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Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week

Benzinga logo Benzinga 9/28/2018 Javier Hasse

Two big news items dominated the cannabis industry this week: the re-scheduling of GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH)’s cannabis-derived drug, Epidiolex, from the Schedule I category to the Schedule V category; and High Times’ acquisition of Dope Magazine for $11.2 million in cash and stock.

Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga the DEA's move was “a step in the right direction.” However, she noted “the DEA stressed that it basically only applied to this specific drug. A lot of headlines were screaming that CBD is now a Schedule V drug and that is completely incorrect.

“It's such a huge contradiction to state that cannabis for Epidiolex is medicine, but other cannabis isn't,” she said. “Perhaps with this glaring contradiction, the stage will be set to at least legalize CBD in the near future and maybe this is the government’s way to take baby steps towards that eventual outcome.”

Julie Raque, VP of Marketing for Cannabistry Lab called the decision “promising” and “demonstrates a significant shift on the federal level, but “falls short of the broad reclassification of CBD that many hoped for. However, I am optimistic that this move will encourage additional interest in research and development around the potential benefits of CBD and other cannabis compounds."

High Times CEO Adam Levin told Benzinga the move to buy Dope “will be a key building block” as the company moves forward with its “mission to create brand-safe inventory for brands of all sizes.”

Related: How To invest In Marijuana Stocks

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., closed the week almost flat – down lest than $1.00, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, lost 4.3 percent of its value.

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) tumbled 2.8 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) gained 1.5 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the week down almost 0.5 percent.

Stock Moves

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $100 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

22nd Century Group Inc (NYSE: XXII): up 0.4 percentAphria Inc (OTC: APHQF): down 9 percentAurora Cannabis Inc (OTC: ACBFF): up 3.9 percentCannTrust Holdings Inc (OTC: CNTTF): down 0.9 percentCanopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): up 0.5 percentCronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): down 10.7 percentGreen Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF)down 14.4 percentGreen Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF) down 11.2 percentGW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): up 4.8 percentiAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): up 4.6 percentMedical Marijuana Inc (OTC: MJNA) down 0.9 percentMedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF) up 17.1 percentScotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE: SMG): down 0.1 percentTHC Biomed Intl Ltd (OTC: THCBF): down 10.7 percentTilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): up 15.2 percentZynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ZYNE): down 3.3 percent

In Other News

C3 International, a California-based cannabinoid therapeutics-focused biopharmaceutical company, officially announced the launch of its flagship Rx pain management pill, Idrasil. The company claims this is “the first standardized and consistent form of prescription medical cannabis. It offers all of the medicinal analgesic and therapeutic benefits of cannabis, but is a superior alternative to opiates and life-threatening narcotics because physicians and caregivers can provide patients with safe, non-addictive, measurable dosages, without the risk of addiction.”

Acreage Holdings, one of the United States’ largest vertically integrated, multi-state cannabis operators, announced the appointments of two new members to its Board of Directors as part of its public offering. These are: Larissa Herda, former Chairwoman and CEO of TW Telecom, now owned by Centurylink Inc (NYSE: CTL), and former IBM (NYSE: IBM) CFO Douglas Maine.

Also this week, Acreage Holdings announced it entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Applied Inventions Management Corp. Acreage Holdings will complete a reverse takeover of the company, making Acreage shareholders 100 percent owners of all of the the outstanding securities of Applied Inventions. The transaction is expected to close in November.

“Following an extensive review of strategic options, we believe an RTO best positions our company to maximize the large footprint, operational depth and powerful consumer brands that we are building,” Murphy said in a press release. “Accessing the capital markets will provide us additional financial resources to continue innovating, bringing consumers safe, predictable cannabis products, and providing them an exemplary customer experience.”

Former NBA player Al Harrington, co-founder of Viola Brands, teamed up with Simply Pure New Jersey. The team includes Wanda James, a U.S. Naval veteran who became the first black women to legally own a dispensary in the U.S.; Todd Scattini, a retired 27-year Army Lieutenant and combat veteran who founded the Veterans Cannabis Project; and Cannagather NJ founder and cannabis community activist Rani Soto. Together, they have applied for one of the New Jersey six licenses.

“Those most impacted by the war on drugs must have a seat at the table,” Harrington told Benzinga. “It is key that we bring these businesses into the communities. Education and training will make a difference to these young men and women. Our goal is to create solutions and bring change. New Jersey is home, I must give back to the community that raised me.”

In honor of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Green Thumb Industries launched RYTHM-branded, limited edition breast cancer awareness-themed vaporizer pens and a partnership with three breast cancer organizations to raise awareness: The Lynn Sage Foundation in Illinois; METAvivor in Maryland; and Living Beyond Breast Cancer in Pennsylvania. The “RYTHM for a Cause” pens will be available at all GTI-owned and operated dispensaries throughout Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as other participating dispensaries during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

GTI’s vice president of investor relations and corporate development Jennifer Dooley told Benzinga the company believes “brands are the future of the cannabis industry… Connecting our brands in an authentic way to our core beliefs is important to us at GTI,” she added. “Cannabis has improved the quality of life for so many people battling cancer, that supporting breast cancer awareness is a natural fit.”

Green Growth Brands announced it has completed a raise of C$85 million ($65.7 million) in a private placement, oversubscribing the original raise, intended to close at C$55 million. “The raise positions GGB to scale up operations both in the U.S. and on a global scale and is a positive indicator of investors’ confidence in the Green Growth Brands story, brands and team,” the company told Benzinga. CEO Peter Horvath added, “We’re very pleased with the confidence that our investors have demonstrated in our strategy and our team. Our backers were particularly interested in our foundation of U.S. revenue coupled with our global potential.”

Canadian extraction company MediPharm Labs announced it will go public Oct. 3. Readying itself for its impending Health Canada Sales License, the company has been lining up supply partnerships. In this line, the company signed a fourth dried cannabis supply agreement this week. As per the contract, Up Cannabis Inc. will supply up to 1,200 kg of flower and shake to be converted to cannabis oil or distillates with a first right of purchase by UP.

Dutchie, an online ordering platform for cannabis pickup and delivery, announced it closed a $3 million seed round led by Casa Verde Capital with participation from the Durant Company, early DoorDash executives and Sinai Ventures. In addition, Dutchie is working together with Canopy Rivers to accelerate growth and expand its geographic footprint in Canada and other federally legal international markets.

“As much as Casa Verde invests in great companies, the key to our approach is backing seasoned entrepreneurs," said Casa Verde Capital Managing Partner, Karan Wadhera. “Ross and the team at Dutchie couldn’t be a better example of founders with successful track records bringing their expertise to the cannabis space.”

Detroit native and Dutchie co-founder Zach Lipson said, “We wanted to align ourselves with investors that could not only provide capital but also strategic benefits, so we couldn’t be happier about the group we now have behind dutchie. This round of funding, coupled with our strategic partnership with Canopy Rivers, positions us to aggressively expand in both the United states and Canada. We’re looking forward to that rapid expansion over the coming months.”

To meet the growing demand of larger, legal cannabis and hemp growers, Applied DNA is expanding its ETCH Biotrace seed-to-sale system, launched with TheraCann International this summer. The new design of the cannabis tagging systems (CTS) includes moveable and expandable POD tagging systems to adapt to the size of the room so that the cannabis or hemp in the room for staging or drying can be quickly tagged, without slowing down operations during harvest.

Dr. James Hayward, president and CEO of Applied DNA Sciences told Benzinga, “Many legal cannabis growers we met with have expressed tremendous interest in preventing the illegal diversion of cannabis from entering the legal cannabis supply chain, which is our goal. As such, we accelerated the expansion of the ETCH Biotrace solution, which uses our CertainT platform, to meet their growing needs.”

Aspen-born cannabis brand Toast is coming to New York, launching TOAST CBD Oil, formulated with only two ingredients: full spectrum and naturally grown hemp CBD oil and fractionated organic coconut oil. In addition, Toast partnered with famed New York City bakery by CHLOE to create a CBD-infused product line featuring cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more. As part of the launch, by CHLOE transformed its two NYC sweets shops into Feelz by CHLOE baking Toast CBD goods, Sept. 27 through Oct. 12.

“By CHLOE and Toast share a common goal to unlock the myriad of benefits that comfort the mind, body and soul through mindfully sourced ingredients and plant-based products,” said Toast Holdings CEO Punit Seth. Adding to these comments, by CHLOE founder Samantha Wasser told Benzinga that the Feelz by CHLOE line features more than 20 CBD-infused products.”

“The Happy Chef - Cannabis Cookbook” released by Deliciously Dee (Danielle Russell) in partnership with B-Real of Cypress Hill is out now on Amazon. This cannabis cookbook provides a breakdown of how to properly administer, extract, and infuse the cannabis plant to properly maximize the medicinal compounds, and to medicate oneself to the desired level.

“When I first wrote this book, I dedicated it to my father," Russell told Benzinga. "In the year 2007, my father lost part of the use of his right lung. Later, in 2009, we lost my sister, Amber, to a prescription drug overdose of methadone, which was prescribed to her to help wean her off her addiction to heroin. That event changed my life forever. I, at that moment, dedicated my life to holistic healing and natural herbal medicines, cannabis being one of my favorite healing herbs known."

Sproutly Canada Inc (OTC: SRUTF) announced a C$20 million ($15.45 million) bought deal financing led by Canaccord Genuity Corp.

Benzinga learned Friday that, through a joint venture partner, Morning Dew Acres, GreenSpace Bioscience closed a $400,000 capital raise for the production and cultivation of organic hemp. The proceeds of the raise have been used to buy seeds, infrastructure and equipment, as well as build an outdoor greenhouse.

Cannabis deals network Leafbuyer acquired Greenlight, a California-based startup that gives cannabis consumers real-time mobile ordering ability and loyalty rewards through a native application that integrates with the local dispensary's point-of-sale system. With the acquisition, Denver-based Leafbuyer's customer base in California will more than double.

“With Leafbuyer, we have a great opportunity to realize our vision of the loyalty and order ahead app even faster and scale it to what we know it could be. Together, Greenlight and Leafbuyer will accelerate our customers’ digital solutions enabling them to have a more rewarding, efficient, and simplified cannabis experience," said Marc Lopez, Greenlight co-founder and CTO.

A collective of entertainers and influencers collaborated to launch a new brand, Heavy Grass. The new line celebrates music, art and culture. In addition, the brand will support arts-oriented non-profits like the T.J. Martell Foundation, MusiCares and Music Saves Lives.

“Though Heavy Grass is inspired by heavy music and rock culture, the ‘Heavy Lifestyle’ itself encompasses much more. It’s the expression of passion; an attitude toward life itself. It’s all about amplifying experiences, and pushing the limits of what’s possible,” Clay Busch, vice president of Heavy Grass told Benzinga.

HollyWeed North Cannabis announced it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Women Grow, a women-focused, cannabis industry, professional networking company. Women Grow CEO Kristina Garcia said she is pleased to enter into this next phase of growth with HollyWeed North and looks forward to exploring potential expansion opportunities.

MariMed Inc. (OTC: MRMD) announced it had consummated its strategic investment in Sprout, an all-in-one CRM and marketing software company for marijuana dispensaries and cannabis brands.

Cannabis-infused products producer Wana Brands announced the launch of a new CBD-only product line, starting with the debut of Mango CBD Sour Gummies, now available in dispensaries across the state of Oregon. “We recognize the popularity of both our mango-flavored edibles and CBD-specific infused products among consumers,” said Nancy Whiteman, founder and CEO of Wana Brands.

The Flowr Corporation started trading on the Toronto Venture Exchange, under the ticker FLWR and announced it has begun medical sales through clinics and its website. The Canadian recreational use market opens Oct. 17.

“We’ve had a great response to our story from investors,” said Steve Klein, Flowr’s Chairman and Chief Strategist. “The market is recognizing the talent of our team and the opportunities ahead for Flowr and that’s very gratifying.”

Pennsylvania-based companies have joined forces to conduct medical cannabis, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD) clinical studies. Dr. Bryan Doner, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer at Compassionate Certification Centers, and Dr. Christina DiArcangelo Puller, CEO at clinical research organization Affinity Bio Partners, will lead research initiatives.

Compassionate Certification Centers is a medical cannabis health care network that provides evaluations and continued treatment services for patients. Both companies share a vision for a more inclusive U.S. health care system and believe the partnership will create a foundation for better patient care and future research endeavors.

Khiron Life Sciences Corp (OTC: KHRNF) announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding Chile's leading medical cannabis institution, Fundacion Daya, which is also the holder of Chile's only medical cannabis cultivation license through DayaCann, a joint business venture with AusCann Group Holdings.

“Once our partnership with Fundacion Daya is finalized, Khiron will enter one of the strongest economies in Latin America, while solidifying market access to more than 1.8 million potential medical cannabis patients in Chile," Khiron President Chris Naprawa said. "Together with Fundacion Daya, we will cultivate cannabis crops, lead clinical trials focused on treating patients with neuropathic pain and epilepsy, and formulate new medical cannabis products for local patients. This approach is emblematic of Khiron's strategy to establish itself as the dominant medical cannabis company in Latin America.”

MassRoots Inc (OTC: MSRT) announced the launch of its WeedPass rewards program for cannabis consumers. Participating dispensaries will be able to reward consumers for spending a particular amount, currently $50 to $75. Rewards include concert, movie, and sporting events tickets and are currently available in the California and Colorado markets.

“As a demand-side business, MassRoots’ goal is to drive more recurring consumers and purchasing volume to our dispensary clients,” said CEO Isaac Dietrich. “We believe WeedPass’ unique structure enables consumers to earn compelling rewards for their cannabis purchases and could drive more traffic to our dispensary clients.”

Find out more about these news and others on Supreme Cannabis Company Inc (OTC: SPRWF) and Aurora Cannabis with our friends at Marijuana Money, who make a weekly video summary of the top financial and business news in the cannabis industry.

More From The Cannabis Newsdesk

Over the week, Benzinga’s also reported on:

Flowr Corporation’s plans for large scale production and international expansion.All you need to know about California cannabis laws for 2018 and 2019.How to navigate the maze of the cannabis market after the daze of the summer.The debut of KlickTrack.Benchmark’s report on Canopy Growth.What the failure of a cannabis banking bill in California means for marijuana businesses.TD Ameritrade’s take on cannabis stocks.The top 12 cannabis stocks by market cap and one-year stock price performance.Tim Seymour’s comments on cannabis stocks.Silk Road, a cannabis company with a mission.Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Instagram’s anti-weed stance.

Interesting Data

The cannabis industry has traditionally skewed male both in terms of executive leadership and consumer spending, but a new report by the cannabis technology company Eaze, which analyzed the consumer habits of over 15,000 survey respondents and 350,000 cannabis consumers in the state of California, found that women are one of the fastest growing consumer groups in the industry.

According to Hannah Davis, CMO of Mammoth Distribution, “Women are looking for products that are discreet, feminine and easy to hit on the go, whether it's a Netflix night in or meeting up for girls' night out. Manufacturers are looking for ways to create a vape pen that fits this lifestyle but also taste profiles that cater to women.” Examples of this include the newly launched brand, Bae and Ash & Ember.

Remedy Review surveyed more than 1,000 Americans and found that, while a majority have yet to use CBD in the bedroom, of those who have, 68 percent said it improved their experience and 64 percent said it affected their mood positively.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by Accretive Capital LLC

Events Calendar

Sept. 28–29: Nashville, Tennessee is getting the inaugural Southern Hemp Expo, an extension of the NoCo Hemp Expo produced by the Colorado Hemp Company. Often credited as the world’s largest and most comprehensive trade show and conference for industrial hemp, the Southern Hemp Expo will offer a full-scale exhibit hall, networking opportunities, presentations and workshops by pioneers, innovators and activists in the rapidly expanding hemp industry.

Oct. 2: Los Angeles, California will be host to the Grassposts.com Connect Series cannabis investment panel discussing plant-touching operations. The Connect Series was created to provide a platform for the supply chain community in California. An experienced panels of industry professionals will provide investors and operators an opportunity to understand the benefits of plant-touching operations, differences in equity vs. debt funding, share lessons learned from previous experiences and influence of the international market on California. 

Oct. 5: Passport Cannabis, Sanja Ganja and Dustin Brandon bring their fifth event of the year in Portland, Oregon: the Industry Nite IV Halloweed. Put on a costume and celebrate with over 500 local cannabis enthusiasts and industry folk.

Oct. 11: The United Nations NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be presenting a Conference in Health Challenges of Indigenous Peoples at New York’s Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission. Topics discussed will include physical and mental health; climate change; high suicide, drug and alcohol abuse rates; political strains; and loss of biodiversity. Presenters include Dr. Josephine Tan, Rashmi Jaipal, and Rafael Latorre M.D.

Oct. 11: Leafwire will be hosting its fourth Future of Cannabis Pitch Contest as part of New West Summit in Oakland, CA, with a $10,000 cash prize. The Future of Cannabis Pitch Contest tour will have visited Denver, Los Angeles and Miami in its first three stops by this date. Powerhouse judges include Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management and Tahira Rehmahtullah of Hypur Ventures.

Oct. 11–13: The New West Summit, a conference focused on “game-changing, disruptive developments in technology, science, media and investment within the Cannabis space,” will hit Oakland, California. Speakers include Weediquette’s Krishna Andavolu, Slow Ventures’ Dave Morin, Steve DeAngelo, Ricardo Baca, and many others.

Oct. 19–21: The Initiative presents Hustle Hard: A Cannabis Friendly Retreat For Women Who Mean Business,a three-day intensive retreat for women in cannabis in Bend, Oregon.

Oct. 25–26: Enlighten, the first full-scale enterprise technology solution in the cannabis space will be partnering with Lemonhaze to put on The Lemonhaze Cannabis & Comedy Convention, taking place at the newly refurbished Tacoma Dome. This event hopes to be for Cannabis what SXSW has been for technology, pairing innovation and a hub of influence with fun and education. The event will feature comedy by Doug Benson as headliner, and will combine a major networking event for the cannabis industry together with performances from some the world's most recognized entertainers. 

Oct. 30– 31: Michigan is hosting its 1st Commercial Cannabis Conference & Expo. This inaugural year is special - celebrating its first year in a commercial framework and supporting the upcoming recreational legalization vote. Collectively, the state cannabis community is taking a stand for a healthy and strong cannabis industry in Michigan. Sponsorship, booths, and tickets are available.

Nov. 1: The Arcview Group, CannaTech and URI Capital Management are co-hosting Hong Kong’s first-ever Cannabis Investor Symposium, focused on the global investment opportunity, with an emphasis in those attractive to the Asian market. Keynote and panel discussions include: Cannabis and China, The Cannabis Value Chain, Market Insights: Australasia, Public and Private Investment Opportunities, Risks and Regulations, World Cannabis Policy and more.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

a close up of an animal © Photo by Javier Hasse
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