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The Week In Cannabis: Stocks Surge Despite Civil Unrest, And 15+ Other Stories

June 7, 2020 1:21 pm
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The Week In Cannabis: Stocks Surge Despite Civil Unrest, And 15+ Other Stories

The U.S. faced one of its toughest weeks in recent history, with racial tensions manifesting in the form of nationwide protests, and the cannabis industry was not exempt. Dispensaries across the country were looted, and many companies decided to close their retail operations until further notice.

“It's been a difficult week for our country and unfortunately for a lot of dispensaries that were looted in the wake of protests. While property can be repaired, the wounds of inequality will take much longer to fix,” said Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report. “Despite the costs of the damage most of the dispensary owners seemed sympathetic towards the situation and I found that heartening.”

Strangely enough, cannabis stocks thrived this week, with all major ETFs closing in the green. Over the five trading days of the week:

  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ): gained 1.8%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE:YOLO): rose 4.2%.
  • The Cannabis ETF (NYSE:THCX): spiked 3%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE:CNBS): advanced 3.4%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) closed the period up 4.9%.

In Israel, scientists revealed they had found “residues of cannabinoids such as Δ9-teterahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN)” in an archeological site, interpreted to be altars from the eighth century.

Pharmaceutical company One World Pharma Inc. (OTC:OWPC) appointed Isiah Thomas as its CEO and vice chairman of the board of directors. The 12-time NBA All-Star player, who was featured at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference last week, is replacing Craig Ellins, the company’s CEO and founder.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE:ACB) (TSX:ACB) sold its stake in Alcanna Inc (OTC:LQSIF) to an underwriting syndicate led by Cormark Securities. The syndicate paid roughly CA$27.6 million ($20.55 million), substantially less than the CA$138 million Aurora spent in 2018.

Clever Leaves, a cannabis company with operations in Colombia, announced a merger with Schultze Special Purpose Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:SAMA). The transaction would allow Clever Leaves to effectively trade on the Nasdaq.

Benzinga held its first Virtual Cannabis Capital Conference, featuring a long list of high profile speakers including Isiah Thomas, John Salley, Al Harrington, Jefferies’ Owen Bennett, Cowen’s Vivian Azer, Piper Sandler’s Michael Lavery, Seymour Asset Management and CNBC’s Tim Seymour, Entourage Effect Capital’s Matt Hawkins, Altitude Investment Management’s Roderick Stephan, ARCADIAN Fund’s Matthew Nordgren, FocusGrowth Capital Partners’ John Lykouretzos, Casa Verde Capital’s Yoni Meyer and many more.

Check out everything that happened at benzinga.com/cannabis

Acreage Holdings, Inc. (CSE:ACRG) (OTC:ACRGF) struck deals for up to $60 million in funding. The New York-based company entered into a standby equity distribution deal worth up to $50 million of the company's Class A subordinate voting shares and finalized an $11-million private placement offering.

Shares of FSD Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:HUGE) tripled in value Wednesday following an announcement regarding a potential COVID-19 drug. The company said the FDA has approved its IND application for studying FSD-201 for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. FSD-201 is ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide, according to the company. 

FSD is developing the investigational asset for its anti-inflammatory properties, targeting the cytokine storm associated with acute lung injury in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE:RWB) (OTC:TDRYD) inked a licensing rights deal with Hightimes Holding Corp. Under the agreement, the Toronto-based company is authorized for the branding of High Times medical and recreational dispensaries as well as CBD and THC products in Michigan, Illinois and Florida.

Memorial Day weekend cannabis retail sales in the US exceeded 4/20 weekend sales, according to findings from GrowFlow. The data showed that sales were up 15.9% Memorial Day weekend compared to Monday, 4/20 and the prior weekend. Beyond that, compared to sales from the previous six weekends, sales per store were up 25.4%, average order size was up 16.2% and the average number of orders per store was up 8.3%.

“While Memorial Day isn’t synonymous with cannabis quite like 4/20 is, retail sales spiked over 15% compared to the 4/20 weekend in April," GrowFlow CEO Travis Steffen told Benzinga.

"With social distancing guidelines being relaxed in parts of the nation, many Americans approached a new normal for Memorial Day weekend, seeing friends and attending barbecues  a stark comparison to late April where gatherings in most states were still banned, which may explain this increase in sales.”

Find our cannabis, hemp and psychedelics news in Spanish on El Planteo.

More News From The Week

Beleave Kannabis Corp. filed for creditor protection, which according to a release would include “would include, among other things, a stay of proceedings in favour of the Beleave Group and the appointment of Grant Thornton Limited as monitor of the Beleave Group.”

Valens GroWorks Corp.(TSX:VLNS) (OTC:VLNCF) secured up to CA$40 million (US$29 million) in financing via syndicated credit facility.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX.V: XLY) (OTC:CBWTF) reported record revenue of $9.9 million in the first quarter. The substantial year-over-year revenue growth of 1,100% is mainly driven by so-called Cannabis 2.0 product sales from Dosecann.

"These results are a culmination of focus and hard work by the tremendous team that makes up the Auxly family," CEO Hugo Alves said in a statement.

Other companies that reported earnings this week included Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE:SUN) (OTC:WLDFF), Planet 13 Holdings (CSE:PLTH) (OTC:PLNHF) and Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX:RIV) (OTC:CNPOF).

Check out all results in our Cannabis Earnings Center.

This week, Helix Technologies (OTC:HLIX) announced the release of a business intelligence tool specifically designed to integrate with Biotrack cultivation software. The system enhances the existing analytics capabilities of the Biotrack system while offering users improved tools to predict harvest yields, inventory forecasts and other metrics crucial to running a business.

“As we continued to explore ways to bring cutting edge data analytics and insights to the entire cannabis supply vertical, the underserved cultivation market became a logical target," Garvis Toler, president of data services at Helix, told Benzinga. 

"This platform will not only help our clients run their businesses more efficiently and profitably, but will also help us leverage our best-in-class data set to shed light onto this nascent industry."

Venture capital firm Tabula Rasa Ventures launched a psychedelics business incubator.

Vertosa, a hemp and cannabis technology company providing customized emulsion systems for infused products, is expanding into Canada via a new partnership with VIVO Cannabis. In addition, Oakland, California-based Vertosa has forged new strategic partnerships with leading California testing labs Anresco and CW Analytical. The partnerships are intended to maximize accuracy in testing results for their brand clients’ products and pave the way for crucial cannabis research initiatives that can further legitimize the evolving industry.

A study led by Baylor College of Medicine researchers and Medterra CBD found in laboratory tests and mouse models that CBD can significantly reduce production of the inflammatory molecules and immune cells associated with arthritis, and that when testing people's elderly pet dogs, Medterra's CBD significantly improved the dog's overall quality of life, documented by both the pet owner and veterinarians. 

"In addition to reviewing the data, it was great hearing how the older dogs were acting like their younger selves," said Jay Hartenbach, CEO and co-founder, Medterra CBD.

"We've shared these findings with the FDA, and plan to continue working with Dr. Halpert of Baylor College of Medicine to uncover even more data around the efficacy of CBD and take new steps towards the industry's exciting future in healthcare."

The study is now published in the journal PAIN.

Front Range Biosciences announced that Tony Murphy is joining the executive team as chief financial officer beginning June 1. Murphy brings over 15 years of experience as a business executive and financial advisory leader directing private and public companies with revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Prior to Front Range Biosciences, he served as group CFO at Monterey Peninsula Horticulture, Inc.

"We are excited to welcome a seasoned leader like Tony to support our trajectory of building a global cannabis and hemp agriculture company as we enter our next phase of growth," said Front Range Biosciences CEO Dr. Jonathan Vaught.

"Tony has incredible talent driving operational efficiencies and leading financial teams, and he brings over a decade of C-level leadership experience in agriculture and horticulture."

PAX Labs launched a web-based desktop app for use with its connected cannabis vaporizer devices, seeking to respond to Apple’s ban of all vape-related apps from the App Store.

“We’re thrilled to be able to restore functionality to Apple users,” Jesse Silver, senior vice president of product at PAX Labs, said in a press release.

Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.

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