This week, lawmakers, cannabis entrepreneurs, investors, and other influential people gathered in Washington D.C. for KCSA’s Congressional Cannabis Day Forum. Speakers included Rep. Earl Blumenauer, CNBC’s Tim Seymour, Rep. David Joyce, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Don Young.
In other big news, the National Football League and the NFL Players Association reached an agreement to study the possible use of cannabis by players to treat pain; the Canadian government announced it is setting aside about CA$25 million ($18.5 million) to fund cannabis research; and Bulgaria became the first European Union country to issue a Free Sale Certificate for CBD products, setting an important precedent for the region.
On the financial front, Square Inc (NYSE: SQ) confirmed that it has a pilot program underway to allow select hemp-derived CBD products on its platform. “Square is currently conducting an invite-only beta for some CBD products,” a Square spokesperson told Benzinga.
OrganiGram Holdings (NASDAQ: OGI) listed on the Nasdaq and The Flowr Corporation (OTC: FLWPF) was approved to trade on the same exchange soon, although the exact date “won’t be set until the SEC formalizes the 40-F registration statement,” Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga.
“This is definitely a sign that the NASDAQ is easing up on its resistance to cannabis companies. In addition to that, the exchange has also begun to allow Green Market Report to interview these listed companies as the barriers toward cannabis-focused media begin to fall. It’s great to see this warming relationship to the industry.”
In the wake of a lawsuit filed against Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB), the social media behemoth held a product policy meeting to review its stance on cannabis. The company ultimately decided to maintain its stance against marijuana advertising on its social media platforms.
Story of the Week: The CBD Oral Care Market Appears Promising, But Lacks Conclusive Studies
Marijuana Stocks & ETFs
Over the last five trading days:
• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) lost almost 0.5 percent.
• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) tumbled 0.65 percent.
• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) lost 0.7 percent.
• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period down 0.94 percent.
Top marijuana stocks with a market cap above $500 million trading on U.S. exchanges performed as follows over the last five trading days:
• Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRZF): up 2.8 percent
• Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA): up 7.6 percent
• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB): down 4.3 percent
• CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE: CTST): down 4.35 percent
• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): down 0.4 percent
• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): up 3 percent
• Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC: CURLF): down 6.2 percent
• Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC: GGBXF): down 9.6 percent
• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF): up 4.9 percent
• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GGBXF): down 9.6 percent
• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): up 4.9 percent
• Hexo Corp (NYSE: HEXO): down 1.7 percent
• Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC: HRVSF): down 1.1 percent
• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): down 6.6 percent
• Marimed Inc (OTC: MRMD): down 5.9 percent
• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF): down 9.7 percent
• OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OTC: OGRMF): down 6.1 percent
• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE: SMG): up 1.2 percent
• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): down 3.9 percent
In Other News
Green Thumb Industries closed on a $105-million senior secured non-brokered private placement that the company said it intends to use for general working capital purposes, growth initiatives and to retire existing debt. GTI pointed specifically to broadening its brand portfolio and going to market faster in key states like New Jersey, where they were awarded a cultivation, processing and retail license in December.
The notes have a maturity date of May 22, 2022 and will bear interest from the date of issue at 12 percent per annum. With this financing, GTI has the option to borrow an additional $45 million over the next six months.
“GTI continues to be a first-mover — this time in the capital markets with a debt offering that drives down the cost to finance the business. This capital puts us in a solid position to execute on our business plan while minimizing dilution for our shareholders,” said Andy Grossman, GTI’s head of capital markets.
Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett initiated coverage of Aphria with a Buy rating and CA$15 ($11.14) price target. Full story here.
More than 150 professional athletes joined forces with fans to petition the World Anti-Doping Agency to remove cannabis from its prohibited substance list.
Ranging from Super Bowl champions and Olympic medalists to Stanley Cup winners and NBA All-Stars, athletes including Mike Tyson, Anna Symonds, Anna Valent, Riley Cote, Nate Jackson, Marvin Washington and Kaitlyn Verfuerth signed a letter promoting the health, wellness and pain relief benefits of cannabis. Athletes for CARE submitted the letter to WADA on behalf of its 150-plus members and kicked off a Change.org petition for other fans and supporters to join the campaign. The petition garnered almost 2,000 signatures within 24 hours.
The Texas Senate approved an expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program to include more qualifying conditions and make the process easier for patients.
“The bill had previously passed in the House and now awaits final legislative approval before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature,” Brendan Bures explained in this article.
Dr. Robb Farms announced it has received its Annual Cultivation License in California for the first Dr. Robb Farms Hybrid Indoor Facility at the Coachillin’ complex in Desert Hot Springs, making the company one of the first 100 annual license holders for cultivation in the state. Dr. Robb Farms also received the first annual license issued for Medium Mixed Light Tier 2 in California.
“We are thrilled to have gotten our license and to be part of California cannabis history,” said founder and CEO Dr. Robert Flannery.
“We cannot wait to enter the next phase of Dr. Robb Farms — being able to harness our proprietary technology and best-in-class, science based cultivation practices that will truly allow us to share the highest quality flower with our California consumers.”
California made public its cannabis excise taxes numbers for the first quarter of 2019.
Based on the reported figures, total adult use sales rose by 92 percent year-over-year, from $213 million in the first quarter of 2018 to $409.3 million for the first quarter of 2019.
“Most of the growth is attributed to ‘preregulated’ inventory that was sold through in the first quarter of 2018 but not taxed,” Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner of GreenWave Advisors, told Benzinga.
GreenWave Advisors estimates medical marijuana sales to be roughly 40 percent of total sales, meaning total cannabis sales in the first quarter of 2019 should have hit $682.2 million.
The Hemp & Cannabis Marketplace will make its debut at next month’s 2019 Licensing Expo. This week, curators PRØHBTD, announced the 12 consumer brands set to take cannabis further mainstream through licensing partnerships at Las Vegas in June: CBD Living, Kiva Confections, Legion of Bloom, SoKO Cannabis Creations, The Patch Co., Hempathy, Heavy Grass, Futurola USA, PRØHBTD Ceeby Dee’s Hangover Recipe, Foria Wellness and Jushi Inc.
Green Peak Innovations — which in December received a total of more than 30 licenses covering medical cannabis cultivation, processing and provisioning in Michigan — rolled out its North Cannabis Company brand. Full story here.
Lowell Herb Co. partnered with LGBTQ-identifying artist and entrepreneur Dina Rodriguez of Letter Shoppe to create a piece of art that honors inclusivity and celebrates love while directly benefiting the LGBTQ community through a partnership with GLAAD.
This is the first-ever partnership between GLAAD and a cannabis brand. For the entire month of June, buyers of the Pride Pack will receive Rodriguez’ poster as a gift, and 10 percent of the sale will go to GLAAD.
Terrascend Corp (OTC: TRSSF) reported first-quarter revenue of CA$14.6 million ($10.8 million) and reiterated its full-year guidance. Full results here.
CV Sciences Inc (OTC: CVSI), a supplier and manufacturer of hemp CBD products, announced its full support of the California Assembly’s Appropriations Committee’s unanimous passage of Assembly Bill 228 last week. Authored by Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Assembly Bill 228 would expressly permit the retail sale of hemp-derived CBD in food, supplements and topical applications. The legislation now heads to the full Assembly for approval this week.
Californians for Equal Access, a statewide alliance of legal cannabis businesses, launched and announced opposition to a lawsuit threatening cannabis delivery. The alliance said the lawsuit, brought against the state by 24 cities and one county, endangers the legal market.
“If the lawsuit succeeds, illegal operators will succeed,” said alliance member Eric Sklar. “When restrictions are placed on legal cannabis, the illegal market grows.”
Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. launched a leveraged marijuana ETF and an inverse cannabis fund. The BetaPro Marijuana Companies 2x Daily Bull ETF (TSX: HMJU) and the BetaPro Marijuana Companies Inverse ETF (TSX: HMJI) debuted Friday. Full story here.
New Frontier Data’s recent report on the outlook for the African hemp and cannabis industry estimated that Africa’s cannabis market is $37.3 billion in size, making up more than 11 percent of the global market. The report looks at 13 nations in the continent with a population of 565.4 million people and said 42.8 million of these individuals use cannabis annually.
MediPharm Labs Corp. (TSXV: LABS) (OTC: MEDIF), which specializes in research-driven cannabis extraction and cannabinoid isolation, announced Wednesday that its subsidiary MediPharm Labs Australia Pty. Ltd. received its cannabis manufacturing license from the Australian Office of Drug Control. Full story here.
Cannabis data analytics service provider Headset recently released an industry report, “Breaking Down Topline Sales Data By The Baskets 2019.”
Created with the intention of helping retailers and their suppliers better understand consumer behavior, the report examines spending patterns by analyzing the items customers purchase in a single visit — a “basket”.
The report uses data from Washington, California, Nevada and Colorado; some interesting takeaways include:
- Millennials make up approximately 50 percent of the cannabis market, while Gen X and Baby Boomers each hold around 24 percent.
- Although Gen Z holds a negligible percentage of the market overall, they’ve more than tripled their share in the past year, and as more of them turn 21, the demographic’s share of themarket is expected to trend upward.
- Baskets consisted of mostly flower (49 percent) and pre-rolls (27 percent), as well as concentrates (15 percent), vape pens (15 percent) and edibles (9 percent). Beverages, tinctures and sublinguals held only about 1-2 percent of the basket share, despite the trendiness of these products.
- About a quarter of customers are “loyal,” meaning they return to dispensaries four or more times.
- Average basket sizes by state were: $68.70 in California, $62.11 in Nevada, $59.45 in Colorado and $31.16 in Washington.
- The average number of items per basket is rising, meaning customers are now purchasing more than two items per shopping trip — a major improvement from early legal cannabis buying patterns, according to Headset.
Tilray announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Tilray Portugal Unipessoal Lda. received a standard manufacturing license for its Cantanhede, Portugal-based Biocant Park facility. Full story here.
Canopy Growth is expanding in the wellness industry with the acquisition of London-based skincare and well-being company This Works. Full story here. The company also appointed its executive vice president of finance Mike Lee to its executive leadership team as acting chief financial oifficer effective June 1.
Medicine Man Technologies, Inc. (OTC: MDCL) showed higher revenue and a higher net loss in its first-quarter report, and the cannabis company’s CEO is eyeing potential catalysts ahead, including legislation with a direct impact on the Colorado company. Full story here.
Cannabis real estate investment trust Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (NYSE: IIPR) is strengthening its presence in Pennsylvania through the acquisition of a property in the city of Saxton. Full story here.
Aurora Cannabis and Ultimate Fighting Championship announced an exclusive, multiyear, multimillio-dollar partnership. The deal aims to advance clinical research surrounding hemp-derived CBD products and athlete wellness and recovery. Full story here.
A new report projects the cannabis market in the United States will reach $22.7 billion in sales by 2023. The estimates in the Brightfield Group report imply a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent over the next four years.
The recreational market is expected to lead the charge — at least in 2019 — delivering 33-percent growth driven by a variety of factors including the stabilization of the market in California and new adult-use markets coming online.
The Brightfield Group, a predictive market intelligence services provider for the CBD and cannabis industry, last year predicted the hemp-derived CBD market will hit sales of $22 billion by 2022.
FSD Pharma Inc (OTC: FSDDF), a company engaged in development of medical cannabis and research on cannabinoid-based treatments, announced the addition Monday of three major cannabis researchers to its scientific advisory board. Full story here.
Craft 1861 will be the first CBD company to sponsor a team on the track in Indianapolis. The company will sponsor the Carlin IndyCar race team at the Indy 500 race following months of collaboration. Full story here.
Caliva, a vertically integrated cannabis company in California, announced its acquisition of plant-based beverage maker Zola, which was acquired by the private equity firm KarpReilly in 2016. Full story here.
Foli Media launched a new cannabis lifestyle platform, Foli, designed specifically for women and baby boomers.
“Women and seniors are two demographics that are significantly underrepresented in this industry. Their wants and needs are different from more traditional cannabis users, and there is just not a resource focused on their needs,” said CEO Skip Alden.
“Trust, education and access are of the utmost importance to them and that’s what Foli is designed to provide.”
Global cannabis company MPX International Corp (OTC: MPXOF) completed the acquisition of Swiss-based HolyWorld SA, which operates under the HolyWeed brand. Full story here.
Ignite International signed a joint venture agreement with MMS Distribution for the distribution of CBD in the United States. MMS is an American-owned wholesale distribution company and is the leading distributor of vape and e-cig products nationwide.
The newly formed joint venture, Ignite Distribution, will have access to the Ignite’s recognizable goat skull logo. The company will also serve as Ignite’s fulfillment partner on its existing e-commerce platform.
Sheetz, a major Mid-Atlantic restaurant and convenience chain, launched an extensive line of premium CBD products that includes both isolate and full-spectrum products such as topical rubs and patches, tinctures, vape pens, oral pouches, capsules, pet products and more.
Available at over 140 locations across Pennsylvania, Sheetz is the first convenience store to sell CBD at this magnitude.
The BDS Analytics Consumer Price Index, an index of consumer cannabis prices from four of the biggest U.S. legal cannabis markets, said consumer cannabis sales rose by an average of 15 percent from February to March of this year. March sales were 14-percent higher year-over-year. Compared to the trailing month, all categories recorded an average decrease in prices, with the exception of cannabis topicals.
A former Taco Bell restaurant was transformed into a MÜV Medical Cannabis Dispensary by AltMed Florida. The store opened its doors Friday.
Leune presented two new vape flavors: Sol Berry and Piña Dream. The launch took place at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.
Multistate cannabis operator Body and Mind Inc (OTC: BMMJ) closed its previously announced private placement offering with M. Partners Inc for 11,780,904 units of the company at a price of CA$1.25 (93 cents) per unit. Full story here.
Investment and operating platform Northern Swan Holdings announced the appointment Monday of Joe Crowley, a former U.S. Representative from New York’s 14th congressional district, to its board of advisors. The company also appointed former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Full story here.
The following are some of the most interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.
Thinknum Media shared a look into the blooming cannabis industry, including charts, maps and more.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich released a video explaining why marijuana should be legalized.
We had a chance to discuss SOL Global Investments Corp. (OTC: SOLCF)’s $30-million hemp biomass investment with CEO Brady Cobb.
Omnica Biotech founder Olga Chernoloz wrote an op-ed: “Pain, Placebo, Genes And CBD: We Know What We Don’t Know.”
John Roulac, founder of RE Botanicals, explained “4 Things You Need To Know About Buying CBD.”
The Fresh Toast’s Brendan Bures looked into “The Surprising Way Trump’s US-China Trade Dispute Hurts Marijuana Users.”
Mazakali shared a look at “Seven Avoidable Investment Mistakes” for cannabis investors.
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 panelists, networking parties and performance displays to benefit the industry’s content providers, models and affiliates.
May 29: Ansell Grimm & Aaron’s Cannabis Law Practice is hosting the CBD-A Conference. This seminar will focus on emerging issues and opportunities surrounding cannabis, blockchain and capital raising using Regulation D and Regulation A. Find tickets on Eventbrite under the name “CBD-A Conference.
May 30-31: The Concentration Expo is coming to San Diego. Concentration is a cannabis extraction conference and event assembling the entire specialty cannabis extraction and analytical science spectrum in one connected space that’s focused on providing real solutions with proven success.
Attendees will connect firsthand with industry leaders offering tangible ideas and practical applications for all areas of cannabis extraction and analytical science. The conference is a two-day immersive event offering exclusive content and keynote seminars alongside vetted exhibits and interactive experiences.
June 7-8: 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.
“We look forward to amplifying our message of cannabis legalization, inclusion and equality here in our nation’s capital,” Macias said.
“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.”
June 18: Martha Stewart will speak at the World Cannabis Congress (WCC) in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. Stewart is an example of big brands and high-profile personalities that are entering into the cannabis space as outdated stigma gives way to mainstream growth opportunities.
“I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in the lifestyle space with this tailored audience,” Stewart said.
“As I begin to collaborate on products for the CBD market, and as the demand for these types of product grows, I’m very interested in the conversations and connections at this event.”
Stewart will join Civilized publisher Derek Riedle and Bruce Linton, the founder, chairman and co-CEO of Canopy Growth, onstage in a fireside chat June 18 to close the conference. Read more about it here.
June 25: MjMicro, an investor forum that seeks to connect “highly qualified investors with best-in-class and emerging publicly traded cannabis companies” will debut in New York at the Westin Grand Central. The event is set to be held four times a year, with future events scheduled for Beverly Hills, West Palm Beach and Seattle.
Oct. 23-24: Marijuana Venture Magazine’s Retail and Dispensary (RAD) Expo, a national trade show focused on the retail cannabis industry, will return to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The RAD Expo will feature presentations from industry veterans on successful entrepreneurship and topics including merchandising, partnership management, interior store design and retail operations.
The 2019 show will focus heavily on CBD products and CBD brands with a presence in health grocery stores, luxury retailers, pet stores and other retail categories that carry hemp-derived products.
Nov. 19-21: The Medcann World Forum 2019 will be held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valetta, Malta, which dates to the 16th century.
The three days will focus on six main pillars: medical, business, research, legislation, regulatory and fintech. The event will host Malta’s top policymakers, international regulatory experts and global business leaders.