The Week In Cannabis: PA, MD, Big Tobacco, GTI, Sundial, MedMen, Earnings, Financings And More

stocks traded mostly in the green this week, as we got into earnings season.

“While there were a lot of companies reporting earnings, like Turning Point Brands who gave guidance of $422 million for 2021, I thought the biggest piece of data came from Pennsylvania,” Debra Borchardt, editor-in-chief of Green Market Report, told Benzinga. “The reported that in one year it had sold over $900 million in medical marijuana. This demonstrates the demand for cannabis in this state and bodes well for any future adult-use legalization. This is also a big number when one considers that the program has only just gotten underway.”

And, while Pennsylvania sales surpassed $900 million in one year, Maryland sales finally hit $1 billion, more than three years after the program launched in December of 2017.

Meanwhile, the Swiss-American multinational Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM), maker of Marlboro cigarettes, said it's considering getting into the cannabis industry. The company is currently analyzing key components of the industry, such as the “toxicity of cannabis, efficacy and differences between pharmaceutical and consumer options.”

CEO Andre Calantzopoulos reportedly said, “We are doing all this work and will determine one day what avenues to pursue… But our priority is what we’re doing with our smoke-free products, and that’s where I would stay on cannabis.”

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

This is not the first foray of big tobacco into the cannabis industry. In 2018, Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO) invested CA$2.4 billion ($1.8 billion) in Cronos Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON), and only last month, British American Tobacco PLC (NYSE: BTI) confirmed a CA$221-million investment in OrganiGram Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI)

ETFs posted mostly positive performances. Over the five trading days of this week:

  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ): gained 1%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO): advanced 2.8%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (NYSE: MSOS): rose 6.7%.
  • The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX): was up 1.8%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS): was down 0.37%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the week almost flat.

On the policy front, U.S. lawmakers introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill to study the various impacts of state-legalized cannabis programs. The bill would assess both medical and recreational cannabis programs and their economic, public health, criminal justice and workplace effects.

The study would also look at revenue streams generated by legal marijuana markets, how the revenue is used and how it impacts state budgets.  

Aside from financial metrics, the study would look at consumption among population groups, medicinal usage and the impact of cannabis on the opioid crisis.

Policy, Science And Data

According to a recent report from the Brightfield Group, the U.S. cannabis market is set to reach $30.6 billion by 2025.

In Florida, two businesses looking to open medical cannabis dispensaries in downtown Miami have filed lawsuits against the city, which has refused to authorize dispensary openings, despite the fact that the state legalized medical cannabis in 2016 by way of a constitutional amendment that was passed with a 71% approval rate.

Texas continues to ease restrictions for its medical cannabis program. This week, several cannabis-related measures were approved in the House, including a proposal to research the potential of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA and to expand the state’s medical cannabis program by adding more qualifying conditions to the list.

Under this bill, the Department of State Health Services would add cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to its list of qualifying conditions. It could also raise the THC cap for medical cannabis products from 0.5% to 5%.

Financings And M&A

Green Thumb Industries Inc. (CSE: GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) raised $217 million to retire its existing $105-million senior secured debt due May 2023, finalizing a senior non-brokered private placement financing via the issuance of senior secured notes.

Sundial Growers Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL) upped its financial commitment to SunStream Bancorp Inc. to $188 million – from the previously announced $100 million.

Back in March, the company first announced it has agreed to establish a 50/50 joint venture with the SAF Opportunities LP (a member of the SAF group) via a new corporation, SunStream Bancorp. The joint venture was created with a goal to produce investment opportunities in the cannabis sphere, by offering exposure …

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