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The Week In Cannabis: The Vaping Crisis, Q3 Earnings On The Horizon & More

Benzinga logo Benzinga 10/6/2019 Javier Hasse and Alex Oleinic
a close up of a green plant© Provided by Accretive Capital LLC

The cannabis industry continues to be affected by the vaping crisis, with the CDC reporting the number of deaths from a vaping-related illness increased to 18. The number of people affected by the illnesses increased to 1,080 in 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Amid the outbreak, more than 800 cannabis companies signed a letter to Congress, asking it to deschedule marijuana. The letter suggests that the vaping crisis can be addressed through strict federal regulations that are possible once cannabis is descheduled.

“The cannabis sector has been in a terrible bear market for months and the vape crisis seems to have flushed out the last of the sellers. As we get data showing vape sales are beginning to slightly recover, we may have turned the corner on all the selling,” Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga.

With third-quarter earnings season on the horizon, MKM Partners analyst William Kirk issued a note on outlining his expectations for Canadian cannabis producers. The analyst suggests that there won’t be a significant sales growth and profitability is also likely to disappoint.

MKM expects Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) to turn positive EBITDA by the first quarter of 2022 and sees Aurora Cannabis reporting positive figures in the first quarter of 2021. By comparison, the consensus is for Aurora and Canopy Growth to report positive EBITDA in the third quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021. On the other hand, Kirk aligns with the Street regarding Hexo Corp (NYSE: HEXO), expecting the company to turn to positive EBITDA by the second quarter of 2020.

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Cannabis ETFs delivered moderate losses. Over the last five trading days:

• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) increased by 1.12%.

• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) lost 2.84%.

• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) declined by 2.49%

• The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) inched down by 1.06%.

• The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) edged up by 0.22%.

• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) fell by 0.55%

More News From The Week

Seedo Corp. (OTC: SEDO), an Israeli agritech company providing fully automated cannabis growing technologies for home and commercial use, announced that it had appointed Jakob Ripshtein, the Former President of Aphria, to its Advisory Board.

PLUS Products (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF), a top edibles brand in California, announced the kick-off of a nationwide marketing campaign featuring the Company’s new 100% hemp CBD product. The new product line was recently launched in partnership with Casper, a leading direct-to-consumer sleep company, along with additional help from John Legend who will advocate for CBD on behalf of PLUS.

Cannabiniers, the premiere developer of global cannabis brands revolutionizing the industry with safe, smoke-free cannabis product, announced a partnership with Origin House’s Continuum, the company’s major California distribution division. This partnership grants Continuum sole rights to distribute Cannabiniers’ vastly popular product to over 500 dispensaries across the state of California, the world’s largest cannabis market.

“The timing of this partnership couldn’t be better, and the state of the market couldn’t be stronger! For the past three years, we've tirelessly developed and build a portfolio of innovative products and brands that transcend the beverage market across dispensary and conventional retail environments. With an increased demand for socially acceptable cannabis products, our patent-pending portfolio of fast-onset and rapid dissipation beverages and transdermal topicals provide consumer and patients a range of smoke-free consumption options that will bring convenience and optionality to users seeking a safer and healthier cannabis experience,” Michael Hayford, Founder & CEO of Lighthouse Strategies (Parent co. of Cannabiniers) told Benzinga.

Neptune Wellness Solutions announced it's partnering with International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. to co-develop hemp derived CBD products for the U.S. market. This move further expand Neptune’s efforts to accelerate its presence in the U.S. CBD market.

“IFF is a real innovator in the scents and taste industry, and we are thrilled to partner to be able to provide products with cannabis extracted ingredients to nutraceutical, cannabis and consumer packaged goods companies...This partnership with IFF is Neptune’s first real step in creating a brand that services just that. With this, we plan to expand our core customers and continue to support consumer packaged goods companies expansion into the CBD market," said Michael Cammarata, CEO of Neptune.

GABY Inc. (CSE:GABY)(OTCQB: GABLF), a California based consumer packaged goods company operating in both the regulated cannabis sector and in the hemp-derived CBD market in the mainstream grocery channel, announced it's acquiring 2Rise Naturals, in an all-share transaction valued at $1-million-USD. 2Rise owns a portfolio of high-quality organic CBD products including, THC-Free CBD tincture, full-spectrum tincture, and high potency full spectrum capsules.

“2 Rise is a reputable brand that has shown high customer loyalty with strong repeat customer purchases that we can rapidly grow by introducing to a wider customer base using our developed mainstream and regulated sales channels," said Margot Micallef, founder and CEO of GABY. "The company always delivers on the 2Rise promise of high-quality 100% organic plant-based products. We look forward to carrying on that promise and introducing it to a much wider group of customers."

The closing date for the acquisition of 2Rise by GABY is scheduled for the end of this month.

CannaCraft recently announced partnering with Resynergi to pilot a program aimed at converting plastic packaging from cannabis products into environmentally-friendly fuels. The program was launched at Hall of Flowers, a B2B conference where attendees are allowed to purchase and consume cannabis on-site. Ten recycling vessels designated for plastic child-resistant cannabis packaging waste were installed by CannaCraft at the event, then collected by Kind House Distribution and transported to the Resynergi plant in Rohnert Park for processing. Resynergi's oil conversion system will turn the waste into fuel that will be used to power vehicles used by Kind House Distribution, CannaCraft's distribution arm.

"I believe this initiative is something the entire cannabis industry could get behind,” said Dennis Hunter, CannaCraft CEO and Co-Founder. "Tackling the plastic problem plaguing the environment while reducing the need for fossil fuels, yet staying compliant with important product safety measures, is a win-win for everyone involved."

The popularity of cannabis-infused products is growing in the U.S., but lots of consumers aren’t aware of their heightened risk for stronger, longer and delayed reactions when using these products. The NACB, in partnership with its members Rebel Coast and Therapy Tonics, are responding with new National Standards to address issues with cannabis-infused products involving production and process safety controls and recommended storage. The standards will be for cannabis-infused products in the U.S. and represent the associations commitment to shaping the cannabis industry into a safe, responsible and ethical industry. The NACB has already adopted National Standards for Packaging and Labeling, Lab Testing and Advertising. 

Two of the most well-respected organizations in cannabis, the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) and Green Flower Media, have formed an innovative new partnership to help train more people with high-quality cannabis education and remove the stereotypes that prevent this industry from growing.

“The NACB and Green Flower are both dedicated to consumer education and industry safety,” said Adrienne Uthe, NACB’s Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “We’re teaming up to offer the cannabis industry the best of both worlds – education and association credibility.”

“Green Flower is excited to partner with a group as passionate and dedicated as NACB,” said Green Flower CEO, Max Simon. “Without great people guiding this industry forward and best-in-class education, businesses are destined to struggle in this space are destined to struggle. We’re really looking forward to making an impact together.” 

Multi-state operator Orchid Ventures announced it will begin distributing Orchid cannabis products through its new licensed entity in Oregon, GreenBloom Cannabis Distribution. This will drive wider margins for Orchid and built a more solidified supply chain. 

Orchid purchased Greenbloom last July to expand Orchid’s infrastructure. Distribution from manufacturers to retailers often has to go through a third-party. The company will also be able to streamline customer service by optimizing Orchid’s partnership with retailers. Greenbloom will supply Oregon dispensaries with Orchid’s full assortment of branded products. Orchid plans to bring in more brands under its distribution umbrella. 

Advertising Platform FieldTest has launched a new CBD division that will allow CBD companies to advertise their products to the consumer market responsibly and more efficiently.

“Advertising CBD products is rather difficult to navigate these days,” according to FieldTest founder Gibby Miller. “We use our existing relationships in the media and our first-party CBD consumer data to help brands reach their customers, existing and prospective, on a much more selective level.”

FieldTest helps CBD companies tap into top tier lifestyle and consumer media rather than traditional cannabis sites to reach a more qualified customer.

 

Top Stories

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

• Thailand is building a medical marijuana facility in Chiang Mai. The first 12,000 plants were planted on September 2 by Maejo University researchers. The facility, which is considered the largest in Southeast Asia includes a 3,040 square-meter greenhouse that is fully-equipped for professional cannabis cultivation.  

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (OTC: ITHUF) said Gotham Green Partners has invested an additional $20 million under the company’s $100 million financing plan to support growth in markets where iAnthus operates.  

Avicanna Inc (OTC: AVCIF) announced Monday it will start building an industrial scale cannabinoid extraction and manufacturing facility in a Colombian free trade zone near Santa Marta.  The development of the new 11,000-square-foot facility is the third phase of the company’s extraction strategy as it expands its aggregate annual capacities in Colombia.

•  Avicanna also announced the first commercial sale of its Pura Earth line of CBD cosmetics products in Colombia, which will be available at 59 retail locations by the end of the month.  

• Kentucky hemp growers and processors can start applying for a license to participate in the state’s 2020 hemp program in mid-November. Businesses can also apply online.

• Bank of America upgradedScotts Migracle-Go Co (NYSE: SMG)’s stock to Neutral from Underperform and upped the price target to $108 from $96. The analyst considers the company’s cannabis division is poised to grow and expectations for the company’s performance in the fiscal fourth quarter are low.

TerrAscend Corp (OTC: TRSSF) announced the closing of a non-brokered private placement to raise $25 million by mid-October.  

• Dama Technologies and Helix TCS (OTC: HLIX) entered into a strategic partnership to facilitate online payments within Helix’s Amercanex marketplace through Dama’s bank partners. 

• On Thursday, Aurora Cannabis (NYSE: ACB) provided a corporate update of its business operations. The company’s hub Aurora Polaris is almost completed and the staff is expected to move in in the first week of November. In addition, Aurora Cannabis announced Aurora Insider, an investor-oriented blog where the company will post updates and news about its operations. 

Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabis

Events Calendar

October 10–11: This year, New West Summit 5.0, in San Fransico, CA, welcomes keynote speakers Alicia Silverstone, Killer Mike, George Zimmer and many more! NWS curates over 50 exhibitors, two days of talks, engaging conversation, top-level investors, innovative brand developers and the best and the brightest in the industry.

October 11-12: CBD Expo MOUNTAIN will bring the largest CBD event platform to Denver, CO to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry. The event features more than 150+ exhibitors, along with a substantial lineup of speaker presentations, panel discussions, demos and workshops from experts in the research, production, globalization, distribution and sale of CBD products. The theme for CBD Expo MOUNTAIN will focus on compliance & regulation and investments & business.  

October 11–12: the first ever Budtender Awards are coming to Las Vegas, sponsored by cannabis financial technology Canna Paid and cannabis educational program Clover Leaf University. The awards aim to pay homage to the nation’s top Budtenders and the many facets of cannabis culture. The two-day event offers panel discussions, a product and service expo, a closing night performance, awards show, and after party culminating in a performance by legendary hip hop artist Cypress Hill.

October 22–23: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Chicago, Illinois! You know you can’t miss it. Go to https://www.benzingacannabisconference.com/ for more information.

October 23 – October 24: Marijuana Venture Magazine’s Retail and Dispensary (RAD) Expo, a national trade show focused on the retail cannabis industry, will return to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. The RAD Expo will feature presentations from industry veterans to speak about successful entrepreneurship and topics including merchandising, partnership management, interior store design and retail operations. The 2019 show will focus heavily on CBD products and CBD brands with a presence in health grocery stores, luxury retailers, pet stores and other retail categories that carry hemp-derived products.

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