The Week In Cannabis: Stocks Back Down, New Corporate Shakeups, M&A, And Policy Moves Around The World
Despite starting the week rallying, likely on the back of substantial short covering, cannabis stocks were back in the red this week, with all major ETFs closing the week lower than they had started it. These were their respective losses:
- ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ): 2.94%.
- AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE:YOLO): 1.3%.
- Cannabis ETF (NYSE:THCX): 2.92%.
- Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE:CNBS): 3.3%.
Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the period down 0.08%.
The big story this week was the resignation of Hadley Ford, CEO of iAnthus Capital Holdings (CSE:IAN) (OTC:ITHUF). The New York-based company announced its decision to replace Ford with Randy Maslow, who now serves as interim CEO, following a review conducted by a special committee of independent directors, which determined that Ford had “misused iAnthus' resources to his benefit.”
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“Hadley Ford resigning from iAnthus this week was a sad turn of events. It came about after an online media company exposed some debt issues, which the company vehemently denied," Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga. “Upon investigation, the company confirmed two of the three allegations. If a company can't protect its shareholders, it's up to the media to do so. Disclosure is always the best policy, even if the news is less than great.”
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Another big news item this week came out of Hightimes Holding Corp., which said it would acquire up to 13 California dispensaries from Harvest Health & Recreation (CSE:HARV) (OTC:HRVSF) for $80 million.
In other positive news, Santa Clara County, California, prosecutors are set to vacate or lessen more than 11,500 convictions for cannabis violations, after revising the list sent by the California Department of Justice.
Mexican Sen. Julio Ramón Menchaca Salaza came out with strong declarations in support of legalizing recreational cannabis as a way to make up for some of the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have this opportunity and we are going to take advantage of it," Salaza said. The proposed bill would allow adults over 18 to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Individuals could grow up to 20 registered plants as long as the total yield doesn’t exceed 480 grams per year. Medical patients could also apply to cultivate more than 20 plants. Personal possession would be capped at 28 grams, but possession of up to 200 grams would be decriminalized.
In Michigan, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that municipalities can regulate and restrict where caregivers grow their cannabis for medical consumption. Previously, the Michigan Court of Appeals had ruled that the Medical Marijuana Act trumped, rather than complemented, local zoning restrictions.
And, in New Zealand, a legal reform on cannabis was proposed. It will be voted on in a national referendum, along with the general elections and referendum on Euthanasia. This reform promises to lead the international legalization movement by proposing a series of highly progressive issues.
In general terms, it will be very similar to the Canadian reform, although it will have an extremely protectionist tinge on native and more vulnerable communities. Market shares would be reserved for micro-cultivators, businesses led by indigenous people would be prioritized and consumption areas would be enabled.
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More News From The Week
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Cresco Labs (CSE:CL) (OTC:CRLBF) terminated its deal to buy Tryke Companies LLC, citing current market conditions. The company also posted fourth quarter results, with revenue of $41.4 million, up by 144% from $17million for the same period in 2018. For the full year 2019, the company generated revenue of $128.5 million, up by 197% from 2018.
Cresco posted an adjusted EBITDA loss of $2.9 million, versus an adjusted EBITDA loss of $300,000 in the corresponding period of the prior year.
Former Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) CEO and founder, Bruce Linton, is now backing Omura. The cannabis entrepreneur took part in Omura’s latest fundraising event, which ensured the startup a total of $5 million. As part of the agreement, Linton will join the technology platform as a strategic advisor.
Simplifya, a software firm helping cannabis business become legally compliant, closed $1.5 million in financing.
Orthogonal Thinker, a platform company focused on the use of whole plant products and psychoactive compounds for health and wellbeing, announced Monday the close of an oversubscribed seed funding round of $6 million. The company was valued at $111 million, and received investments from Republic Labs and Pay It Forward, among others.
Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX.V: XLY) (OTC:CBWTF) obtained $25 million in financing after entering into an agreement with an undisclosed institutional investor.
Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (TSX:FAF) released its 2019 fiscal year financial results for the period ending Feb. 1, 2020. The Edmonton, Canada-based company posted revenue of $51.1 million, with a gross profit of 36.4%, for 2019. That's up 294% from 2018.
In a bid to reach cash flow positivity in the second half of 2020, 4Front Ventures Corp. (CSE:FFNT) (OTCQX:FFNTF) agreed to sell its non-core retail licenses in Maryland and Pennsylvania. The sale is expected to net Vancouver, Canada-based 4Front $18 million in cash.
Helix TechnologiesInc. (OTC:HLIX) and Hypur Inc. are teaming up to enhance each other’s customer network capacities and services. The two parties agreed to work on the networks’ operational logistics and financial capability.
After getting $15.5 million in debt financing, Power REIT (NYSE:PW) set aside a chunk of that cash for acquisitions. This week, it started with a new cannabis cultivation facility in southern Colorado.
Culinary edibles company Azuca has expanded its retail footprint into ten markets nationwide: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and West Virginia.
“As consumer interest in CBD continues to grow exponentially, we are excited to expand our product availability to new retailers across the country," Kim Rael, president and CEO, told Benzinga. "Coast to coast, we are seeing consumers demand a controlled, predictable experience using infused products and Azuca addresses these needs like no other brand on the market. We look forward to introducing our delicious, easy-to-dose edibles to new audiences as the retail sector safely reopens nationwide.”
Cannatech platform Veriheal launched a cannabis cultivation and research grant. Dubbed the “Cannabis Scholarship,” the grant is aimed at giving 10 students $1,000 to grow their cannabis passions this summer.
“Education is the cornerstone of progress. One step forward can rewrite history. We want to enable students to not just take one step forward, but take a thousand steps forward," Joshua Green, co-founder of Veriheal, told Benzinga. "If we can enhance their matriculation through college and support their cannabis passions, then we can affect positive change in hopes that their discoveries and technology will pay itself forward.”
The Cannabis Scholarship is open to anyone who is currently matriculating at a college or university inside the continental United States. Students can Apply and Get More information here: https://www.veriheal.com/scholarship/
Crazy Calm recently launched its own YouTube channel, Crazy Calm TV, seeking to “cover the cannabis industry deep and uncensored.” The content is focused on creatives who are pushing the limits of regulation and perception for a better future.
Host Matt Aaron has been conducting interviews since 2013, beginning with the Food Startups Podcast (sold in 2018), and most recently, managing the podcast network for Bitcoin.com.
Aaron, who is also the co-founder of CBD company Crazy Calm said, “Since we entered the cannabis space, we have faced and seen the difficulties entrepreneurs have to deal with. So we created a transparent, entertaining show to share the reality of the industry.”
Top Stories Of The Week
Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week
- What You Need To Know About MindMed's Bad LSD Trip 'Off-Switch'
- Data: Online Spending For Cannabis On 4/20 Doubled From 2019 To 2020
- How COVID-19 Is Affecting Cannabis Companies in Colombia
- These Are The 'Big 4' Colombian Cannabis Producers
- Shifting Cannabis Sentiment In Bible Belt Presents Reform, Business Opportunities
- How The Coronavirus Impacts New York's Legal, Illicit Cannabis Operators
- A Snapshot Of America's Medical Marijuana Markets: Washington
- Dispensary Execs On Cannabis Delivery During Coronavirus: 'A Lasting Shift In Consumer Behavior'
- How Legalizing Marijuana Could Help Kick-Start The US Economy
- Cannabis Stock Rally Puts Short Sellers In The Red For 2020
Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabis
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Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.
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