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May 26, 2019, 2:58 p.m. EDT

The Week In Cannabis: Canada Funds Research, EU Country Allows Sale Of CBD, NFL Moves Forward

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By Benzinga.com

This week, lawmakers, cannabis entrepreneurs, investors, and other influential people gathered in Washington D.C. for KCSA’s Congressional Cannabis Day Forum. Speakers included Rep. Earl Blumenauer, CNBC’s Tim Seymour, Rep. David Joyce, Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. Don Young.

In other big news, the National Football League and the NFL Players Association reached an agreement to study the possible use of cannabis by players to treat pain; the Canadian government announced it is setting aside about CA$25 million ($18.5 million) to fund cannabis research; and Bulgaria became the first European Union country to issue a Free Sale Certificate for CBD products, setting an important precedent for the region.

On the financial front, Square Inc /zigman2/quotes/205989440/composite SQ -0.86% confirmed that it has a pilot program underway to allow select hemp-derived CBD products on its platform. “Square is currently conducting an invite-only beta for some CBD products," a Square spokesperson told Benzinga.

OrganiGram Holdings /zigman2/quotes/209289540/composite OGI +5.76% listed on the Nasdaq and The Flowr Corporation /zigman2/quotes/205237089/composite FLWPF -8.32% was approved to trade on the same exchange soon, although the exact date “won't be set until the SEC formalizes the 40-F registration statement,” Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga.

“This is definitely a sign that the NASDAQ is easing up on its resistance to cannabis companies. In addition to that, the exchange has also begun to allow Green Market Report to interview these listed companies as the barriers toward cannabis-focused media begin to fall. It's great to see this warming relationship to the industry.”

Subscribe to https://tinyletter.com/javierhasse if you want to receive links to this recap every week.

In the wake of a lawsuit filed against Facebook Inc /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -0.02% , the social media behemoth held a product policy meeting to review its stance on cannabis. The company ultimately decided to maintain its stance against marijuana advertising on its social media platforms.

Story of the Week: The CBD Oral Care Market Appears Promising, But Lacks Conclusive Studies

Over the last five trading days:

• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF /zigman2/quotes/200444869/composite HMLSF -0.73% /zigman2/quotes/208856346/delayed CA:HMMJ -0.15% lost almost 0.5 percent.

• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF /zigman2/quotes/204332491/composite MJ -1.40% tumbled 0.65 percent.

• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF /zigman2/quotes/211349815/composite YOLO +0.65% lost 0.7 percent.

• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust /zigman2/quotes/209901640/composite SPY +0.0030% closed the period down 0.94 percent.

Top marijuana stocks with a market cap above $500 million trading on U.S. exchanges performed as follows over the last five trading days: 

• Acreage Holdings : up 2.8 percent

• Aphria Inc /zigman2/quotes/207425803/composite APHA -3.44% : up 7.6 percent

• Aurora Cannabis Inc /zigman2/quotes/210559470/composite ACB +5.01% : down 4.3 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc : down 4.35 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp /zigman2/quotes/200603886/composite CGC -0.75% : down 0.4 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206842762/composite CRON -1.92% : up 3 percent

• Curaleaf Holdings Inc /zigman2/quotes/205334348/composite CURLF +2.50% : down 6.2 percent

• Green Growth Brands Inc /zigman2/quotes/204912440/composite GGBXF 0.00% : down 9.6 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd /zigman2/quotes/204266798/composite TGODF -3.95% :up 4.9 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc /zigman2/quotes/204912440/composite GGBXF 0.00% : down 9.6 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR /zigman2/quotes/209686240/composite GWPH -1.89% : up 4.9 percent

• Hexo Corp /zigman2/quotes/206508254/composite HEXO -2.46% : down 1.7 percent

• Harvest Health & Recreation Inc /zigman2/quotes/207218380/composite HRVSF +8.66% : down 1.1 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc /zigman2/quotes/201709321/composite ITHUF +1.67% : down 6.6 percent

• Marimed Inc /zigman2/quotes/209406908/composite MRMD -4.55% : down 5.9 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201940908/composite MMNFF -5.77% : down 9.7 percent

• OrganiGram Holdings Inc : down 6.1 percent

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co /zigman2/quotes/200553749/composite SMG +0.75% : up 1.2 percent

• Tilray Inc /zigman2/quotes/209129655/composite TLRY +2.84% : down 3.9 percent

Green Thumb Industries closed on a $105-million senior secured non-brokered private placement that the company said it intends to use for general working capital purposes, growth initiatives and to retire existing debt. GTI pointed specifically to broadening its brand portfolio and going to market faster in key states like New Jersey, where they were awarded a cultivation, processing and retail license in December.

The notes have a maturity date of May 22, 2022 and will bear interest from the date of issue at 12 percent per annum. With this financing, GTI has the option to borrow an additional $45 million over the next six months.

“GTI continues to be a first-mover — this time in the capital markets with a debt offering that drives down the cost to finance the business. This capital puts us in a solid position to execute on our business plan while minimizing dilution for our shareholders," said Andy Grossman, GTI's head of capital markets. 

Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett initiated coverage of Aphria with a Buy rating and CA$15 ($11.14) price target. Full story here.

More than 150 professional athletes joined forces with fans to petition the World Anti-Doping Agency to remove cannabis from its prohibited substance list.

Ranging from Super Bowl champions and Olympic medalists to Stanley Cup winners and NBA All-Stars, athletes including Mike Tyson, Anna Symonds, Anna Valent, Riley Cote, Nate Jackson, Marvin Washington and Kaitlyn Verfuerth signed a letter promoting the health, wellness and pain relief benefits of cannabis. Athletes for CARE submitted the letter to WADA on behalf of its 150-plus members and kicked off a Change.org petition for other fans and supporters to join the campaign. The petition garnered almost 2,000 signatures within 24 hours. 

The Texas Senate approved an expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program to include more qualifying conditions and make the process easier for patients.

“The bill had previously passed in the House and now awaits final legislative approval before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for his signature,” Brendan Bures explained in this article.

Dr. Robb Farms announced it has received its Annual Cultivation License in California for the first Dr. Robb Farms Hybrid Indoor Facility at the Coachillin’ complex in Desert Hot Springs, making the company one of the first 100 annual license holders for cultivation in the state. Dr. Robb Farms also received the first annual license issued for Medium Mixed Light Tier 2 in California.

“We are thrilled to have gotten our license and to be part of California cannabis history,” said founder and CEO Dr. Robert Flannery. 

“We cannot wait to enter the next phase of Dr. Robb Farms — being able to harness our proprietary technology and best-in-class, science based cultivation practices that will truly allow us to share the highest quality flower with our California consumers.”

California made public its cannabis excise taxes numbers for the first quarter of 2019.

Based on the reported figures, total adult use sales rose by 92 percent year-over-year, from $213 million in the first quarter of 2018 to $409.3 million for the first quarter of 2019.

“Most of the growth is attributed to ‘preregulated’ inventory that was sold through in the first quarter of 2018 but not taxed,” Matt Karnes, founder and managing partner of GreenWave Advisors, told Benzinga.

GreenWave Advisors estimates medical marijuana sales to be roughly 40 percent of total sales, meaning total cannabis sales in the first quarter of 2019 should have hit $682.2 million.

The Hemp & Cannabis Marketplace will make its debut at next month’s 2019 Licensing Expo. This week, curators PRØHBTD, announced the 12 consumer brands set to take cannabis further mainstream through licensing partnerships at Las Vegas in June: CBD Living, Kiva Confections, Legion of Bloom, SoKO Cannabis Creations, The Patch Co., Hempathy, Heavy Grass, Futurola USA, PRØHBTD Ceeby Dee's Hangover Recipe, Foria Wellness and Jushi Inc.

Green Peak Innovations — which in December received a total of more than 30 licenses covering medical cannabis cultivation, processing and provisioning in Michigan — rolled out its North Cannabis Company brand. Full story here.

Lowell Herb Co. partnered with LGBTQ-identifying artist and entrepreneur Dina Rodriguez of Letter Shoppe to create a piece of art that honors inclusivity and celebrates love while directly benefiting the LGBTQ community through a partnership with GLAAD.

This is the first-ever partnership between GLAAD and a cannabis brand. For the entire month of June, buyers of the Pride Pack will receive Rodriguez' poster as a gift, and 10 percent of the sale will go to GLAAD.

Terrascend Corp /zigman2/quotes/209651870/composite TRSSF +8.67% reported first-quarter revenue of CA$14.6 million ($10.8 million) and reiterated its full-year guidance. Full results here.

CV Sciences Inc /zigman2/quotes/205511268/composite CVSI +8.23% , a supplier and manufacturer of hemp CBD products, announced its full support of the California Assembly’s Appropriations Committee’s unanimous passage of Assembly Bill 228 last week. Authored by Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Assembly Bill 228 would expressly permit the retail sale of hemp-derived CBD in food, supplements and topical applications. The legislation now heads to the full Assembly for approval this week.

Californians for Equal Access, a statewide alliance of legal cannabis businesses, launched and announced opposition to a lawsuit threatening cannabis delivery. The alliance said the lawsuit, brought against the state by 24 cities and one county, endangers the legal market. 

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