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

It seems since Former Republican House speaker John Boehner announced he was supporting cannabis legalization, the industry has been reveling in success.

Things got better after President Donald Trump announced the federal government wouldn't interfere with states’ rights to decide on their cannabis laws. On 4/20, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced plans to introduce a bill to decriminalize cannabis on a federal level.

This week, the state of Michigan decided it will allow voters to decide whether they want recreational cannabis legalized in the November ballot.

“It’s great to see years of hard work come to fruition. I am eager to be a part of the efforts to ensure we are successful in November,” Jamie Cooper, CEO and founder of Michigan-based Cannabiz Connection, told Benzinga. “This initiative provides so much opportunity to businesses in and out of the cannabis industry. I truly can’t wait to see our economy explode like we have seen it happen in other states.”

Related Link: 'Decriminalizing Cannabis Is Long Overdue': Politicians, Experts React To Chuck Schumer's Marijuana Bill

Beyond the Michigan news and Illinois’ Senate voting for cannabis to be considered as an alternative to opioids, this was a relatively tranquil week for weed.

“It feels like the cannabis industry needed a quiet week to recover from 420,” said Debra Borchardt, CEO and co-founder of Green Market Report. “There was some slightly positive news out of Washington DC where AG Jeff Sessions seemed to indicate he was open to the idea of more research for medical marijuana but still made sure everyone knew he wasn't going soft on cannabis just yet.

“In the business world, the acquisitions continue to be big news as numerous deals were announced this week and a big private placement of $35 million went to AltMed, an investment of CannaRoyalty.”

Despite the good news, the United States Marijuana Index, which tracks 17 of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., lost 2.2 percent over the week. The North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, posted losses of 4.8 percent.

The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF HMLSF tumbled 4.7 percent over the five days of the week, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ slipped 4.4 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY ended the week flat.

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks in U.S. exchanges and how the performed this week:

  • 22nd Century Group Inc XXII: down 9 percent
  • Aphria Inc APHQF: down 8.6 percent
  • Aurora Cannabis Inc ACBFF: down 11.4 percent
  • Cannabis Sativa Inc CBDS: down 10.4 percent
  • CannTrust Holdings Inc CNTTF: down 2.8 percent
  • Canopy Growth Corp TWMJF: down 7.8 percent
  • Cronos Group Inc. CRON: down 7.7 percent
  • GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH: up 2.5 percent
  • Hiku Brands Company LtdDJACF: down 10.8 percent
  • India Globalization Capital, Inc. IGC: down 6.2 percent
  • MassRoots Inc MSRT: down 6.2 percent
  • MedReleaf CorpMEDFF: up 0.5 percent
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro Co SMG: up 2 percent
  • THC Biomed Intl Ltd THCBF: down 3.8 percent
  • Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc ZYNE: down 1.7 percent

In The News

A consortium of cannabis-related media professionals are conducting a Cannabis Media Survey. You can answer following this link.

Cannabis distributor Organa Brands was named a 2018 Top Workplace by The Denver Post. This is the first time a cannabis company was included in this list, which selects winners based on employee satisfaction, workplace happiness, and job stability, among other factors.

Chris Driessen, President of Organa Brands U.S. said, “Organa Brands is more than just a job, it's a family. That mentality is reflected in the stellar ranking that we received; it's a huge accomplishment for our entire team. To be the first cannabis company to have earned this award from The Denver Post is a telling moment about the changing perception around marijuana.”

The industry also witnessed the debut of AxisWire, a company conceived to offer a one-stop-shop for cannabis industry entrepreneurs looking to expose and grow their brands and journalists looking for the latest industry news. Think of a PRNewswire-style site created exclusively for the cannabis industry.

The company also offers a source locator service called STAR, where journalists, entrepreneurs and experts can connect to collaborate on pot-focused stories. Other services include: writing and distribution of press releases to over 1,700 journalists and reporters worldwide, a centralized hub for all media inquiries, consultation by experts for media strategy, and media compliance professional review services provided by Cannaregs.

“After two years of development, I am comfortable saying this platform is the most advanced in functionality of its kind in our industry,” explained co-founder Cynthia Salarizadeh. “By teaming up with Evan Nison and bringing on key board members that include PR and media heavy weights such as Gaynell Rogers, Debra Borchardt and Lewis Goldberg, we are confident that AxisWire will stand at the center of all things media for cannabis.”

Medical cannabis advocacy organization Americans for Safe Access (ASA) selected Dave Hodes, the first cannabis-focused reporter to get a Congressional Press Pass, as the 2018 Journalist of the Year for his work raising the national dialogue regarding medical cannabis.

“I am honored by this recognition from one of the largest and most effective medical marijuana advocacy organizations in the world. I have always strived to give the ASA their rightful coverage because I believe that advocacy - and advocates willing to take significant personal and professional risks - are at the heart of the cannabis legalization movement, and will continue to play a significant role in ending prohibition, and the war on drugs, and make this amazing and complex plant legally accessible to the millions of people around the world who can truly live a better life because of it,” Hodes told Benzinga.

Founded in 2002, the ASA counts more than 100,000 active members in all 50 U.S. states.

GreenSTOP launched its new Smart Dispensary, a four-user kiosk that synchronizes with a mobile app and enterprise software to provide customers in the U.S. with quick access to legal cannabis.

“The Smart Dispensary platform is the first fully integrated solution for legal cannabis dispensaries,” the company said. “The software and hardware platform allows for consumers to pre-verify and pre-order.” The first machines are expected to debut in Southern California by December. See the machine in action following this link.

Executing on its expansion strategy, Chicago-based cannabis company Green Thumb Industries debuted new dispensaries in Erie, Pennsylvania and Joppa, Maryland in April. The firm will open another location in Steelton, Pennsylvania on April 30, surpassing the 10 locations mark.

“Providing patients additional access to the medicine they need and providing them relief is hugely important to us,” GTI CEO Pete Kadens told Benzinga. “The company’s continued growth and increased number of facilities is great news for patients; we’re honored to serve our patients and be a member of these strong communities.”

Advocacy organization Cannabis For Children recently published a book on medical marijuana-based treatments for children, with the aim of providing doctors and parents an opportunity to discuss the effects of cannabis in a child-friendly manner, identifying it as a medical treatment and not a common street drug.

Seeking to distribute the book to public libraries and school systems the organization is seeking to raise $40,000. You can support their cause by donating at: www.cannabisforchildren.org/sponsors

Biotech firm NanoSphere Health Sciences was awarded the patent its NanoSphere Delivery System, a platform which nano-encapsulates active ingredients in lipid membranes for transportation through the skin and mucosa in the nose and mouth and into the bloodstream within minutes. The company will apply this delivery technology to its cannabis product line to transport both THC and CBD into systemic circulation. The technology also introduces consistent, standardized dosing to the cannabis market for predictable and replicable effects. 

“This technology is the only advanced cannabinoid delivery system capable of transporting THC through five layers of skin into the bloodstream and administering precision-metered doses of cannabis,” said Robert Sutton, CEO and co-founder of NanoSphere Health Sciences. “NanoSphere is changing the cannabis industry by laying the foundations of effective delivery for the first time. We provide precise dosages, high bioavailability, rapid action and effective delivery of cannabis into systemic circulation—all in user-friendly, smoke-free modes of administration. NanoSphere’s industry-first technology is the disruptor that will make marijuana a credible and legitimate medical tool that can be administered and prescribed by doctors.”

Cannabis customer loyalty platform Springbig announced a partnership with Canadian-based Cova to integrate the former’s incentive tools into Cova’s point-of-sales system, used by hundreds of retailers in Canada.

“We know retailers that implement customer loyalty programs are able to see immediate lift in customer traffic, repeat visits and sales," said Springbig Founder and CEO Jeffrey HarriAdditionally, our best-in-class digital communications platform will enable retailers all over North America to drive traffic into their stores within hours of launching their targeted SMS campaigns through our easy-to-use portal."

Learn more about these news, and others onZynerba Pharmaceuticals, OrganiGram Holdings Inc OGRMF, MJIC, Golden Leaf Holdings, Cleartronic Inc CLRI, Nutritional High International Inc SPLIF, Emblem Corp EMMBF, Cannabis Strategic Ventures, General Cannabis Corp CANN, and CannaRoyalty Corp CNNRF with our partners at Green Market Report’s Marijuana Money:

Interesting Data

According to a report out of BDS Analytics, the number of adult (21+) cannabis consumers in California has risen from 23 percent in 2017 to 29 percent in 2018.

Source: BDS Analytics

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses announced its NACB Standard for Advertising, creating national rules for marketing that its members will commit to following. Taking a page from other self-regulated organizations like FINRA, the NACB is creating rules that in many cases are more rigorous than existing state cannabis regulations.

“Marketing is how most cannabis businesses present themselves to the world. In creating the Advertising Standard, our members wanted to go above and beyond to show their commitment to protecting consumers,” NACB President Andrew Kline said.

Influencer marketing platform Traackr measured the social influence of the most popular cannabis brands among the top 420 cannabis influencers from April 2017 - April 2018. The reports delve into the number of mentions, measure of engagement and influence by channel for leading brands in weed delivery services, edibles, topicals, glassware and vaporizers. Results showed that:

  • Eaze is the hands-down favorite to get weed delivered, while Source Vapes is the most popular vaping brand among cannabis influencers.
  • Edibles and topicals brands had differences between mentions and actual engagement. Incredibles and Kiva are the edibles talked about most by the cannabis community, but Cheeba Chews gets the most engagement on influencer-generated content.
  • Whoopi Goldberg's Whoopi & Maya medical cannabis topicals have the most mentions among influencers (possibly because of her star power), but Care By Design edges above them in engagement.

Overall, Traackr found that while Twitter Inc TWTR garners about half the mentions of cannabis brands by influencers on social media, Facebook, Inc. FB’s Instagram down the platform that drives the most engagement for brands. The only exception is represented by the vaporizers category, which have generated significant conversation on Alphabet Inc GOOGL’s YouTube.

Events Calendar

April 30 – May 2: Philadelphia-based business accelerator Greenhouse Ventures will host the inaugural Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The focus will be put on the intersection of medical research technology commercialization and philanthropy. The organizers have partnered with Athletes for CARE to raise money for CTE Research.

The Cannabis Learn Conference and Expo will also feature keynote discussions from Mayor Kenney of Philadelphia, the PA Auditor General, the PA Treasurer, and 35+ sessions on important topics like the Opioid Epidemic, Sports Medicine, Diversity in Cannabis, Patient Administration Best Practices, International Standards, Packaging Compliance, 280E Updates and Tax Implications, Demo Day, and updates on Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, D.C., and Massachusetts legislation and market trends.

May 3: CanopyBoulder is hosting an event for accredited investors to take a first look at high-potential companies presenting their innovative products and services for the ancillary cannabis industry in San Francisco, CA. Each company, valued around $2 million, will pitch their business in front of investors, followed by networking.

May 9–11: The largest, oldest and most trusted B2B cannabis trade show, MJBizCon introduces MJBizCon NEXT at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.

“MJBizCon NEXT will focus on the future of the cannabis industry while of course looking toward advancing education in the field,” said Cassandra Farrington, CEO and Co-Founder of MJBiz Daily. “For the first time we have an invitation-only Executive Summit where industry leaders will come together to discuss new challenges and opportunities, as well as two days of Cannabis Law sessions covering topics from the general to the very specific. As the cannabis industry matures and legalization efforts expand, we need to make sure our program offerings do as well. I think attendees and exhibitors will be pleased.”

May 18: WebJoint is hosting the California Cannabis Awards in Los Angeles. The CAAs is a high-end event geared towards nominating and awarding the top companies, entrepreneurs and advocates in the cannabis industry.

August 17–18: Benzinga is hosting its first Cannabis Capital Conference in Toronto, Canada. Speakers include Alan Brochstein, MedMen CEO Brett Roper, Lewis Goldberg of KCSA.

Picture by Javier Hasse.

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