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

December 14, 2018 6:59 pm
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Earlier this week, Congress passed the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill, which stipulates the legalization of industrial hemp. Now all that’s missing is President Donald Trump’s signature, and it's expected in the next few days.

“This week's passage of the 2018 Farm Bill … was huge for the industry on so many levels," Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga. "The president is expected to sign it as he looks for a ‘win’ at the end of the year."

Hemp legislation opens the floodgates for legal CBD and hemp-derived products, benefiting a range of industries from industry to food to personal care, she said. 

“I expect we'll see the valuations of companies that had focused on hemp-based products rise quickly.”

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

Over the week, the United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., lost 3.8 percent, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, slipped 5.8 percent.

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC:HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) lost 6.2 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) shed roughly 6.3 percent of its value. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the week down 1.1 percent.

Stock Moves

Marijuana stocks with market caps above $300 million that are trading on U.S. exchanges performed as follows over the last five trading days: 

Acreage Holdings (OTC:ACRZF): down 12.1 percent

• Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA): up 6.5 percent

• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB): up 1.8 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc (OTC:CNTTF): down 7 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC): down 1.5 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON): down 11.7 percent

Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC:CURLF): down 2.8 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC:TGODF): down 6.8 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC:GTBIF): down 2.3 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH): down 4.6 percent

Hexo Corp (OTC:HYYDF): down 5.4 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC:ITHUF): up 1.6 percent

Marimed Inc (OTC:MRMD): down 22 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC:MMNFF): up 0.9 percent

OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OTC:OGRMF): up 2.8 percent

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE:SMG): down 9.4 percent

• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY): down 25 percent

In Other News

Dixie Brands (USA) Inc (CSE:DIXI) announced third-quarter financial results through Sept. 30.

Revenue rose 110 percent year-over-year to $2.435 million. Year-to-date revenue totaled $4.2 million, up 60 percent from $2.63 million in the first nine months of 2017.

Dixie said the growth has been a result of increased sales of the brand’s CBD- and THC-infused products, which include two new products; two product line extensions; and the launch of Mindset, a new brand focused on high-quality vape and concentrate products.

Related Link: 10 Reasons To Attend Benzinga's 2019 Cannabis Capital Conference

David Grigsby, Dixie's national brand director, said Q3 was "transformational" for the company. 

"As we close out the year with a successful listing on the CSE and with continuous ideation around new products and R&D avenues, our team is looking forward to another exciting quarter on the horizon.”

Green Thumb Industries announced its Dogwalkers brand has partnered on an awareness campaign with four animal rescue organizations.

GTI founder and CEO Ben Kovler said: “Today, our core brands Rythm, Dogwalkers and The Feel Collection are building distribution across markets, with greater than 90-percent retail distribution. As we build out and invest in the brand portfolio, we are focused on both immediate opportunities and long-term potential. The more we can connect with our communities, the more likely we are to make a positive impression and develop meaningful and lasting relationships with our consumers. We remain committed to these types of integrated and impactful campaigns as we build our brands across the country.”

Essence, Las Vegas’ largest marijuana dispensary and cultivation operation, was awarded a record number of Nevada dispensary licenses — one of the only limited license, adult-use cannabis markets in the U.S. Essence applied for and was awarded eight licenses.

Essence — and cultivation and processing facilities Desert Farms and Cannabiotix NV — are owned by Integral Associates, which recently entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Green Thumb Industries, pending regulatory approvals.

“We are honored to have been awarded a record number of new dispensary licenses in the Nevada market,” said Essence Cannabis co-founder Armen Yemenidjian. “This strengthens our position as an industry leader and will allow Essence to bring our exceptional service to consumers throughout the state." 

Acreage Holdings acquired Form Factory, a full-service cannabis foundry capable of FDA-compliant manufacturing and distribution of new cannabis products that are ready to scale across Acreage’s distribution network. The acquisition took place in an all-stock transaction valued at $160 million. Acreage will issue approximately 6.4 million subordinate voting shares to Form Factory shareholders at a deemed price of $25 per share.

“Utilizing Form Factory’s patents and technology, we’ll be able to substantially accelerate our product and brand development roadmap and scale these best-in-class brands across our industry-leading footprint. Acreage will become the go-to partner for any non-cannabis company looking to enter the space without needing a license of their own. And, beyond manufacturing and technology, Form Factory cements our industry leading distribution across the entire West Coast,” said Acreage President George Allen.

High Times announced the acquisition of Buyers Industry Guide, or BIG, and “the BIG Show,” a B2B event that services the ancillary cannabis community. The acquisition of BIG will help High Times grow its presence in the event business, High Times CEO Adam Levin told Benzinga.

The company positions itself as much more than a cannabis event company. “I have a brand that everyone knows. When you are looking at 50 percent of the growth in this industry and where it’s coming from, it’s from people who know High Times.”

Cannabis accessories and lifestyle brand Hemper announced the closing of a $10-million Series A financing round that follows a $1-million seed round completed over the summer. The round was led by San Francisco-based, cannabis-focused hedge fund Poseidon Asset Management along with Evolution VC Partners, the New York-based VC fund that led Hemper’s seed round. 

Poseidon co-founder and managing partner Emily Paxhia said Hemper "is demonstrating a focus on learning from and catering to the modern cannabis consumer via their platform, which is part of a shift in the broader cultural interest in cannabis. Focusing on the consumers’ interests and drawing from their data and feedback enables a bespoke and curated experience."

Cannabis-focused software company Treez acquired Washington-based traceability software Mister Kraken, which is used by more than 130 cannabis producers and manufacturers in the state. Treez will be re-branding the Mr. Kraken product as Grow Treez.

“Treez’s acquisition of Mister Kraken accelerates our ability to connect cultivators and manufacturers with the tools needed to fully navigate the seed to sale journey — ultimately enabling growers and producers to communicate with retailers in-platform and truly streamline the needs of the modern cannabis operator,” said Treez CEO John Yang.

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, many employers are faced with new on-demand hiring needs,  particularly in the part-time sector, which accounts for nearly 35 percent of all cannabis jobs. The gig economy is growing at a rapid rate in cannabis.

To help connect companies directly with licensed employees, cannabis-focused recruiting and staffing firm Vangst is launching Vangst GIGS, which they define as “a ‘Task Rabbit’ for cannabis that is mobile-friendly and gives candidates instant access to on-demand gigs.” 

Vangst CEO and founder Karson Humiston said the demand for gigs will increase at a rapid rate in the U.S., particularly as more states look to legalize recreational marijuana.

“Our expectation is that Vangst GIGS will list 500-1,000 jobs every single week for licensed employees,” Humiston said. “We have leading companies in cannabis like NativeRoots and Bonzi already using GIGS. By 2019, we’ll have jobs available in 10 states and even Canada. Companies are going to be able to hire faster, safer, and streamline the way their independent workers are compensated. This is a win-win for employees and employers.”

The Green Organic Dutchman announced a  partnership with HelloMD, an online cannabis health care company, to improve its medical cannabis onboarding experience. The Toronto-based cannabis company will offer patients access to advice from medical practitioners and education about medical cannabis, taking advantage of HelloMD’s patient services platform. 

“This partnership supports our priority of ensuring Canadians have safe, easy, reliable access to certified organic cannabis. We're committed to standards that improve the experience for our patients and customers and this initiative is another piece of the excitement that pushes towards our sales launch in early 2019,” Andrew Pollock, Vice President of Marketing at TGOD, told Benzinga.

Michigan-based Green Peak Innovations was awarded 12 licenses for medical marijuana cultivation, becoming one of the largest growers in the state. Check out our coverage here.

Find out more about these news and others on Cresco Labs (OTC:CRLBF)’s and Hexo Corp’s earnings, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC:HTHHF)’s latest joint venture, Aphria’s international expansion and GTEC Holdings Ltd (OTC:GGTTF)’s uplisting 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’s Cannabis Newsdesk also reported on:

Jeff Siegel’s interview with Ukrainian metal band Jinjer.

Elon Musk’s comments on cannabis during his “60 Minutes” feature.

Aurora’s expansion into Mexico.

Harvest Health & Recreation’s plans to become the “largest cannabis company in the world.”

How cannabis stocks moved amid reports of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo planning to push for legalization of recreational marijuana in 2019.

Aphria topping FIS Astec Analytics’ list of hot stocks among short sellers.

How New Age Beverages Corp (NASDAQ:NBEVcould benefit from the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Wells Fargo’s takeaways from a recent Canopy Growth presentation.

Aurora’s $7.5-million investment in High Tide.

Tilray’s new advisory board and its $5.6-million investment into Rose LifeScience.

Cresco’s upcoming Ohio dispensary.

How One Entrepreneur Built A Cannabis Business And Sold It For $7M In Less Than 2 Years.”

Andre Buorque’s take on cannabis and the opioid crisis.

The effect of the Farm Bill on U.S. and global hemp markets.

And more!

Interesting Data

The day before Thanksgiving, now dubbed “Green Wednesday,” saw sales of more than double their average Wednesday, with Eaze reporting a 136-percent increase in deliveries made by retail partners. A strong percentage of those sales were in vaporizers, which represent 37 percent of all sales by the company’s retail partners.

Following vaporizers, the most popular products retailers sold were:

Flowers: 23 percent.

Edibles: 19 percent.

Pre-rolls: 13 percent.

For its part, Headset reported Green Wednesday sales of:

$7 million in California.

$4 million in Colorado.

$2 million in Nevada.

$4 million in Washington.

Hot segments were:


Surge In Sales vs. Average

Carbonated Beverages


All Edible


Vapor Pens


CBD – Flower & Pre-Roll




Events Calendar

Jan. 15-16: Benzinga will host its second Cannabis Capital Conference, this time in Miami Beach, Florida. This networking event for institutional capital and leading cannabis companies will feature company presentations, panels and keynotes by Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, Danny Moses, Tim Seymour, Jon Najarian, Alan Brochstein and many others. Get tickets here.

Picture: a hemp bud. By Javier Hasse.