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

A four-day week shortened by Labor Day still brought substantial news in the cannabis sector. 

“Even though this week was a shortened trading week, there were still lots of financial deals happening. Cronos Group agreed to a partnership with Gingko Bioworks that could be worth $122 million. They are looking to Gingko to help them maximize the cannabinoid products they have created. The potential here is huge,” Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga.

“On the private side, MedReleaf founders have moved on to build the Flowr Corp. and maybe the can repeat the same success they had with MedReleaf. I expect this RTO will be very popular due to the pedigree of these executives.”

Find all the details about these transactions below.

On a more general note, Cynthia Salarizadeh, managing partner at KCSA Strategic Communications and founder of AxisWire, said: “We have recently seen a surge in cannabis stocks, which is a great indicator for the maturity and momentum of the industry. Some of the reasons that these stocks are enjoying such a growth include the massive $4-billion dollar investment by Constellation Brands into Canopy Growth and the general excitement and foresight of Canada getting ready to implement their full recreational market in October."

The developments have given investors confidence, Salarizadeh said, adding that she expects the markets will continue to reflect advancements in the cannabis sector. 

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks 18 of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., lost roughly 4.4 percent since Tuesday, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, ended the week almost flat — just $1 above its opening price Tuesday.

Over the last five trading days, including last Friday, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF HMLSF gained 5.3 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ rose 3.9 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY closed the week down almost 1 percent.

Stock Moves

Marijuana stocks with market caps above $100 million that trade on U.S. exchanges performed as follows over the last five trading days: 

  • 22nd Century Group Inc XXII: down 2.2 percent
  • Aphria Inc APHQF: up 20.3 percent
  • Aurora Cannabis Inc ACBFF: down 7.2 percent
  • CannTrust Holdings Inc CNTTF: down 2.8 percent
  • Canopy Growth Corp CGC: up 12.1 percent
  • Cronos Group Inc. CRON: up 21.3 percent
  • Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd TGODF up 11.5 percent
  • Green Thumb Industries Inc GTBIF up 27.3 percent
  • GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH: down 3.3 percent
  • iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc ITHUF: up 3.4 percent
  • Medical Marijuana Inc MJNA down 2 percent
  • MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMNFF down 0.5 percent
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro Co SMG: up 2.1 percent
  • THC Biomed Intl Ltd THCBF: down 7.8 percent
  • Tilray Inc TLRY up 19.2 percent
  • Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc ZYNE: down 8.9 percent

In Other News

The Emerald Cup, one of the cannabis industry’s largest and most respected events, announced its first set of headlining acts and the host of its 15th annual celebration. Cannabis enthusiasts will come together for a two-day fête hosted by comedian, actor, producer and marijuana rights advocate Doug Benson, with headlining musical acts including gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello, instrumental electronic hip-hop duo Big Gigantic, contemporary reggae singer Protoje and Margo Price, a country singer-songwriter from Nashville.

“The Cup brings together a passionate group of cannabis lovers — not only to celebrate, but to learn from each other and engage in an important conversation about the industry as a whole,” Tim Blake, the founder and producer of the Emerald Cup, told Benzinga.

“With our local event permit in place, we are moving full steam ahead to finalize a broad range of entertainment and educational presentations for our attendees, whether they be cannabis veterans or newcomers curious to learn more about the industry. The Cup has grown into an enormous celebration and cultural event, and this year we are proud to host our most diverse lineup ever.”

Cronos Group and Ginkgo Bioworks announced a partnership to produce cultured cannabinoids.

Ginkgo will combine its platform technology for organism design and development with Cronos’ proprietary technologies to produce a full spectrum of cannabinoids. As part of the deal, Cronos Group will issue “a specific number of common shares in tranches subject to Ginkgo's achievement of certain production milestones.”

Cronos Group CEO Mike Gorenstein said: “We are excited about this landmark partnership with Ginkgo, which leverages the expertise of both organizations to create cultured cannabinoids in a scalable and cost-effective way. Ginkgo has the technology and infrastructure to help us revolutionize the cannabis industry and we are thrilled to be partnering with them.”

In related news, cannabis financing firm Tidal Royalty Corp. TDRYF, founded by Paul Rosen, one of the co-founders of the company that gave birth to Cronos Group, announced an agreement with Diem Cannabis to finance the latter’s expansion into Massachusetts. The company currently has cultivation, retail and home delivery operations in Oregon.

Rosen, CEO and chairman of Tidal Royalty, told Benzinga: “The Oregon market is highly competitive. To build a scalable, profitable business in that type of environment is not an easy feat, which is what impressed us greatly about the Diem team. We think that their team, together with Tidal Royalty’s resources, will be very competitive in the newly regulated Massachusetts market.”

Emily Paxhia, co-founder and managing partner of cannabis-focused, long-short hedge fund Poseidon Asset Management, joined the board of Athletes for CARE (A4C). A4C is a not-for-profit organization focused on creating a community that provides athletes and former athletes with support, awareness for the challenges they face — and solutions for how cannabis can help them cope. 

Related Link: Cannabis Hedge Fund Managers On The Two Biggest Problems Marijuana Businesses Face

“From chronic pain to depression, today’s athletes face a host of debilitating issues once they leave the field of competition, and Athletes for CARE has been instrumental in helping them overcome these challenges,” Paxhia said. “I am deeply honored to join this highly distinguished board and assist in its noble goal of creating a community where all athletes, regardless of their sport, can find support and assistance as they search for new passions and purpose in life after a career in sports.”

Indiva Ltd RMKXF announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, INDIVA Inc. entered into a cannabis concentrate program agreement with MediPharm Labs. Per the deal, INDIVA will provide MediPharm with dried marijuana, which the latter will use to create cannabis oils. The program has an initial term of three years.

“This is the third long-term cannabis concentrate program agreement signed by MediPharm Labs,” a representative for MediPharm told Benzinga. The company had previously signed a three-year agreement with James E Wagner Cultivation Corp JWCAF and a one-year term with Bonify.

MediPharm Labs CEO Pat McCutcheon told Benzinga: “Take notice cannabis concentrate industry. We are so pleased to announce this strategic partnership with our long time friends at Indiva. The combination of unique world-class genetics, Indiva’s deep-rooted cultivation experience and MediPharm Labs' highest-level extraction execution makes this relationship one to watch. We are focused on production of advanced derivative products that will be approved under the strong Indiva brand. Stay tuned for more announcements like this in the coming weeks!”

Israeli cannabis biotech company Breath of Life Pharma announced the closing of an $11.1-million growth capital round. The oversubscribed round was led by Viridian Capital Advisors through its broker-dealer Pickwick Capital Partners, a member of FINRA/SIPC.

“Dr. Tamir Gedo is building BOL Pharma into a premier, next-generation medical cannabis biotechnology and pharmaceutical company involved in the entire value chain from strain to formulation to drug delivery method. BOL Pharma is filling a critical information gap in the global cannabis industry by conducting clinical trials to prove the efficacy of medical cannabis in a range of human disease states," said Vridian President Scott Greiper. "The market is currently lacking efficacy data from proper clinical trials, which are greatly restricted in the U.S. due to cannabis' federal illegality."

After 10 years of development work, Detroit startup Spinner Grow presented its new growing pod: the SpinnerXP. The pod eliminates growing challenges for all growers regardless of size. Its design philosophy is centered around a simple idea: optimizing energy and mass through a “mechanics over physics” patented design.

“We’re a start-up, but even before we officially launched, we were approached by investors and fund managers. We’re a 10-year, $1-million overnight success. We think Detroit will be reborn as cultivation city and we’re incredibly proud that our product is manufactured in Detroit. We have some great manufacturing talent here and we intend to help put them to work,” Spinner Grow President Mike Cyplik told Benzinga.

The Global Cannabis Partnership is taking applications for its newly formed broader membership category. The new category builds on the 16 founding members of the GCP that were announced at the World Cannabis Congress on June 12 and welcomes cannabis-focused organizations interested in contributing to a worldwide corporate social responsibility standard for adult-use recreational cannabis. 

The member category invites more government agencies, licensed producers, national associations, industry partners and community groups from the global cannabis industry to offer their insight and expertise as the partnership develops a responsible cannabis framework, according to the Global Cannabis Partnership. For more information, visit globalcannabispartnership.com.

Cannabis companies Kannatopia, CB Therapeutics and Webjoint joined the TechCrunch Disrupt event this year.

The intention was to show techies that the cannabis space is increasingly combining cannabis and technology, said Kannatopia co-founder and CEO Kurt Akers. 

“It is extremely important for a company like Kannatopia to have the opportunity to represent at TechCrunch, because it shows mainstream acceptance and continued curiosity from technologists and venture capitalists,” he said. 

“It is incredible to see continued support from a place like TechCrunch for what cannabis companies are trying to achieve with innovation and technology. Participates and investors at TC were incredibly receptive to what we are doing at Kannatopia and also to the other cannabis companies as well." 

CURE Pharmaceutical Holding Corp CURR announced that it entered into a multiyear licensing agreement with an internationally recognized cannabis company. Under the terms of the agreement, the cannabis company will have an exclusive license to CURE’s patented, multilayer oral thin film, a CUREfilm technology for use with cannabis extracts and biosynthetic cannabinoids in markets around the world. 

“Whole plant-extracted, biosynthesized and synthetic cannabinoids all hold potential therapeutic benefits for given indications and intended uses,” said CURE CEO and Chairman Rob Davidson. “At CURE, we focus on synthetic cannabinoids for CUREfilm products, but with our new licensing business model, we will expand the impact and applications of our technology to these other promising approaches by partnering with an industry leader in this market.”

High Tide Ventures Inc.'s wholly owned subsidiary Famous Brandz Inc. was selected as an accessory supplier to the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corp., operating as the Ontario Cannabis Store. Famous Brandz was one of 10 accessories suppliers selected to supply accessories to the adult-use market in the province of Ontario. 

“This is a well-deserved acknowledgement of the capability of High Tide and its subsidiary Famous Brandz to supply some of the most innovative cannabis accessories to the adult-use market in Canada’s largest province. FSD applauds High Tide and wishes the company much success in its latest supply agreement,” said Zeeshan Saeed, EVP and director of FSD Pharma FSDDF, which recently entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding with High Tide to supply the Saskatchewan market on a wholesale basis with up to 5 million grams of cannabis products over the next year when available.

California cultivator CANNDESCENT closed a $13-million Series C Convertible offering to launch new products, new brands and new states.

The Flowr Corporation closed a $36-million raise ahead of a planned RTO in Canada.

Find out more about these news and others on Liberty Health Sciences Inc LHSIF, Charlotte’s Web, Aurora Cannabis and Kush Bottles Inc KSHB with our friends at Marijuana Money, who produce a weekly video summary of the top financial and business news in the cannabis industry.

More From Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk

Over the week, Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk also reported on:

The potential of hemp within the cannabis industry.

Cowen analyst Vivien Azer maintaining an Outperform rating on Canopy Growth's Canadian stock.

Reports about cannabis helping treat Bell’s palsy.

Why bulls are becoming somewhat skeptical of U.S.-listed cannabis stock prices.

New Frontier Data’s take on Charlotte's Web Holdings’ $100-million IPO.

Northland Capital Markets analyst Mike Grondahl downgrading Tilray.

The main thesis of a white paper: “The Green Regulatory Arbitrage: A Case for Investing in U.S. Multi-State Vertically Integrated Cannabis Companies.”

Interesting Data

Vangst, the cannabis industry’s largest staffing and recruiting agency, released its first ever cannabis salary report using data from 1,200 cannabis companies across the U.S. The report, which shows the tremendous growth of cannabis jobs and salaries over the past several years, was released in tandem with August’s U.S. Jobs Report.

From January 2017 to August 2018, there has been 690-percent growth in cannabis job listings, and the average job salary in cannabis increased 16.1 percent in the same time frame. The Vangst report projects 220-percent job growth in 2019, along with increased employee access to new medical and financial benefits, which are currently available to employees at 71 percent of cannabis companies in the U.S.

Karson Humiston, founder and CEO of Vangst, said she was surprised to see the drastic range in cannabis industry salaries.

A director of cultivation can have a starting salary of $47,000 on the low end, but be paid as much as $250,000 at the cannabis companies that are scaling the fastest — and therefore prioritizing the recruitment of top talent.

"Cannabis tech (cannatech) companies are growing the quickest. The demand for top tech talent — including CTO’s, product managers, front- and back-end engineers, business intelligence managers and designers — is rapidly increasing, and businesses aren’t afraid to pull their employees from Silicon Valley and other tech industries," Humiston said. 

Events Calendar

Sept. 7-9: Oklahoma is hosting its first Hempfest: the Hempfest Oklahoma.

“After a year of working with Oklahoma politicians and venues we finally get to announce the world’s largest hemp festival is coming to Oklahoma. With Dj Snoopadelic [Snoop Dogg] coming for a free show in Oklahoma and the massive four-stage, three-day lineup we are about to announce, we are hoping to bring out the masses and educate on what the hemp industry really is,” said Scott Mckinley, event organizer and CEO of Hi Tunes Distribution.

Sept. 8: PotLandia's 1st Annual Canna-Comedy Event will be held at NW Cannabis Club, in Portland, Oregon. This event will feature Oregon's top cannabis farms, producers and dispensaries and celebrate Portland's best comedians including Adam Pasi, Zane Thomas, Hunter Donaldson, Molly Smithson, Lance Edward, The Real Hyjinx, Kyle Adams, Pedro Andrade and Dustin Brandon, a disabled cannabis activist and comedian who “uses comedy and his life's hardships as a platform for change.”

Sept. 7-8: To celebrate its “Cave of Crystals” shows series of the at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, instrumental music collective STS9 partnered with Boulder-based cannabis concentrate company Green Dot Labs to release a special edition Gobnugget Full Spectrum Extract Pen. The Gobnugget pen release, which builds off past creative collaborations between STS9 and Green Dot Labs, marks the launch of a more extensive ongoing partnership between the musicians and the concentrate company.

Sept. 14: New York City will play host to the “Green Market Summit - The Advanced Economic State Of Cannabis,” the first of a series of conferences under the Green Market Summit banner. The event hosted by Green Market Report will be held in partnership with The Street at One World Trade Center. The keynote speaker is CNBC and TheStreet’s Jim Cramer, who will interview Kevin Murphy CEO of Acreage Holdings. Tickets can be purchased on this website.

Sept. 20: Miami, Florida will be visited by Leafwire's Future of Cannabis Pitch Contest, which has already made stops in Denver and Los Angeles. The event is hosted by Leafwire and will feature six to eight companies completing a 3-minute pitch followed by a 3-minute Q&A from the judges to win cash and prizes. Powerhouse judges include Brett Finkelstein, managing director of Phyto Partners; Scott Lewin, managing director of SalesXcapital; and Darren Roberts, CEO of HighThere. For more info, or to apply to pitch, go to http://leafwirepitchslamapply.pagedemo.co/

Sept. 21- 22: Anaheim, California hosts the CBD Expo West 2018. Powered by CBD Health and Wellness Magazine, the CBD-focused event will feature 75 exhibitors, along with a large lineup of presentations and panel discussions from experts in the production, distribution and sale of CBD products. Tickets and can be purchased online; check out cbdexpo.net for more detail.

Oct.11-13: The New West Summit, a conference focused on “game-changing, disruptive developments in technology, science, media and investment within the cannabis space,” will hit Oakland, California. Speakers include Weediquette’s Krishna Andavolu, Slow Ventures’ Dave Morin, Berner the rapper, Steve DeAngelo, Ricardo Baca and many others.

Oct. 19-21: The Initiative presents "Hustle Hard: A Cannabis Friendly Retreat For Women Who Mean Business," a three-day intensive retreat for women in cannabis in Bend, Oregon.

Oct. 25-26: Enlighten, the first full-scale enterprise technology solution in the cannabis space, will partner with Lemonhaze to put on The Lemonhaze Cannabis & Comedy Convention at the Tacoma Dome. This event hopes to be for cannabis what SXSW has been for technology, pairing innovation and a hub of influence with fun and education. The event is headlined by comedian Doug Benson and combines a major networking event for the cannabis industry with performances from some the world's most recognized entertainers. 

Oct.30-31: Michigan is hosting its 1st Commercial Cannabis Conference & Expo. This inaugural year is special, celebrating the stat'es first year in a commercial framework and an upcoming recreational legalization vote. Collectively, the state cannabis community is taking a stand for a healthy and strong cannabis industry in Michigan, the organizers said. Sponsorship, booths, and tickets are available.

Picture by Javier Hasse.

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