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The Week In Cannabis: A&F Tries CBD, GW Pharma Soars On Results, Denver Decriminalizes Mushrooms

May 12, 2019 9:22 am
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The Week In Cannabis: A&F Tries CBD, GW Pharma Soars On Results, Denver Decriminalizes Mushrooms

The cannabis world had an unlikely protagonist: magic mushrooms. After a popular vote, the city of Denver, Colorado, known as a legal cannabis trailblazer, approved a ballot measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms at its active ingredient, psilocybin.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries introduced a series of bills that would decriminalize cannabis on the federal level in both houses of Congress. These laws would also remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and create a fund for record expungement programs, among other things.

In the business world, an interesting development related to Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF). The giant retailer and Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC:GGBXF) announced a partnership to sell GGB’s Seventh SenseBotanical Therapy CBD-infused body care products for a trial in 10 of Abercrombie’s stores throughout Massachusetts, California, Colorado and Nevada.

Follow Benzinga Cannabis (@BZCannabis) on Twitter for up-to-date news and stories on cannabis, hemp and CBD.

Nasdaq traded NIC Inc. (NASDAQ:EGOV), a provider of digital government services serving more than 6,000 federal, state and local government agencies, acquired Compliain a move that will allow it to enter the cannabis industry.

GW Pharmaceuticals PLC-ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH) reported positive results from its Phase 3 Epidiolex trial, while delivering second-quarter earnings beats. Epidiolex sales of $33.5 million came in well above consensus forecasts between $15 million and $16 million. Pipper Jaffray, JPMorgan and Bank of America all came out with bullish reports after.

Description: https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gifMarijuana Stocks & ETFs

Over the last five trading days:

• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC:HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) lost 3.3 percent.

• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) tumbled 3.2 percent.

• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE:YOLO) lost 0.8 percent.

• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the period down 2.02 percent.

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $500 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

Acreage Holdings (OTC:ACRZF): down 8.55 percent

• Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA): up 4 percent

• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB): down 5 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE:CTST): down 0.8 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC): down 3.3 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON): down 7.1 percent

Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC:CURLF): up 4.4 percent

Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC:GGBXF): down 4.7 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC:TGODF): down 7.8 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC:GTBIF): down 5.3 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH): up 1.6 percent

Hexo Corp (NYSE:HEXO): down 8.15 percent

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC:HRVSF): down 2.7 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC:ITHUF): down 6.7 percent

Marimed Inc (OTC:MRMD): up 3 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC:MMNFF): down 5.3 percent

OrganiGram Holdings Inc (OTC:OGRMF): down 2.6 percent

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE:SMG): down 3.4 percent

• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY): down 0.7 percent

In Other News

Merida Capital Partners appointed former Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC) executive Tom Harrison and former Medco Health Solutions, Inc. executive Pam Galassini as senior operating partners. Harrison will join the board of directors of MediaJel, a global creative and multimedia agency while Galassini will join Manna Molecular, a cannabis biotech and product innovation firm, in an operations executive role.

The newly appointed executives are set to broaden their roles at the firm and portfolio companies in the coming months.

Commenting on the fund’s new hires, Merida’s Managing Partner Mitch Baruchowitz said, “Tom and Pam are Fortune 500 executives with experience in health care, strategy, governance and other areas that will help our portfolio in myriad ways. This is another validation of Merida’s institutional approach and the broader industry at large.”

Last month, Merida announced its $200 million Third Fund, which will focus on high conviction investments in leading companies in the cannabis ecosystem. Since 2016, the fund has deployed $80 million across its first two funds. Current assets under management stand at $150 million.

The Green Organic Dutchman announced a strategic investment into the U.S. beverage space as a co-founding investor and strategic partner in the newly formed Califormulations LLC. TGOD will work with Califormulations to expedite the US launch of TGOD branded organic hemp-based CBD beverages.

“We are thrilled to be working with Califormulations on the development of hemp CBD beverages; the category is expected to grow exponentially as more consumers embrace CBD products,” said Brian Athaide, CEO of TGOD. “Having the opportunity to leverage the expertise and capabilities of a global leader like Symrise facilitates our entry into the US hemp CBD market, providing flexibility and agility as we scale up.  With this partnership, TGOD is well positioned to capitalize on the quickly evolving cannabinoid beverage market.”

Canopy Rivers Inc (OTC:CNPOF), the investment platform for Canopy Growth, announced a major agreement between its joint venture, cannabis greenhouse operator Pharmhouse and Canopy Growth.

Building on an existing agreement that entitled Canopy Growth to 10 percent of Pharmhouse’s flowering space, this announcement ups that agreement by an additional 20 percent, committing Canopy Growth to 30 percent of the supply to be generated by the 1.3 million square foot greenhouse. Pharmhouse now has a full 50 percent of its future supply committed. Deliveries to Canopy Growth from PharmHouse are expected to commence late in the second half of this year when the state of the art greenhouse comes on line.

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Benzinga broke the news of GrowGeneration Corp. (OTC:GRWG) reporting record revenues and an increase in guidance.

HerbForce, the cannabis-specific recruitment division of ForceBrands, released its most recent Talent Market Report, focused exclusively on benefits and compensation in the cannabis industry. HerbForce surveyed more than 500 full-time professionals across the consumer products industry with 10 percent of total respondents coming specifically from the cannabis industry. The findings revealed that cannabis companies offered the highest average raise percentage in 2018 at a staggering 14 percent — more than quadruple the national raise average.

Also, when it comes to benefits, cannabis employers are enticing senior-level candidates with traditional benefits like dental and vision insurance, but are already looking ahead to the future of the workplace, where the demands of younger generations who prefer more flexible work-life balance will usher in new benefits like commuting expense reimbursements and in-office stress relief initiatives. Download the full report here: Cannabis Talent Market Report.

Cronos Group said it’s expanding its research and development program by opening a facility in Israel that will be focused on cannabinoid devices. More importantly, the company reported first-quarter results that included revenue growth of 120 percent on the year driven by legalization of adult-use cannabis and strong CBD oil sales.

California-based seed to sale cannabis company NUG announced the closing of a $15 million Series A funding round. The company will use the new capital to fuel rapid expansion for its three key pillars of manufacturing, distribution and branding.

Tilray announced it invested $32.6 million to increase its Canadian cannabis production and manufacturing.

On April 30, Ionic Brands Corp (OTC:ZRRRF) announced its Lucid Green technology platform, aimed at enhancing the Ionic Certified Clean Program will hit shelves on Ionic packaging in May. IONIC BRANDS Chairman and CEO John Gorst said:

“In an effort to craft the finest quality products on the market and provide our customers with true and accurate information, we have paired our Ionic Certified Clean program with the trust and transparency Lucid Green platform. Our pairing of Certified Clean with Lucid Green allows IONIC BRANDS to provide consumers with the highest quality products, with the best curated experiences. This testing ensures that we deliver to our customers the safest and cleanest products possible. IONIC Brands strategy strives to create unyielding brand loyalty through safe and effective products that results increase product demand.”

New Age Beverages Corp (NASDAQ:NBEV) announced financial results for the first quarter, slightly short of expectations. The maker of healthy beverages said its gross revenue amounted to $60.5 million. Net revenue stood at $58.3 million, a 404-percent year-on-year increase; the figure fell short of the consensus estimate of $61.5 million.

4Front Holdings secured a $50 million loan from LI Lending to support the expansion and buildout of the brand's cultivation and production facilities.

MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTC:MEDIF) announced that in the second quarter it had generated revenue of $22 million, a 115-percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2018.

Multi-state operator CROP Corp completed the purchase of the suite of Recreational Cannabis licenses and the 1,012-acre property held by Elite Ventures Group, in which it holds a 49 percent interest for a total price of $8 million.

“Closing this acquisition is a major milestone for CROP, as it is the largest transaction we have ever completed,” said Michael Yorke, CEO and Director at CROP Corp. “We now have the largest licensed recreational cannabis farm in the United States, and perhaps the world with over 1,000 acres of which 40 acres will be planted this year. Over the next year we are in a great position to aid the explosive growth of the cannabis crop production sector, and our Nevada property is helping us make history one farm at a time.” 

Aurora Cannabis said the Luxembourg Health Ministry named its European subsidiary, Aurora Deutschland, the exclusive supplier of a second national delivery of medical cannabis. Aurora won the rights by bid to sell to Luxembourg’s Division de la Pharmacie et des Medicaments.

Veritas Farms, Inc. (OTC:VFRM), a vertically-integrated agribusiness focused on the production of full spectrum hemp extracts with naturally occurring cannabinoids, announced the appointment of Michael D. Pelletier as the company’s chief financial officer and Spencer Fuller as the company’s vice president of Agriculture. Pelletier will be responsible for Veritas Farms’ corporate finance, accounting, audit, tax, and administrative functions and Fuller will be responsible for the company’s extensive and expanding industrial hemp cultivation operations in Colorado.

More From Benzinga Cannabis

Here are some of the most interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.

The New York Times came out with a report on China’s intent to snatch up a big piece of the CBD market.

Curaleaf acquired Ohio Grown Therapies' cultivation and processing licenses for $20 million.

We spoke with Grown Rogue International Inc (OTC:NVSIF)’s Chief Strategy Officer Jacques Habra.

Activist investor Mick McGuire's hedge fund Marcato Capital Management came out against Canopy Growth’s acquisition of Acreage Holdings.

MJ Freeway shared some 4/20 sales data.

Canopy Growth announced a new global brand that will include all of the company's medical operations: Spectrum Therapeutics.

Andrew Ward shared a closer look into NYSE-traded cbdMD Industries (NYSE:YCBD) and its new sports partner, pro golfer Bubba Watson.

The author also shared a look into how athletes use cannabis for training and recovery.

TD Ameritrade explained how to invest in cannabis as the industry matures.

We spoke with the CEO of Vinzan International.

Check out these and many other cannabis stories in our cannabis portal.

Events Calendar

May 16: Aspiring L.A. cannabis entrepreneurs are invited to learn about the budding hemp and cannabis industries at a Women Grow Signature Pop-Up event at Mama Su Smoke and Vape Shop. The event is hosted by Susan S. Hwang, a millennial who has built a diverse portfolio of cannabis businesses since entering the market in 2012. Familiarly known as Mama Su, Hwang is a South Korean immigrant who came to the U.S. at the age of 12. She now presides as CEO of a national chain of licensed dispensaries, national brand Daily Dose, and Arizona-based consultancy SH Management Services, LLC. This year, Hwang plans to launch Best Dispensary in Los Angeles near her Mama Su Smoke and Vape Shop location.

May 22: Greenhouse Ventures and the Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce are hosting Innovation In The Cannabis Industry, from Israel to USA at the Levitt Auditorium at University of the Arts. The event focus on transferring best practices of commercializing technology and research from Israel to the US, with a specific focus on implications for the the tristate (NY, NJ, PA) region. Learn how U.S. investors and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of shifting international regulations and evolutions in medical research.

For business operators and investors attending the event, host organization Greenhouse Ventures will provide insight into the launch of a new International Commercialization Incubator that aims to position Philadelphia and the tristate region as a landing pad for international startups seeking U.S. market entry. Companies selected to join the Commercialization Incubator will benefit from university research and corporate partnerships, discounted and pro-bono services, as well as assistance navigating complex barriers like banking, immigration, housing, and marquee client acquisitions.  

May 23: The Hemp Industry Trade Association of Arizona will host a monthly networking event open to the public at Modern Grove Views at OdySea in the Desert, in Scottsdale, Arizona. HITA-AZ is the first hemp-specific, non governmental agricultural organization in Arizona.

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. While these industries have differences, in many ways they overlap.

May 29: Ansell Grimm & Aaron's Cannabis Law Practice is hosting the CBD-A Conference. This seminar will focus on emerging issues and opportunities surrounding Cannabis, Blockchain, and capital raising using Regulation D and Regulation A.

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.

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.”

Photo by Javier Hasse.

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