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

This week, New Jersey took a big step toward the legalization of recreational marijuana, after a joint Assembly and Senate committee voted on a bill that would legalize and tax the sale of weed. Meanwhile, South Korea legalized medical cannabis, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the 2018 Farm Bill would include a provision to legalize industrial hemp cultivation.

Benzinga will host its second Cannabis Capital Conference presented by New Frontier Data in Miami, Jan.15 and 16, 2019, and focused on Latin America.

“We are excited to host this first-of-its-kind forum,” said Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, founder and CEO of New Frontier Data. “As Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and other nations make material moves both domestically and regionally, established North American cannabis companies should pay attention and begin responsible and open conversations to ensure the now global legal cannabis market evolves in a healthy and transparent manner.”

In the capital markets, we saw Dixie Brands and Grown Rogue start trading in the Canadian Securities Exchange. Dixie, one of the largest and most diverse CPG companies in the cannabis industry, under the ticker symbol DIXI.U – the "U" indicates shares trade in U.S. dollars.

“We are proud that the plan we laid out seven months ago, with our financial advisors at Hillcrest Merchant Partners, resulted in this smooth and successful listing on the CSE,” Chuck Smith, CEO  of Dixie Brands told Benzinga.

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

Over the week, the United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., lost 4.4 percent, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, slipped 4.9 percent.

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF HMLSF HMMJ lost 3.3 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ shed almost 3 percent of its value. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY closed the week up 5.05 percent.

Stock Moves

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $300 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

Acreage Holdings ACRZF: down 10.7 percent

• Aphria Inc APHA: down 10.75 percent

• Aurora Cannabis Inc ACB: down 5.9 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc CNTTF: down 4.5 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp CGC: down 0.15 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. CRON: up 3.6 percent

Curaleaf Holdings Inc CURLF: down 15.6 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd TGODF: down 2.4 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc GTBIF: down 12 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH: down 1 percent

Hexo Corp HYYDF: up 3.2 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc ITHUF: up 1.7 percent

Marimed Inc MRMD: up 0.4 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMNFF: down 8.6 percent

OrganiGram Holdings Inc OGRMF: down 1.8

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co SMG: up 1.9 percent

• Tilray Inc TLRY: down 11.7 percent

In Other News

Item 9 Labs Corp. INLB, a developer and manufacturer of cannabis products and proprietary delivery platforms, closed on the acquisition of Arizona DP Consulting at a price of $1.5 million in cash and 3 million restricted common stock shares. Bryce Skalla transitioned from CEO to President, and Sara Gullickson concurrently transitioned from President to CEO of Item 9 Labs.

Related Link: Wonder Women Of Weed: Sara Gullickson, The Licensing Advisor Sitting At The Head Of The Boys' Table

“Eight years ago, I decided to forge my own career path as a cannabis entrepreneur. I have grown and evolved with the industry and have achieved many milestones. Now I am entering a new phase of my cannabis journey as CEO of Item 9 Labs. It is an honor to lead a publicly traded cannabis company and I look forward to advancing the industry with our team,” Gullickson told Benzinga.

Cannabis beverage supplier, Sproutly Canada Inc SRUTF added two key beverage leaders to its board. One is Constantine Constandis, a global C-level executive with over 34 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry and a former senior executive with Pernod Ricard S/ADR PDRDY, maker of Absolute Vodka, Jameson, Glenlivit and Beefeater, among others.

“With the addition of such a seasoned and venerable spirits industry expert as Constantine to the Advisory Board, our commitment to the sector is clear,” stated CEO Keith Dolo.

The second addition was Michael Bellas, CEO and founder of Beverage Marketing Company. A director of Sproutly, Bellas is a seasoned beverage executive with over 45 years of experience working with leading beverage companies across all categories. “We believe the infused cannabis beverage industry growth will be huge in the coming years and have sought the experience of beverage industry expert Michael Bellas to help us navigate this exciting future,” Dolo said.

Civilized Worldwide Inc. announced plans to acquire The 420 Games, an events company pairing cannabis and athleticism. Both brands have a shared goal of de-stigmatizing cannabis use and creating a new cultural narrative.

U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Nexien BioPharma NXEN announced a new collaborative study with a prestigious Ivy League University Medical School to perform pre-clinical studies using advanced parenteral cannabinoid formulations developed by Nexien, known as NX01R1, NX01R2, and NX01R3. These formulations target the alleviation of symptoms for the acute treatment and intervention of convulsive disorders and convulsive episodes.

Alex Wasyl, CEO of Nexien told Benzinga, “Nexien BioPharma is very excited to be collaborating with such a prestigious institution. Existing research performed on specific cannabinoids has shown efficacy for treating targeted convulsive disorders. We are happy to contribute to the growing body of research, and to aid in developing treatment options for patients that do not respond to currently available medications.”

GrowFlow Software noticed a surge in interest in the form of sales as California begins the early stages of issuing “annual” licenses. Licensees are beginning to use the popular Washington born software to report their inventory properly and comply with state regulations. 

“California is a new frontier for us, we came into this space understanding regulatory restrictions and ready to learn about California's unique needs.  We are building out our CA platform with new solutions, but with the world class service that Washington State has relied on to conduct cannabis business,” said CEO Rufus Casey.

Cannabis venture fund Altitude Investment Management announced it will close Fund I with $30 million raised. Fund I invested in 16 early-stage to growth companies supporting the fast-growing legal global cannabis industry. Altitude will be launching Fund II in Q1 2019, seeking to raise more than $100 million.

“As the cannabis industry matures, more companies will require significant growth capital to fund product, service and geographic expansion. In addition, increasing competition will create the need for consolidation, merger and acquisition and distressed investment opportunities. A larger capital base in Fund II will ideally position Altitude to take advantage of these opportunities,” said Michael Goldberg, one of the fund's four partners.

A Dallas-Fort Worth based company is betting big on the CBD market in Mexico. Rocky Mountain High Brands (RMHB) has been granted permission to be the sole provider of high-quality drinks containing cannabidiol (CBD) to be sold throughout Mexico by RCH Grupo’s subsidiary, CBD Life. It is the first time an American company has manufactured a hemp product in the form of beverages for sale in Mexico. 

Michael Welch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rocky Mountain High Brands, said, “We are very pleased to produce Rocket High, California Lemonade and California Black Tea for our distribution partner, CBD Life.  The permits that were issued by the Mexican equivalent of our Food and Drug Administration, COFEPRIS, have both CBD Life S.A. DE C.V. and Powered by Rocky Mountain High on them, which means that CBD Life is committed to Rocky Mountain High for the production of these drinks.”

Medical Marijuana Inc. MJNA announced its subsidiary HempMeds Mexico received five new permits from the Mexican Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) to import its cannabidiol products. HempMeds Mexico is one of the first companies in Mexico to receive these permits just shortly after COFEPRIS released new importation guidelines last month. 

“These new permits allow us to continue to be a leader in Mexico's cannabis industry and reach a new group of active consumers with a variety of oral and topical products,” said HempMeds Mexico President Raul Elizalde. “We expect to see the market evolve rapidly over the new few upcoming months and are excited to see how that will benefit Mexican citizens."

Phoenix Life Sciences International Limited PLSI announced Angus Stewart has joined the company as the Agriculture and Horticulture Senior Advisor. Stewart has over two decades of experience specializing in horticulture and is currently an Agricultural and Horticultural Scientist and Consultant Plant Breeder of approximately 100 commercially released plant cultivators. He is an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Tasmania and has been involved in multiple significant studies including several on the benefits of cannabidiol. Additionally, Stewart has extensive experience with plant breeding techniques of all levels and is well versed in the best practices for the production and extraction of botanical active ingredients like CBD.

“As Phoenix Life continues to expand its reach to help more patients in need, we are proud to add such a well-respected horticulturist like Angus Stewart to the team,” said Phoenix Life Sciences International CEO Martin Tindall. “We are excited to have such highly-skilled and passionate experts joining the team to help shift global healthcare.”

GrowLife, Inc. PHOT named William Blackburn as President of the company’s product development division, GrowLife Innovations. Blackburn has extensive experience in commercial cannabis cultivation and is the Founder and CEO of the company’s most recent acquisition, EZ-Clone Enterprises, Inc.

“We could not have asked for a better leader for it than Billy,” said GrowLife CEO Marco Hegyi. “We work with cultivators of all sizes to find solutions that reduce production costs and increase quality and output, which Billy understands through and through. He has worked with some of the largest names in the industry on growing solutions and will easily be able to translate that experience into our current and future products. Billy’s first major endeavor will be to finalize our commercial vertical grow system testing, create production capacity for the system, and bring it to market for sales throughout North America.”

Green Thumb Industries reported financial results for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, with revenues increasing 344 percent year-over-year to $17.2 million. Quarter-over-quarter revenues increased 26 percent. The company has licenses for a retail footprint of 60 RISE stores across eight states and eight manufacturing facilities, not including its recently announced acquisition of Integral Associates which will add three retail stores in and two manufacturing facilities in Nevada. That deal is expected to close during the first half of 2019.

Founder and CEO Ben Kovler said, "Looking ahead over the next three to five years, we will continue to build our business around the same fundamentals, brand building based on consumer insights, a customer focused standard of operational excellence, speed to market, fiscal responsibility and strong capital allocation. This is how we’re tackling the opportunity to capitalize on what we see as a once in a life time opportunity to create real value for our shareholders today and in the long-term."

After several years of research and development, working alongside operators to understand the market complexities in Oregon, Confident Cannabis rolled out a new platform, Confident Cannabis Wholesale. The platform is aimed at increasing transparency and simplifying wholesale trading for all operators in the supply chain. Producers, retailers and wholesalers can list and search products based on terpenes, cannabinoid profile, category, lab results and price. Every listing is lab tested and Metrc verified. Wholesale lists over 125 Oregon providers showcasing 80% of the available products across the state.

“We’re thrilled to hear such great feedback from our partners across Oregon,” says Steve Albarran, CEO & Co-Founder of Confident Cannabis. “Retailers, wholesalers and processors love shopping in one marketplace that has +80 percent of the legal cannabis produced in the state. Vendors are making new sales to new customers and existing customers, and streamlining their sales process. We’re so happy to see that our vision to help ethical cannabis businesses thrive is finally coming to fruition.”

Weekend Unlimited Inc subsidiary Northern Lights Organics, received delivery of its first shipment of two new 3,200 square foot greenhouses. Subsequent shipments are scheduled for mid-December. The new greenhouses will be used to expand the production capacity of the organic farm; and, for year-round growing of hemp for high CBD seeds and seedlings.

“Year round growing will be possible using the greenhouse, even during the winter season. Starting out door crops using indoor grown starter plants is anticipated to have a significant positive effect on ultimate yields. It is anticipated to further allow us to create our own genetics over the long term, The hemp greenhouses will have premium cannabis style lighting and rolling benches, de-humidification, venting, pest screening, irrigation, and automation,” said Art Halleran, Founder and President of Northern Lights Organic.

Oregrown debuted a first ever all-Oregon backcountry snowboard film "Low Pressure," produced in association with notable Oregon photographer and filmmaker Pete Alport. Several of the film’s snowboarders are Oregrown sponsored athletes.

“We put our hearts and souls into this film, says Aviv Hadar, CEO and Co-Founder of Oregrown. “From the early morning trips to the nonstop adventures our team had planned, this film is truly a showcase of what our beautiful home state of Oregon has to offer. We hope everyone loves the film!”

In a newly launched six-part investigative series, Dope Magazine is looking at whether or not cannabis is living up to its campaign promises. "Think Out Loud," the flagship show from NPR affiliate Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) dives into the November report "Just How Green Is Your Cannabis?" with DOPE journalist Bruce Kennedy to discuss the ecological impacts of legal cannabis. Kennedy interviewed several dozen regulators and leaders across key states that have legalized cannabis.

“America's cannabis legalization movement has rapidly been gaining traction across the country. But a DOPE Magazine investigation finds that most state and municipal governments have yet to consider the environmental issues surrounding this multi-billion-dollar crop,” Kennedy said. “There are concerns that, if financially-sound regulations and protocols aren't put into place soon, there might be long-term pollution issues and other unexpected ecological factors that could hamper the legal cannabis sector.”

Cura Partners, kicked off the week announcing its new Global Expansion Team led by an all-star female executive duo: Chief Expansion Officer Amy McClintick and Vice President of International Expansion Jenny Diggles. Cura is now in position to identify new markets across the globe for expansion, build international and domestic operations and develop relationships with key manufacturing and distribution partners. In addition, Cura Partners closed $75 million of private placement funding round driving further expansion.

“Every week is an exciting week at Cura, but this week’s forward momentum really fast tracks us into new markets, product development, brand marketing, leadership talent and operational infrastructure. Demand for Cura's Select Oil and Select CBD brands continues to expand rapidly and we are investing in talent and infrastructure to drive and support that growth,” Cameron Forni, Cura President and CEO, told Benzinga.

Vape company Heavy Hitters is broadening its product mix by adding Pax era pods in THC and CBD, two new seasonal strains, Purple Punch and Kush Mints, and extending their CBD line into their disposable vape pen format.

“This says something about the staying power of a quality brand like Heavy Hitters,” said Hannah Davis, CMO of Mammoth Distribution. “Heavy Hitters is one of the most loved cannabis brands in California, with a huge social media following. Our customers wanted more ways to enjoy it, so we delivered.”

Find out more about these news and others on KushCo Holdings Inc KSHB, MedMen, Charlotte's Web Holdings Inc CWBHF, GW Pharma, Canopy Rivers Inc CNPOF, MJardin Group Inc MJARF, Sunniva Inc SNNVF and Green Gotham with our friends at Marijuana Money, who make 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 also reported on:

GW Pharmaceuticals’ most recent late-stage study of Epidiolex, its recentearnings beat, and its agreement with MediPharm Labs.

How rules for cannabis sales differ between Canadian provinces.

MariMed’s international expansion.

Acreage Holdings’ expansion in Michigan.

The latest ventures from the ladies behind Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN’s Prime Video’s “The Marijuana Show.”

Cuarleaf’s strong Q3 results, Canopy Rivers’ Q2 numbers.

Michigan’s recreational marijuana laws kicking in Dec. 6.

Macquarie's take on how cannabis is disrupting the beer industry, and its cautious view on Constellation Brands Inc. STZ’s cannabis investment.

"The Black Experience In Cannabis" Event Hosted By The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

7 Companies That Entered The Cannabis Space In 2018

Alliqua Biomedical Inc ALQA’s spike on a cannabis-related announcement.

Cantor Fitzgerald’s bullish view of GW Pharma.

Cannabis-infused beverage stocks ripping higher amid positive Farm Bill developments.

Jeff Siegel’s take on medical marijuana in Maryland.

MedMen’s massive growth in sales.

Interesting Data

This Friday, we’re sharing a guide to using CBD for pain, courtesy of Dr. Chou and our friends at Every Day Optimal CBD.

This powerful video shows you, step-by-step, how and why cannabis works so well for PTSD.

Get actionable tips on how to safely get started with cannabis, which types of cannabis to focus on, and even how this plant could be used to potentially prevent PTSD in the first place.

This video was originally posted on Green Flower.

Events Calendar

Dec. 6 –7: Black Dog Venture Partners will present the Venture Capital Fast Pitch at the San Diego City Summit. 12 companies will be able to pitch investors; the winning pitch will get a VIP sponsorship at the City Gala during Oscar week, worth $10,000.

Dec. 7: Cannabis-focused event production company Mannada will present its first annual Cannabis Media Summit, on Times Square, New York City. The day-long event will feature panel discussions on such topics as “Starting a Cannabis Media Company,” “Ethics in Cannabis Reporting” and “Using Media for Effective Communication,” as well as discussion on cannabis-specific issues in financial pitching and reporting, podcasting, social media messaging, and more.

Dec. 10–12: Five years after the approval of the first comprehensive cannabis regulation law in the world, Monitor Cannabis Uruguay and the School of Social Science of Universidad de la República are convening an academic discussion on the various aspects that arise from the implementation and results of a law of this kind. The analysis of the Uruguayan case and the experience of other countries will allow us to draw lessons and learnings for the ongoing reform processes and their impacts on peoples’ welfare. With this congress, Monitor Cannabis Uruguay intends to improve the flow of evidence-based information on cannabis regulation policy, as well as to disseminate and facilitate scientific research linked to cannabis in Uruguay, the region and the world. The congress will be held at the School of Social Science of Universidad de la República (Montevideo, Uruguay).

Dec. 11: Matthew Karnes, CPA, founder of Greenwave Advisors LLC, will discuss the state of the cannabis industry during the New York State Society of CPAs’ (NYSSCPA) Cannabis Conference, in New York City. Attendees will learn about opportunities in the cannabis industry, such as how blockchain technology and cryptocurrency can help alleviate the regulatory issues that the legal cannabis industry is facing.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

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