During the past trading week (March 2 to 6), the cannabis industry’s largest player in Canada became a bit smaller after it announced some key facility closures.

Another marijuana firm took a beating in the open market as it was targeted by a short seller report, and a months-long dispute was resolved after the companies involved in a joint venture finally came to a working agreement.

Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest cannabis news over the week.

PharmaCielo stumbles on short seller report

We kick off our roundup with the news of a short seller attack on cannabis producer PharmaCielo (TSXV:PCLO,OTCQX:PCLOF).

Claims of securities fraud, undisclosed transactions and operational shortcomings raised in a report from a group called Hindenburg Research caused a massive slump for PharmaCielo on Monday (March 2), leading to a nearly 19 percent decrease in share price during the trading session.

The report, which picked a short position but did not disclose a price target, claimed that PharmaCielo co-founder and former CEO Anthony Wile created the company as a “self-enrichment scheme” after previously being charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over allegations of fraud and market manipulation.

“PharmaCielo has property, greenhouses, licenses, and some residual cash. But with essentially no revenue, continued cash burn, and management’s track record of self-enrichment and the co-founder/former CEO’s history of securities fraud charges, we believe PharmaCielo ends up as a total loss for investors,” the short sellers wrote.

PharmaCielo fired back with its own statement on Tuesday (March 3), calling the report a “malicious attempt to manipulate” its share prices.

“I would encourage all of our shareholders to exercise caution in relying on the blatant misrepresentations contained within the short seller report in question,” current CEO David Attard said in a statement.

PharmaCielo said that the “libelous” report is being reviewed by outside legal counsel and that investors can expect the firm to respond quickly.

Over the past trading week, shares dropped 25 percent with an opening price on Friday (March 6) of C$1.20.

Canopy Growth closures a sign of rightsizing operations

In the middle of the trading week, cannabis giant Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED) revealed that it was closing two key greenhouse facilities in British Columbia. About 500 employees were laid off as a result of the closures.

One portfolio manager said that the trimming on the part of the company isn’t cause for shock, however.

“It’s a big announcement (but) I don’t think it’s a surprise,” Charles Taerk, CEO of Faircourt Asset Management, a sub-advisor to Ninepoint Partners’ cannabis-focused fund, said in an interview with the Investing News Network.

Taerk said Canopy’s decision to cut its operations in Western Canada is ultimately a move in the right direction as companies look to prioritize efficiency over size. He mentioned that rightsizing plans had already been in motion after being discussed during Canopy’s earnings call for its Q3 2020 results in February.

“Mindful of future market growth, we’re prepared to take initial steps to rightsize our business over the next 90 days,” CEO David Klein said during the call.

In a statement, Canopy Growth noted that the closures are an effort to “align supply and demand while improving production efficiencies over time” in a struggling Canadian recreational market that’s been slow to develop.

Village Farms and Emerald settle JV dispute

In more Canadian cannabis news, marijuana firms in a long-standing dust up involving a joint venture have finally made nice through new agreements and a change in ownership.

Emerald Health Therapeutics (TSXV:EMH,OTCQX:EMHTF) and Village Farms International (NASDAQ:VFF,TSX:VFF) have come together to develop a settlement agreement with concern to their once equally co-owned cannabis producer Pure Sunfarms.

The original dispute dates back to October when Pure Sunfarms sent Emerald an invoice for about C$7 million in a “price deficiency obligation” relating to lower-than-expected wholesale marijuana prices.

Now, with a transfer of ownership stake, Village Farms and Emerald will have a  57.4 percent and 42.6 percent interest in Pure Sunfarms respectively.

“The settlement agreement allows Emerald, PSF and Village Farms to put their previous disputes aside and work together toward building on the tremendous performance of PSF to date,” Emerald President and CEO Riaz Bandali said in a statement.

Market news

Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON,TSX:CRON) took a hit after it revealed it failed to complete its financial statements for fiscal 2019 due to an audit from the company’s board of directors.

The audit is looking into the purchase of bulk cannabis resin and legitimacy of the revenue generated from sales in the wholesale channel.

After receiving an extension from the SEC, Cronos said it had 15 days to file its annual report from the fiscal year ended on December 31, 2019.

Halo Labs (NEO:HALO,OTCQX:AGEE) told investors it has signed an agreement to acquire retail management company Crimson & Black, which is working to open a cannabis dispensary in California.

It’s been a busy week for Halo when it comes to acquisitions as the firm also announced it got its hands on Cannalift Delivery, a software delivery company that is currently developing an app for easier cannabis product purchases.

MPX International (CSE:MPXI,OTCQX:MPXOF) released its Q1 2020 results, reporting net revenue at C$616,309 against net losses after tax of C$4.5 million.

The firm highlighted its recent work to establish a production center in South Africa and receive manufacturing and medicinal cannabis licenses for its Australian operations.

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

Securities Disclosure: I, Danielle Edwards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Trulieve to donate $20,000 in scholarship funding and $15,000 to support leadership development

Trulieve Cannabis Corp . (CSE: TRUL) (OTC: TCNNF), a leading and top-performing cannabis company in the United States today announced a new partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black College Community. Trulieve will donate $20,000 to help fund several college scholarships awarded to students who are attending one of the organization’s member-schools as part of Trulieve’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The $15,000 in talent funding is earmarked to support TMCF’s internship program, reaching a diverse talent pool of students and alumni from their 47 member-schools to provide immersive experiences at Trulieve.

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The new dispensary expands patient access to Florida’s largest inventory of medical cannabis products

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF) (“Trulieve” or “the Company”), a leading and top-performing cannabis company based in the United States announced today the opening of a brand-new Florida dispensary, the Company’s 80th nationwide. The new location marks the Company’s first in Tamarac and third in Broward County expanding patient access to Florida’s largest and broadest assortment of high-quality medical cannabis products.

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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 an update on the Company’s U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) Phase 3 clinical trial (the “Study”) to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Bucillamine in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.

With its recent $23 million dollar financing, the Company plans to aggressively expand from 14 clinical sites to up to 50 clinical sites to meet the next enrollment goals for the Study in Q2-2020. The Study is a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial and the safety and efficacy data analyzed at each interim analysis timepoint of 210, 400, 600 and 800 completed patients are only made available to the Independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (“DSMB”) for review and recommendations on continuation, stopping or changes to the conduct of the Study. In the event of any serious safety concerns, the DSMB would be notified to determine any risks and provide its recommendations. To date, in this initial 210 interim point there have been no serious safety concerns that required the DSMB to be notified.

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HempFusion Wellness Inc. (TSX:CBD.U) (OTCQX:CBDHF) (FWB:8OO) (“HempFusion” or the “Company”), a leading health and wellness CBD company utilizing the power of whole-food hemp nutrition, is pleased to announce that its common shares have been approved for DTC full-service eligibility in the United States by the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) and can now be both traded and serviced through DTC’s electronic book-entry system.

DTC is a subsidiary of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. (“DTCC”) that provides clearing and settlement services for the financial markets and settles the majority of securities transactions in the United States. This electronic method of clearing securities speeds up the receipt of stock and cash and thus accelerates the settlement process for investors and brokers, enabling the stock to be traded over a much wider selection of brokerage firms.

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CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN) (CFN Media) partners with FMW Media Works LLC to produce a regular series on the global cannabis markets to air on major financial news networks across the US. Initial segment features leading cannabis analyst and US Multi-State Operator (MSO)

CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the leading media network dedicated to the global legal cannabis, CBD and psychedelics industries, today announced that its inaugural news segment on the cannabis markets, “Cannabis Market Outlook for 2021,” will air on Bloomberg, Newsmax and Fox Business.

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