The Week In Cannabis: SAFE Banking Act Clears House, Australia's Capital Legalizes Recreational Weed And More

Last week, the U.S. cannabis industry marked an important milestone as on Tuesday the House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.

The bill, which enjoyed strong bipartisan support and passed 321-103, aims to offer legal cannabis businesses access to banking services. The legislation heads to the Senate next. 

“This week's vote by the House of Representatives to pass the SAFE Banking legislation was a huge boost to the industry. The stocks lifted for a few days at least, before the sellers came back. Now it is up to the Senate to pass a similar bill. Still, it is seen as a historic move and one that will set the industry on the right course to become treated the same as any other business sector,” Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga.

Despite the positive news, cannabis stocks lost ground last week. Over the last five trading days:

  • The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF HMLSF HMMJ slid by 10.29%.
  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ lost 6.66%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF YOLO tumbled by 10.75%.
  • The Cannabis ETF THCX fell by 9.8%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF CNBS dropped by 7.57%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY inched down by 0.94%.

More News From The Week

Another positive development for the cannabis industry took place in Australia.

The country’s capital Canberra legalized recreational possession and cultivation of cannabis. Recreational cannabis remains illegal on a federal level in Australia. 

Canberra's law allows residents over 18 to possess up to 50 grams of cannabis and grow up to two plants per person, or four per household.

"I believe this is a strong signal about the continued development of the industry in OZ and speaks to the accelerating pace of that development. Clearly, and similar to what we have seen in the United States, there will be a period of conflict between the federal regulations and those proposed for the Capital Territory, but the mere fact that this dialogue is occurring at all points to the changing attitudes in Australia in respect of laws that penalize the adult use of cannabis," Scott Boyes, CEO and president of MPX International Corp MPXOF, told Benzinga.

Nextleaf Solutions Ltd OILS OILFF announced the company is to acquire IP based on water-soluble cannabinoids. The company said that with this technology, the onset time when consuming cannabinoids in a beverage improves from 90 minutes to less than 10 minutes.

“Through this unique water-soluble technology, Nextleaf Solutions can create clean, sustainable, and effective standardized products. We will continue to build our intellectual property and advance our processing solutions to meet the growing demand of cannabis-infused beverages,” said CEO Paul Pedersen.

Fine Fettle Dispensary has acquired its second medical marijuana dispensary license in Connecticut.

The new dispensary is located at 2280 Berlin Turnpike in Newington. With this second dispensary, Fine Fettle now holds two of the state's 18 dispensary licenses.

GABY, a cannabis and CBD house of brands operating in the licensed cannabis sector and the mainstream grocery channel, announced this week that its subsidiary Sonoma Pacific Distribution has added three new third- party brand partners: Big Sur Extracts, Medicine Box and Hot Nife.

Sonoma Pacific carries a highly curated portfolio of eight brands that complement each other and its proprietary brands.

“We currently sell into 205 dispensaries, up from 85 at the beginning of 2019, and we continue to expand our California footprint," said GABY CEO Margot Micallef.

"Distributing third-party brands enables us to continue to scale manufacturing, distribution and sales infrastructure to the benefit of our in-house Pacific Sonoma and LuLu's Chocolates brands." 

Streetwear retailer Zumiez Inc. ZUMZ will carry 1933 Industries Inc TGIFF’s line of recovery creams launched last year in collaboration with professional skateboarder Torey Pudwill, Canna Hemp X, in 658 retail locations, further setting the stage for CBD's entrance into the action sports market.

Earlier this year, Tony Hawk announced the company will carry his line of CBD creams and lotions, House of Hawk.

"Our support for the action and adventure sports industries made a partnership with Zumiez a natural fit," Canna Hemp X brand manager Paul Kobriger told Benzinga. "Zumiez is an ideal retailer for our products given their unmatched marketing expertise and loyal customer base."

Besito, the Los Angeles-based cannabis brand known for its brass hexagon-shaped vapes, announced a partnership with Equity First Alliance, with the release of a powerful campaign featuring advocates, formerly incarcerated individuals and their family members, amplifying the voices of those impacted by the war on drugs.

The multimedia campaign puts an intimate and human face to those who have been most harmed, featuring the subjects’ compelling personal stories in their own environments. The campaign tagline, “A Record Shouldn’t Last A Lifetime,” is a call to action and urgent reminder of the moral obligation of those who are profiting off the legal cannabis industry to fight for equity and reparative justice.

"At besito, we believe it's an enormous privilege to work in legal cannabis given the criminalization of this plant and sacrifices so many have made before us. The failed war on drugs has ravaged communities — particularly communities of color — and we believe that it's our industry's moral imperative to help repair the harms caused. We're honored to partner with Equity First Alliance and build reparative justice into our business model,” said Maggie Connors, besito's founder and CEO.

Natura Life + Science, a co-manufacturing facility being built in Sacramento that aims to be the world's most sophisticated platform to launch and scale cannabis brands, has partnered with Sacramento Stand Down, a nonprofit that has served as an advocate and resource for homeless veterans for over 30 years.

Stand Down provides veterans with critical services including shelter, medical and first aid services, mental health counseling, housing referrals, financial advice and employment counseling to help with workforce re-entry.  

Nabis Holdings Inc. NAB, NABIF, a leading Canadian investment company with specialty investments in assets across multiple divisions of the cannabis sector, announced a strategic agreement with CannaKorp, a Massachusetts-based technology start-up that is simplifying and improving the experience for herbal vaporization.

As part of this partnership, Nabis will manufacture and supply custom Wisp Pods to be used in CannaKorp’s innovative Wisp Vaporizing System in Arizona. The Nabis Wisp Pods will be branded as BIS, the company’s recently launched cannabidiol brand.

“Not only are we producing a custom line of pods, we will also be handling production of all future brands CannaKorp partners within Arizona. Keeping in line with our mission to innovate, this partnership will take something at its early stages and grow it into something very large. A unique cannabis experience designed to help people, delivered through a seamless home appliance,” Shay Shnet, CEO and director of Nabis Holdings, told Benzinga.

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Top Stories Of The Week

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

The cannabis compliance technology provider Akerna Corp KERN reported revenue of $11 million in fiscal 2019 on Monday, a 4.2% year-over-year increase. 

The company's net loss grew from $2.5 million in fiscal 2018 to $12.3 million. 

Cannabis company iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. ITHUF announced Tuesday that it had converted all of its issued and outstanding Class A convertible restricted voting shares to common shares. The company converted 13.56 million Class A shares to 13.56 million common shares and filed with Canada's SEDI.

MediPharm Labs Corp. LABS MEDIF said Tuesday it had entered into a private label sales agreement for exports to Europe with ADREXpharma GmbH. The company will provide ADREXpharma with cannabis concentrate derivative products such as CBD and THC oil for sale and distribution under the ADREXpharma brand in Germany.

On Wednesday, MediPharm also announced a supply agreement with TerrAscend Canada Inc, a subsidiary of TerrAscend Corp. TER TRSSF.

On Tuesday, Greenlane Holdings, Inc GNLN said it had signed an agreement to acquire Conscious Wholesale, a European wholesaler and retailer of vaporizers and consumption accessories. The new acquisition will broaden the company’s global footprint for its product portfolio, which includes brands such as Firefly, PAX, Storz & Bickel and DaVinci.

Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. LBUY reported 59% higher year-over-year revenue in the fiscal year ended June 30 on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. CBWTF announced the closing of a transaction with Imperial Tobacco Group plc IMBBY. As reported back in July, Imperial Brands invested CA$123 million ($92.8 million) in Auxly by way of a debenture that is convertible into 19.9% ownership of the cannabis company.

WeedMD Inc. WDDMF said Wednesday it has completed a bought deal offering of convertible debenture units with a price of $1,000 per unit for aggregate gross proceeds of $13.12 million.

KushCo Holdings, Inc. KSHB said Thursday it has signed agreements with investors for the purchase and sale of 17.2 million units. Each unit is one common share with a price of $0.001 per share and a warrant to buy half a common share at an offering price of $1.75 per unit.

On Friday, Bank of America analyst Cristopher Carey downgraded Canopy Growth Corp CGC from Buy to Neutral and cut the price target from $46 to $27. The analyst cited high growth expectations in the near-term that are not in line with the dynamics of the Canadian cannabis market.

Canopy remains a potential long-term leader in the global cannabis market, the analyst said. 

On Friday, Cresco Labs Inc. CRLBF announced an agreement to sell its properties in Kankakee, Illinois to Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. IIPR for $46.3 million.

The properties represent around 100,000 square feet of industrial space. Cresco will continue operating each property. A part of the proceeds from the sale will be used to scale the company’s cultivation capacity and retail network across the state.  

Check out these and many other cannabis stories on

Events Calendar

Oct. 4-6: Argentina will hold its first big cannabis conference, Expo Cannabis, at the La Rural event hall in Buenos Aires.

The event arrives at a key moment in the country’s regulatory history and development of a nascent legal industry.

Oct. 10-11: This year, New West Summit 5.0 in San Francisco welcomes keynote speakers Alicia Silverstone, Killer Mike, George Zimmer and many more. NWS curates over 50 exhibitors, two days of talks, engaging conversation, top-level investors, innovative brand developers and the best and the brightest in the industry.

Oct. 11-12: CBD Expo MOUNTAIN will bring the largest CBD event platform to Denver 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. The themes of CBD Expo MOUNTAIN are 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 CannaPaid 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 afterparty culminating in a performance by hip hop artist Cypress Hill.

Oct. 22-23: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Chicago, Illinois! You know you can’t miss it. Go to 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.

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, FL to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry.

The themes of CBD Expo EAST are globalization and spa + wellness.  

Nov. 19-21: The Medcann World Forum 2019 will be held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta. The three days will focus on six main 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, CA to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry.

The themes of CBD Expo WEST are research and development and cannabinoid formulations.

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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on – Prices will increase very soon!