannabinoid research center.      

Trace, a Vermont-based blockchain-enabled soil-to-shelf tracking solution for the hemp industry, announced the launch of Trace Exchange, a seamless one-stop-shop for all of the best hemp and CBD from across the country. Every product on the online exchange is thoroughly vetted and researched before it is put up for sale. Additionally, Trace provides a Certificate of Analysis for each strain as well as additional information including packaging and trim level.

Joshua Decatur, Co-Founder and CEO of Trace told Benzinga, “The Trace Exchange is a first-of-its-kind service for the entire hemp industry. By creating software tools that keep permit holders compliant and providing a dependable outlet for product, we are able to help farmers, processors and others turn hemp to cash faster and more reliably. By thoroughly vetting and verifying all product and shipments, Trace stops surprises before they happen for buyers and helps them obtain the hemp that they expect."

BofA Securities raised his price targets for Aphria, Canopy Growth, Cronos and Tilray, seeking to mirror the expansion of multiples across cannabis: “Higher multiples raise the bar for all, adding risk to all names that we think need to be contemplated.”

Appiphany Technologies Holdings Corp. (OTC: APHD) said it's working on changing its name and stock symbol, seeking to better reflect its new focus on hemp. Management wants the new name to b e Verde Bio Holdings, Inc. The new stock symbol will be disclosed once it gets FINRA approval.

Nextleaf Solutions Ltd (CSE: OILS) (OTC: OILFF) announced that Health Canada has granted the company a Research Licence under the Cannabis Act. The license enables Nextleaf Labs to manage several research and development activities, including stability trials on the company's nano emulsified water-soluble THC and CBD formulations.

Cannabis industry leaders Bob Hoban and Charles Feldmann announced the launch of Gateway Proven Strategies, or GPS Global.

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc (CSE: IAN) (OTC: ITHUF) attained approval to begin growing and processing of recreational-use cannabis at its facility in Massachusetts.

Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC) subsidiary Tweed Collective prolonged its application deadline until Feb. 20. With this announcement, Tweed is welcoming other Canadian registered charities, non-profits, and business improvement areas to apply with their proposals. Tweed Collective is a social purpose initiative with the aim of helping improve the lives of Canadians.

GoIP Global, Inc. (OTC: GOIG) signed a share acquisition agreement with Apex Extractions LLC, a California-based cannabis extraction facility.

Commercial dermatology company Crescita Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: CTX) (OTC: CRRTF) subsidiary INTEGA Skin Sciences Inc. obtained a cannabis research license by Health Canada. The license enables the company to have cannabis for research and development purposes.

Cloud-based software company Epazz Inc (OTC: EPAZ) said its holding company, ZenaPay, received an order for a ZenaDrone from The Now Corporation (OTC: NWPN), making the latter the first U.S. company to utilize ZenaPay’s Drone Smart Farming Solution.

Lifestyle brand Ignite International Brands Ltd (CSE: BILZ) (OTC: BILZF) announced the launch of a new product division called IGNITE Beverages.

Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) appointed Judy Schmeling as chair of its board of directors, and Jim Sabia as a member of said board.

MediGreen US announced an agreement in principle to acquire a farm in Oregon, motivated by the recent Oregon’s legislature voted to enable interstate commerce in cannabis-related goods. The company anticipates obtaining a license from Oregon authorities.

Puration, Inc. (OTC: PURA) and Kali-Extracts Inc. (OTC: KALY) disclosed they're in negotiations in relation to Puration’s potential purchase of Kali-Extracts’ CBD confection assets.

An Israeli-based food-tech developer of cannabis edibles, Cannibble Food-Tech Ltd., said it started selling its products in the U.S.

Florida-based company Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (CSE: LHS) (OTC: LHSIF) announced plans to enhance its online customer shopping experience by partnering with e-commerce platform iHeartJane.

Top Stories Of The Week

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

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

Events Calendar

February 11-12: the Cannabis Packaging Summit is set to debut at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, adjacent to packaging technology event WestPack. As the global packaging market for cannabis products is expected to be worth $25 billion by 2025, the Cannabis Packaging Summit will be the first event to exclusively focus on cannabis packaging. Tabletop exhibits and networking sessions with engineers, brand managers, and other key decision-makers will also explore the packaging challenges and opportunities facing cannabis manufacturers and how the suppliers of packaging solutions can begin to approach this booming consumer market with greater insight and understanding.

February 24-25: The premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, is heading to Miami in 2020 for its sixth installment.

The conference, which takes place at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, creates an ideal setting for attendees to learn from the individuals and experts driving the cannabis space forward amid regulation, legalization and industry changes.

March 13-22: SXSW disembarks in Austin, Texas, once again, with its second year featuring a CannaBusiness track. Check out details here.

May 1-3: The CBD Show returns to the UK with three full days of content, more than 50 speakers, specialized workshops, and 100+ exhibitors from around the globe. Hosted at London Olympia, days one and two of the event are dedicated to the business side of things. Day three is open for the public sector to explore the latest offerings on the CBD market. Register for your tickets here.

Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga

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