The Week In Cannabis: Jay-Z Joins Caliva, Congress Holds Marijuana Hearings, CannTrust Gets Smoked, And More
Beyoncé’s husband Jay-Z entered the cannabis industry this week, announcing he’d be joining the California brand Caliva as chief brand strategist.
“Jay-Z entering the cannabis space reaffirms that effective brands will drive the future of the cannabis industry. We applaud his efforts to be a part of the solution in righting the disproportionate impact that the war on drugs has had on minority communities. Jay personifies the perfect mix of celebrity, entrepreneur and true brand," said Kraig Fox, CEO of High Times, which first reported the news.
On the policy front, Hawaii decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, and the U.S. Congress held a landmark hearing regarding cannabis legalization and the need to reform. Here's what legalization advocates had to say. In addition, the FDA said it was “expediting its work to address the many questions about cannabidiol (CBD),” and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced bills in Congress that seek to ensure that people with low-level drug convictions are still able to access public housing, reported Kyle Jaeger on Marijuana Moment.
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The fund has lower fees than its NYSE peers and differentiates itself from others on the back of its monthly rebalancing strategy, versus a more standard quarterly rebalancing approach, fund adviser Jon Najarian told Benzinga.
CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE:CTST) got smoked after Health Canada discovered one of its facilities was non-compliant with regulations. Later in the week, it was reported that illicitly produced cannabis had been not only sold in Canada but also exported to Denmark.
"420 Investor" Alan Brochstein told Benzinga he thinks CEO Peter Aceto should apologize for violating Health Canada rules and resign.
Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, said the CannTrust scandal shows that public cannabis companies can't always be trusted to do the right thing.
"This company grew plants in an unlicensed room and figured they'd get away with it, which is a sign of incredibly poor judgment since this is such a highly regulated industry. They also admitted to storage problems at another facility and have since stopped sales," she said.
The poor decision-making by company leaders hurts patients and shareholders alike, Borchardt said.
"Hiring a quality control officer after the fact just shows this company did too little too late.”
We invite you to check out our story of the week: "From Coffee To Cannabis: Colombian Legislators To Move For Adult-Use Legalization."
Also check out our new cannabis stocks screener. You can sort, filter, search and much more.
Over the last five trading days:
• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC:HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) lost 8.16%.
• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) tumbled 6.87%.
• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE:YOLO) was down 7.89%.
• The Cannabis ETF (NYSE:THCX) lost 6.59%.
• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the period up 1.24%.
In Other News
Surterra Wellness announced the appointment of Fareed Kahn as chief financial officer. Kahn previously served as CFO at Kellogg Company (NYSE:K).
James Whitcomb, who has served as CFO since the company's founding, will become executive director of corporate development and continue serving on Surterra's board.
"Fareed's global, large company CFO experience perfectly aligns with Surterra’s needs at this particular time in the company’s evolution as we continue to expand through thoughtful M&A, best-in-class partnerships and a focus on organic growth and execution," said Surterra Chief Executive Officer and Chairman William “Beau” Wrigley Jr.
KushCo Holdings, Inc. (OTC: KSHB), a producer of ancillary products and services to the cannabis and hemp industries, said Monday that it had applied to list on the Nasdaq Global Select Market exchange.
Canadian company Avicanna announced it had gained conditional approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange for the listing of its common shares, which are expected to start trading on TSX under the ticker symbol "AVCN" as an industrial research and development issuer.
This follows an announcement that the company obtained a receipt for its final prospectus filed in connection with a completed special warrant offering for gross proceeds of around CA$22.1 million ($16.9 million).
The raise was led by Sprott Capital Partners and included other investors like Paradigm Capital, valuing the company at an estimated CA$170 million ($130 million).
"Approval to list on the Toronto Stock Exchange senior board as an R&D issuer is a major milestone in Avicanna’s development and provides validation of our focus on responsible research and development of cannabinoid-based products," Avicanna President Setu Purohit told Benzinga.
"The TSX is one of the world’s largest exchanges and will provide Avicanna and its shareholders with greater reach and visibility to an international audience and investor base.”
Benzinga Cannabis first reported on Avicanna in 2017 following its admission into JLABS @ Toronto. We have covered its Colombian operations, its exclusive focus on medical use cannabis, and its joint venture with El Grupo Daabon, the largest organic agriculture company in South America, in operation for more than 100 years.
Hemptown Organics acquired Oregon-based Kirkman Group. The acquisition includes production equipment, formulation, proprietary IP, sales channels and fulfillment centers, as well as the management team.
Ignite International Brands (OTC:IILBF) launched in the U.K. this week, coinciding with its presence at the Europe CBD Expo 2019 in London.
“We were delighted to have teamed up with Ignite. The U.K. has been keeping a very close eye on their movements from across the Atlantic and we are excited that our visitors will be the first to get their hands on Ignite’s CBD range," said Housam Nasr, chief operations officer for the Europe CBD Expo.
Los Angeles-based cannabis lifestyle company From The Earth announced plans to join the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The company finalized a term sheet to complete a reverse takeover of KMN Capital, an Israeli public company, marking the initial stages of From The Earth’s entrance into the Tel Aviv capital markets through the RTO.
"Israel has embraced cannabis research and development for decades and cannabis-related technology available in that country is among the best in the world. As a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, I was able to tap into a deep network of Israeli investors and entrepreneurs who understand the value of cannabis today and in the future as we sought like-minded partners for From The Earth," From The Earth CEO Dan Zaharoni said in a statement.
Christopher Carey at Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded CannTrust from Buy to Underperform with a price target lowered from CA$9 ($6.87) to CA$4.50 ($3.44).
Canadian cannabis producer OrganiGram Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: OGI) announced a new proprietary technology that would enable the production of liquid and powdered cannabinoid products.
Shift Genuine Cannabis launched in Colorado, and its products are now available in dispensaries across the state. "We want to make cannabis more user-friendly, more approachable," says Travis Howard, Shift's founder. "'Be genuine' is the ethos of Shift, and that tagline drives everything we do. As consumers ourselves, we understand what folks are looking for when selecting a cannabis brand, and we truly believe they deserve the highest quality product possible."
Last December, Green Peak Innovations received more than 30 licenses covering medical cannabis cultivation, processing and provisioning in Michigan. On Monday, the company announced it would open its first dispensary in Bay City. This is the first of 30 dispensaries it expects to open in Michigan by the end of 2020.
MACE Media Group announced the publishing of the Journal of Cannabinoid Medicine. This new media platform is dedicated for researchers to disseminate their research findings, with the aim of creating access to information about plant medicine and medicine access for people everywhere.
The journal will cover all aspects of pharmacy including clinical, social, administrative and economic angles, and provides a platform for researchers, academics and practitioners to share new evidence, concerns and perspectives. The journal hopes to advance the cannabis medical field by presenting new findings and research that will influence the way cannabinoid medicine is practiced.
CLS Holdings (OTC:CLSH) announced its financial and operational results for June, showing another month with more than $1 million in revenue, a figure that's higher by 250% year-over-year. The company's Oasis dispensary continues to serve a record number of over 16,500 customers, which is an 88% increase from this time last year. The branded product division saw similar increases in revenue from this time last year.
"As the Nevada cannabis market continues to mature, we are seeing record results month-over-month. This is not a coincidence as we have spent tireless hours to get to this point pre and post our acquisitions of Oasis dispensary and our seed-to-sale brand, City Trees," Andrew Glashow, COO of CLS Holdings, told Benzinga.
Green Growth Brands (OTC: GGBXF) (CSE: GGB) announced that it it entered an agreement with MXY Holdings to acquire the company for $310 million, which will be met through the delivery of either exchangeable LP units or Green Growth common shares. MXY Holdings is commonly known as Moxie.
Cannabis retailer MedMen Enterprises (OTC: MMNFF) (CSE: MMEN) announced Wednesday it gained an additional equity commitment from Gotham Green Partners in the amount of $30 million. The additional equity commitment was created with Wicklow Capital’s assistance, bringing Gotham Green Partners’ total commitment to $280 million, out of which the investor has already provided $100 million.
Sydney, Australia-based medicinal cannabis manufacturer THC Global Group announced Tuesday that it obtained another manufacturing license for its subsidiary THC Pharma Pty Ltd from the Australian Office of Drug Control. The company said its Southport manufacturing site is the largest biopharmaceutical extraction facility in the southern hemisphere.
Cannabis CEO and South Korean immigrant Susan Hwang was appointed as the inaugural market leader of Women Grow Los Angeles, a national organization connecting professionals from all segments of the industry. Hwang currently heads Women Grow Phoenix and will serve as chief spokeswoman for dual markets.
“I am honored to be named market leader of Los Angeles and look forward to empowering other minorities to enter this emerging industry,” Hwang said.
The historic announcement coincides with a growing pro-cannabis legislation movement in Asia. South Korea’s groundbreaking law to legalize medical cannabis went into effect in March.
Canopy Rivers (OTC:CNPOF) portfolio company TerrAscend (OTC:TRSS) announced it has received the green light from Health Canada to begin selling its cannabis oils through its online health marketplace Solace Health. The company was also recently granted a Good Manufacturing Practice certificate in accordance with rules governing medical products in the European Union; and inked a sales and distribution agreement with iuvo Therapeutics GmbH, a German pharmaceutical wholesaler.
“Cannabis oil is gaining popularity in Canada, the United States and in other emerging global medical markets. With Health Canada approval and new channels developing in legislated international markets, TerrAscend is now well-positioned to meet this growing demand,” said Canopy Rivers CEO Narbe Alexandrian.
Supreme Cannabis Company Inc (OTC: SPRWF) announced that the Supreme Court of British Columbia has released a final order approving a previously announced agreement to acquire Blissco Cannabis Corp. (OTC: HSTRF).
Cannabis One Holdings Inc (OTC: CAAOF) (CSE: CBIS) announced Friday it will acquire Green Layde IP Inc. Green Lady IP provides infrastructure services to three dispensaries in Washington state. These dispensaries produce more than $9 million in unaudited annual revenue, per Green Lady IP management’s estimates.
Earlier this week, authorities in Montpelier, Vermont, got a call about a visitor’s discovery of various cannabis plants among the flower beds around the State House. A total of 34 immature plants were discovered without determining whether they are marijuana or hemp plants, according to CNN.
New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ: NBEV) on Friday confirmed the closing of its previously announced acquisition of Brands Within Reach.
Paul Norman, the CEO of HeavenlyRx, who last served as president of Kellogg North America, announced this week that the company has signed an LOI to acquire Airganics, a dynamic company focused on developing high-performance wellness products.
For a total purchase price of CA$10 million, HeavenlyRx will acquire 100% of the outstanding membership interests in Airganics.
Airganics includes three distinct brands: MOXE, a portable aromatherapy diffuser available in vape form; ENVY HEMP, which combines nutritional supplements with water-soluble CBD derived from American hemp; and Nutriair, an innovative inhalable nutrient delivery device with 11 available product lines. HeavenlyRx is a SOL Global Investments Corp (OTC:SOLCF) portfolio company.
Despite the revenue growth, the company's net loss on a GAAP basis slightly widened from $9.2 million a year ago to $10.6 million. Nevertheless, the net loss per share of 12 cents was lower than the 14-cent loss in the third quarter of fiscal 2018.
Canada’s first branded cannabis oriented educational program is on its way, thanks to a newly announced collaboration between Organigram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX: OGI) and Lift & Co. Corp (TSXV: LIFT) (OTC: LFCOF).
Illinois-based Revolution Enterprises announced Wednesday that Tony Hunter is the new chairman of the company’s board of directors. Hunter is known for his expertise in the media world, as he worked for Chicago Tribune Co. for 20 years, including eight years as publisher.
Bob Nardelli was appointed as a strategic advisor for the Colorado-based retail hydroponic and organic gardening brand GrowGeneration Corp. (OTC: GRWG). Nardelli represents an experienced sales leader with knowledge in multinational corporations. He led Home Depot Inc (NYSE: HD) as CEO from 2000-2007.
The medical division of Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC), Spectrum Therapeutics, announced that it's collaborating with the Canadian Mental Health Association's "Not Myself Today" workplace mental health program.
Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC: GGBXF) and American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) have entered into a deal to distribute CBD-infused personal care products. American Eagle Outfitters will sell the CBD products in almost 500 of its stores, as well as online.
Cannabinoid-focused biotechnology company Demetrix announced that it secured $50 million in a Series A funding round led by Tuatara Capital. Another investor is Horizons Ventures, which previously led Demetrix's $11-million Series Seed round.
New Jersey-headquartered CBD For Life announced the further expansion of its retail presence through a partnership with Dillard’s Inc (NYSE: DDS). CBD For Life is a subsidiary of iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc (CSE: IAN) (OTC: ITHUF), which owns and runs licensed cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities in 11 U.S. states.
Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) entered into an agreement to acquire a GMP-compliant fermentation and manufacturing facility from Apotex Fermentation. The acquisition is expected to be completed during the third quarter; Apotex will continue to be in charge of a wind-down of the facility through the fall.
HEXO Corp (NYSE: HEXO) (TSX: HEXO) gained approval from the New York Stock Exchange to transfer the listing of its common shares from the NYSE American LLC to the NYSE. The company expects to start trading on NYSE with the same ticker symbol on July 16.
Cannabis-oriented real estate firm BANGI, Inc (OTC:BNGI) announced Friday that it was one of the first companies to be issued an industrial hemp production license in the state of Michigan.
Cannabis edible maker Bhang Corporation (CSE: BHNG) began trading Friday on the Canadian Stock Exchange.
Earlier this week, cannabis and hemp-focused company Jushi Holdings announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Dalitso LLC, one of the five conditionally licensed cannabis business in the state of Virginia.
The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO), the first actively managed cannabis exchange traded fund in the United States, is adding exposure to multistate operators.
United Cannabis Corporation (OTC: CNAB) named Clifton Lamberth as its new chief marketing officer.
Cannabis data analytics company Headset and Marijuana Business Daily have announced a data partnership. The deal will allow MJBizDaily's journalists, editors, researchers and analysts to get access to real-time retail-derived data from the U.S. and Canadian cannabis industry.
MJBizDaily will work with Headset to develop exclusive content as part of its Annual Marijuana Business Factbook and provide more content and information at its MJBizCon, MJBizConNEXT and MJBizConINT'L events.
Researchers at Colorado State University launched the first stage of a three-stage research project to verify the effectiveness of Gofire's technology to precisely dose, measure and track cannabis intake and outcomes.
It's a critical, missing capability that researchers lack in order to effectively uncover the data that will lead to prescribable cannabis medicines, the company said.
The study is expected to last through the fall.
“Our system allows for true consistency and control,” said Gofire Peter Calfee.
“Our vaporizer doesn’t function like the current standard products. We want to shift the whole paradigm of inhalable medicine and offer people the same dosing precision they expect for any other kind of medication, whether it’s a prescription they receive from their doctor or an over-the-counter remedy.”
Cronos Group (NASDAQ: CRON) appointed Dr. Todd Abraham as its chief innovation officer. His 17-year tenure at Mondelēz International (NASDAQ: MDLZ) saw the coordination of divisions such as R&D, IP strategy and technology development.
Flower One Holdings Inc (OTC: FLOOF) announced a long-term licensing partnership with La Vida Verde to produce edibles and tinctures for the Nevada cannabis market.
From the creators of James Jeans and Alkhemist Los Angeles, Alkhemist announced the commencement of cultivation operations at its state-of-the-art indoor cannabis cultivation facility. The company said it's the first fully licensed, certified and legal grower of cannabis in the city of Los Angeles.
"We are excited to be pioneering this cultural paradigm shift where cannabis is no longer perceived to be a black market product for stoners and hippies but is enjoyed responsibly by mainstream Americans for its lifestyle and wellness benefits," Alkhemist CEO and co-founder Conrad Yun told Benzinga.
"By investing in state-of-the-art technology for our indoor cultivation infrastructure, such as highly energy-efficient Octo LED lights and integrated environment controls, we are committed to creating ultra-pure, pesticide-free organic products that customers can enjoy with confidence."
Oakland-based cannabis company Apex Extractions introduced a monthly subscription service, the Apex Extractions Fresh Club. For $139 a month, subscribers in California will receive a hand-curated selection of premium cannabis products — including small-batch runs from boutique growers — delivered to their door.
“2019 has been a thrilling year for Apex Extractions and we are so proud of our eight Cannabis Cups wins,” said Scott Benson and Ted Hicks, co-CEOs at Apex Extractions. “Now that we are officially on the map, we plan to double our efforts to get our award-winning products in the hands of cannabis connoisseurs across California.”
TransCanna Holdings Inc. (OTC:TCNAF) announced a definitive agreement to acquire The GoodFellas Group, LLC. GoodFellas specializes in branding, sales and marketing in the cannabis and hemp industries.
Dark Heart Nursery announced that it completed a private placement of convertible notes for gross proceeds of over $5 million in an oversubscribed round. Dark Heart said it will use the proceeds to fund ongoing research and development activities in plant sciences and expand production operations, including a newly renovated 70,000-square-foot facility in Half Moon Bay.
"We are fully dedicated to our core mission — to help cannabis farmers thrive — and we continue to execute on that mission. Through smart investments in research and development, we improve plant quality, leading to greater production efficiency and product differentiation for farmers," said CEO Dan Grace.
Spherex announced the launch of PHYX, a new line of THC-infused sparkling water.
"Phyx is an ideal product for consumers who want a controlled low-dose experience," said Spherex founder Niccolo Aieta.
“Many edibles have a tendency to take effect after an unpredictable amount of time and last much longer than the average consumer desires. Through proprietary nano-encapsulation technology, PHYX is absorbed through the tongue and throat, allowing consumers to feel its effects within minutes. Each serving produces a cannabis experience that lasts approximately one hour.”
More From Benzinga Cannabis
The following are some of the most interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.
Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabis
July 18: REVEL is hosting an educational showcase that will consist of talks on how to build and sustain a profitable and reputable brand within the cannabis industry. There will also be giveaway opportunities, networking and vendors.
July 27: Microscopes & Machines will bring leaders in cannabis medical research and manufacturing technology for a daylong exploration of cannabis and hemp’s life-changing potential. Featuring Jeff Chen of UCLA’s UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, Ace Shelander PE of Beaker & Wrench and many more.
July 28: Susan Hwang will host the first Women Grow “Meet and Greet” in Asia from 6-9 p.m., on Sunday, July 28 at Kookmin University, 77 Jeongneung-ro, Jeongneung-dong, Seongbuk-gu, in Seoul, South Korea.
International cannabis entrepreneurs and prospective stakeholders are invited to attend the historic event, which will include a presentation on CBD, hemp businesses, and practical application. Hwang will lead the discussion alongside Women Grow CEO Dr. Chanda Macias and National Program Director Parisa Rad.
Aug. 1-2: CannaFarm Con will focus on the new and complex challenges that cannabis farmers face. The event assembles the entire specialty cannabis farming spectrum in one connected space that is focused on providing real solutions with proven success. Attendees will connect firsthand with cutting-edge industry leaders and forward thinkers offering tangible ideas and practical applications for all areas of cannabis agriculture. The event will take place at Paradise Point Resort in San Diego, California.
Aug. 15: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Detroit, Michigan! You know you can’t miss it. Go to https://www.benzingacannabisconference.com/ for more information.
Aug. 17-18: The 9th CannaGrow Expo will take place in Palm Springs, California, featuring more than 35 cultivation-focused educational sessions and an expo hall filled with cannabis-related technologies. “One thing that differentiates CannaGrow Expo from other cannabis events is the exciting educational content focused on the foundations of the cannabis industry,” said Jessi Rae, COO of CannaConnections, the producers of CannaGrow, DispensaryNext and the Science of Cannabis Summit.
Oct. 11-12: CBD Expo MOUNTAIN will bring the largest CBD event platform to Denver, Colorado to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry.
The event features more than 150 exhibitors, along with a substantial lineup of speaker presentations, panel discussions, demos and workshops from experts in the research, production, globalization, distribution and sale of CBD products. CBD Expo MOUNTAIN will focus on the themes of compliance and regulation and investments and business.
Oct. 11-12: the first ever Budtender Awards are coming to Las Vegas, sponsored by cannabis financial technology Canna Paid and cannabis educational program Clover Leaf University.
The awards aim to pay homage to the nation’s top budtenders and the many facets of cannabis culture. The two-day event offers panel discussions, a product and service expo, a closing night performance, awards show and after party culminating in a performance by Cypress Hill.
Oct. 22-23: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Chicago, Illinois! You know you can’t miss it. Go to https://www.benzingacannabisconference.com/ for more information.
Oct. 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, Oregon. 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.
Nov. 15-16: CBD Expo EAST will bring the largest CBD event platform to Orlando, Florida to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry. CBD Expo EAST will focus on globalization and spa + wellness.
Nov. 19-21: The Medcann World Forum 2019 will be held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta. The venue dates to the 16th century. when it was built as a hospital by the order of St. John. The three days will focus on six pillars: medical, business, research, legislation, regulation and fintech. The event will host Malta’s top policymakers, international regulatory experts and global business leaders.
Dec. 5-6: CBD Expo WEST will bring the largest CBD event platform to San Diego, California to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry. The themes for CBD Expo WEST are research and development and cannabinoid formulations.
Picture by Javier Hasse. Metal work by Caos y Fortuna.
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