Below is a recap of the main news related to the cannabis industry and markets for the week of December 13, 2021.
- Pfizer Getting Into Cannabis
- Visa vs. Cannabis Retailers
- Malta's Parliament Says Yes To Cannabis
- Earnings And Dividends
- THC In Blood, Saliva Poor Measures Of Cannabis Impairment
- European Union: More THC Percentage Allowed In Industrial Hemp
- Columbia Care Becomes First Company To Produce Vape Extract Products In The UK
- Cannabis Company Becomes The First To Have THC, CBD Licenses In Uruguay
- MedMen To Carry Iconic LA Cannabis Brand Jungle Boys
- Top Stories Of The Week
Pfizer Getting Into Cannabis
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. PFE is entering the cannabis space via the $6.7 billion acquisition of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ARNA. The two publicly-traded companies confirmed Monday that they have signed a definitive agreement under which Pfizer will acquire all outstanding shares of Arena for $100 per share in an all-cash transaction.
Pfizer expects to finance the transaction with existing cash on hand upon obtaining all necessary approvals.
“The proposed acquisition of Arena complements our capabilities and expertise in Inflammation and Immunology, a Pfizer innovation engine developing potential therapies for patients with debilitating immuno-inflammatory diseases with a need for more effective treatment options,” stated Mike Gladstone, global president & general manager, Pfizer Inflammation and Immunology. “Utilizing Pfizer’s leading research and global development capabilities, we plan to accelerate the clinical development of etrasimod for patients with immuno-inflammatory diseases.” Etrasimod is Arena's drug candidate for the treatment of immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases.
This is not the first time one of the largest pharmaceuticals companies in the world has obtained an interest in a cannabis-related company. Other big players with ties to the cannabis industry include Jazz Pharmaceuticals JAZZ, Novartis AG NVS and Johnson & Johnson JNJ.
Visa vs. Cannabis Retailers
The burgeoning recreational marijuana industry – illegal at the federal level yet legal for adults in some 18 U.S. states and DC – has faced multiple challenges throughout the years, mostly because of the Schedule 1 status of the cannabis plant.
The biggest problem? Banking, of course.
As in life, retailers have had to find a way to work around the system. Some cannabis merchants have begun using cashless ATMs to bypass limitations on the types of sales payment cards they can legally accept.
Benzinga Cannabis’ content is now available in Spanish on El Planteo.
One of the largest payment processors in the world, Visa Inc. V recently issued a compliance memo to customers warning them that incorrectly coding point-of-sale transactions via cashless ATMs could be penalized or punished by unspecified enforcement procedure.
Visa’s memo from Dec. 2 obtained by Marijuana Moment revealed that the company is “aware of a scheme” in which retailers are utilizing cashless ATMs to avoid limitations on the types of sales for which payment cards are allowed to be used.
“Cashless ATMs are POS devices driven by payment applications that mimic standalone ATMs. However, no cash disbursements are made to cardholders,” the memo clarified. “Instead, the devices are used for purchase transactions, which are miscoded as ATM cash disbursements. Purchase amounts are often rounded up to create the appearance of a cash disbursement.”
Although the Visa directive does not specifically mention cannabis, it highlights that cashless ATMs (also called reverse ATMs) “are primarily marketed to merchant types that are unable to obtain payment services—whether due to the Visa Rules, the rules of other networks, or legal or regulatory prohibitions,” a category that covers marijuana businesses.
Malta's Parliament Says Yes To Cannabis
Malta is poised to become the first country in Europe to legalize the cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal use.
The first country? What about the Netherlands?
While the Netherlands, and especially Amsterdam, is most commonly associated with cannabis consumption in Europe, marijuana possession and trade are technically illegal there although the Dutch government's relaxed attitude is well-known.
Proposed Rules In Malta
Under Malta's proposed bill, possession of up to 7g of cannabis, home cultivation of up to four plants and storing up to 50g of dried marijuana will be legally permitted for those aged 18 and above. Those found in possession of up to 28 grams, on the other hand, will be obliged to pay a €50-€100 fine but will not be subjected to a criminal record.
Owen Bonnici, the minister responsible for the program, told the Guardian that the Maltese government does not want to encourage the use of drugs, but that there’s no scientific proof that marijuana usage leads to abuse of more dangerous substances.
“There is a wave of understanding now that the hard-fist approach against cannabis users was disproportionate, unjust and it was rendering a lot of suffering to people who are leading exemplary lives,” Bonnici said. “But the fact that they make use on a personal basis of cannabis is putting them in the jaws of criminality.”
St. Louis, Missouri Repeals City Marijuana Laws
Mayor Tishaura Jones signed Bill 132 on Monday, repealing St. Louis's city ordinances that make it illegal to possess and cultivate small amounts of marijuana. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen had passed the bill in November.
The decriminalization ordinance comes weeks after the Board of Aldermen unanimously approved the legislation, which made it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces of cannabis without facing the civil penalty.
The bill bars police from enforcing state and federal laws against the possession of small amounts of marijuana and paraphernalia, with certain exceptions.
In addition, the smell or presence of marijuana can no longer be the only probable cause for search and arrest.
“Enforcing stringent marijuana laws diverts our police resources from addressing the most violent crime,” Jones said at a news conference at City Hall before signing the bill, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
She also said the repeal will reduce racial disparities in policing, noting that 82% of people arrested in the city on marijuana-related charges in the past three years were Black.
Stocks posted mixed results this week. Over the five trading days of this week:
- The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ: lost 2%.
- The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF YOLO: tumbled 5%.
- The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF MSOS: fell 6.3%.
- The Cannabis ETF THCX: was down 6.3%.
- The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF CNBS: dropped 5.1%.
- The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY closed the week down more than 1.8%.
|Acquiring Company||Acquired Company||Price||Conditions|
|Dermapharm Holding SE||Canopy Growth Corporation WEED CGC’s subsidiary business, C³ Cannabinoid Compound Company GmbH||$90.2M||Cash|
|Marijuana Company of America, Inc. MCOA||VBF Brands||Undisclosed||Undisclosed|
Food Delivery Service Waitr Looking To Acquire Cannabis POS Company For $90M
On-demand food ordering and delivery company Waitr Holdings Inc. WTRH is looking to acquire a cannabis-focused point of sale inventory and compliance software business Retail Innovation Labs Inc., which is doing business as COVA.
The Lafayette, Louisiana-based company said Friday that it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent to buy Cova for a proposed purchase price of $90 million in cash and stock.
|Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. CURA CURLF||Private placement of 8.0% senior secured notes due 2026||$450M|
|Acreage Holdings, Inc. ACRDF||Credit facility with AFC Gamma, Inc. AFCG and Viridescent Realty Trust, Inc.||$150M|
|Glass House Brands Inc. GLAS (NEO GLAS.WT.U) (OTCQX:GLASF) (OTCQX:GHBWF)||Senior secured term loan agreement with a U.S.-based private credit investment fund.||$100M|
|Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. FAF FFLWF||Loan agreement with 2707031 Ontario Inc., an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.||$30M|
Earnings And Dividends
Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. FAF FFLWD announced its financial and operational results on Tuesday for the fiscal third quarter ended October 30, 2021. The Toronto-based company reported a 37% year-over-year improvement in revenue and sixth consecutive quarter of positive adjusted EBITDA.
C21 Investments Inc. CXXI CXXIF announced its unaudited results on Thursday for the third quarter ended October 31, 2021. "C21 continues to deliver positive free cash flow and profitable bottom-line performance," Sonny Newman, the company's president and CEO said. "Despite challenging markets in the quarter, our focus on efficiency delivered $0.03 in earnings per share, and allowed us to make further significant reductions to Total Liabilities."
EnWave Corporation NWVCF ENW (FSE: E4U) reported its consolidated financial results on Thursday for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2021. The Vancouver-based company revealed that its vacuum-microwave machine and royalty business performed materially better in fiscal 2021 than in fiscal 2020, with record margins and profitability.
Body and Mind Inc. BAMM BMMJ announced its financial results Thursday for the first fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2021. Michael Mills, CEO of Body and Mind said that the quarterly results and "continued positive cash flow from operations reflect our commitment to lean, focused performance as we continue to add new accretive operations."
Cannabis Global, Inc. CBGL, an innovation-oriented company investing in disruptive cannabis technologies, disclosed its annual report for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2021. Revenues for the fiscal year grew to just over $1.6 million, compared to approximately $27,000 for the previous fiscal year. Growth was attributed to increased sales and distribution of cannabis products across a broad array of product lines, including cannabis flowers, edibles and concentrates.
Kiaro Holdings Corp. KO KIARF reported its financial results Friday for the three and nine months ended Oct. 31, 2021. The Vancouver-based company revealed a year-over-year increase of 44% in revenue for the third quarter and 59% for the nine months.
Find all the details on these and other earnings reports on Benzinga Cannabis’ Earnings Center.
Dividends: Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. IIPR announced Wednesday that its board of directors has declared a fourth quarter 2021 dividend of $1.50 per share of common stock. The dividend is equivalent to an annualized dividend of $6.00 per common share.
The dividend announcement comes on the heels of the company’s $72.7 million acquisition of a portfolio of 27 properties in Colorado, Pennsylvania and North Dakota that are 100% leased for use as regulated cannabis dispensing, processing and/or cultivation facilities.
THC In Blood, Saliva Poor Measures Of Cannabis Impairment
A new study published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative, looked into available reports on the relationship between driving performance and concentrations in blood and saliva of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the intoxicating component of cannabis.
Surprisingly, the results indicate that blood and oral fluid THC concentrations are relatively poor or inconsistent indicators of cannabis-induced impairment. This contrasts with the much stronger relationship between blood alcohol concentrations and driving impairment. The findings have implications for the application of drug-driving laws globally, the researchers say.
European Union: More THC Percentage Allowed In Industrial Hemp
The European Parliament allowed THC levels in industrial hemp crops to increase from 0.2% to 0.3%.
In addition, if farmers plant those hemp varieties included in the EU catalog with a maximum THC level of 0.3%, they will be able to receive financial support.
This decision is part of the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which will come into force in 2023.
As reported by Forbes, this development was driven by the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA).
In a press release, Lorenza Romanese, CEO of EIHA, argued, "This is a small step that reflects that EU legislators are closer to fully recognizing and acknowledging the existence of a legitimate European hemp sector."
Currently, the EU seed catalog includes only 69 hemp varieties. Now, thanks to the THC limit being increased by 0.1%, the number of varieties available will grow to more than 500.
Columbia Care Becomes First Company To Produce Vape Extract Products In The UK
Columbia Care Inc. CCHW CCHW CCHWF 3LP announced Tuesday that it is the first company to formulate medical cannabis extract vaporizer pen products on UK-based manufacturing premises that are licensed and approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Home Office of the United Kingdom.
The products launched under its flagship medical Ceed brand and are comprised of four formulations that will be available to patients throughout the UK when prescribed by a specialist consultant. These new vaporizer pens complete Columbia Care’s initial medical product portfolio, which includes tinctures, launched in April 2020, and its proprietary solid-fill powder capsules, launched in April 2021, that remain unique in the UK market.
Cannabis Company Becomes The First To Have THC, CBD Licenses In Uruguay
YVY Life Sciences recently became the first company in Uruguay to receive both medical THC and CBD production licenses from the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA).
YVY Life Sciences is one of the leading cannabis companies in Uruguay, offering unique experiences and high-quality natural products produced with an innovative and sustainable cultivation model.
The company’s main operations are in Uruguay and it is currently launching business activities in Colombia and Argentina. YVY is part of the Terraflos family of companies, which also holds a stake in Blueberries Medical Corp BBRRF.
MedMen To Carry Iconic LA Cannabis Brand Jungle Boys
MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMEN MMNFF confirmed Friday it will carry the popular California brand Jungle Boys at its dispensaries across California starting Dec. 17. Jungle Boys is the iconic Los Angeles-based growers collective known for growing premium cultivars selected through a rigorous pheno-hunting process.
“Being one of California’s most deeply-rooted and well-respected cannabis collectives, Jungle Boys are the gold standard when it comes to pheno-hunting methods, proven cultivation techniques, and award-winning strains – and it’s an absolute honor to feature their products on MedMen shelves,” said Tyson Rossi, SVP of product & revenue at MedMen. “We’re always searching for best-in-class cannabis products and we’re proud to continue building our inventory with products of the highest quality.”
Top Stories Of The Week
Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:
- Study: Consuming CBD-Rich Cannabis Has 'No Significant Impact' On Driving Say Forensic Researchers
- 11 Cool Cannabis Gift Ideas For This Holiday Season - Happy High Year Or Merry Chill Christmas
- EXCLUSIVE: Psychedelic Treatment Platform Maya Health Raises $4.3M, Bridging Clinical & Real-World Practices' Gap
- 14 Founder-Friendly Investment Firms Pioneering The Cannabis Space
- Congressional Memo Praises Cannabis Momentum And Stresses Reform Priorities For 2022
- Was This The Largest Ever CBD Effectiveness Study? What Were The Results?
- Cannabis Use Among Teens Drastically Declined, Confirms Government-Funded Study
- Study Suggests Whole-Plant Medicinal Cannabis Could Be More Effective Than CBD In Epilepsy Treatment
- What Makes Hexo An Acquisition Target Despite Its Cash Burn And Dilution Risk?
- Berlin Introduces Edible Hemp Tickets For Bus And Subway Riders To Alleviate Christmas Stress
Top Spanish Stories
- Cultivo de Cannabis: ¿Estamos a Tiempo para Germinar en Diciembre?
- HODL con Criptomonedas: ¿Qué Es?
- Analista: las Acciones de Hexo Siguen Siendo un ‘Objetivo’ a Pesar de sus Pérdidas
- Dillom, a Cajón Abierto: la Entrevista Más Íntima del Rapero
- Estudio: ¿Es Buena Idea Mezclar Cannabis y Medicamentos Recetados?
- Llega MalaYerba, Serie Sobre la Industria de la Marihuana Medicinal en Colombia: ‘El Cannabis Sigue Siendo Polémico’
- Exclusiva: Esta Empresa de Cannabis es la Primera en Recibir Licencias de THC y CBD en Uruguay
- ¿Cómo Hizo Pfizer Para Entrar a la Industria del Cannabis? La Compra de USD 6.700 Millones
- 9 de las Personas Más Ricas de la Industria del Cannabis (Sorpresa: son Todos Hombres)
- Cómo Invertir en Criptomonedas DeFi
Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.
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