The Week In Cannabis: A New Global Leader, Moves In UK And Colombia, ETFs Outperform

The big item in cannabis last week was Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTC: CURLF) (CSE:CURA)’s acquisition of multi-state operator Grassroots for $875 million in cash and stock. The deal will make Curaleaf the largest cannabis company in the world, as measured by sales.

M&A expert Evan Eneman, CEO of MGO|ELLO Alliance, told Benzinga another move toward consolidation “means that the industry is maturing. M&A is a necessary and positive evolution in the cannabis space, as serious players put skin in the game with significant capital to drive the industry forward.”    

Adding to these words Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, explained “this deal gives Curaleaf the Midwest exposure they lacked and gives Grassroots the ability to compete with the bigger players. This puts Curaleaf in direct competition with Acreage Holdings Inc (OTC: ACRGF) to be the biggest cannabis company in the country.”

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In international news, Colombian lawmakers continue to move forward with plans to legalize adult-use cannabis, following a proposed constitutional amendment, and questions around whether the U.K. will legalize cannabis ahead of the U.S. continued to arise as a new poll showed 77%  of people in the U.K. support the legalization of medical marijuana.

“We welcome the footrace to cannabis legalization between the U.K. and the U.S.,” Daniel Fryer, Director of European Development at MPX International Corp (OTC: MPXOF), told Benzinga. “U.K. legalization, be it before or after the U.S., is good news for both the European and global industry as it represents a paradigm shift for the entire continent.”

In domestic political news, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (Michigan) introduced a bill into Congress, seeking to stop the federal government from interfering with state laws where cannabis has been legalized. The bill is the first proposed by Amash since he announced earlier this month he was leaving the Republican Party to serve in as an independent lawmaker.

Cannabis ETFs

Over the last five trading days:

• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) gained 2.08%.

• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) rose 1.26%.

• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) was up 2.38%.

• The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) grew 2.46%

• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period down 1.16%.

In Other News

Havas Health & You launched Havas ECS, a strategic communications and training company focused on cannabinoid education and advisory.

“Havas ECS will alleviate the pressing need for science-based education and guidance by providing modules, seminars and custom consultancy services,” said a spokesperson for the company, which will be led by longtime healthcare communications leader, Rob Dhoble.

Dhoble and his team of subject matter experts will educate the health and wellness community as well as brand leaders in various categories on the scientific functionality of cannabinoids so they can navigate this emerging and exponentially expanding industry clearly.

“There are gaps in information across various industries. As specific to healthcare practitioners, legal risks exist for providers that do not clearly communicate with their cannabis consuming patients, including risks related to unmanaged treatment regimens, drug interactions, and diminished treatment outcomes,” Dhoble told Benzinga.

OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) released its third-quarter financial report. The company disclosed third-quarter revenue of CA$24.75 million compared to $CA3.4 million in last year’s quarter. This represented sales of around 3,926 kg of dried flower. Organigram reported a quarterly net loss from continuing operations of CA$10.2 million or 7 cents per share on a diluted basis.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) obtained Health Canada licenses for outdoor cannabis cultivation in Canada, and also a processing license for its Aurora Air facility, where the company’s new edible products will be manufactured. The company will use two new sites for cannabis cultivation research, one being located in British Columbia and the other in Quebec.

The company also won the Italian government’s public tender to supply medical marijuana. Aurora was the winner among five companies that participated in the tender. It’s expected the contract will be signed this fall.

Despite the good news, Bank of America’s Christopher Carey downgraded Aurora’s U.S.-listed stock from Buy to Neutral with a price target lowered from $10 to $8. The analyst cited a fast cash burn as his main concern.

MediPharm Labs Corp. (OTC: MEDIF), a company that specializes in research-driven cannabis extraction and cannabinoid isolation, announced Thursday that is has gained conditional authorization to uplist from the Toronto Venture Exchange to the Toronto Stock Exchange, where it will list under the ticker symbol “LABS.”

Avicanna Inc (TSX: AVCN) started trading on the TSX senior board. CEO Aras Azadian told Benzinga, “We are thrilled to have made history as the first cannabinoid based company to list on the TSX senior board as an R&D issuer. This milestone speaks both the evolution of the industry and Avicanna’s leadership position as a strictly medical company.”

Seed-to-sale compliance technology company Akerna Corp. (NASDAQ: KERN) will use its MJ Platform, the first of its kind resource planning software for the industry, in partnership with Leafly. The partnership aims to allow dispensaries to provide automatic updates onto

Canadian cannabis technology and e-commerce company Namaste Technologies Inc (OTC: NXTTF) reported Q2 results, including consolidated revenue of CA$4million versus CA$4.1 million in the same quarter of 2018. The gross margin for the quarter was unchanged year-over-year at 21%. It ended the quarter with positive working capital of CA$63.3 million.

Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT) (TSX:NEPT) said it has completed a private placement delivering gross proceeds to the company of $41.4 million.

Cannabis extraction company Halo Labs Inc. (OTC: AGEEF) (NEO: HALO) announced its stock is joining the OTC Market Cannabis Index under the ticker symbol “OTCQXMJ.”

Bhang Inc (OTC: GOLDF) entered a joint venture with Oceana Coffee to produce CBD and terpene-infused coffee products. Bhang will control the production of CBD coffee products under the brand “Röst,” and the terpene coffee products under the brand “Cosmic Terp.” The products are expected to be available in the third quarter of this year.  

“It is extremely important for us to find partners that share our core values and with these product lines, we wanted to …

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