The Week In Cannabis: Gillibrand's Legalization Plan, Analyst Ratings, South Africa's CBD Store, And Some Legal News
In another big week for cannabis, a committee of the Delaware House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana; Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand unveiled a cannabis legalization plan that includes expungement and social equity measures; and South Africa got its first CBD store. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he doesn’t think there are enough votes in the state Senate to push recreational cannabis legalization forward.
On the corporate front, MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC:MMNFF) announced that a lawsuit filed against the company arguing CEO Adam Bierman and President Andrew Modlin made decisions in their own personal interest rather than that of shareholders has been dismissed. San Francisco-based vape maker Pax Labs announced agreements with leading cannabis companies to leverage its innovative Era device and platform. Signed companies include Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA), Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB), OrganiGram Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:OGI) and Supreme Cannabis Company.
Finally, The Wall Street Journal reported Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST) is evaluating the cannabis beverages space, and DionyMed Brands Inc. (OTC:DYMEF) filed a lawsuit against Eaze Technologies alleging the latter had gained “an unfair competitive advantage by participating in a scheme to defraud credit card companies and financial institutions into processing cannabis transactions in violation of a host of criminal laws.” Eaze said the claims are false. We spoke with both companies.
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In a sad development, Doug Greene, one of New York’s most vocal proponents of cannabis legalization, died at 52 after being fatally struck by an A train subway Tuesday. It is unclear how he found himself on the tracks.
Marijuana Stocks & ETFs
Over the last five trading days:
• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC:HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) gained 3.3 percent.
• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) rose 3.6 percent.
• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE:YOLO) surged 2.2 percent.
• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the period up 4.6 percent.
The following are some of the top marijuana stocks — with market caps above $500 million and trading on U.S. exchanges — performed over the last five trading days:
• Acreage Holdings (OTC:ACRZF): down 1.4 percent
• Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA): up 10.3 percent
• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB): up 0.7 percent
• CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE:CTST): down 0.4 percent
• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC): up 4.8 percent
• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CRON): up 13.2 percent
• Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC:CURLF): down 0.65 percent
• Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC:GGBXF): down 6.9 percent
• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC:TGODF): up 3.4 percent
• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC:GTBIF): down 6.3 percent
• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ:GWPH): down 0.9 percent
• Hexo Corp (NYSE:HEXO): up 0.2 percent
• Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC:HRVSF): down 3.9 percent
• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC:ITHUF): down 1.75 percent
• Marimed Inc (OTC:MRMD): down 2.1 percent
• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC:MMNFF): up 0.5 percent
• OrganiGram Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:OGI): up 0.3 percent
• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE:SMG): up 5 percent
• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY): up 2.1 percent
In Other News
Pasha Brands, Canada’s largest craft cannabis brand organization, commenced trading on the CSE under the ticker symbol “CRFT”. The British Columbia-based, vertically integrated organization has raised approximately $25 million in the past two quarters.
Pasha Brands also announced it acquired medical cannabis company Medcann Health Products this week.
Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:NEPT), a Canadian company engaged in the extraction, purification and formulation of health and wellness products, has entered into a definitive agreement to provide extraction and purification services to Tilray. Full story here.
Green Thumb Industries announced that its newly acquired company Integral Associates was awarded a retail dispensary and delivery license by the city of Pasadena, California the same day that GTI closed on the acquisition. Integral Associates placed first out of 122 retail applications and is one of only six new licensees in Pasadena. Integral Associates was also recently awarded a retail license in West Hollywood.
The Integral Associates acquisition by GTI includes Essence retail stores as well as the Cannabiotix and Desert Grown Farms cultivation facilities in Nevada. The transaction was valued at approximately $290 million, which included $52 million in cash and the issuance of approximately 20.8 million Subordinate Voting Shares of GTI.
“I’m honored to join GTI’s leadership team which places a strong emphasis on people, brands and delivering superior service. We are also incredibly honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Pasadena," Armen Yemenidjian, GTI president and founder of Integral Associates, told Benzinga.
"Our priority is to offer the very best cannabis products and customer service and to fulfill our promise as a trusted community partner. We look forward to opening the store and becoming an active member of the Pasadena community.”
Organic and natural beverages company New Age Beverages Corp (NASDAQ:NBEV) reached an agreement to acquire Brands Within Reach, a New York-based healthy products company, for an undisclosed price. Full story here.
MJ Freeway announced it has retained Cowen as a strategic and financial advisor pending the consummation of its proposed business combination with MTech.
Following the closing of the business combination, Cowen’s information and technology services investment banking team will assist with MJ Freeway’s strategy of pursuing strategic, accretive acquisition opportunities.
The cannabis industry represents a "beautiful opportunity" that even global securities services company Brink's Company (NYSE:BCO) wants a bigger share of the market, CEO Douglas Pertz told CNBC's Jim Cramer on "Mad Money.". Full story here.
MedMen announced an agreement to buy MattnJeremy Inc, LLC, also known as One Love Beach Club from the Abrams family for $13 million. Full story here.
High-profile cannabis industry investors and entrepreneurs Alain Bankier and Tahira Rehmatullah have joined the leadership team of Ceylon Solutions, a Colorado-based software development company that creates custom digital products for the cannabis industry.
Bankier has a long history as an active early stage investor in cannabis and technology companies. Rehmatullah, who also serves in senior roles for Hyper Ventures and MTech Acquisition Corp, was named one of the most powerful women in the cannabis industry by Fortune magazine and Complex.
The demand for cannabis products in the United States rose by 2.1 percent month-over-month in March, according to Anderson Economic Group's AndCan Index. U.S. legal cannabis product demand grew 19 percent over the same period last year, AEG said. Full story here.
Harvest Health & Recreation will begin selling some of their bestselling CBD product lines through a network of 10,000 convenience stores and gas stations across the country. The rollout will include Colors, CBx essentials and other Harvest-branded products.
The retail channel is expected to generate just under half — $8 to $10 billion — of a $22-billion CBD market by 2022.
The company also announced the opening of three new stores in the competitive and lucrative Florida market; the Jacksonville, North Port and Longwood dispensaries add to the operator’s footprint in state. They have two additional stores open in Orlando and Tallahassee; Florida’s license allows the building of up to 35 locations.
Private equity firm Cresco Capital Partners announced that it closed a $60-million oversubscribed cannabis fund, the CCP Fund II. Full story here.
Cannabiniers announced BASKIN Essentials, its personal care cannabis brand, under license from Ovation Science Inc. (OTC:OVATF), has signed an exclusive distribution and sales agreement with Flourish, the makers of chef-driven cannabis edibles, in an expansion to Arizona.
“We’re excited to launch BASKIN in Arizona,” said Cannabiniers CEO Michael Hayford.
“The cannabis wellness industry is still new, so we understand the importance of providing consumers with high-quality products that they can trust. Flourish holds the same values, making them the perfect local cannabis company for us to work alongside in Arizona.”
Canadian cannabis and hemp company Canopy Growth is reportedly looking to open hemp facilities across seven U.S. states within the next year. Full story here.
Azuca, an edibles brand founded by New York City-based chef Ron Silver, announced it is opening production and manufacturing facilities in Colorado Springs and Golden, Colorado. The westward expansion will streamline Azuca’s production processes for both its B2C and B2B efforts, the company said, and better position it to expand its Azuca Inside initiative.
Green Growth Brands will enter the medical marijuana market in Florida through the acquisition of Spring Oaks Greenhouses. Full story here.
Medicine Man Technologies, Inc. (OTC:MDCL) announced it will acquire Colorado-based cannabis farm Los Sueños Farms, LLC and the cannabis dispensary Mesa Organics Ltd.
“The pending acquisitions of Los Sueños and Purplebee’s announced this week via binding term sheets will not only solidify Medicine Man Technologies as one of the leaders in the cannabis space, but play an integral role in the company’s mission to develop and expand further in Colorado, a state well-known for paving the way for legalized cannabis," Medicine Man co-founder and CEO Andy Williams told Benzinga.
Last week, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed HB19-1090, a law that "opened the doors to Colorado's $1.5-billion cannabis industry and enabled more investments," the CEO said.
The acquisitions come on the heels of the legislative development, Williams said.
"These advances, in addition to the pending MedPharm Holdings and Medicine Man acquisitions, as well as the closing on the first phase of an initial $14-million strategic investment from Dye Capital, make Medicine Man Technologies one of the largest cannabis cultivators in North America with the extraction capability to process the entire production.”
Origin House (OTC:ORHOF) announced that a significant percentage of over 99 percent of shareholder votes cast as of June 5 were in favor of approving a deal for Cresco Labs to acquire all shares of Origin House. June 7 was the deadline for shareholders to submit their votes.
The final tally has yet to be announced, but results were trending heavily in favor of shareholder approval: 99.54 percent of votes cast in favor of the deal, representing 42.8 percent of all eligible votes counted through June 5.
A special shareholder meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 11 to discuss the Cresco Labs-Origin House arrangement.
The deal is for approximately A$122 million (about $85.2 million). PharmaCielo will pay 63 cents for each Creso share. Both PharmaCielo and Creso's board of directors have unanimously approved the deal. Full story here.
Nabis Holdings, a Canadian investment issuer that invests in high-quality cash flowing assets across multiple industries including the U.S. and international cannabis sector, announced it entered into an agreement to purchase 49 percent of Cannova Medical, with options to purchase the remaining stock later.
“Cannova has proven to be an innovator in the cannabis consumption space. Their line of sublingual strips are an innovative solution that consumers are looking for, especially as cannabis continues to go mainstream and people search for easy and discreet ways to consume,” said Shay Shnet, CEO and director of Nabis.
“We look forward to continuing to expand in the United States, but we can’t ignore companies from other areas of the world, such as Israel, where Cannova is based. Their unique biotechnology is going to elevate Nabis’ position as a leader in the cannabis space, and we look forward to teaming up with them.”
Cannabis brand Heavy Grass signed an exclusive licensing deal with Miramar Brands Group, Inc. to brand and expand its lifestyle products into a global retail strategy. The brand partnership will design and launch new products targeting the alternative cannabis culture. The collaborators have plans for a wide variety of branded product offerings including apparel, cosmetics and household goods including audio, food and beverages.
“Heavy Grass is a lifestyle brand that goes way beyond just what you can buy in a dispensary. As cannabis goes mainstream, you’ll see our products being integrated into all aspects of life that will serve our core demographic,” said Clay Busch, the company's vice president.
Hugs Wellness, a new CBD brand, has partnered with the nonprofit organization 10,000 Beds to donate a percentage of every sale to help 10,000 Beds provide individuals admission into treatment programs for long-term recovery, continuing its mission to promote care and self-love. “We see it as a privilege and an opportunity to give back and help those who need it. Hugs is a mission-driven brand born from our founders' own experiences, and we cannot stress enough the importance of helping others," Hugs founder Josey Orr told Benzinga.
Jean Krisle, the founder of 10,000 Beds, said the organization recognizes that everyone's path to recovery is different.
"There is no right or wrong path to a life free of substance disorder and alcohol dependency. We are excited to partner with HugsCBD to support efforts to provide another option for the treatment of opioid addiction, specifically in the detox stage of treatment and through the reduction of cravings; an option that will save lives and increase an individual's likelihood of completing treatment and developing the skills necessary for long-term recovery.”
CLS Holdings announced their operational and financial results for the month of May, showing revenue of over $1 million and a 6-percent increase in gross margin since last year. The Las Vegas dispensary Oasis achieved a record of servicing over 16,000 customers and posted a year-over-year revenue increase of 55 percent, the company said.
“We have created the foundation with our Nevada operations to utilize what we have learned across multiple states. The results we are experiencing in Nevada are a tribute to the hard working and dedicated team of people who work for this company. Our goal is to continue building revenue, expanding margin and exploiting our rapidly growing wholesale brand, City Trees," Andrew Glashow, CLS' president and COO, told Benzinga.
Seedo Corp. (OTC:SEDO), an agtech company serving the hemp and agriculture industries with what they claim is the world's first fully automated and controlled indoor growing machine, entered into a strategic partnership with the retail innovation firm OutForm.
As part of the partnership, OutForm will assist in the development of Seedo’s retail branding strategy in the U.S. and the optimization of its U.S. distribution channels and supply chain.
"We are entering a new era of home growing where demand for complete automated grow systems will only continue to increase," said Seedo CEO Zohar Levy. "The U.S. is poised to embrace this new world of agritech, and we're thrilled to partner with OutForm to increase Seedo's exposure and introduce our automated home grow device to mainstream retailers and consumers as we expand our extensive community of customers."
Strategic retail branding and distribution partners are both critical components to establishing a company’s market presence. By leveraging its preexisting relationships with the largest U.S. retailers — including Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:BBBY), The Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) and many more — OutForm will introduce Seedo's home grow system to consumers across the country through an innovative approach focused on strategic branding.
Planet 13 Holdings Inc (OTC:PLNHF), the world’s largest dispensary and entertainment superstore in Las Vegas, announced the expansion to its second SuperStore location in the Los Angeles market in Santa Ana.
Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. (OTC:CRTPF) said their pharmaceutical partner and CBD manufacturer Noramco, Inc. was selected to present at the Food and Drug Administration’s Scientific Data and Information about Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-Derived Compounds, Part 15 Public Hearing.
Plus Products Inc. (OTC:PLPRF) released its unaudited 2019 first-quarter financials. Highlights include a $3.2-million revenue climb and gross margin growth of 21 percent in the first quarter 2019, compared to 8 percent one year ago.
Halo Labs Inc. (OTC:AGEEF) announced its partnership with High Tide Inc. to introduce Halo-produced products through High Tide’s extensive distribution network throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.
MOXIE's Piña Colada DART Pod was named best THC Vape Cartridge at the 2019 SoCal High Times Cannabis Cup with the support of CCELL’s DART proprietary pod system.
VEGAMOUR launched what they said is the first-ever full line of CBD products for natural hair growth. The line, formulated with full spectrum, micro-encapsulated CBD, includes a hair growth serum, eyelash growth serum, eyebrow serum, hair growth gummies with biotin and hair adaptogen supplements.
“At VEGAMOUR, our manufacturing process is unique in that we decrease the CBD molecule size by over 1,000 percent in order for the CBD particles to effectively deliver its benefits by penetrating into the upper layer of the dermis and into the hair follicle root,” said Dan Hodgdon, CEO of VEGAMOUR.
Asia is a largely untapped CBD market, an d the CBD market in China is estimated to potentially be worth up to $15 billion.
Through the acquisition of Yooya, a content-driven e-commerce platform that reshapes the way that brands connect with Chinese consumers, Regent Pacific will expand Yooga to be the first e-commerce marketing platform to focus on CBD-infused products.
Jamie Gibson, CEO of Regent Pacific, is projecting the rollout of a CBD business in Asia with a line of exceptional consumer-focused products initially in the health and wellness area, including topicals and balms, and working with the world’s largest CBD manufacturers to build out the CBD brands over time.
The acquisition attracted an experienced group of strategic investors including principals of JJR Capital and Abony Enterprises in CBD.
Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. (OTC:LBUY) announced a non-binding letter of intent to acquire a majority stake in the Las Vegas-based trade show operation CBD.io.
The company operates a large expo in the CBD and vape industries. The acquisition would double Leafbuyer’s current revenue run rate.
The agreement additionally includes an ownership stake in an e-commerce website for wholesale and retail CBD products.
“CBD has become a pop culture phenomenon, and trade shows are a lucrative and unsaturated sector of the industry,” said Leafbuyer CEO Kurt Rossner.
“CBD.io is a profitable company and has a proven financial model that will increase Leafbuyer’s top line and be a powerful driver for earnings. The significant advantage of this acquisition is the ability for Leafbuyer to drive tremendous brand exposure to another fast-growing segment of the industry. Last year, CBD.io sold nearly 200 booths; this year we will cross-sell our platform of over 400 clients and look to double that. We will be uniquely positioned to offer a true 360 solution to customers. Our product clients can access millions of consumers through digital and in-person methods to spread brand awareness and increase profits.”
Rob Rodney Bags just hit the consumer cannabis accessories market with a line of customizable bags. As the CBD and cannabis market continues to grow and become more accessible, there is a need for a safe way to store cannabis products, said designer and dad Mark Frahm.
Some of the top analyst ratings over the week include:
• Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Cronos Group: Buy with $27 price target.
• Wells Fargo on Cronos Group: Outperform with $65 price target.
• Oppenheimer on Cronos Group: Perform.
• Stifel on Cronos Group: Hold with CA$18 ($13.44 USD) price target.
• Stifel on Canopy Growth: Buy with CA$64 ($47.77 USD) price target.
• Bank of America on Canopy Growth: Buy with $80 price target.
• Stifel on Aurora Cannabis: Hold with CA$10 ($7.47) price target.
• Stifel on Tilray: Hold with CA$37 ($27.62) price target.
More From Benzinga Cannabis
The following are some of the most interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.
Barron’s looked at the Colombian cannabis market.
Chris Dier-Scalise shared “4 Facts About Africa's Budding Cannabis Industry.”
Calum Hughes wrote about where we stand on medical marijuana for military veterans.
We spoke about building a cannabis education company with Green Flower CEO Max Simon.
We also looked into a new blockchain-based Internet of Things platform aimed at increasing trust and transparency for cannabis consumers and brands.
p>Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabis
June 16-18: Martha Stewart will speak at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
Stewart is an example of big brands and high-profile personalities that are entering the cannabis space as outdated stigma gives way to mainstream growth opportunities.
“I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in the lifestyle space with this tailored audience,” she said.
“As I begin to collaborate on products for the CBD market, and as the demand for these types of product grows, I’m very interested in the conversations and connections at this event.”
Stewart will be joining Civilized publisher Derek Riedle and Bruce Linton, the founder, chairman and co-CEO of Canopy Growth, onstage in a fireside chat June 18 to close the conference.
The retail pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart will join the event as the third keynote speaker. Ken Weisbrod, the company's vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives, will share the stage with other high-profile speakers including Stewart and Linton as he opens the event June 17.
"Shoppers Drug Mart is a mainstream retail titan and yet another proof point as to where this industry is headed," said Civilized's Riedle.
"At last year's World Cannabis Congress, we spent a lot of time discussing where we hoped the industry would go in a post-legalization landscape, and here we are. Less than a year later, we're working with the world's top brands to bring cannabis to consumers."
June 25: MjMicro, an investor forum that seeks connects “highly qualified investors with best-in-class and emerging publicly traded cannabis companies,” will debut in New York at the Westin Grand Central. The event is set to be held four times a year, with future events scheduled for Beverly Hills, West Palm Beach and Seattle.
October 23-24: Marijuana Venture Magazine’s Retail and Dispensary (RAD) Expo, a national trade show focused on the retail cannabis industry, will return to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The RAD Expo will feature presentations from industry veterans to speak about successful entrepreneurship and topics including merchandising, partnership management, interior store design and retail operations.
The 2019 show will focus heavily on CBD products and CBD brands with a presence in health grocery stores, luxury retailers, pet stores and other retail categories that carry hemp-derived products.
November 19-21: The Medcann World Forum 2019 will be held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta, which dates to the 16th century. when it was originally built as a hospital by the order of St. John. The three-day conference will focus on six pillars: medical, business, research, legislation, regulatory and fintech.
The event will host Malta’s top policymakers, international regulatory experts and global business leaders.
Picture by Javier Hasse.
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