The Week In Cannabis: Peru Rolls Out Sales, Uruguay Updates Rules, MLB Stops Testing Players, Canopy Hires New CEO

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Only a week after Brazil came out with medical cannabis regulations, another Latin American nation has taken a step forward in the marijuana space.

Peru finally rolled out the sale of medical cannabis products in pharmacies. At the moment, only one pharmacy is licensed to do so. Nearby Uruguay’s senate passed a bill to regulate medical marijuana, seeking to make it more affordable and easily accessible.

Further North, Trinidad and Tobago’s House of Representatives passed a bill decriminalizing low-level possession of cannabis.

Thailand’s prime minister was seen puffing some medical marijuana during the launch of the country’s medical cannabis educational website.

The Major League Baseball organization announced it was removing cannabis from its banned substances list, eliminating player testing for the substance.

Following this announcement, Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and Tom Brady, New England Patriots quarterback, came out saying they expect to see a similar move in the NFL next year.

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In the corporate world, Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) appointed David Klein, the CFO of Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), as its new CEO. Interim CEO Mark Zekulin will be leaving his post Dec. 20. Shares traded up following the announcement and Cantor Fitzgerald’s Pablo Zuanic reiterated a Neutral rating on the stock.

Cannabis stocks finally rebounded, taking related ETFs higher with them. Over the last five trading days:

  • The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE: HMMJ) was up 5.52%.
  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) gained 3.86%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) was up 1.95%.
  • The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) rose 4.94%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) surged 1.75%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 0.78%.

More News From The Week

Software company Onfleet announced that MedMen Enterprises Inc (OTC: MMNFF) adopted its software to manage delivery logistics, from driver scheduling through electronic signatures at delivery.

“Cannabis delivery is highly regulated, and operators like MedMen need software to keep their delivery operations organized and compliant,” Khaled Naim, co-founder and CEO of Onfleet, told Benzinga.

CBD brand TONIC said it now provides consumers with information on the safety, sourcing and story of their wellness products via connected packaging. The company embeds NFC tags into their packaging: when consumers scan these with their phones, they are directed to a Blue Bite-powered digital experience that authenticates their product and provides additional information. Consumers access a third-party Certificate of Analysis that includes a lab breakdown of ingredients for each specific product.

“You tap the top of your package and get the entire experience of TONIC and the brand,” said Tia Tagliaferro, COO of TONIC. “You’ll be able to pull those lab reports directly up on your phone, and you’ll have all the information in terms of ingredients and directions.”

The National Cannabis Risk Management Association and Garnet Casualty Insurance Corporation  are partnering to launch a new insurance group for the cannabis industry. The association-owned insurance company aims to provide cannabis business owners with fair and affordable coverage options to help protect their investments.

“Through the implementation of our innovative risk management platform, our members will reduce their risks and resulting claims history and fully enjoy the back-end benefits associated with this minimal loss performance,” said Rocco Petrilli, chairman of the NCRMA and a newly appointed member of Garnet’s senior management team.

Geopulse Exploration (OTC: GPLS), dba CannCo Brands, announced the establishment of a “stablecoin” cryptocurrency backed by the dollar (“DOKT”), to serve as the core of its financial and merchant services platform for the perennially unbanked cannabis sector.

“The merchant services that will emanate from this financial ecosystem are in growing demand by the increasingly complex, regulated and taxed cannabis sector,” said CEO Marcus Laun. 

The services Geopulse intends to offer to cannabis cultivators, suppliers, retailers and service providers include:

  • Payment processing
  • Cannabis banking
  • Business loans
  • B2B, B2C marketplaces
  • Consumer education
  • Web and mobile solutions
  • FDIC-insured crypto stablecoin
  • Automated compliance
  • Automated billing
  • Automated taxes
  • Blockchain transparency and tracking
  • Cannabis branding and marketing

Halo Labs Inc. (NEO: HALO) (OTC: AGEEF) entered a strategic partnership with OG DNA Genetics Inc. to develop its genetics in Oregon. The agreement is set for five years with the option for five-year renewals. 

Medicine Man Technologies Inc. (OTC: MDCL) appointed Justin Dye of Dye Capital as CEO and executive chairman.

Holistic Industries disclosed an investment of $20 million in its Madison Heights, Michigan headquarters. The investment is intended to build an environmentally friendly generator of economic development for the city and its residents, the company said. 

GovTech company Accela partnered with data analytics firm NCS Analytics to create a next-generation cannabis regulation system.

Private equity firm Tress Capital made a strategic investment in Israel-Cannabis, or iCAN.

The FADER, one of the best-known music and culture publications in North America, will be launching a new line of cannabis products, Benzinga learned exclusively. The venture, a result of a partnership with Next Green Wave Holdings Inc (CSE:NGW) (OTC: NXGWF) brand SD Cannabis, is expected to debut during the first quarter of 2020 in California.

Arcadia Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ: RKDA) — a developer of food ingredients and nutritional oils that ha some pre-existing hemp assets and a partnership with former MLB player Shane Victorino — said Tuesday it’s launching a new product line under the GoodHemp name.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTC: CURLF) announced that Joe Bayern would take the position of president effective immediately and will answer to CEO Joseph Lusardi.

WAYV, the VC-backed company launched by Eaze’s founder Keith McCarty, has partnered with finance and compliance tech company Hypur to launch a “credit card-like” B2B technology solution for the cannabis industry.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CTST) (TSX: TRST) said Tuesday that it was notified by the New York Stock Exchange Monday that it’s no longer in compliance with the NYSE’s listing standard rules due to CannTrust’s share price falling below the set threshold.

U.S. traders looking to actively trade cannabis stocks have a new instrument to use in their trading toolkit. REX Shares, a Connecticut-based provider of exchange-traded products, announced today the launch of the MicroSectors Cannabis 2x Leveraged ETN (MJO), the first U.S.-listed leveraged cannabis product.

The cannabis information platform Leafly announced a strategic partnership with the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association, the world’s largest physician-based cannabis association. The partnership is focused on helping physicians provide cannabis-based care to patients.

Back in February, Shawn Richard, CEO of Cole Ashbury Group, became the very first person to be approved to open a cannabis dispensary under San Francisco’s Cannabis Equity program. This week, the company announced it’s partnering with Cookies, the brand backed by rapper Berner, to open a cannabis shop in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury later this month.

Australis Capital Inc (OTC: AUSAF) (CSE: AUSA) announced a merger of AUSA, Folium Equity Holding LLCand Folium Merger Sub, LLC a new Colorado subsidiary of AUSA. AUSA will acquire all outstanding Folium membership units that it does not already own.

Mike Tyson and Tyson Ranch are joining up with the Dutch rolling company Futurola to launch a business focused on rolling equipment.

Cresco Labs (CSE: CL) (OTC: CRLBF) has closed an agreement to sell its Lincoln-based cannabis cultivation facility to GreenAcreage Real Estate Corp. for $50 million.

The SEC fined cannabis stock promoter, Jeffrey Friedland, over $4.1 million for failing to disclose his ownership interests in OWC Pharmaceutical Research Corp (OTC: OWCP), an Israeli medical marijuana company, to investors. The SEC also banned Friedland from participating in any future penny stock offerings.

ManifestSeven, a California-based integrated omnichannel platform for legal cannabis, has tapped former Xerox Holdings Corp (NYSE: XRX) executive Hélène Blanchette as the new president of MyJane, M7’s retail subsidiary created by women, for women.

The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. (TSX: FIRE) (OTC: SPRWF) launched the Sugarleaf by 7AC brand in Canada.

Sundial Growers Inc (NASDAQ: SNDL) announced the launch of its premium cannabis brand Top Leaf.

Organigram Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: OGI) (TSX: OGI) obtained Health Canada approval for 16 additional cultivation rooms. With the newly licensed cultivation rooms, Organiram’s Moncton campus will reach 89,000 kg of licensed capacity in year one and the completion of its Phase 4B expansion.

Columbia Care Inc. (NEO: CCHW) (OTC: CCHWF) entered into a $35-million sale-leaseback agreement with NewLake Capital.

The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTC: TGODF) signed a binding term sheet with Maynbridge Capital Inc. for a senior secured first lien credit facility of up to $41.7 million.

Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY) said Friday that its merger with the private equity firm Privateer Holdings closed the previous day.

NEO Alternatives, a company focused on building and launching brands in both the cannabis and CBD categories, announced plans to expand distribution into Latin America by working with Seven Kings Distribution (SKD). Root 66 will be the first hemp-derived CBD brand SKD partners with, and it’s a result of icreased product demand from Mexico and Central America for high-quality, zero-THC hemp-derived products.  

“Seven Kings Distribution is synonymous with quality and value — like Root 66, so the synergy was immediate for us both,” said Kevin DiSano, NEO”s president of consumer products.

“With the regional demand for hemp-based products on the rise, partnering with SKD to enhance and expand our retail footprint seemed like the next logical step. We’re really excited to be working with them.”

Socati, a processor of broad-spectrum hemp extracts, announced two CBN-rich ingredients for use in the CPG and cosmetics industry.

The new products have been developed to fill the growing consumer demand for minor cannabinoids such as CBN and CBG. The ingredients, a high-purity broad spectrum oil and an advanced broad-spectrum water-soluble powder, are both produced using chromatic technology, which keeps THC levels undetectable and allows for the end product’s customizable cannabinoid profiles to be tailored to manufacturers’ specific requirements.

“With the ability to manufacture broad-spectrum hemp extracts at scale, Socati has been built very clearly to serve the needs of large, international CPG companies that are seeking high-quality raw materials,” said Socati CRO Mark Elfenbein.

“Our latest products, an oil ingredient and water-soluble ingredient, are high in the minor cannabinoid cannabinol (CBN) and allow CPG companies to respond to consumer demand for more individualized products while maintaining a commitment to quality, consistency and transparency in manufacturing.”

Abstrax Tech, a company focused on the study and production of botanical and cannabis-derived terpenes, released its 3D Metabolite Fingerprinting technology. This means popular cannabis strains can be reproduced, authenticated and sold in conjunction with major brands. Known as the Growers Collection, the product line will be a collaborative effort between Abstrax Tech and brands within the cannabis industry.

Cannabis HR and payroll platform Wurk announced the hire of a new CMO, Holly Hamann. Hamann is a seasoned marketer, entrepreneur and startup veteran. She has spent the past 10 years serving as CMO for B2B SaaS companies in the content marketing, financial tech and cybersecurity industries.

“Joining Keegan and the Wurk team is a rare opportunity to help advance an industry that didn’t legally exist until recent years,” Hamann told Benzinga.

THRIVE Cannabis Marketplace announced it will open a new dispensary in Las Vegas’ residential Southern Highlands neighborhood in April. The new dispensary will mark the fifth location for THRIVE, the state’s largest independently owned cannabis retailer, and will be the first dispensary to serve that neighborhood.

“We’re looking forward to serving some of the valley’s most dynamic residential areas with this new dispensary, as the local market continues to be THRIVE’S primary focus,” said Mitch Britten, founder and CEO of THRIVE. “Our commitment to providing the highest-quality experience for each customer is matched by our desire to be a good neighbor and make a positive impact on the community.”

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

Dec. 18: WomenCanCann (WoCC) is hosting its inaugural WoCC LEADERS Executive Mentorship Initiative, aiming to provide one-on-one knowledge, support and access to relevant networks and opportunities for professional women in the cannabis community. The event will be held in Tel Aviv.

Speakers include TV figure Ayala Hasson and Elah Alkalay, chairperson and VP of business development at IBI Mutual Funds and chair at the Israeli Women Network.

Feb. 24-25: The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference comes back to Miami, Florida, with an impressive lineup of top-tier speakers. Check out the lineup and details here.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

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