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The Week In Cannabis: Verano, Tilray, Sundial, Chris Webber, And More

February 19, 2021 4:43 pm
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The Week In Cannabis: Verano, Tilray, Sundial, Chris Webber, And More

Despite several big news items out of the industry this week, cannabis stocks posted mixed performances.

Over the last five trading days — including last Friday, since markets were closed on Monday:

  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ): gained 1.5%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE:YOLO): was up 1.9%.
  • The Cannabis ETF (NYSE:THCX): lost 1%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE:CNBS): fell 2.2%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) was down 0.6%.

Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE:VRNO) started trading on the CSE after completing its merger with AltMed, delivering a solid performance.

Commenting on the IPO, Green Market Report editor-in-chief Debra Borchardt told Benzinga that the market has shown "there is still a strong appetite" for MSOs.

"The price of the stock quickly shot up from C$10 to C$30," Borchardt said. "Verano's combination with AltMed is going to make this company a strong competitor and now that it's a publicly-traded company it has quickly jumped to the head of the class.”

Meanwhile, Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) reported strong fourth-quarter results, with meaningful revenue growth and margin expansion. However, analysts remained on the sidelines.

  • Michael Lavery of Piper Sandler downgraded the rating from Overweight to Neutral, while raising the price target from $15 to $26.
  • Scott Fortune of Roth Capital Partners maintained a Neutral rating, while raising the price target to $25.
  • Pablo Zuanic of Cantor Fitzgerald maintained a Neutral rating and a price target of $30.25.

“With Tilray poised to become the biggest cannabis company in the world since announcing its merger with Aphria in December, all eyes in the sector were on the company’s fourth quarter earnings unveiled after the close on Wednesday. And the company did not disappoint," Brenda O’Farrell, senior analyst at Investing.com, told Benzinga. "In fact, it offered a stellar performance, beating analyst estimates, while showcasing its international reach."

O'Farrell elaborated: “As the cannabis sector overall continues to find its footing, one of the big questions the industry is wrestling with is: Is bigger better? Well, Tilray’s results are taking the guesswork out of that query. And investors were quick to notice. Tilray shares shot up more than 10% in after-hours trading. And although one quarter doesn’t make a trend, the winds are in the sector’s sails, as optimism linked to U.S. federal legalization continues to blow."

Benzinga Cannabis content is now available in Spanish on El Planteo.

Chris Webber, a five-time NBA All-Star and founder of Webber Wellness, partnered with asset manager Jason Wild to launch a $100 million private equity cannabis fund. The goal is to invest in “underrepresented entrepreneurs pursuing careers in the cannabis sector.”

U.S. federal prosecutors will charge former Eaze Technologies Inc. CEO Jim Patterson in a case surrounding $100 million in credit card-based cannabis payments.

According to Law360, citing court records, Patterson will be charged on Feb. 19. A trial is scheduled for March 1.

Sundial Growers Inc. (NASDAQ:SNDL) reclaimed compliance with the Nasdaq Stock Market’s minimum bid price demands to remain listed on the exchange, after reaching the closing bid price of its shares at $1.00 per share for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days.

The company also made a strategic investment of $22 million into cannabis edibles producer Indiva Ltd. (TSXV:NDVA) (OTCQX:NDVAF) this week. And, on Friday, Sundial reported it had raised $89.1 million via a warrant exchange.

Despite the recent news, Jim Cramer called Sundial the perfect example of a “pump and dump” stock.

Policy Moves

  • Thirty-seven members of Congress issued a letter to President Joe Biden, asking for a blanket pardon to those with federal nonviolent cannabis-related offenses. The letter was first signed by Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-chairs Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, who led the initiative.
  • A new Senate bill that proposes the legalization of possession of specific psychedelics in California was presented on Wednesday.
  • In Michigan, cannabis sales hovered close to $1 billion in 2020. Per Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA), medical marijuana and adult-use sales reached a total of $984.7 million, with sdult-use cannabis making up $510.6 million of that amount.
  • Hawaii Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs voted in favor of two cannabis measures on Tuesday. The first bill asks for adult-use cannabis legalization and the other to amend the state’s current decimalization law.
  • New Jersey is still struggling to figure out the details of the ballot measure. Democratic Governor Phil Murphy asked for a “cleanup bill” that will impose higher fines for underage people caught with cannabis. This Tuesday, another compromise was halted, questioning the future of cannabis legalization in the Garden State once again. For more regulatory updates, click here and here.

Financings And M&A

  • HEXO Corp. (TSX:HEXO) (NYSE:HEXO) agreed to buy Zenabis Global Inc. (TSX:ZENA) for $235 million.
  • Cannabis-oriented SPAC Choice Consolidation Corp. (NEO: CDXX.UN.U) raised $150 million in its initial public offering.
  • Agrify Corp. (NASDAQ: AGFY) secured roughly $75 million in financing through an underwritten public offering of its shares. The company also seeks to design and build a 30,000 square-foot facility. The contract will include facility build-out services in total of $3 million and annual SaaS revenue of approximately $285,000.
  • Alcohol and cannabis retailer Alcanna Inc. (TSX:CLIQ) (OTC:LQSIF) announced the sale of nineteen stores in British Columbia. Otter Farm and Home Co-operative agreed to buy its convenience-format liquor stores for $80.8 million.
  • Urban-Gro (OTCQX:UGRO) raised $62 million to boost expansion to the European CEA market.
  • Harborside Inc. (CSE:HBOR) (OTCQX:HBORF) raised some CA$35.1 million (US$27.8 million) through a brokered private placement.
  • GrowGeneration Corp. (NASDAQ:GRWG) acquired Grow Warehouse, a four-store chain of hydroponic and organic garden stores in Colorado and Oklahoma. The price tag wasn’t disclosed.
  • Allied Corp. (OTCQB:ALID) said it is purchasing a registered cultivation license in Nevada. The deal includes a GMP-complaint facility worth $3.5 million and a land lease for the installment of Allied 9000 square foot building.

Earnings Reports

  • Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT) (TSX:NEPT) revealed its third-quarter financial results, including revenue of CA$3.32 million ($2.62 million). Gross profits and margin declined over the same period to a loss of CA$8.9 million and 268.3%, respectively.
  • Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTCQX:INLB) generated record revenue of $3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
  • GW Pharmaceuticals plc (NASDAQ:GWPH) disclosed that total net product sales of Epidiolex amounted to $144.1 million in the last three months of fiscal 2020 and $510.5 million for the full year.
  • TerrAscend Corp. (CSE:TER) (OTCQX: TRSSF) posted preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2020, with full-year net sales of CA$198 million ($157 million).

Read all about these and other earnings reports in Benzinga Cannabis’ Earnings Center.

Other News

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. (TSX:FAF) (OTCQX:FFLWF) applied to list its stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Christina Lake Cannabis Corp. (CSE:CLC) (OTCQB:CLCFF) began trading on the OTCQB market.

Shares of Primo Nutraceuticals Inc. (OTC:BUGVF) enjoyed a 313% climb Thursday, aided by California’s proposed  legalization of possession of certain psychedelics. Last year, Primo partnered with MedCan Biotechnologies, a company that specializes in chemical and genetic analysis of psilocybin mushrooms.

PharmaCielo (TSXV:PCLO) (OTCQX:PCLOF) delivered its first commercial shipment of THC-free broad-spectrum distillate to an existing customer in the British Isles with operations in the E.U. PharmaCielo CEO Henning von Koss said the company "has conducted significant research in developing unique cultivars, by choosing and registering those that present the best chemical profile for different applications in the cosmetics, wellness, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.”

Panacea Plant Sciences secured a patent allowance from the USPTO for the company’s plant treatment technology, which increases and alters the yields of cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis (hemp) plant. The patent revolves around the use of phytohormone mixtures applied at distinct growth stages. 

“Our team is currently in a race to try and get approval from the EPA before the 2021 hemp season and harvests happen,” Panacea Plant Sciences CEO David Heldreth said. “We are excited to see enhanced cannabis products on the market which feature our technologies.”

Earlier this month, Leafly and Jane Technologies announced a long-term strategic partnership, including a seamless integration between the two companies’ e-commerce. This combination of Leafly Menu Solutions, including its menu management and customer acquisition offerings, with the I Heart Jane menu and product catalogue, will provide retailers with integrated e-commerce solutions while simultaneously offering customers a vastly improved shopping experience.

“Until recently, shopping for cannabis was an intimidating process, with challenges like stigma, unreliable information, and a lack of integrated e-commerce options,” Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita told Benzinga. “That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with Jane and pair Leafly’s educational resources and strain database with their extensive product catalogue — giving both consumers and retailers a more streamlined, intuitive experience. Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in the county, not to mention an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s high time the small businesses and patrons that fuel its growth are equipped with the technology and tools they need to succeed.”

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Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.