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The Week In Cannabis: Illinois Goes Rec, Quebec Pulls Back And A Recap Of 2019

January 3, 2020 4:30 pm
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The Week In Cannabis: Illinois Goes Rec, Quebec Pulls Back And A Recap Of 2019

A new decade is here. And with it, a year where "4/20" will last an entire month!

Legal cannabis for adult use arrived to Illinois, with long lines outside of dispensaries formed on Jan 1. The day saw $3.2 million in weed products sold. Among the first customers was Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton.

Ahead of the recreational program rollouts, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced pardons for more than 11,000 misdemeanor cannabis convictions involving small amounts of the herb, and the expungement of the records in those cases.

On the other hand, the Canadian province of Quebec raised the age for people to purchase recreational cannabis to 21. All other provinces in the country have set the legal age for cannabis consumption to 19. Only Alberta has different rules: it allows people over the age of 18 to legally consume marijuana.

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Looking back at 2019, a few key events worth highlighting include:

   •  The rollout of the first legal hemp crops under the new Farm Bill in January.

   •  The U.S. House of Representatives passing the SAFE Banking Act in September.

   •  The House Judiciary Committee passing the MORE Act in November.

   •  The MLB removing THC and CBD from its list of banned substances.

Meanwhile, stocks took a pounding, with all cannabis-focused ETFs trading in major US exchanges delivering losses north of 35%.

“2019 was such an awful year for cannabis stocks that it seems the entire industry is breathing a sigh of relief to move on. Still, I expect we'll continue to see pressure on individual companies as many spent too much money and the focus has turned from expansion to profitability,” Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga.

See Also: MedMen CEO On Recent Layoffs: 'We're On Chapter Two, Where Execution Means Profitability'

Cannabis stocks posted mixed performances. Over the last five trading days – including Friday, December 27:

   •  The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC:HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) was down 1.18%.

   •  The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) gained 0.18%.

   •  The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE:YOLO) was up 3.35%.

   •  The Cannabis ETF (NYSE:THCX) tumbled 0.32%.

   •  The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE:CNBS) rose 1.01%.

   •  The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the period up 0.03%.

More News From The Week

PanXchange, a Denver-based OTC physical commodity exchange and price reporting provider, released its “Hemp Benchmark Pricing and Analysis Report” for December.

“As a former commodity trader, I’ve been deeply frustrated at the lack of hard data in the hemp space,” said Julie Lerner, CEO at PanXchange. “While not all-encompassing, our latest report is a major step in the right direction. We hope it begins a productive, industry-wide discussion on supply and demand by deal flow, rather than projected sales values, some of which may be propped up by incredibly bullish predictions for CBD.”

MediPharm Labs Corp. (TSX:LABS) (OTC:MEDIF) said its subsidiary, MediPharm Labs Inc., obtained a Health Canada’s license amendment to begin production in the freshly extended area of its manufacturing facility in Barrie, Ontario. With this amendment, MediPharm’s licensed facility footprint expands three times to a total of around 25,000 square feet, which enables it to effectively use more of its production space for cannabis operations.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic came out with a note arguing beverages may hold the most power to captivate new users to the cannabis industry, due to their "allure of 'experience and ceremony'" and smoke-free nature.

The analyst reiterated an Overweight rating on Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), lowering his price target from CA$5.85 ($4.50) to CA$5($3.85).

See Also: NatGeo's Jason Silva On Cannabis, Psychology And 'The Psychedelic Renaissance'

Nextleaf Solutions Ltd (CSE:OILS) (OTC:OILFF) announced the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has granted the company a patent for its proprietary filtration stack used in the post-extraction processing of THC and CBD oils. With this new license, the company has been issued11 patents by four worldwide patent offices in Australia, Canada, Colombia and the United States.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (NYSE:IIPR) said it has hired Mary Allis Curran to its board of directors.

Cannabis-focused investment company Nabis Holdings Inc. (CSE:NAB) (OTC:NABIF) posted its fourth-quarter financial results with retail and wholesale revenues of CA$644,000 ($495,532).

Green Thumb Industries (CSE:GTII) (OTC:GTBIF) announced it will open its 39th location, Rise Lakewood, which makes it the fifth store the company will open this month. This is the city’s first cannabis retail store and the fourth Rise store in Ohio.

HEXO Corp. (TSX:HEXO) (NYSE:HEXO) completed its previously announced registered direct offering with institutional investors, selling 14.97 million common shares with a price of $1.67 per share. With this offering, the company generated $25 million in gross proceeds, before deducting fees and other offering costs.

CannaRoyalty Corp(CSE:OH)(OTC:ORHOF), which does business as Origin House, announced that its shareholders voted to approve a plan of arrangement with Cresco Labs Inc (OTC:CRLBF) by which Cresco will acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Origin House.

Multistate operator Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC:HRVSF) agreed to purchase a 32,000-square-foot subruban Las Vegas cultivation facility from the Cheyenne, Nevada-based management platform MJardin Group Inc (OTC:MJARF), for a price of $35 million.

Green Leaf Innovations Inc (OTC:GRLF) announced the assignment of the former top regulator of Maryland’s medical marijuana industry, Joy A. Strand,as Executive Vice President.

"She is responsible for coordinating the company’s government relations efforts in multiple states,” said Kevin Goldberg, Green Leaf’s president and general counsel. “She brings a wealth of knowledge about the cannabis industry and compliance. We’re really looking forward to her input for all aspects of our operations.”

Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) signed a strategic agreement with Canndoc Ltd., a subsidiary of InterCure Ltd. (TASE: INCR), via its wholly-owned subsidiary Tilray Portugal Unipessoal Lda., to export medical marijuana from Portugal to Israel.

Per the agreement, the amount of medical cannabis was set up to 2.5 tonnes and the shipment should reach Israel early in January.

Core One Labs Inc. (CSE:COOL)(OTC:CLABF) said its subsidiary, Core Isogenics Inc., has finalized its second and third on-going harvests at the Adelanto facility.

See Also: What Does Instagram's Ban On Vaping Influencers Mean For Cannabis?

Isracann Biosciences Inc. (CSE:IPOT) (OTC:ISCNF) entered into a memorandum of understanding for a preliminary distribution agreement with an unnamed company for legal European cannabis markets.

Top Stories Of The Week

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabis

Events Calendar

January 9– 11: The Lift & Co. Cannabis Business Conference (LCBC) and Expo brings together the country’s top thought leaders and brands for insightful conversations around the emerging Canadian and global cannabis markets. Highlights this year include a keynote on Thursday with the largest data and technology firms in the world, EY Canada and Nielsen, joining Lift & Co. to cover data intelligence and how those insights can be applied to the cannabis industry. During the two expo days, over 280 exhibitors will fill the Vancouver Convention Centre, with a notable focus this year on cannabis 2.0 products, which will have just started to hit store shelves.

February 24–25: The premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference, is heading to Miami in 2020 for its sixth installment. The conference, which takes place at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, creates an ideal setting for attendees to learn from the individuals and experts driving the cannabis space forward amid regulation, legalization and industry changes.

March 13-22: SXSW disembarks in Austin, Texas, once again, with its second year featuring a CannaBusiness track. Check out details here.

Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.

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