During the past trading week (March 25 to 29), a critical banking protections bill in the US got a vote of support from a House committee.

Projections on the spending from Canadians on marijuana products by 2025 made headlines this week, while the upcoming launch of a brand owned by Canadian actor Seth Rogen also caught the attention of the market.

Here’s a closer look at what some of the biggest news was during last week’s trading period.

US moves forwards with banking protections for marijuana businesses

On Thursday (March 28), the House Financial Services Committee voted 45 to 15 in approval for the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019, also known as the SAFE Banking Act.

The bill could grant protections to banking activities and allow cannabis companies to secure credit lines and other banking options previously unavailable due to the federal illegality of marijuana.

Marc Adesso, veteran cannabis attorney with law firm Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, told the Investing News Network (INN) he still expects there to be a lot of time before any action is taken in Congress.

In response to the SAFE Banking Act vote, Kevin Murphy, CEO of Acreage Holdings (CSE:ACRG.U,OTCQX:ACRGF), said the bipartisan support for this bill shows the US is a “step closer to aligning federal policies” to aid the cannabis industry.

Bloomberg reported that analysts at Cowen and Eight Capital share a bright outlook on the impact of the SAFE Banking Act.

Walgreens plans to sell novelty CBD products in the US

This past week, pharmacy retailer Walgreens confirmed its intention to begin the sale of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) creams, patches and sprays across 1,500 stores in the US.

Walgreens spokesman Brian Faith told CNBC the first states to see the products will be Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vermont, South Carolina, Illinois and Indiana.

The pharmacy, part of Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA), did not say which brands will be sold at launch.

The decision by Walgreens is seen as a direct response to its competitor CVS Pharmacy (NYSE:CVS), which confirmed the launch of CBD product sales as well.

“I think that, in anticipation of the farm bill last year, many retailers were trying to come to a strategy for how they were going to address hemp,” Joseph Lusardi, CEO of Curaleaf, said during a call with investors and analysts.

How much will Canadians spend on marijuana?

Business and research firm EY shared a data set indicating that by 2025 Canadian consumers of legal marijuana, which will be 20 percent of the adult population, will spend C$1,652 per year.

“As the industry matures, access to product eases and higher margin derivatives come online, we’ll see a rise in consumer spending on legal cannabis,” Pendley said in a press release.

The study projects a split in the types of products most desired by consumers in 2025. Dried flower and extracts will lead the pack with a 46 percent and 37 percent market share respectively.

Edibles will be able to secure 12 percent of the spending from Canadians, according to EY.

“As the industry matures, access to product eases and higher margin derivatives come online, we’ll see a rise in consumer spending on legal cannabis,” Zachary Pendley, EY Canada cannabis real estate and valuation leader, said in a press release.

Seth Rogen launches Houseplant with Canopy

Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED) confirmed an investment deal in the cannabis brand Houseplant, which was co-created by Rogen and his creative partner Evan Goldberg.

Canopy will provide Houseplant with “production and distribution capabilities.”

“Canopy Growth has worked closely with Houseplant for almost two years, and the entire Canopy Growth team is deeply impressed by [Houseplant’s] understanding of the cannabis consumer, attention to detail and hands-on approach to this new partnership,” the firm indicated to shareholders.

Market updates

Despite the apparent momentum New Jersey had on its way to a vote for adult-use legalization in the state, during the past week the vote was canceled.

State lawmakers called off the critical vote on Monday (March 25) citing lack of support for the policy at the state Senate, according to a report from NJ.com.

“While we are all disappointed that we did not secure enough votes to ensure legislative approval of the adult use cannabis bill today, we made substantial progress on a plan that would make significant changes in social policy,” State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said in a statement.

It was the market’s expectation that a New Jersey legalization confirmation would motivate neighboring states to follow suit and open the doors to recreational consumption and sales.

Hemp-derived CBD producer Charlotte’s Web Holdings (CSE:CWEB,OTCQX:CWBHF) informed shareholders that it took in quarter-over-quarter revenue growth of 21 percent, resulting in US$21.5 million during Q4 2018.

“During the fourth quarter we concentrated our efforts on completing the 2018 harvest and building product inventory to support growing consumer demand,” Hess Moallem, president and CEO, said in a press release.

The executive praised the passing of the farm bill, which legalized hemp in the US and had a direct impact on the business of the company.

Shares of the producer shot up on Friday’s trading session following the announcement. The stock reached a price of C$26.55 at 12:05 p.m. EST, representing a 2.32 percent decrease.

CannTrust Holdings (TSX:TRST,NYSE:CTST) also issued its quarterly results for its Q4 2018, disappointing the market by not reaching estimates.

Shares of the Canadian firm plunged in Thursday’s trading session following the announcement and conference call with investors and analysts. CannTrust finished the day with a 18.96 percent decline in Toronto.

The recently launched New York listing experienced a similar plunge with a 19.14 percent decline in value on Thursday, representing a C$1.92 loss per share.

Outdoor growing was a focus of CannTrust in its quarterly report. The company expects its investments in this space to offer leverage via proprietary genetics and provide a speedy path to cheaper production costs in the future.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Acreage Holdings is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.


** This article is updated each week. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information**

Cannabis Weekly Round-Up: ETF Operators Pursue US Market

By Bryan Mc Govern, March 22, 2019

During the past trading week (March 18 to 22), additional agreements with public marijuana companies to support the setup of dispensaries in Ontario were announced.

A confirmation of interest in the US market from the top marijuana exchange-traded fund (ETF) operator in Canada made headlines this week, while the start of smokeable products sales in Florida also caught the attention of the market.

Here’s a closer look at what some of the biggest news was during last week’s trading period.

Ontario retail partnerships continue

After an initial batch of agreements between marijuana public companies and winners of a lottery set to determine the first 25 dispensaries to open in Ontario, this past week two new partnerships were confirmed.

High Tide (CSE:HITI,OTC Pink:HTDEF) and Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED) announced new deals with Ontario license holders looking to set up shops in Toronto. Canopy’s deal is being managed by its retail brand Tokyo Smoke.

Both firms already had established partnerships with some retailers in order to participate in the set up of the stores. The new deal represents the third agreement for High Tide and the second publicly revealed deal for Canopy.

“As the realities of a compressed schedule and complex project became clear, the Third Winner realized that they would benefit from our help,” Raj Grover, president and CEO of High Tide, said in a press release.

Additionally, Origin House (CSE:OH,OTCQX:ORHOF) announced its subsidiary Trichome Financial awarded an option of up to C$2 million revolving credit facility and term loan to an Ontario retail operator set to open a shop in Brampton, Ontario.

Afzal Hasan, president and general counsel of Origin House, told the Investing News Network (INN) there are are in active discussions with more operators “looking for either capital or operational support.”

ETF operator in pursuit of US boost

On Thursday (March 21), Steve Hawkins, president and CEO of Horizons ETFs Management, told BNN Bloomberg his company is “actively pursuing” a new fund with only US-based marijuana firms.

With this confirmation Horizons ETFs adds momentum to the shift in interest from investors looking now for gains from the US cannabis market instead.

The first step for any US market share addition for the ETF manager will be the inclusion of Charlotte’s Web Holdings (CSE:CWEB,OTCQX:CWBHF), a hemp-only producer and developer of products, into the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ) (TSX:HMMJ).

During the past week Horizons ETFs also confirmed its quarterly rebalance for HMMJ, which included the addition of the following stocks into the fund:

Florida players see boost and market welcomes new public competitor

Following the official removal of a ban on smokeable products for the medical-only marijuana market in Florida multi-state operator (MSO) Cresco Labs (CSE:CL,OTCQX:CRLBF) announced its US$120 million purchase for an entry into the market.

This purchase will grant Cresco with seven active dispensaries and and additionally seven set to come online this year.

As part of its fiscal Q4 2018 results conference call, Joseph Lusardi, CEO of fellow MSO Curaleaf (CSE:CURA,OTCQX:CURLF), said the company’s estimations show the Florida cannabis market should double now thanks to the sales of smokable items.

Lusardi added he is also now expecting to see policy on edibles sometime this year.

“Offering these whole flower products to our patients in their purest, most effective form is something we — and patients — have been looking forward to since we opened the doors of the state’s first dispensary,” Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve (CSE:TRUL,OTC Pink:TCNNF), said in a press release.

Trulieve, a Florida-based MSO, confirmed the start of sales for these new products across its 26 dispensaries in the state, which led to the company’s stock rising.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: High Tide, Cannara Biotech, The Floor Corporation, Heritage Cannabis Holdings are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

Progressive Planet Solutions Inc. (TSXV: PLAN) (“PLAN” or “Progressive Planet”), announces that, further to its news releases dated December 22, 2020 and January 7, 2021 the Company has closed its non-brokered private placement financing comprising of 7,500,000 units, at $0.10 per unit, for total gross proceeds of $750,000 .

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 Revive Therapeutics Ltd. (” Revive ” or the ” Company “) (CSE: RVV) ( USA : RVVTF), a specialty life sciences company focused on the research and development of therapeutics for medical needs and rare disorders, is pleased to announce that is has entered into an agreement with Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Leede Jones Gable Inc. as the co-lead underwriters (collectively, the ” Underwriters “), pursuant to which the Underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a bought-deal basis, 20,000,000 units (the ” Equity Units “) at a price of $0.50 per Equity Unit for gross proceeds to the Company of $10,000,000 (the ” Offering “).

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The Australian cannabis market has been maturing since medical marijuana was federally legalised in 2016.

The next year, Food Standards Australia New Zealand legalised low-THC hemp food for human consumption in Australia. The country went on to legalise medical marijuana exports in 2018, allowing medicinal marijuana products developed in Australia to be exported to licenced recipients in countries where the drug is legal.

Recreational cannabis remains federally illegal in the country, but recent legislation shows the door may be opening. In 2019, the Australian Capital Territory passed a bill allowing for the possession and growth of small amounts of cannabis for personal use. The law went into effect on January 31, 2020.

More recently, in late 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration greenlit the sale of low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) through over-the-counter methods without a prescription. The ruling from the Australian regulatory agency is expected to officially come into effect in February 2021.

With these and other changes in the works, Australia’s cannabis industry is projected to have long-term potential. The legal cannabis market in Oceania is expected to be worth US$1.55 billion by 2024, with Australia accounting for 79 percent of the region’s market, Prohibition Partners forecasts.

According to a study from FreshLeaf Analytics, the value of the medical market in Australia reached AU$95 million in 2020, and the firm expects revenue to jump again to over AU$150 million in 2021. In short, Australia’s role in the global cannabis industry will certainly continue to grow.

Here the Investing News Network profiles 10 ASX cannabis stocks with market caps between AU$30 million and AU$225 million. All ASX cannabis stocks below are listed in order of market capitalization from largest to smallest, with data compiled using TradingView’s stock screener on January 12, 2021.

1. Creso Pharma (ASX:CPH)

Market cap: AU$209.83 million

Creso Pharma was the first company to import medical cannabis into Australia and the first to launch these products in Switzerland for people, as well as animals. The cannabis company’s anibidiol product was the first hemp CBD complementary feed in animal health thanks to a partnership with Virbac Switzerland. Creso Pharma has also launched cannaQIX in Switzerland; it was the first CBD nutraceutical in human health.

The company’s medicinal cannabis product lines cover therapeutics, nutraceuticals, animal health, lifestyle and topicals.

2. Cann Group (ASX:CAN)

Market cap: AU$176.84 million

Cann Group provides a range of medicinal cannabis products for patients in Australia and globally. In 2017, the company was granted Australia’s first cannabis research licence, as well as the first medicinal marijuana cultivation licence. Cann Group partners with leading medical scientists in Australia to research and harness the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids, terpenes and other bioactive constituents of cannabis.

The company has secured supply agreements in global cannabis markets, including the UK, Germany and other European segments.

3. Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL)

Market cap: AU$166.42 million

Incannex Healthcare is a clinical-stage cannabinoid medicine company with global export capacity. It has four clinical programs underway for the development of a variety of cannabis medicinal products aimed at major unmet medical needs, including obstructive sleep apnea, traumatic brain injury/concussion, sepsis-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome and temporomandibular joint disorder.

In 2020, the company worked to advance its clinical trials. By the second half of the year, cannabinoid products accounted for Incannex’s entire revenue stream.

4. Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT)

Market cap: AU$131.37 million

Botanix Pharmaceuticals has a product pipeline that includes three advanced clinical programs using synthetic cannabidiol for the topical treatment of serious skin diseases and for antimicrobial applications. The company also has an exclusive licence to use a proprietary drug-delivery system called Permetrex for direct skin delivery of pharmaceuticals.

Botanix Pharmaceuticals’ programs are focused on treating acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis and microbial infection. The company secured a clear development path for its BTX 1801 synthetic cannabidiol antimicrobial product after the successful completion of a pre-investigational new drug meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration.

5. Althea Group Holdings (ASX:AGH)

Market cap: AU$114.2 million

Althea Group Holdings takes the concept of medical cannabis a step further with its work as a pharmaceutical-grade cannabis supplier. In addition to offering relief through accessible medical cannabis, the company is implementing components of the plant in its research on advanced drugs.

Althea has successfully expanded into the global cannabis market with a wholesale supply agreement to import a range of Althea-branded finished products for sale and distribution in South Africa beginning in Q2 2021. This agreement came on the heels of the news that the company is slated to become the first commercial supplier of Australian medicinal cannabis extract products to the German market, with all necessary licences for sale and distribution granted by the German government.

6. Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD)

Market cap: AU$113.79 million

Zelira Therapeutics’ efforts are on unmet clinical needs and on using medicinal cannabis to treat a range of diseases and disorders. Its most common target areas include pain, anxiety and sleep.

Zelira is largely focused on developing treatment options using plant-based medicinal marijuana, and currently has three clinical-stage programs with a focus on insomnia, autism and opioid reduction. The company is also conducting a pre-clinical research program to test cannabinoids in breast, brain and pancreatic cancer.

7. Medlab Clinical (ASX:MDC)

Market cap: AU$75.51 million

Medlab Clinical is a medical research and development company focused on novel biotherapeutics such as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. The company is also developing pharmaceutical cannabis products.

In early 2020, Medlab Clinical launched the NanaBis Observation Study in Australia. NanaBis is a cannabis-based pain treatment drug that may prove useful as an alternative to opioid medication. It is also being used to investigate cancer pain management.

8. BOD Australia (ASX:BDA)

Market cap: AU$49.25 million

BOD Australia is focused on cannabis and hemp-related products. It develops, distributes and markets health and skincare products created using plant-based extracts in Australia. The company secured a foothold in the European cannabis market in 2020 with a AU$200,000 purchase order for four Swiss-branded hemp seed oil products to be sold in France, the Netherlands and the UK.

BOD Australia’s reach in Australia ranges from selling prescription and over-the-counter products to more than 1,000 outlets, such as pharmacies, retail stores and healthcare chains. It also has distribution agreements with two pharmacy wholesalers in Australia.

9. IDT Australia (ASX:IDT)

Market cap: AU$42.47 million

One of Australia’s oldest listed life science companies, IDT Australia is a pharmaceutical manufacturing company with extensive experience in the development and production of pharmaceutical products. Through its GMP-compliant facilities, the company provides full-scale services for new drug development, plus scale-up and commercial active drug manufacturing for local and international clients.

IDT Australia’s clients include Cann Group; IDT Australia is the manufacturer of the medical cannabis products that are a part of two of Cann Group’s export supply agreements with European and UK partners.

10. MMJ Group Holdings (ASX:MMJ)

Market cap: AU$31.04 million

MMJ Group Holdings has a wide range of cannabis investments, including healthcare products, technology, infrastructure, logistics, processing, cultivation, equipment, retail and research and development.

Among other companies, it has invested in Harvest One Cannabis (TSXV:HVT,OTCQB:HRVOF), which develops health and wellness products; Fire & Flower Holdings (TSXV:FAF,OTCQX:FFLWF), a recreational cannabis retailer that’s developed a variety of cannabis products and accessories; and MediPharm Labs (TSXV:LABS,OTQQX:MEDIF), a cannabis extraction company that received its cannabis oil production licence from Health Canada in 2018. MediPharm Labs has launched cannabis extraction services in Australia.

Investor takeaway

The presence of these ASX-listed cannabis companies shows that the cannabis industry in Australia is undoubtedly growing, as are investment opportunities in Australia’s cannabis industry. While recreational marijuana remains illegal in the land down under, the medical cannabis industry is thriving, making that side of the sector worth considering.

So far, Australia has no timeline attached to the legality of recreational use of marijuana, but it will be a story to watch over the coming years for those interested in the space.

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Legal cannabis is spreading. According to a new report by Grand View Research, the global legal marijuana market is expected to reach US$73.6 billion by 2027 with a compound annual growth rate of 18.1 percent.

A survey of over 1,000 US consumers found that the modern cannabis user is largely representative of the general population. Moreover, cannabis consumption today blurs the lines between strictly recreational or medical. In fact, more than 50 percent of consumers report using cannabis for both purposes. As THC and CBD products make their way into an even wider array of product categories, our frame of reference for the modern cannabis user will continue to evolve.

In 2019, the medical cannabis market took home a leading revenue share of 71 percent, driven by the widespread adoption of cannabis as a pharmaceutical alternative for a wide range of conditions, including cancer, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and more. A growing need for effective pain management therapies is expected to boost product demand even further.

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Khiron Life Sciences Corp. (TSXV:KHRN) is a vertically-integrated medical cannabis company fully licensed to conduct its core operations in Colombia.Send me an Investor Kit

Major telehealth platforms in the medical cannabis industry

Telehealth represents the intersection between innovative technology and the forefront of medical science. While remote medical practice saw its beginnings more than half a century ago, recent technological advancements have connected more patients to physicians than ever before.

In the US, platforms like NuggMD and IndicaMD provide patients with an online medical cannabis card that enables remote purchase of the drug. Patients can meet with physicians over secure video chat and can be approved to access cannabis within minutes. Physicians typically follow-up with patients by email, recommending the types of cannabis that would best alleviate their ailments and ensuring that they don’t purchase the wrong products. Other platforms exist to oversee the rapid delivery of cannabis and hemp products to patients across participating states.

Other parts of the world are undergoing the same transition. It has been more than eight years since Colombia — a country that represents more than a quarter of the world’s total export quotas — decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the drug, and roughly four years since the country legalized medical cannabis. In 2019, Colombia’s Constitutional Court overruled a ban on the public consumption of cannabis, which many considered a stepping stone toward full legalization. Recently, Colombia became one of the first countries in the world to extend national health insurance for patients requiring medical cannabis as a first-line therapy.

Khiron Life Sciences (TSXV:KHRN) was the first firm in Colombia authorized to sell both high and low THC formulations of medical cannabis. The company owns a telehealth platform that has accounted for over 5,600 medical cannabis prescriptions issued to date. Additionally, in June 2020 the company’s Doctor Zerenia telehealth platform was responsible for 14 percent of Khiron’s total medical consultations.

Since becoming the first company to fill medical cannabis prescriptions in Colombia, Khiron reports that 92 percent of its patients have experienced a marked improvement in their primary condition after four months of treatment. In light of these results, the Government of Colombia issued a directive that Khiron’s medical cannabis products and clinic services be covered by the country’s major health insurance providers. While countries such as Germany and the Czech Republic have taken similar legislative actions, a key difference in Colombia is that cannabis is considered a first line therapy with a vast array of applicable medical conditions. With more than 94 percent of Colombia’s population carrying health insurance policies, Colombia is quickly becoming one of the most favourable jurisdictions in the world for patient access; moreover, it has been shown that patient uptake is significantly increased by insurance coverage.

The next step forward for telehealth platforms includes opportunities such as virtual patient education and the fast, reliable delivery of essential drugs such as medical marijuana. Virtual care is also expected to expand across different types of patients, including those requiring intensive care. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many long-term care facilities have already adapted remote patient monitoring to maintain the safety of staff and patients.

The focus: Accessibility and improving patient outcomes

Medical marijuana has the power to improve patient outcomes across demographics. In the wake of groundbreaking research, patients, physicians and retailers are working together to increase the drug’s accessibility for patients who require relief from a range of health conditions. Telehealth platforms have been instrumental in not only increasing accessibility to medical marijuana, but also in improving quality of life across diverse populations of people.

A recent study completed by Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC,TSX:WEED) in November 2020 found the absence of long-term toxicity despite long-term usage of CBD in a preclinical model, supporting the advancement of recent initiatives aimed at discovering CBD’s full range of therapeutic benefits. While CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) offer many of the same benefits, high levels of THC are responsible for most of cannabis’s psychoactive effects.

While the chronic pain segment dominated the medical cannabis market in 2019, application toward mental illness is expected to witness the fastest growth over the seven-year forecast period. Worldwide, a growing number of people suffer from depression, anxiety and other debilitating mental conditions with few low-risk pharmaceutical alternatives.

Medical cannabis is also becoming more popular among older adults. A recent study highlighted that cannabis use among individuals aged 65 and older has been steadily increasing, a trend that is consistent with reports from physicians who recommend cannabis in their daily practices. In the face of growing public acceptance and reduced stigma, we are beginning to see an increasing number of older adults rely on cannabis for relief against chronic pain, insomnia, neuropathy, anxiety and other conditions that traditionally call upon pharmaceuticals.

Much of the momentum in the medical cannabis market can be owed to the rise of telehealth platforms and health digitization efforts, increasing ease of access and promoting transparency. Over the next decade, legalization, increased awareness and the rise of remote medicine are expected to facilitate growth, creating lucrative opportunities for market stakeholders.

Takeaway

Telehealth platforms represent one of the easiest ways for patients, providers and retailers to collaborate remotely and fulfill needs faster. As more physicians and policymakers begin to recognize digital health tools as an advantage for maximizing efficiency and safety in health care, existing medical cannabis platforms are well-positioned to take advantage of a large-scale digital transition.

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 BioHarvest Sciences Inc. (CSE: BHSC) (the “Company” or “BioHarvest”) invites its shareholders and the general public to join a Live Video Conference (“Webinar”) on Thursday, January 21st, 2021 at 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (11:00 AM Pacific Standard Time). Ilan Sobel, CEO of BHSC, will host the event and discuss progress on Bioharvest’s Growth Plan, which will include highlights of the 2020 milestones achieved, key business capabilities built, and will provide an important overview of 2021 Priorities.

The presentation will be approximately 35 minutes, followed by a live question and answer session.

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