The Week In Cannabis: Corporate 'Carnage,' More Bud From Bud And Latin American Moves

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In yet another week packed with cannabis news, we saw Aleafia Health Inc. (OTC: ALEAF) terminate a cannabis supply agreement with Aphria (NYSE: APHA) subsidiary Emblem Corp. after it said the latter failed to provide Aleafia with the equivalent of 175,000 kg in cannabis products. Aphria said it had “every intention” of fulfilling its obligations.

MedMen Enterprises Inc (OTC: MMNFF) announced Tuesday it has terminated a deal to acquire multistate cannabis operator Pharmacann. The company is also terminating its Chief Financial Officer Michael Kramer. See Benzinga Cannabis’ exclusive conversation with CEO Adam Bierman here.

The CEO also took time to respond to South Park’s brutal parody, noting he was humbled to be considered what he said is “the most culturally relevant cannabis brand on the planet.”

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) removed Berner-backed Social Club app from its App Store, alleging the platform had became a hub for illegal content; Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY) and Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (NYSE: BUD) announced a joint venture aimed at commercializing non-alcoholic, CBD-infused beverages in Canada; and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) and CTT Pharmaceutical Holdings (OTC: CTTH) announced the launch of a product line of cannabinoid-infused sublingual wafers.

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Finally, we saw HEXO Corp (NYSE: HEXO) post preliminary financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter, with expected net revenue of CA$14.5 million ($10.9 million) to CA$16.5 million ($12.5 million), way below analysts expectations for CA$24.8 million.

The company also withdrew its financial outlook for fiscal 2020, projecting net revenue for the year of around CA$46.5 million to CA$48.5 million. The company also said Chief Financial Officer Michael Monahan is resigning, citing family reasons.

“The cannabis carnage continues as more cannabis companies find themselves either cutting back on lofty estimates or coming clean to the marketplace about their true financial situation,” Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga.

“MedMen decided against the PharmaCann acquisition, which was the basis for its huge projected proforma revenue numbers, while HEXO had to dial down its overly optimistic revenue forecast. Shareholders took out the anger with sell tickets, and I expect this is the beginning of more announcements like this.”

In some positive news, reports out of Mexico signaled a potential legalization of recreational cannabis, while Argentina saw its first major cannabis-related conference, attended by 56,000 people — 30% of whom were 60 or older.

The good news out of Mexico was short-lived. Not long after Ricardo Monreal, the Senate leader of Mexico’s ruling party MORENA, announced that a vote on adult-use marijuana legalization would occur by the end of October, Mexican President Andrés López Manuel Obrador said the move isn’t on his political agenda.

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

  • The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) lost 13.64%. 
  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) tumbled 10.78%. 
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) was down 10.59%. 
  • The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) dove 10.65%. 
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) decreased by 10.33%. 
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 0.68%. 

More News From The Week

In other interesting news, gen!us launched The Original Jack Herer strain for brains in partnership with the estate of the legendary Jack Herer.

A team of experienced executives from asset management, advertising, branding, supply chain operations and cannabis teamed up to launch NEO Alternatives, a new hemp-derived CBD and cannabis company.

The company says will follow a “seed to store” ethos across each of its distinct brands, which it will start introducing to the marketplace in the coming weeks.

“Brand power is vital to success in the cannabis and CBD categories. Our mission is to distinguish ourselves by producing superlative brands that are clearly differentiated from the competition, and on top of that to ensure that the products themselves are of the highest quality, something consumers are spending more time thinking about as they survey the ever broadening range of products coming to market,” NEO Alternatives CEO Adam Patti, who most recently built the Exchange Traded Fund firm IndexIQ into a multibillion-dollar organization, told Benzinga. 

TerrAscend Corp. (OTC: TRSSF) announced Monday that it has obtained Health Canada approval for expansion of its Mississauga, Ontario facility.

Halo Labs Inc. (OTC: AGEEF) signed an agreement to purchase all common shares of Cannpos Services Corp. As per the agreement, the company will acquire Cannpos’ shares for CA$4.69 million in Halo common shares at a price of CA$0.26 per share and 1.25 million performance warrants for the purchase of 1.25 million Halo common shares.

Additionally, Halo announced a simultaneous non-brokered private placement of its common shares as a condition to closing the acquisition. The common shares are set to a price of CA$0.31 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of up to CA$3 million.

From The Earth said it will expand into the Michigan market with its first provisioning center by the end of October. The center will move into adult recreational retail in January 2020 to address the growing market.

The newly constructed center specializes in personalized experiences for each cannabis consumer by helping customers learn about cannabis, live with the benefits and grow as individuals. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, From The Earth owns and operates licensed facilities in cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail.

“We are pleased to expand From The Earth’s footprint into Michigan, one of the most restrictive regulatory agencies in the country,” From The Earth CEO Dan Zaharoni.

“We’ve become experts in the regulatory process for recreational cannabis and have a deep understanding of what cannabis consumers want, so we are excited to utilize this knowledge in the state of Michigan.”

Cannabis company Viola closed a $16-million funding round led by Gotham Green Partners.

Reflecting its position as a rapidly growing, global well-being company and reaffirming its commitment to improving quality of life through the benefits of cannabinoids, Surterra Wellness announced it has changed its corporate name to Parallel effective immediately.

More than 1,000 confirmed probable cases of vaping-related illness have been reported in the U.S., but there has been little public discussion about how smoking and vaping rates affect marginalized populations including those who identify as LGBTQ, people living with HIV/AIDS and individuals involved in the criminal justice system — whose smoking-related risks are two to four times higher than the general population.

“Marginalized groups, specifically, LGBTQ, people living with HIV/AIDS and individuals involved in the criminal justice system are vulnerable to health epidemics like the vaping crisis, due to social conditions that enable such behaviors … these groups are also more likely to face discrimination, which further complicates their access to quality health care,” professor Perry Halkitis, dean at the Rutgers School of Public Health, told Benzinga.

“Public health campaigns must seek to address underlying smoking stressors and inequalities among these marginalized groups and increase access to culturally competent smoking cessation treatments that help them overcome nicotine addiction.”

Zelda Therapeutics Limited (OTC: ZLDAF), an Australian biopharmaceutical company focused on cannabinoid formulations, announced Wednesday a merger of equals with Ilera Therapeutics LLC, a private cannabis science company.

Retired basketball star Jamal Mashburn is joining Revolution Global as an advisor to the board of directors. The Illinois-based company is a vertically integrated cannabis cultivator, extractor, distributor and retailer that also offers consultancy services and holds a portfolio of several cannabis brands.

Cannabis Trainers announced that its Sell-SMaRT cannabis vendor training program was approved as one of the first four certified Responsible Vendor Training providers in Massachusetts.

Cannabis Trainers originally developed the Sell-SMaRT program for Colorado cannabis licensees, building on founder Maureen McNamara’s two decades of experience in alcohol vendor training.

“Massachusetts is really setting a new standard with its training requirements,” says McNamara. “We’ve worked hard to customize the Sell-SMaRT program for the state’s needs, and we appreciate the Cannabis Control Commission’s recognition of that. We’re excited to help inspire a cannabis workforce in the state that is responsible, compliant and committed to excellence.”

This week, the Drug Policy Alliance launched Safety First: Real Drug Education for Teens, the nation’s first harm reduction-based drug education curriculum for high school teachers.

Carolina Hemp Company, a whole distributor of high-quality CBD and hemp-related goods, started offering franchise opportunities to qualified candidates throughout the U.S.

“We are looking for exceptional men and women who have a passion for the cannabis industry, personal wellness and customer service,” said CEO and co-owner Randall Synder.  

Two West Michigan cities, Muskegon and Grand Rapids, opted in for adult-use cannabis.

Actress Bella Thorne and Glass House Group’s Glass House Farms announced the launch Wednesday of the cannabis and CBD brand Forbidden Flowers.

48North Cannabis Corp. (TSX: NRTH) acquired the Sackville & Co. Merchandising Ltd. cannabis brand.

Business law firm Bianchi Brandt & Hale opened its headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, as the first group in the state with a full-service cannabis law practice. 

Co-founded and led by award-winning attorneys Laura Bianchi, Justin Brandt and Jessica Hale, BBH Counsel specializes in highly regulated environments and is dedicated to assisting their clients with all legal, administrative, regulatory, and business issues facing the industry. The BBH Counsel team has nearly 20 years of combined expertise in cannabis law and has facilitated many of the industry’s largest corporate transactions across the country.

It was essential that we have the ability to meet the evolving and ongoing professional, operational and financial needs of our clients on a more global basis.  In order to be as effective as possible, we launched Bianchi Brandt & Hale,” said Bianchi, the managing partner at Bianchi Brandt & Hale.

CannaTrac Technology, one of the first cashless payment solutions for the cannabis industry, announced an agreement with Timoneer Strategic Partners as a capital advisor.

“Since the launch of CannaTrac, we have consistently stayed attentive to market news and looked to bring on a strategic partner that could assist us in reaching our capital goals,” said CannaTrac Vice Chairman and CEO Thomas Gavin IV.

“We believe that our agreement with Timoneer Strategic Partners will help prepare CannaTrac for a future IPO and provide us with the guidance and expertise necessary to continue to grow.”

TILT Holdings Inc. (OTC: TLLTF) announced an agreement with six of its remaining founders regarding the immediate forfeiture of all 60,217,088 stock options granted at the time of the merger, as well as the final separation of most of these founders from the company.

During the second quarter of fiscal 2019, the company reported a stock-based compensation expense of greater than $47 million associated with these now forfeited stock options.

Adjusting for the subsequent forfeiture, TILT’s second-quarter 2019 net loss of $48.9 million would have been almost entirely reduced, bringing the company close to break-even. The successful forfeiture of these stock options follows the recent announcement of an adjusted EBITDA-positive month of July.

“This resolution with these individuals will yield significant improvements to our net earnings profile and reflects the company’s focus on enhancing shareholder value. This news, paired with the changes we have made in management and implemented in our operations, positions us better financially than we ever have been to date,” said Mark Scatterday, interim CEO of TILT. “TILT is fundamentally different today from just four months ago. We still have work to do, but we are making great strides in just a small amount of time with new leadership in place and we are looking forward to sharing our third-quarter 2019 results with the public.

In a recently released report, SipSource highlighted trends for the wine industry. When looking at the impact of cannabis legalization on wine sales, the firm found no notable impact.

“While there is no definitive data on the subject, early indicators are the legalization of recreational cannabis in 10 states has had a minimal impact on the beverage alcohol category.  If recreational cannabis was a significant factor, we would expect noticeable and differentiated declines across spirits, wine and beer in these states – and that is not the case,” SipSource analyst Dale Stratton told Benzinga.

“At this point, cannabis data is really hard to come by. For anyone to make definitive statements on the impact cannabis is having on alcohol sales and consumption is premature. We don’t see anything in the data currently showing a significant impact on wine and spirits trends,” he added in a media call.

California extractor Sisu Extracts launched a wholesale flower and white-labeling department. Sisu is acting as a conduit between the farmer and the buyer with the company’s new wholesale flower department, allowing business to focus on their core competencies rather than spending time and money sourcing the materials.

“We look forward to joining our farms on the front lines of the flower battle and working to bring as much money as possible into our cultivation community,” said Joe Wynne, director of supply chain at Sisu Extracts. 

RLOVE launched, seeking to fill a gap in the dating app world by incorporating “plant medicine practices as an experience to share with their romantic partners, a way to relate to the,” as explained by Steffen Hoffman, creative partner for RLOVE. 

The app, which launched Oct. 15th, takes a new approach to the dating app. It combines deeper questions around cannabis and plant medicine use with the best practices of leading app UX design and matching algorithms.

The app lets users customize their profiles with more than 30 lifestyle dimensions and more than 80 facets like spiritual interests, physical attraction, gender expression and plant medicine.  

Progressive Care Inc., a personalized health care services and technology company, announced the formation of its wholly owned subsidiary RXMD Therapeutics Inc., specializing in cannabinoid-based and alternative therapy product lines.

The initial product line will consist of tinctures, skin creams, roll-ons and gel capsules. RXMD Therapeutics brands will be tested for consistency and quality assurance prior to release and periodically thereafter. The product line is expected to launch in early 2020.

KILL CLIFF, a maker of all-natural performance beverages, launched a CBD beverages line. 

Orange Kush, KILL CLIFF’s hemped-out orange soda, uses 25 mg of hemp-derived, full-spectrum CBD as well as natural ingredients, including B vitamins and minerals, electrolytes, green tea caffeine and plant extracts.

Garden Society, a popular women’s cannabis brand in California, announced the launch of its direct-to-consumer delivery service throughout the state. 

Dedicated to creating a new perspective on cannabis, specifically among women, Garden Society’s California customers can now order edibles and pre-rolls directly from their website to their doorstep.  

“Garden Society stems from my personal journey of striving to find balance in life, as both a mom and entrepreneur, and being surrounded by women feeling the same pressures,” said Erin Gore, Garden Society Founder and CEO. “Now, through our new door-to-door delivery service, we have the opportunity to connect with even more women by offering easy and discreet access to our products.”

Budtender education is a critical and essential part of the dispensary ecosystem. Budtenders help everyone from connoisseurs to novices experience and enjoy the cannabis that works for them. Following the introduction of the new Leafly Cannabis Guide, Leafly announced Leafly Learn, an online education platform created to empower cannabis retail workers to serve customers with confidence.

Legal cannabis is the greatest job-creation machine in America. The cannabis workforce increased 21% in 2017 and gained another 44% in 2018. Many of those jobs are budtenders, making budtender education an essential part of this maturing industry.

Leafly Learn is the next step in Leafly’s commitment to providing the most trusted and reliable cannabis information available. It incorporates the latest scientific data and user reviews to give budtenders a cutting-edge understanding of industry trends and in-store products.

To celebrate, Leafly is hosting a 16-city tour across North America to bring Leafly Learn directly to budtenders. Leafly Learn and the Budtender Education Tour will teach budtenders about the science of cannabis to help customers discover the products best suited for their needs.

Top Stories Of The Week

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

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

Events Calendar

Oct. 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.

Oct.r 23: Vangst will be participating in the Santa Rita Jail Re-Entry Job & Resource Fair to help inmates who are eager and ready to be employed immediately or within the next six months.

One hundred inmates and up to 20 employers are participating in this job fair. Vangst will be the only cannabis employer at this event and will be there to discuss the different types of jobs that are available in the cannabis industry today. 

Oct. 24: Patients, advocates, business professionals and the Midwest community are invited to learn more about the budding cannabis industry at Sensible Minnesota’s 3rd Annual Minnesota Cannabis Summit. The event is at the Anderson Center of Hamline University in St. Paul.

Oct. 25-27: Humble Bloom is offering its HB Field Trip, a weekend retreat at Aster Farms and Lodge at Blue Lakes in Lake County, California.

“Aster is excited to celebrate the harvest with the amazing community assembled by Humble Bloom,” said Sam Ludwig, president of Aster Farms.

“Spreading the word on sustainability, responsible farming, health and wellness is a pillar of our company, and we look forward to educating and sharing out knowledge to guests, colleagues and the community.”

Oct. 28: in Ontario, Canada at Blue Mountain Village, the tourism and cannabis industry will come together for the first time for the 1st Annual New Heights Cannabis Tourism Summit.

The one-day event will feature trailblazers and experts who are already creating canna-tourism experiences such as cannabis-friendly hotels, resorts, festivals, spas, activities and more.

“Canna-tourism can have a major economic impact, both directly and indirectly for both industries, similar to wine tourism,” said New Heights founder Jennifer Mason.

“This Summit is designed to bring together the two industries to forge partnerships in order to build experiences and attract new customers. Recent market research indicates the future cannabis consumer looks  more like a wine tourist than the stereotypical ‘stoner.’ There are many untapped opportunities, [and] Canada is posed to lead the industry with culinary tourism, spa and wellness experiences and more.”

Nov. 15-16: CBD Expo EAST will bring the largest CBD event platform to Orlando, Florida 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 themes of CBD Expo EAST are globalization and spa + wellness.  

Nov. 19-21: The Medcann World Forum 2019 is at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta, which dates to the 16th century, when it was originally built as a hospital by the order of St. John.

The three days will focus on six pillars: medical, business, research, legislation, regulation and fintech.

The event will host Malta’s top policymakers, international regulatory experts and global business leaders.

Dec. 5-6: CBD Expo WEST will bring the largest CBD event platform to San Diego to broadcast products with the community and share knowledge with the industry.

The themes of CBD Expo WEST are research and development and cannabinoid formulations.

Picture by Javier Hasse.

© 2019 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.