The Week In Cannabis News: SAFE Banking Act In The Senate, Greenlane's IPO, B-Real, Canopy Growth And More
Last week, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act into the Senate, counting on the support of 20 cosponsors. This bipartisan piece of legislation was introduced in the House last month, and was approved with bipartisan support in the House Financial Services Committee in March. It has 158 cosponsors.
Its aim is to “protect banks and other financial institutions from prosecution and ease restrictions for providing services to cannabis businesses that are in compliance with state laws,” a spokesperson for the National Cannabis Industry Association explained.
Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said in an email that, “Lack of access to financial services is creating public safety problems for the rapidly growing legal cannabis industry, as well as interfering with transparency and access to capital for small businesses. The Senate now has the opportunity to keep up the momentum that the SAFE Banking Act has in the House and address this important issue.”
On the markets front, vape distributor Greenlane filed for an IPO and said it plans to price its shares between $14 and $16. The company says it will be listing April 18 at NASDAQ under the ticker "GNLN."
“This exchange has been notoriously bad at accepting cannabis-related companies, even if they are only ancillary companies," Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga. "This will be one of the few that has gotten through the NASDAQ approvals if indeed they get the green light.”
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Benzinga's Cannabis Capital Conference, the premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America, is returning to Toronto April 17-18. Keynote speakers include Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, Cam Battley, Alan Brochstein, Jon Najarian, Jeanne M. Sullivan, Tim Seymour and many more. More info at bzcannabis.com
Marijuana Stocks & ETFs
Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC:HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) lost 4.1 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) tumbled 3.3 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the period up 0.55 percent.
Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $400 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:
• Acreage Holdings (OTC:ACRZF): down 4.4 percent
• Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA): up 0.2 percent
• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB): down 3.2 percent
• CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE:CTST): down 5.9 percent
• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC): down 2.2 percent
• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON): down 7.4 percent
• Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC:CURLF): down 10.2 percent
• Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC:GGBXF): down 15.2 percent
• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC:TGODF): down 3.6 percent
• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC:GTBIF): down 10 percent
• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH): up 1.5 percent
• Hexo Corp (NYSE:HEXO): down 5 percent
• Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC:HRVSF): down 11.2 percent
• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC:ITHUF): down 14.8 percent
• Marimed Inc (OTC:MRMD): up 29.25 percent
• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC:MMNFF): down 7.9 percent
• OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OTC:OGRMF): down 2.6 percent
• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE:SMG): up 0.3 percent
• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY): down 11.1 percent
In Other News
Deepak Anand, CEO and founder of Materia Ventures, a cannabis supply and distribution business focused on European and Asian markets, joined the board of Can Innovation Finder (CIF), an Israel-focused cannabis innovation hub that claims it holds the largest portfolio of Israeli Canna-tech companies. Launched in August 2018, CIF is a female-led venture with a portfolio of over 30 Israeli canna-tech companies, cultivators and clinical labs.
Fresh&co, a healthy fast-casual restaurant group, announced a collaboration with Chef Miguel Trinidad of New York City restaurants Jeepney Filipino Gastrobub and Maharlika for a special 4/20 hemp and CBD-infused menu. Miguel Trinidad was featured on Benzinga alongside B-Real of Cypress Hill, for his role as a judge in the new cannabis cooking show “Bong Appétit: Cook Off.”
Fresh&co Executive Chef Craig Rispoli along with Chef Trinidad curated an innovative and colorful menu, consisting of healthy, sustainable and nutritional food items, that have been infused with CBD and hemp.
Benzinga broke the news about SHO Products, a company focused on the manufacturing and distribution of cannabis accessories, equipment, and technology, closing a $3.6 million Series A funding round led by New York philanthropist and venture capital investor Ann Tenenbaum.
Origin House (OTC:ORHOF), a company building a portfolio of popular cannabis brands, announced that two of its California assets received permit approvals in Sonoma Count. Wholly owned subsidiary FloraCal Farms has received a Minor Use Permit for construction of the third phase of build-out and upgrades at its Santa Rosa facility. This final phase will have an annual production capacity of approximately 1,100 kg of premium flower per year. Pending Origin House acquiree, Cub City, a California-based cannabis cultivator, has received a Minor Use Permit from the County of Sonoma for cultivation, processing, non-volatile manufacturing, and distribution at its Santa Rosa facility.
Driven Deliveries Inc (OTC:DRVD) added three members to its management team and Board of Directors. Foremost, the company added Lance Ott, who is ranked No. 28 as the top 100 most influential cannabis business executives by Cannabis Business Executive. Driven brought on Brad Dalmann, who previously developed brands during his time at Weedmaps. Dalmann increased these brands' market penetration by 400 percent. Driven Deliveries also appointed Christian Schenk, a serial entrepreneur and investor who has developed and sold two telematics companies.
Chris Boudreau, CEO of Driven Deliveries, told Benzinga, “This is an exciting time for our company as the addition of these three key team members will prove beneficial as we continue to grow exponentially. These hires bring expertise from multiple verticals that will enable Driven Deliveries to continue at our projected growth rate.”
Weekend Unlimited Inc (OTC:WKULF) launched its new brand identity, redesigned logo, and product portfolio designs. The new brand identity features a logo with the Weekend Unlimited name abbreviated WKND! in a lower-case typeface in several colors, highlighting the emotions and lifestyles associated with the company’s products.
The new product line includes disposable vaporizer pens with proprietary formulations of CBD and THC, a line of pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes, hemp-based gummies, an anti-inflammatory pain relief tincture, a pain relief cream, and an intimacy play spray. The new brand and product line will begin its rollout in May.
"Our new products will demonstrate Weekend’s ability to deliver unique, high-quality cannabis and CBD products that customers will want to try, then buy again," said Paul Chu, CEO of Weekend Unlimited.
Benzinga and GreenWave Advisors’ Matt Karnes broke the news about Colorado’s Q1 cannabis sales figures.
Unilever NV ADR (NYSE:UN) is breaking into the hemp space for the first time with Schmidt’s Naturals. This will be one of the first hemp deodorant products in the space available in a massive scale. The deodorants containing hemp oil are expected to hit stores in September. The CBD-infused deodorants will follow shortly after, in both brick-and-mortar stores and online.
Vireo Health International (OTC:VREOF) acquired two cannabis licenses in Nevada. That makes four major acquisitions since the company listed on the CSE in late March. The expansion into Nevada means Vireo is now licensed to cultivate, manufacture, and sell cannabis products in 10 states. Only a handful of other MSOs can boast a double-digit state footprint. Nevada also represents the company’s entrance into a second recreational cannabis market, the other being Massachusetts.
“Expanding our state-by-state geographic footprint will allow our physician-led team to educate more consumers on the potential health benefits of replacing opioids, alcohol, and tobacco with cannabis,” said CEO Kyle Kingsley. “Acquiring licenses in Nevada also highlights Vireo’s commitment to driving cost-effective acquisitive growth and creating value for our shareholders by bringing the best of medicine, engineering, and science to the cannabis industry.”
Cannabis industry staffing and recruiting platform Vangst released its 2019 Women in Cannabis report, compiling data from 166 American cannabis business across 17 states.
Acreage Holdings, one the largest multi-state owners of cannabis licenses and assets in the U.S., announced the appointment of Corey Burchman as Chief Medical Officer. Burchman will oversee development of an Acreage medical advisory board, assist in developing patient outreach programs, and serve as medical risk mitigator to the company’s product development and innovation. Corey will also cultivate important relationships with regulatory partners and patient advocacy groups, and drive medical education and engagement throughout the company.
Prior to joining Acreage, Burchman served as Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, in Lebanon, NH. At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, he directed the Section on Neuroanesthesia, the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, and the Same Day Surgical Program. Additionally, he was an Attending Physician on the Acute Pain Service. Burchman also served as Medical Advisor to the Board at Prime Alternative Treatment Center of New Hampshire, a therapeutic cannabis dispensary.
Benzinga broke the news about cannabis-focused investment fund Northern Swan Holdings closing a $58 million financing round to fuel its expansion in Latin America and Europe.
Surterra Wellness will kick-off the national launch of the Coral Reefer cannabis brand, a range of wellness-focused cannabis products and lifestyle merchandise, in Florida this month. The brand, developed in collaboration with Jimmy Buffet is based on a global licensing deal and will initially be exclusively distributed through the more than 20 Surterra Wellness Centers located in most major cities throughout Florida. The line will roll-out in other states, including California and Nevada, by mid-summer 2019.
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) hired Andrew Kline as its new director of public policy.
“I’m pleased to announce that Andrew Kline is joining the NCIA team as director of public policy,” said Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, in a press release. “In this new role, Andrew will lead our substantive public policy efforts, striving to prepare, protect, and expand the legal cannabis industry. As this cutting edge industry continues to grow, Andrew will help NCIA grow along with it as we support our members, promote sensible policies, and encourage our core values of corporate responsibility and inclusivity in the industry.”
Zogenix, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZGNX), which develops therapies for rare diseases, said the FDA issued a refusal to file letter regarding its NDA for Fintepla, chemically fenfluramine hydrochloride, which is being evaluated for the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome.
Arcadia Biosciences (NASDAQ:RKDA), a food ingredient and agricultural innovation company, announced it will add Randy Schultz to take over as head of research and development. Prior to joining Arcadia, Shultz served as global crop lead at Inari Agriculture, and worked on scientific production teams at Monsanto.
Edibles company Dixie Brands (OTC:DXBRF) announced its ongoing commitment to drastically reduce their impact to the environment by launching a "GO GREEN" initiative. To celebrate the launch, Dixie is partnering with the nonprofit organization One Tree Planted on 4/20 to support its mission of global reforestation, helping offset Dixie's own carbon footprint. For every Dixie product purchased on 4/20, the edibles provider will donate $1.00, with a maximum donation of $25,000, to One Tree Planted. For each dollar donated, the nonprofit will plant one tree in the North America.
Think Big, founded by CJ Wallace—the son of Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G” Wallace—launched its first brand: Frank White. The Frank White brand aims to illuminate the use of cannabis as a tool for creativity. Inspired by his father, Frank White (á la The King of New York, one of The Notorious B.I.G.’s aliases) launched with The Frank White Creative Blend in collaboration with Lowell Herb Co. The blend uses specific strains that have a profound impact on one’s productivity and creativity.
Sunday Goods released a new line of “effects-based pens” in California. The oblong disposable pens were custom-designed by Gin Lane and are available in four different effects.
In a new report, Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics project the legal cannabis market in Canada could reach $5.2 billion by 2024, with the bulk of the figure representing adult-use sales ($4.8 billion).
Cannabis community app High There! re-launched.
“As cannabis continues to enter the cultural mainstream, the benefits — enhanced creativity, profound stress-relief, and a greater sense of interconnection and well-being — are becoming more widely available,” a spokesperson for the company explained. “Users are eager to share their experiences, and High There! will bring it all together as a one-stop hub for cannabis information, conversations, and community.”
Loyalty company springbig announced it reached 5 million customers. Through partnerships with some of the leading POS providers in the cannabis space including Flowhub, Cova, MJ Freeway, Treez and Greenbits, springbig has worked alongside retailers to send over 50,000 campaigns by way of over 90,000,000 text messages and close to 600,000 rewards redemptions.
CannaSafe, an accredited cannabis testing laboratory in California, celebrated safety and quality in cannabis last weekend with The Cannys Awards. The first of what will be an annual event hosted by the company, The Cannys was an awards ceremony that celebrated the cannabis brands that tested most highly among various scientific criteria. The awards were presented to the following winners for excellence in eight categories:
• Highest Potency Flower 2018: Team Elite Genetics – Kosher Kush
• Most Accurately Formulated Edible 2018: Sunderstorm – Kanha Peach Gummies
• Highest Potency Concentrate 2018: Moxie – NYC Diesel
• Highest Potency Vape 2018: Krystal Kure – Dosidos
• Highest Terpenes Vape 2018: King Pen – Blue Dream
• Highest CBD Vape 2018: Dosist – Calm
• Highest Terpenes Flower 2018: Cali Kush Farms – Farm OG
• Highest CBD Flower 2018: 3C Farms – AC/DC 2:1
Sagely Naturals is foraying into the sleep category with the Dreamwell Collection, created to help people relax into a peaceful state before sleep.
According to AdQuick.com, the OOH advertisement booking platform, there has been a large uptick in cannabis brands booking billboards and Out of Home (advertising) in the last year – with a 414 percent increase in bookings year-over-year This is based on $84 million in OOH ad inventory evaluated by cannabis brands in 2018, a number that is projected to rise to almost $1 billion in 2019 based on booking trends from Q1, 2019.
As well as an increase in the cannabis market in general, this can be attributed to the difficulty with cannabis brands advertising on federally regulated digital platforms, and increasingly turning to OOH advertising as a powerful medium for them.
"Instagram, Google and Facebook ads make up 57 percent of the digital advertising market, yet none allow cannabis brands to advertise. This coupled with the saturation and consumer apathy towards digital ads, as well as the proliferation of digital adblockers, has led to cannabis brands using OOH advertising as a key part of their marketing mix," said Matt O'Connor, AdQuick.com CEO.
Female-run Sera Labs Inc., founded and managed by President and CEO Nancy Duitch, closed a $5 million investment from Canadian-based Cannabis private equity fund, ToroVerde Inc., Sera Labs will be expanding distribution channels to retail.
Find out more about these and other news with our friends at Marijuana Money.
More From Benzinga Cannabis
Here are some of the most interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.
Benzinga Cannabis reporter Andrew Ward discussed bubbles and the cannabis market with CNBC’s Tim Seymour.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Matt Bottomley reiterated a Speculative Buy rating on Aurora and raised the price target from CA$13 ($9.76) to CA$13.50 ($10.13). The analyst also maintained a Speculative Buy rating on Sunniva Inc (OTC:SNNVF) with a price target lowered from CA$13 ($9.77) to CA$10 ($7.51).
Jeff Siegel posted his weekly column, “Bulls And Bud Of The Week: CB2 Insights And Dr. Kerklaan's Therapeutics.”
Cannabis-focused wholesale management platform LeafLink released its most recent quarterly report with updates, insights and trends the company observed and gathered in the first quarter.
We posted a series for our Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference attendees:
Check out these and many other cannabis stories in our cannabis portal.
April 17–18: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference. Find all the info you need at bzcannabis.com
April 20: Escape into a multidimensional cannabis inspired cross-pollinating celebration launching New Highs CBD in NYC, presented by Humble Bloom, to explore all five senses with all things that flower, heal and tantalize.
New Highs CBD founder Sarah Remesch says, “The New Highs launch event at The William Vale, appropriately called Full Spectrum, is about curiosity, education, and inclusion. The wide range of ways one can experiment with CBD and the ways in which we can explore what makes the hemp plant powerful. Bringing the senses to life through experiential activities including music performance, video mapping, terpene scent discovery, mixology, and rolling stations, Full Spectrum attendees can expect interaction with the hemp plant in all forms, showcasing multiple use cases for New Highs tincture.”
Raffle proceeds will be donated to The New York office of the Drug Policy Alliance.
April 20: California cannabis lifestyle brand HIGGS is curating a good old-fashioned block party in Venice Beach. BUDS ON ROSE is a one-day event where people can immerse themselves in different experiences with the help of local businesses — and cannabis of course. Somewhere between a block party, pub-crawl and treasure hunt, BUDS ON ROSE will feature local businesses throughout Venice, opening their doors for select programming and deals throughout the day.
April 21: Four Twenty One For All Inc. (421 Co.) a group dedicated to promoting awareness of cannabis legalization issues related to criminal justice reform, social and economic empowerment, patients rights, environmental protectionism, diversity, and inclusion will host the first annual 4/21 FOR ALL FÊTE at New York City’s Chelsea Music Hall. The live-streamed event hosted by Weed + Grub’s Mary Jane Gibson and Mike Glazer will feature performances and appearances from entertainers and activists, and highlight the work of Drug Policy Alliance, National Bail Out, Cage-Free Repair, and Veterans Health Solutions to bring about cannabis justice.
April 24: LB Equity is hosting an Investment Forum on “Investing at the Intersection of Beauty, Wellness and CBD” in New York. The event will cover the legal and financial aspects of investing in the CBD beauty space as well as offering grower and retailer perspectives. Featured guests include Cowen senior analyst Vivien Azer, farmer and registered CBD manufacturer David Falkowski and LB Equity executives Jay Lucas and Karen Ballou. LB Equity is one of the few investment firms focused on emerging CBD beauty brands. Its LB Equity Emerging Growth Fund’s first portfolio investment is in Standard Dose, a digital retail platform focused on consumer education and the sale of CBD beauty products.
April 25-26: The CannaMéxico World Summit returns to Centro Fox, in Leon, Mexico. Hosted by former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, the conference elevates a safe and legal global cannabis market. By 2028, the Latin American cannabis industry could reach a valuation of $12.7 billion. More than 2,000 attendees are expected to converge at CannaMéxico 2019, as well as high-profile speakers, including: television host Montel Williams, scientist Inbar Maymon-Pomeranchik, and vice president of NORML Canada Deepak Anand.
May 2: Muisca Capital Group and The Arcview Group will convene leading cannabis companies and investors from Latin America and around the world for the inaugural Cannabiz Latino Hub, The first ever Latin American Cannabis Investment Conference. The event will take place in Bogotá, Colombia.
This summit has been designed specifically for Latin American HNWIs, family offices, institutional investors and fund managers to learn the intricacies of this industry and engage with investment opportunities in the global medicinal and recreational legal cannabis industry.
May 3-4: The Colombian Cannabis Entrepreneurs Network (RECC) will be hosting CannaCiencia, the cannabis science symposium of the Americas. The event will gather renowned cannabis scientists, academics, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, industry insiders, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and cutting edge technology to provide state-of-the-art education and training on the world advancements in the medicinal cannabis field.
May 7: DCM hill host its inaugural Cannabis Technology Summit, CannTech 2019, designed to accelerate the cannabis technology industry by bringing together entrepreneurs, industry executives and investors from all across North America. The agenda includes discussions on the most salient topics in the industry and culminates in a startup pitch competition with a $30,000 prize (“The Golden Seed”) to showcase some of the most exciting companies in the space. Featured speakers include Eaze CEO Jim Patterson, Pax CEO Bharat Vasan, and Dosist CEO Gunner Winston.
“We've been optimistic about the cannabis industry for a while now, starting with our seed round investment in Eaze in 2014 which made DCM the first firm on Sand Hill Road to get in the space. We created CannTech to be a launchpad for emerging cannabis professionals to get funded, educated, and connected, and we're excited to hear the ‘big ideas’ brought to the table,” said Kyle Lui, Partner at DCM.
May 8: LeafLink is hosting a panel at its NYC headquarters, moderated by Eric Hippeau, Managing Partner at Lerer Hippeau Ventures. The panel will explore the emergence of NYC as the epicenter of East Coast cannabis, and will feature the following panelists: Ryan G. Smith (Co-Founder and CEO at LeafLink), Karson Humiston (CEO and Founder at Vangst), Debra Borchardt (NYC-based Cannabis Journalist), and Ari Hoffnung (CEO at Vireo Health of New York).
May 9–11: The ExpoCannabiz Business Conference and the Cannabis Investing Forum are disembarking in Cartagena, Colombia. The first event in this series will feature keynote speakers Vincente Fox, Steve DeAngelo of the Arcview Group, Jennifer Sanders of CNS Equity Partners and Javier Hasse, Managing Director of Benzinga Cannabis.
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 panelist, networking parties and performance displays to benefit the industry’s content providers, models and affiliates.
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 7–9: 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,” said Dr. Macias. “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.”
Traveling: CBD Expo Tour is kicking off. The events feature more than 70 exhibitors, along with a lineup of speaker presentations and panel discussions from experts in the research, production, globalization and sale of CBD products.
“After a successful 2018 tour, our busy 2019 schedule opens with CBD Expo MIDWEST. We're taking it into a hard working area of America where the population is seeking natural pain relief. We will be continuing to educate on the benefits of CBD wellness and why the pharmaceutical companies, as well as the FDA's suppression efforts are self-serving,” said Celeste Miranda, Founder of CBD Expo Tour and CEO of MACE Media.
Photo by Javier Hasse.
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