CANNABIS SALES ON A HIGH AS CONSUMERS STOCKPILE AND STAY HOME

Cannabis sales have seen a sharp surge in the last couple of weeks with consumers stocking up on weed and weed products as part of their stay-at-home strategy, though the sustainability of this trend needs to be monitored closely. In our Nov. 6, 2019, Stash report, we highlighted that cannabis stocks should be viewed as defensive plays because, similar to staples such as tobacco and alcohol, cannabis is unlikely to lose demand in a recessionary environment. Events from the last two weeks support this thesis since cannabis retailers across the U.S. experienced a sharp rise in sales this month as the coronavirus pandemic is prompting consumers to stock up on products. Notably, many states have deemed cannabis businesses “essential” during this pandemic. According to data by Headset, daily sales in California spiked 159% y/y on March 16, with Washington state up 100% and Colorado up 46% (see chart below). On average, y/y adult-use sales on Fridays between Jan. 10 and March 6 were up 70% in California, 8% in Washington state and 9% in Colorado. The average y/y increase for adult-use sales on Mondays between Jan. 6 and March 9 was 71% in California, 15% in Washington state and 10% in Colorado – meaning the percent increases seen in each market on Monday, March 16, were several standard deviations beyond the norm. In each market, the sales figures posted on that Monday looked much more like a typical Friday, usually the biggest sales day of the week for retail cannabis stores. The surge in sales is corroborated by data from Akerna (KERN) which shows that U.S. cannabis sales grew 19.2% w/w for the seven-day period ending March 18, led by a 20.8% rise in medical cannabis sales, 11.6% growth in adult-use sales, and a 22.6% jump in flower sales. While the rise in sales is remarkable, it requires close monitoring as the pandemic spreads, income levels fall and unemployment rises, and sales normalize from current panic-driven highs. Additionally, as a consumer staples product, investors should not expect sales to continue rising week to week and should anticipate sales declining in immediate weeks, settling at a normalized level.

This increase is being driven by the emergence of cannabis as the product of choice when consumers are alone or in small groups. The spread of coronavirus has left many Americans anxious, and cannabis is fast emerging as one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety. A survey by MKM Partners of 1,000 cannabis consumers and 863 alcohol consumers found that the two options are being used the most to self-medicate in these trying times. The survey also found that marijuana users were more likely to isolate themselves or gather only in small groups when consuming weed, while alcohol drinkers preferred larger groups; 68% of cannabis consumers said the plant was their preferred choice when alone vs. 42% of alcohol consumers preferring alcohol when alone. As medical experts and national leaders urge social distance to limit the spread of coronavirus, Americans will find themselves more isolated than usual in the coming weeks, making cannabis their product of choice when consumers are alone or in small groups. This is in line with our thesis published in our Cannabis Industry Primer where we highlighted that beer and wine face the highest cannibalization risk due to rising marijuana consumption. The current rise in cannabis sales will only accelerate this trend.

Cannabis retailers and online delivery companies are emerging as the biggest beneficiaries of the rapid increase in sales. According to Marijuana Business Daily, California-based retailer Harborside (HSDEF) is adding two more vehicles to its fleet and plans to hire up to three new delivery drivers and shift some workers from its sales staff into that role to keep up with demand for cannabis delivery. It is worth noting that HSDEF derives a majority of its revenue from flower sales – this insulates the company from the expected disruption in the industry’s supply chain due to the shortage of vape-related supply from China. Online cannabis delivery company Eaze – dubbed the Uber of weed – has seen a 34% increase in the number of customers signing up for its service as well as a surge in the size of orders, while CA-based Driven Deliveries has seen a nearly 20% increase in transactions and a 10% jump in order value since coronavirus was discovered in the state. The across-the-board rise in sales is validated by reports from the California Delivery Alliance that sales are way up across the state’s 200+ licensed delivery services.

Chart 1: Adult-Use Cannabis Sales in March 2020 by Day and Market: Percent Change vs. Same Day in 2019  Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Headset

Chart 1: Adult-Use Cannabis Sales in March 2020 by Day and Market: Percent Change vs. Same Day in 2019
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Headset

CANNA NEWS

COVID-19

How COVID-19 will impact the private cannabis markets. Five key points by Key Investment Partners summarizing how the spread of COVID-19 and subsequent economic slowdown will affect the private cannabis markets: 1) Private cannabis companies who have raised capital recently and have cash on their balance sheets should be in good position to weather the storm. 2) Investment managers with dry powder will ultimately benefit from such an environment since capital dedicated to cannabis investments will become more scarce. 3) Vice industries will remain an effective shield from market downturns. 4) An economic slowdown will make cannabis legalization at the federal and state level more attractive as budgets become tighter due to decreasing tax revenues. 5) The vast majority of economists predict the U.S. will start to rebound later in the year, though they are split over how soon and how fast. Read More (Key Investment Partners)

Chart 2: COVID-19 Spread Simulation – Washington Post  Source: Intro-Blue, Key Investment Partners

Chart 2: COVID-19 Spread Simulation – Washington Post
Source: Intro-Blue, Key Investment Partners

Medical cannabis businesses increasingly deemed ‘essential’ during coronavirus pandemic. The New York state Department of Health on March 17 declared that medical cannabis businesses are essential. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses to close for 30 days starting at noon March 18. But regulators said licensed recreational cannabis stores and medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to remain open as long as they adhere to strict social-distancing protocols, according to guidance issued March 18. San Francisco on March 16 ordered the closure of nonessential businesses, including all cannabis stores, but reversed that decision March 17, saying cannabis dispensaries could stay open but only for pickup and delivery. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Amid coronavirus pandemic, California gov classifies cannabis industry as ‘essential’ during state’s effective lockdown. Under a clarification document Gov. Gavin Newsom issued late March 20, all licensed marijuana businesses in California can continue with business as usual during an effective statewide lockdown implemented in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The decision to categorize cannabis companies as “essential” in effect provides an economic lifeline to the marijuana industry by allowing MJ businesses to keep their doors open. Before Newsom’s declaration, cannabis business executives were unsure where they could operate legally in the state after the governor issued a stay-at-home order to California residents on March 19. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Nevada pot shops to remain open during coronavirus closures. State officials in Nevada announced on March 18 that cannabis dispensaries have been deemed essential businesses, allowing the shops to remain open during a closure ordered by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak. The governor ordered the closure of nonessential businesses on March 17 in an effort to control the growing pandemic of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. “I have spoken with Nevada’s top medical experts to get their assessment of our current situation and most responsible next steps,” Sisolak said at a press conference on March 17. “They have advised that the most effective course of action is to direct all Nevadans to stay home and for all nonessential businesses to close to the public for 30 days.” Read More (High Times)

Cannabis operators excluded from SBA’s disaster assistance during COVID-19 pandemic. On March 11, President Trump instructed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to allot $50 billion in aid to small businesses via low-interest loans during the historic coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, which would help small businesses stay afloat with current expenses, including payroll. While the total assistance SBA will offer in these low-interest loans is still, one thing is certain: Cannabis businesses will not be offered relief by SBA. “Because federal law prohibits the sale and distribution of cannabis, the SBA does not provide financial assistance to businesses that are illegal under federal law,” Carol Chastang, SBA public affairs specialis said. Read More (Cannabis Business Times)

Key New York lawmaker says coronavirus may spell doom for marijuana legalization in budget. The prospect of legalizing marijuana in New York through the budget this year appears increasingly dim, with leading lawmakers indicating that state’s urgent need to contain the coronavirus will overshadow other legislative priorities such as cannabis reform. The sponsor of a comprehensive legalization bill, Sen. Liz Krueger (D), said on March 18 that she now doesn’t expect lawmakers to reach an agreement to include the policy change in the budget despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) repeatedly arguing that the spending legislation is the ideal vehicle to get it done. “I don’t believe marijuana is going to be negotiated in this budget in the next few days,” Krueger, chair of the Senate Finance Committee that’s responsible for budget negotiations, said. Read More (Marijuana Moment)

British Columbia’s cannabis stores working to mitigate ‘potential supply issues’. British Columbia’s adult-use cannabis wholesaler says it is working closely with industry stakeholders to mitigate potential supply issues amid the coronavirus outbreak gripping the global economy. BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) is also reinforcing safety and hygiene procedures for employees and customers. “At this time, we are not experiencing any delays or impacts to the supply of nonmedical cannabis product,” LDB Chief Executive Blain Lawson said in a statement. LDB activated an Emergency Operations Center to monitor the situation. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

All PEI cannabis stores to temporarily close; online store remains open. All four regulated adult-use cannabis stores in Prince Edward Island on March 19 temporarily closed their doors “until further notice” as part of the province’s measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The e-commerce site, which is owned and operated by the province, will continue to process orders, a spokesperson told Marijuana Business Daily. The province provided less than 24 hours of notice about the store closures, causing long queues to form. PEI operates cannabis stores in O’Leary, Summerside, Charlottetown and Montague. The closures are effective at 2 p.m. local time March 19. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

AGLC can’t mandate whether liquor and cannabis retailers should close amid COVID-19 pandemic. As the state of public health emergency continues in Alberta, it looks like residents may still be able to access liquor and wine stores amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. On March 18, Prince Edward Island announced, effective March 19 afternoon, liquor and cannabis stores in that province would close as the province announced all non-essential services would close down. According to Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis, the same may not happen here. “Liquor and cannabis retail stores are not impacted at this time,” Heather Holmen with AGLC said in a statement. “In Alberta, retail liquor and cannabis stores are independently owned and operated. It is at the discretion of licensees/owners to make decisions that best serve their businesses.” Read More (Global News)

Cannabis Council of Canada appeals to government for ‘immediate intervention’. A cannabis industry group is appealing to Canada’s federal government for immediate intervention to help stave off challenges facing the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Mary Ng, federal minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, Cannabis Council of Canada CEO George Smitherman expressed concern that policies of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) have not applied to the regulated cannabis sector. “This concern has been significantly exacerbated in light of BDC emerging as the central support for Canada’s small- and-medium-sized businesses, as indicated by the $10 billion stimulus package announced last week,” he wrote. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

STATE AND REGULATORY NEWS

Michigan recreational cannabis sales increase 34% in February, prices down slightly. Michigan’s recreational marijuana industry continued its steady ascent in February. Monthly recreational marijuana sales hit $14.8 million, a 34% increase over the nearly $9.8 million in January sales. The first full month of recreational sales, which began December 1, logged $7 million in sales. The number of licensed recreational marijuana retailers grew from 42 in January to 59 in February and there were 74 as of March 17, according to the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website. The average retail cost for an ounce of flower in February was $494.77 per ounce ($7,916 per pound), down from $512.05 per ounce in January and $516.21 in December. Read More (Marijuana Retail Report)

Ballot measures, legislation, and legalization – Cannabis in 2020. Even with 2019 marking the beginning of a notable election, marijuana legalization campaigns were able to accomplish many of their goals. After 2018 saw five states increase access to cannabis, many states abandoned waiting for broad approval from Congress and began legalizing the plant on their own through ballot measures and legalization. As of December 2019, thirty-three states have legalized medical use and eleven more have approved adult recreational use. The legalization efforts go beyond just states that normally vote blue – Missouri and South Dakota are beginning to warm up to the idea of legalization. Democrats and conservative Republicans in these states are beginning to see eye to eye – making it a bipartisan issue. Read More (Cannabis Brands)

U.S. cannabis spot index down 2.1% to $1,375 per pound; April forward price down $35 to $1,400 per pound. The simple average (non-volume weighted) price decreased $27 to $1,591 per pound, with 68% of transactions (one standard deviation) in the $845 to $2,337 per pound range. The average reported deal size was nominally unchanged at 2.1 pounds. In grams, the Spot price was $3.03 and the simple average price was $3.51. The average reported forward deal size was 38 pounds. The proportion of forward deals for outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor-grown flower was 48%, 35%, and 17% of forward arrangements, respectively. Read More (Cannabis Benchmarks)

Chart 3: Cannabis Benchmarks U.S. Spot Index   Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 3: Cannabis Benchmarks U.S. Spot Index
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

 

Chart 4: Cannabis Benchmarks U.S. Implied Forward Curve  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 4: Cannabis Benchmarks U.S. Implied Forward Curve
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

 

Chart 5: Cannabis Benchmarks U.S. Spot Price by Medical or Recreational  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 5: Cannabis Benchmarks U.S. Spot Price by Medical or Recreational
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Canada sees steady adult-use cannabis sales growth in January. Canadian cannabis retail sales grew 4.3% from December to January despite declining month-over-month sales in Quebec, according to the latest monthly data from Statistics Canada. More than CAD $154 million ($107 million) worth of adult-use cannabis products were sold by retailers in January, continuing an upward national trend sales since legalization in October 2018. In Quebec, where the provincial government has banned sales of vape pens and restricted edibles in the name of public health, legal cannabis sales declined by 4.3% on a monthly basis to nearly CAD $32 million in January. In contrast, January cannabis sales in Canada’s biggest province, Ontario, increased 10% on a monthly basis to exceed CAD $37 million. British Columbia’s licensed cannabis stores also enjoyed month-over-month sales growth in January, rising 11% to CAD $19.7 million. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

The Canada cannabis industry and COVID-19. Sales of cannabis have been steadily growing over the past year. The latest data from Health Canada tallies the total September 2019 non-medical and medical sales at approximately 13,000 kilograms. Cannabis Benchmarks projects that volume has increased to approximately 14,000 kilograms last month as more retail locations opened across the country, especially in key provinces such as Ontario. March daily sales are likely to be volatile with COVID-19 hitting North America. Over the past week, cannabis users have been stocking up on cannabis in every province. It has been reported that there are lines at dispensaries across Toronto, while online sales have spiked. Even with these spikes in sales, Canada seems to be prepared. There will likely be no shortage of product, as expanding production capacity has led to growing inventory of packaged goods. The latest Health Canada report shows 66,000 kilograms of packaged goods in inventory as of the end of November 2019. If that amount of inventory was still in place today, that is enough cannabis to meet 4.7 months’ worth of demand. Read More (Cannabis Benchmarks)

Chart 6: Monthly Cannabis Volume Sold in Canada  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 6: Monthly Cannabis Volume Sold in Canada
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

 

Chart 7: Packaged Canadian Cannabis Inventory  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 7: Packaged Canadian Cannabis Inventory
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

COMPANY NEWS

Canopy temporarily closes all dispensaries due to coronavirus. Canopy Growth (CGC) temporarily closed all of its retail stores throughout Canada on March 17 at 5:00 p.m. due to the coronavirus outbreak. The closures will affect all 23 corporate-owned Tokyo Smoke and Tweed retail locations in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, along with the Tweed Visitor Centre in Ontario. CEO David Klein indicated the company would move all sales online. Medical cannabis patients can still use Spectrum Therapeutics to purchase medical cannabis from Canopy. Read More (Ganjapreneur)

Cannabis event firm Lift announces layoffs amid pandemic. Toronto-based marijuana conference company Lift said it temporarily laid off a number of employees and paused unprofitable business segments “to preserve value amidst (the) global pandemic.” The company says its Lift & Co. Expo (LFCOF) will be unaffected by the changes. When reached by phone and email, the company would not say how many employees were affected. Lift plans to rehire those affected by the layoffs “if and when” the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved, the release said. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects the pandemic is having on event businesses around the world, the company has made difficult and strategic decisions intended to preserve cash and long-term shareholder value,” the company said in a news release. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Many marijuana companies increase costly sick pay policies due to coronavirus. Cannabis businesses – like mainstream U.S. companies – are extending sick pay provisions in response to the coronavirus pandemic to help ensure employees and customers remain safe and healthy. The measures could prove costly for marijuana companies in the short term at a time when some are struggling financially, but the hope is that stringent health measures could aid in stemming the rapid increase in coronavirus infections. U.S. government officials might soon make companies offer mandatory sick pay and family leave for work missed because of the coronavirus. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Flower One provides corporate update regarding COVID-19. Flower One Holdings (FLOOF) confirmed that it continues to operate its 455,000 square foot flagship cultivation and production facility and is doing so in a manner which is compliant with the social distancing and public health guidelines issued by Nevada Health. Flower One also confirmed that the company has observed a notable increase in demand of both its wholesale and finished packaged products, due in part to the company’s demonstrated capability to deliver a wide range of custom products to meet the pre-existing growing demand. This recent increase in consumer demand for cannabis products is consistent with trends in other state markets. Read More (Newswire)

Planet 13 offering expands to online ordering and delivery services. Planet 13 Holdings (PLNHF) announced that it will provide online ordering, delivery, and core dispensary services. Planet 13 will continue to ensure that customers and patients who rely on cannabis to manage their daily health and wellness needs have access. The restaurant and all secondary SuperStore activities will be shut until it is safe to reopen. The company’s staff has undergone extensive health and safety training. Best practices have been implemented, including strict adherence to social distancing protocols, wearing gloves, regular cleaning. Read More (Newswire)

MediPharm Labs Australia to supply pharma-quality cannabis oil products to compass clinics in Australia. MediPharm Labs (MEDIF) announced it will begin supplying finished pharmaceutical-quality cannabis oil products in Australia as part of a two-year agreement entered into between MediPharm Labs Australia and Compass Clinics. Under the agreement, MediPharm Labs Australia will be supplying bottles of formulated cannabis oil white labelled under Compass Clinics’ own brand. MediPharm Labs Australia will import the formulated cannabis oil products from MediPharm Labs’ Canadian TGA GMP certified facility, for further distribution to Compass Clinic within Australia. Read More (GlobeNewswire)

Elixinol refocuses CBD strategy, global ambitions amid FDA inaction. Australian hemp company Elixinol Global (ELLXF) had grand ambitions when it went public on the Australian Securities Exchange in January 2018, offering what might be termed the holy trinity of hemp business offerings: one for hemp and CBD supplements, one for hemp food products and one for an emerging medicinal marijuana market in Australia. Less than two years later, the company announced it was abandoning two out of three of those businesses and doubling down on CBD supplements. Elixinol’s CEO Americas Leif Harrison sat down with Hemp Industry Daily to discuss the move and the company’s future in the CBD market. The decision to divest from Hemp Foods Australia, sell Nunyara assets and redeploy cash into Elixinol branded products was a combination of two factors, Harrison explained: “It’s business performance, and it’s market performance,” Harrison told Hemp Industry Daily. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Cronos receives SEC inquiry. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sent an inquiry to Cronos Group (CRON) requesting the company retain records related to how it recognizes certain revenue, according to internal Cronos communications reviewed by MarketWatch. In an email sent to employees from a company lawyer on March 10, Cronos instructed staff to retain certain records pertaining to a “confidential and non-public inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission.” The SEC Division of Enforcement has requested that the company retain and preserve all records about revenue recognition related to bulk-resin purchases and wholesale sales of biomass or other products. Read More (Market Watch)

RavenQuest Edmonton facility sees cannabis license revoked. RavenQuest BioMed (RVVQF) has lost its license to cultivate cannabis for its Alberta Green Biotech subsidiary. The firm announced that the company has received a notification from Health Canada for the intention to revoke the license. The revocation of the license is the result of the firm losing access to its Edmonton facility. The company had assets seized by the landlord back in January as per government documents, which was due to outstanding amounts of $410,464.58 that were owed to Fourell Edmonton, the firm’s landlord. The company has indicated that they will “continue to try and work out a resolution with Fourell Edmonton properties and follow the regulations from Health Canada to seek to regain the license.” The company also indicated that it may “seek damages” from Fourell and its principal, Norn Ellingson if it deems it as being required. Read More (the deep dive)

Troubled cannabis retailer Green Growth Brands announces CEO’s departure. Green Growth Brands (GGBXF), an embattled cannabis retailer in the process of selling off its line of mall-based CBD kiosks, said its CEO has stepped down, effective immediately. The outgoing CEO, Peter Horvath, came to the Columbus, Ohio, company after leading company strategy for retail giants such as Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle Outfitters, DSW and Limited Brands. Horvath’s departure comes after a tumultuous few months for the company, which owns the nation’s largest chain of CBD retail kiosks. Green Growth Brands said that former chief operating officer Randy Whitaker would take over as interim CEO. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

DEA considers MMJ Bio Pharma Cultivation federal marijuana grow license on tribal lands. MMJ Bio Pharma Cultivation, the premier medical cannabis cultivation and research company, has received notification that the DEA approval process is moving forward processing the company application to grow marijuana as a bulk manufacturer for cannabis research. A notice was published in the Federal Register. MMJ is developing an oral drug product from natural whole plant extract derivatives from the marijuana plant containing THC and CBD. MMJ will be utilizing its new product for an FDA approved treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) and Huntington’s disease (HD). Read More (Yahoo! Finance)

Cannabis retailer Sweet Flower is winning competitive licenses to build its southern California footprint. Sweet Flower has six licenses in the Los Angeles County area, and the California cannabis retailer has plans to continue growing its regional footprint. CEO Tim Dodd spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about his company’s commitment to providing a high-end CPG retail experience and competing in the California market. The company has a strong track record of winning licenses, and Dodd sees more organic growth in the company’s future. Winning licenses in Southern California markets coming online adjacent to Sweet Flower’s existing footprint is of particular interest. The company’s team also has strong M&A experience–opportunistic acquisitions may be selectively considered. Sweet Flower has built a strong regional footprint, and there are plenty of opportunities to grow within its current Southern California market. While this region remains the company’s focus, a market in Northern California and one outside the state may be a consideration, according to Dodd. Read More (New Cannabis Ventures)

EARNINGS

CV Sciences’ 4Q CBD revenue drops 34% from a year ago. CV Sciences (CVSI) announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2019. During the quarter, sales declined 34% to $9.4 million, compared to $14.2 million in the prior year period. The company reported a loss of 7 cents a share. The decline came despite broad availability of the company’s topical CBD products, now available in more than 5,500 retail locations throughout the U.S., including CVS Pharmacy and Kroger grocery stores. “The category is simply over-branded,” CEO Joseph Dowling told investors March 16 about the quarter. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily) and More (New Cannabis Ventures)

HEXO generates $17 million revenue in 2Q but expects $265-280 million impairment charge. HEXO Corp. (HEXO) announced that it has not filed its interim financial statements and related management’s discussion and analysis and certifications for the three and six month periods ended January 31, 2020 (Q2 2020 filings) by the filing deadline of March 16, 2020. The delay in the filing of the Q2 2020 filings has arisen due to certain exceptional circumstances, including that for the quarter ended January 31, 2020, the company will be recording a significant impairment loss in the Q2 2020 filings. The company is in the process of completing its impairment assessment and has not reach its final conclusions. However, it is expected that the impairment loss will be in the range of $265 million to $280 million. Read More (New Cannabis Ventures)

Cronos Group to restate 2019 financials to reduce 3Q year-to-date revenue by CAD $7.6 million. Cronos Group (CRON) announced that the company determined, on the recommendation of the audit committee of the company’s board of directors and after consultation with KPMG, the company’s independent registered public accounting firm, that Cronos Group’s previously issued unaudited interim financial statements for first, second and third quarters of 2019 prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards as filed on SEDAR, and with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 6-K, will be restated and reissued and should no longer be relied upon. Read More (New Cannabis Ventures)

Aleafia Health reports fourth quarter and year-end results. Aleafia Health (ALEAF) reported its financial results for the 2019 fourth quarter and fiscal year 2019. Q4 2019 net revenue was $6.0 million, an increase of 22% over the previous quarter. The increase was primarily due to a $1.0 million increase in cannabis revenue. For FY 2019, net revenue was $16.4 million, an increase of 391% over the previous year. The increase was primarily due to a $11.0 million increase in net cannabis revenue, along with an increase of $2.0 million in clinic revenue. Q4 2019 net loss was $9.8 million, compared to net income of $1.9 million in the previous quarter. This loss was primarily due to non-cash items including a decline of $8.0 million in unrealized gain on fair value of biological assets compared to Q3 2019, and a non-cash $3.6 million deferred income tax expense in the quarter. Read More (GlobeNewswire)

CAPITAL MARKETS

Aurora Cannabis founder dumps 12 million shares. Terry Booth, the founder and one-time CEO of Aurora Cannabis (ACB), has sold 12.2 million shares of the company he once ran – a development, says Jefferies analyst Owen Bennett, that is “not great for sentiment” about the stock. Why is Booth selling now? One might imagine that, because Booth is leaving the company, he’d want to cut ties with Aurora entirely, and is therefore selling off his stake in order to make as clean a cut as possible. But as Bennett points out, Booth “remains in a strategic advisor role” at the company. He has not in fact cut ties entirely. Moreover, as an important advisor to Aurora Cannabis, he presumably has a good insider’s vantage point to how things are going within Aurora, and what the company’s prospects look like. Booth still owns about 6.16 million Aurora shares and options either directly or through his investment company, according to insider security filings. Read More (Yahoo! Finance)

Deep in the weeds of the Covid-19 outbreak, cannabis companies adapt to survive. Cannabis companies were cheered at first with the self-quarantine efforts leading to a rush on the dispensaries, but as the seriousness of the virus has grown more, adjustments are taking place. Whether its scaling back revenue projections or switching to curbside delivery, the ever-nimble cannabis executives are jumping into action. As concerns over the transmission of the virus have increased, many dispensaries are now shifting retail strategies to make sure medical patients aren’t left to fend for themselves. San Jose-based dispensary Airfield Supply Co. said that since March 12, the dispensary’s foot traffic has shot up to some 2,000 customers a day from its normal 1,500 and sales have also increased 25%. When the dispensary announced free delivery via its fleet of Teslas (TSLA) on March 13, delivery sales went up a full 100%. Read More (Real Money)

High-profile founders leaving U.S. marijuana companies signals new phase for industry. A number of high-profile founders of U.S.-based cannabis companies have stepped down in the past several weeks amid continuing struggles to move their firms toward profitability. Industry experts suggest this is a sign of maturation among marijuana businesses as investors demand they focus more on profits than raising capital and relying on previously booming stock prices. That focus is common in mainstream industries. As investors push for more accountability and a quicker path to eventual profitability, seasoned executives from outside cannabis are entering the industry to help shape the future – and that leaves less room for original company founders who might not have the skill sets to oversee such an evolution. Investors and entrepreneurs alike are discovering a big difference between starting a company and then managing it as it becomes more complex in terms of finances and structure. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Deal making in the cannabis space will likely cool down as the coronavirus pandemic puts major cities and communities on lockdown. That’s according to Julie Herzog, head of Fortis Law Partners’ corporate securities practice. Expect to see companies either delay deals or remain private for longer than they may have planned to before the COVID-19 crisis fully took hold, the legal pro told Benzinga. “Everyone is so focused on taking care of themselves and their own businesses, and investors are a little more risk-averse right now,” Herzog said. Over the last six years, Herzog has negotiated and closed over 75 transactions valued at more than $1.5 billion. Read More (Benzinga)

Full suite of Farm Credit Canada’s financial lifelines open to cannabis businesses. Farm Credit Canada (FCC), a government-owned agricultural lender, says the full suite of its lending products is available to legal cannabis producers across the country – ensuring operators have access to the capital they need to overcome any short-term cash-flow challenges. While the lending products are not tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, any liquidity offered through FCC could be helpful for cannabis companies feeling the widespread economic and financial fallout from the virus. Many of Canada’s regulated marijuana companies were already strapped for cash before the pandemic put the brakes on the global economy. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Group led by former Acreage Holdings president recapitalizes California cannabis company with $14.5 million investment. Indus Holdings (INDXF) announced that it has entered into a $2.3 million loan with lenders including Geronimo Capital and Merida Capital Partners. In connection with the loan, Indus has entered into a non-binding term sheet with Geronimo Capital and Merida Capital Partners with respect to a financing of up to $14.5 million (inclusive of the $2.3 million loan) of equity or senior secured convertible debentures. The investor group and the company intend to finalize the terms of the follow-on financing over the coming weeks. “Our objective is to finalize our investment into the company and return the company’s focus to running a lean organization singularly committed to delivering high quality products to customers,” said Mitch Baruchowitz of Merida Capital. Read More (New Cannabis Ventures)

New York CBD startup delays Canadian IPO on coronavirus issues. New York-based CanaFarma Hemp Products started trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) on March 19. The listing, previously scheduled for March 17, was delayed at the company’s request “to account for world events relating to the coronavirus pandemic, which are expected to have caused extra delay in shareholders receiving their new shares,” a statement read. CanaFarma, known for a hemp oil-infused chewing gum called Yooforic, will trade under the symbol “CNFA,” the company said. Founded in March 2019, CanaFarma announced in September it would execute a reverse takeover with KYC Technology, an independent reporting issuer on the CSE, with the goal of being publicly listed on the exchange. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Village Farms International announces CAD $10 million underwritten public offering of common shares. Village Farms International (VFFIF), announced that it has entered into an agreement with Beacon Securities, as sole underwriter, pursuant to which the underwriter has agreed to purchase, on an underwritten basis, 3,125,000 common shares in the capital of the company at a price of CAD $3.20 per offered share for aggregate gross proceeds to the company of CAD $10,000,000. In addition, the company has granted the underwriter an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional number of offered shares equal to 15% of the offered shares sold pursuant to the offering at the issue price, exercisable in whole or in part, by the underwriter, at any time, and from time to time, up to 30 days from the closing of the offering. Read More (Village Farms International) and More

GenCanna bankruptcy leads MariMed to write-down $63 million for its investment and receivables. In late 2018, MariMed (MRMD) announced a $30 million investment into GenCanna Global, a Kentucky-based hemp company, to help it expand its processing facilities. On March 17, the company revealed in an SEC Form NT 10-K that it has written off not only its investment in the company, which declared bankruptcy in February, but also an additional $33 million related to its $29 million receivables balance with GenCanna as well as its $4 million unearned revenue. Read More (New Cannabis Ventures)

MEDICAL CANNABIS

Despite coronavirus, global supply chain for medical cannabis stable. International medical marijuana supply chains appear stable for the time being despite the coronavirus pandemic, with shipments to Europe’s largest market, Germany, remaining uninterrupted. Despite more European countries going into full lockdown mode or closing borders because of the pandemic, disruption in the shipments of medical cannabis to Germany aren’t likely in the short term, according to industry experts. International cannabis companies are implementing work-at-home initiatives to encourage social distancing. Several of Germany’s main suppliers – including the Netherlands’ Office of Medicinal Cannabis, Canadian firms Canopy Growth (CGC) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB) as well as a few German wholesalers – all told Marijuana Business Daily that they do not foresee supply interruptions in the short term. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Washington state allows curbside medical marijuana sales. Washington state is allowing licensed cannabis dispensaries with medically compliant products to provide curbside service to patients in order to “promote social distancing,” according to the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board. Dispensaries can temporarily sell to “qualified patients” outside of their businesses, but “within the licensed property line,” the agency said. However, dispensaries may not operate drive-through windows. All Washington state marijuana stores have been allowed to remain open during the coronavirus crisis. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Illinois allowing curbside medical cannabis sales. As state regulators rush to maintain easy access to medical cannabis amid the crackdown on mass gatherings, Illinois will now allow curbside medical cannabis sales. “The exchange of cash and product must take place on the dispensary’s property or on a public walkway or at the curb of the street adjacent to the dispensary,” according to a memo from the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. The move comes amid the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S, which is seeing unprecedented numbers of business closures and unrelenting pressure on the supply side of commercial markets. Cannabis, while seeing a surge in sales over the past week, is not immune to the regulatory rules that come with “social distancing” and public health norms. Still, in Illinois, home delivery is not allowed. And this curbside policy is not extended to the state’s newly legal adult-use market. Read More (Cannabis Business Times)

New Jersey governor deems medical cannabis dispensaries ‘essential’. New Jersey became the latest state to classify medical cannabis dispensaries as “essential” businesses when the governor ordered all residents to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Phil Murphy issued the stay-at-home order on March 21, saying residents could venture out for necessary travel, NJ.com reported. Murphy’s declaration also ordered nonessential retail businesses in the state to close until further notice. Medical marijuana dispensaries were among those businesses deemed essential and allowed to keep their doors open, along with grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other establishments, according to NJ.com. New York also has deemed MMJ dispensaries essential. California and Illinois, meanwhile, have classified both medical and adult-use retail outlets as essential. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Medical marijuana sales pass $50 million mark in Arkansas. A recent surge in sales brought Arkansas’ nearly-year-old medical marijuana industry over the $50 million threshold. The milestone comes after what local television station KATV described as a “significant increase in sales last week.” Since the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened its doors last year, patients have spent $50.7 million on 7,932 pounds worth of medical marijuana, according to the outlet. There are currently 20 dispensaries open for business in the state, the outlet said, with another 13 that have received licenses but have not opened. It may be some time before any more licenses are doled out, too. Late last month, an Arkansas judge barred the state’s medical marijuana commission from issuing any more licenses as part of a temporary restraining order stemming from a lawsuit against the commission. Read More (High Times)

COVID-19 patients should avoid THC. Aurelius Data, the first global patient perception big data company in plant-based medicines, cautions the public against the potential harmful side effects that can come from consuming cannabis products with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) if a patient is infected with COVID-19. “We know that the epidemiology of COVID-19 is similar to the influenza virus and has a similar disease presentation. And we know that in studies1 where THC was administered to mice with influenza, we saw an increase in viral loads and a decrease in the immune system to fight off the virus. It stands to reason that the same would hold true for Coronavirus and THC consumption could diminish the immune system of someone infected with the virus,” said Aurelius Data CEO Julie Armstrong. More research is required to accurately map the relationship between the immune and endocannabinoid systems, but it’s well established that CBD helps to modulate autoimmune and inflammatory responses. Read More (GlobeNewswire)

CBD/HEMP

How the coronavirus outbreak will hit the hemp industry. It’s unclear what the total economic impact of the coronavirus will be, but one thing is for sure: The hemp industry will not be immune to market effects that will reverberate for weeks, if not months, to come. Some changes brought on by the novel virus might bolster the nascent hemp industry, but it could also bring additional challenges and obstacles for the nascent hemp industry. Here’s how COVID-19 could or is already impacting the hemp industry: research implications, more events canceled, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions. Read More (Cannabis Business Times)

USDA, hemp food producers assure public on coronavirus transmission fears. Companies making hemp-derived foodstuffs are joining federal authorities to remind folks that hemp foods are being inspected as usual and are safe to eat through the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent an alert that no staffing changes are planned at the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, or its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The agency asked businesses to get in touch about any business disruptions caused by the pandemic. “As always, communication between industry and government will be key,” the USDA statement read. “We are all relying on early and frequent communication with one another to overcome challenges as they arise.” The message comes as food manufacturers, including hemp-food makers, scramble to assure customers their products are safe. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Oregon’s HempNova buys 90% stake in another hemp-growing operation. Oregon’s HempNova Lifetech, which grows and dries hemp, has bought a 90% interest in a hemp-growing operation in the southern part of the state. The Eugene-based company announced that it will pay $4.5 million in three cash installments for the percentage stake it bought from Creekside Hemp. The deal includes various assets from the Creekside Hemp, including: 1) 36.15 acres of farmland with water rights and natural gas, 2) two houses with offices, 3) nine greenhouses, 4) a new drying shop that has three commercial machines inside a 15,000-square-foot facility, and 5) various farming, harvesting and processing equipment. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Oregon city considering hemp production ban. Hemp bans in California towns are common as the crop struggles to gather broad support in a state where nearly half of its counties outlaws hemp production. But in Oregon, where hemp has become a widely accepted stable, one city is considering banning production within its limits. The Medford City Council reviewed possible code changes that address the city’s concerns. Medford previously banned growing recreational marijuana, according to the Mail Tribune. The council is also reviewing where hemp-processing facilities might be located, most likely in areas zoned industrial or heavy commercial. The city of Medford currently doesn’t have any hemp grows inside city limits, though there are hemp grow sites just outside the city, including one near an elementary school. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

USDA secretary calls hemp rules a ‘draft,’ sparking industry optimism. Hemp farmers and industry members cheered in late February when federal agriculture officials lifted enforcement action requiring that hemp be tested in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-registered labs and the disposal portion of the interim final rule. Now they might have reason to cheer again, according to industry insiders. That’s because Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress that the interim final rules regulating federal hemp production may be considered a draft, which means their enforcement could be delayed. The question came up in the Senate Agriculture Committee, where an Oregon senator pressed Perdue on where the rules stand. Democratic Sen. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Virginia lawmakers OK bill allowing smokable hemp for anyone 21 and older. Virginia lawmakers have sent Gov. Ralph Northam a proposal allowing people 21 and older to smoke hemp. The bill, sponsored by Republican Delegate Danny Marshall, passed both chambers of the Legislature on February 24. Growing and cultivating hemp is legal under federal law, and farmers in Marshall’s district have embraced the new crop. But the Danville lawmaker told the Virginia Mercury that he wanted to make it clear that it’s legal to smoke hemp, which looks and smells like marijuana but contains only a trace amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient. As an example of the confusion, Marshall noted a local sheriff’s race where one candidate is accusing his opponent of not enforcing state law because hemp flower is sold in specialty stores and gas stations. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Washington, DC, Vermont, and Colorado lead the online CBD revolution, new data shows. According to new CBD start-up information provided by the CBD payment solution Organic Payment Gateways, Washington, DC, Vermont, and Colorado have the highest rates of online CBD start-ups when adjusted for population. Washington, DC is the most active. Due to the long history of cannabis acceptance in these states and in DC, beginning with medical marijuana and culminating with both recreational marijuana and the prevalence of hemp-based, low-THC CBD, this information is not surprising. The low density of start-ups in places like Utah, Louisiana, Arkansas, the Carolinas, and the Dakotas is also not surprising given the relatively slow rates in which those states have adopted more lenient cannabis regulations. Read More (MJ News Network)

Chart 8: CBD Startup Websites: Which U.S. States Have the Most?  Source: Intro-Blue, MJ News Network, OrganicPaymentGateways.com

Chart 8: CBD Startup Websites: Which U.S. States Have the Most?
Source: Intro-Blue, MJ News Network, OrganicPaymentGateways.com

Wheat biotech doubles down on California hemp. An agriculture biotech company that markets high-fiber wheat is partnering with two other California firms in an attempt to grab market share among California hemp producers. Arcadia Biosciences of Davis, California, says it will work with Grow West, a northern California distributor of farm inputs and machinery, and the Buttonwillow Warehouse Company, which sells fertilizer in central and Southern California, to sell and distribute its line of 10 hemp cultivars. “California is a key region for U.S. hemp production,” Sarah Reiter, Arcadia’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. She added that the “strategic partnership,” enables Arcadia to gain “access to every production acre in the state.” The terms of the partnerships were not released. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

PRODUCTS

Edibles may be better than smoking cannabis during the pandemic. Dr. Steffanie Strathdee is an infectious disease epidemiologist who has spent her career working on harm reduction in people with drug addictions. Though she does not claim to be an expert in cannabis nor pulmonary medicine, she does believe that at this point in time, smoking is not advisable. “Right now, we are facing a pandemic where SARS-CoV-2 attacks lung cells, preferentially in the lower respiratory tract. In my view, better to be safe than sorry, so I’d advise anyone who uses marijuana to switch to edibles, especially if they have underlying health conditions like respiratory problems (asthma, COPD), heart problems (hypertension, diabetes), or immune deficiencies,” she said. Read More (Leafly)

CONSUMER AND SOCIAL TRENDS

Cannabis consumers want consistency. Since legalization, the price of legal cannabis has been anything but steady. At its debut, it was being sold for, on average, $9.69 per gram. One year later, the national average rose to $10.30. With illicit markets selling at half the price, it’s no wonder that only 28% of consumers buy exclusively from legal sources. Consumers are looking for a better bang for their buck. Brady Olson, a sales associate at Prairie Records in Saskatoon, says that he has noticed consumers attracted more to value offerings. For example, 3.5 grams of a mid-to-high THC strain for $35 to $40 is preferred to a premium strain with lower THC. He states that, at least with the customers he sees, consumers are more drawn to value brands not only for their price, but for their simplicity. Read More (Cannabis Retailer)

RETAIL

Marijuana brand concentration highlights need for strategic branding, marketing. As most recreational cannabis markets mature, a small number of brands are gobbling up the majority of sales. “When analyzing the competitive landscape of the cannabis market we often look at a metric called ‘brand concentration,’ which is simply the proportion of sales to the top 10 brands,” said Cooper Ashley, a data analyst with Seattle-based cannabis analytics firm Headset. The less concentrated a market, the more competitive it is, meaning sales are spread across more brands. Data from Headset shows that brand concentration in recreational cannabis markets in California, Colorado and Washington state is increasing. “We are seeing that proportion increase over time in most of our markets, indicating that the top brands are capturing more and more market share,” Ashley said. Whether a marijuana company is a top 10 brand or a smaller player, it must have a solid branding and marketing strategy to retain or strengthen its foothold. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Chart 9: Recreational Marijuana Brand Concentration by State: 2017-19  Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Headset

Chart 9: Recreational Marijuana Brand Concentration by State: 2017-19
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Headset

Colorado cannabis retailer voluntarily closes over coronavirus concerns after spike in customer traffic; similar closures could follow. Fort Collins, Colorado, cannabis retailer Organic Alternatives closed voluntarily on March 16 over concerns about the spread of coronavirus – and many more marijuana shops likely could do the same soon despite the loss in sales they’ll experience. Worries around marijuana retailers closing also could lead to a run on cannabis stores, where consumers buy out products due to fears that businesses will remain shuttered. Additionally, that could lead to higher costs and lack of medical marijuana for patients. Although he declined to give a dollar amount, Maka Kala’i, director of sales and marketing for Organic Alternatives, a vertically integrated company, told Marijuana Business Daily closing the business will result in “significant financial losses.” The store is closed indefinitely. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

California marijuana retailers see sales boom, but coronavirus forces them to address some store closures, new regulations. Well before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., cannabis experts predicted significant contraction for the legal California marijuana industry this year. Cannabis sales are currently brisk at many California marijuana shops as consumers stock up over the fear MJ retailers could shutter indefinitely – but even so, the business fallout surrounding coronavirus has pushed some California MJ firms closer to the brink as they deal with: 1) Uncertainties related to potential shop closures that government officials might mandate by law, 2) Unclear or changing rules from California municipalities, and 3) Long-term business anxieties that might follow even after coronavirus issues subside. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Fire & Flower to service customers in Ontario exclusively through click-and-collect service, selected store closures in response to COVID-19. Fire & Flower Holdings (FFLWF) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Fire & Flower announced that Fire & Flower customers in Ottawa and Kingston, Ontario will be served exclusively through the Spark Perks Fastlane “click-and-collect” service that enables customers to order products online for fast pickup and payment in store. Customers at Fire & Flower Ontario locations will only be permitted into retail stores to pay for and pickup orders reserved through the Fastlane service. By changing to this service model, Fire & Flower will help ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers, while continuing to provide cannabis products to consumers in Ontario. Read More (Newswire)

Demand for cannabis delivery soars as Canada Post restricts service. Canada Post, which ships most cannabis in the country, will no longer request signatures for deliveries as part of enhanced safety measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Adult-use marijuana deliveries handled by Canada Post will go to local post offices for pickup, a prospect that might impact online demand in provinces relying on the federal courier if customers find it unappealing. At the same time, demand is increasing sharply for delivery services. Cannabis stores across Canada – both online and in stores – reported unprecedented demand in recent days as the country enacts social distancing measures to help contain the worsening outbreak. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Colorado medical cannabis shop first to offer deliveries. The Native Roots Dandelion medical marijuana dispensary is the first in Colorado to be allowed to deliver medical marijuana under a new state law, regulators said. The state Marijuana Enforcement Division granted the delivery permit to the dispensary in Boulder, Colorado. The dispensary can only deliver products within the city of Boulder because local municipalities must approve medical marijuana deliveries within their borders. Marijuana delivery activity has surged in many states because of the coronavirus threat. So far, Boulder and nearby Superior, Colorado, are the only communities in the state to allow MMJ deliveries. “We are hopeful others will follow their lead and opt-in to medical delivery as soon as possible,” Shannon Fender, spokeswoman for Native Roots, said in a statement. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Pot stores warn of delivery delays, no same-day shipping, and store closures. Canadian cannabis shoppers will have to get used to a patchwork of closed stores and delivery disruptions as pot distributors across the country implement changes. The moves have been sparked by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, which has pushed increasing numbers of Canadians to self-isolate and caused surges in demand for cannabis. Cannabis retailers in several provinces have advised customers that Canada Post will no longer be delivering parcels that require a signature or proof-of-age to customer doors because of disruptions to air travel and operations at their local facilities. Shoppers must now look for a notice card notifying them of a nearby post office where they can show identification at and collect their orders. “They are suspending their on-time delivery guarantees for all parcel services, until further notice,” Alberta Cannabis also warned. “This means that some residents and businesses may begin to experience slower than normal delivery times.” Read More (BNN Bloomberg)

INTERNATIONAL

One country just legalized medical marijuana and another may be on the way. Marijuana legalization has made significant progress over the years, and Malawi is the latest country to permit its use. The African country of about 19 million people will now allow cannabis to be used in medicine and in the creation of hemp fibers. While it doesn’t permit the recreational use of marijuana, it’s another significant step forward for Africa, where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and South Africa have all loosened their laws relating to cannabis. With North American cannabis companies struggling over the past year, this is a welcome sign for investors, as it means there will be more options to invest in other parts of the world. For companies, it also creates the opportunity to import pot from other regions where it’s cheaper and easier to grow year-round. And the good news is that there’s another country that may soon be about to legalize pot – Lebanon. Read More (The Motley Fool)

Dutch cannabis ‘coffee shops’ to remain open amid coronavirus clampdown. The Netherlands will allow cannabis “coffee shops” to remain open under certain conditions, exempting the popular stores from measures forcing other shops to close their doors to fight the spread of coronavirus. The Dutch cabinet originally ordered the cannabis stores to suspend operations, along with restaurants, bars and nightclubs, but the government quickly reversed course after mayors warned that such a move would cause the illicit market to flourish. Customers are now allowed to buy and take away their cannabis, but they cannot stay at the shops. Delivery is not allowed. The cabinet noted that while sales of marijuana in Dutch coffee shops is a criminal offense, “the Public Prosecution Service does not prosecute coffee shops for (such sales).” Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Swiss cannabis market enjoys advantages unavailable to EU competitors. In Switzerland, minor cannabis possession became decriminalized in 2012, and since 2017 low-THC (i.e., under 1%) cannabis is sold at nearly every tobacco store. Similarly, the progressive laws around CBD — fuelled by the Swiss government’s acknowledgment of its positive medicinal effects — have positioned Switzerland as a CBD hub for Europe. Under Switzerland’s current regulatory set-up, cannabis and CBD in may contain up to 1% THC content, or 5x the 0.2% THC limit observed by other European countries. It makes the country an attractive and logical option for both domestic and international cannabis and CBD businesses wanting to enter the European CBD industry. Medical cannabis is perhaps surprisingly limited in Switzerland, given the pervasiveness of CBB products and low-THC cannabis. Finally, adult-use cannabis remains by far the most widely consumed recreational drug in Switzerland, if the overall retail sales value trails that of cocaine. A recent study published by a consortium of various Swiss groups estimates the national recreational cannabis market to be worth around $500 million in turnover, representing income worth up to $300 million. Read More

New German cannabis association will fully embrace hemp. A new cannabis association in Germany says its work will fully embrace industrial hemp as it aims to set a constructive legal and regulatory landscape for cannabis in Europe’s biggest market. The mission of the newly-formed Cannabis Industry Association (BvCW) is to establish an innovative and sustainable market for cannabis products based on consumer protection and the observance of quality standards. “We have a lot of educational work ahead of us to prepare Germany for competition in the international marketplace,” said Marijn Roersch van der Hoogte of consultancy MRHemp, who serves as a vice president of the new group. Read More (Hemp Today)

First medical cannabis sales in Colombia imminent – a year later than expected. Colombia’s delayed medical cannabis industry could see its first sale within days, according to one of the country’s leading producers. Khiron Life Sciences announced March 20 that it became “the first company” authorized to sell medical cannabis in Colombia. The Latin American nation’s medical cannabis industry had been expected to launch in 2019, so the announcement is a positive milestone. For years, government and corporate leaders in Colombia have been touting the potential economic and social benefits of the burgeoning sector. In Latin America, Colombia has received the lion’s share of foreign direct investments related to cannabis, mostly capital raised in Canada – to the tune of about $400 million as of last September. However, fresh capital mostly dried up toward the end of 2019 as investors started demanding results after years of promises. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Mexico’s legalization of hemp, marijuana could be ‘quite significant’ for U.S. markets. Mexico is poised to become the world’s most-populous country with legal marijuana and hemp next month – and, unlike its northern neighbor, Mexico is setting nationwide regulations to cover all forms of cannabis, no matter the THC content, instead of having a patchwork of laws for the two plants. That could potentially open more business opportunities in the cannabis industry, with the potential for Mexico to export and import from places worldwide where the plants are legal. Mexico does not currently allow hemp cultivation. “The impact would be quite significant,” said Lisa Pittman, a longtime cannabis attorney at the Texas-based Coats Rose law firm. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

EU CBD non-consumer archetypes. Among non-consumers, 17% considered themselves likely to purchase CBD in the next six months. A majority (56%) of non-consumers were curious to try CBD. Ambivalent & Experimental consumers are those least interested in trying various forms of CBD products or to define any reasons for their use. Integrative & Consistent consumers overwhelmingly support CBD’s availability and benefits, with 97% claiming a positive impression of CBD, and 90% saying that it has a positive effect on the quality of life. Skeptical & Limited consumers reported having fewer conversations about CBD than other consumer groups, though such were mostly positive. Nearly half (44%) of non-consumers over age 55 said they would not consider using CBD. Read More (New Frontier Data)

Chart 10: EU CBD Non-Consumer Archetypes  Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data 2019-20 European CBD Survey

Chart 10: EU CBD Non-Consumer Archetypes
Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data 2019-20 European CBD Survey

CANNA SCIENCE

The green wave: Cannabis research around the world. Israel, Canada, and Thailand are some of the biggest centers for cannabis research today. An outsider may notice there are few similarities between how each country regulates the cultivation, production, and consumption of the plant within their state borders. Yet, each country has created a unique, supportive, and relatively open environment for the scientific study of cannabis. There are other areas around the world with cannabis-focused research centers, yet these three countries are the most notable as we head into a new decade. Read More (Cannabis Tech)

UCLA awarded $3.9 million grant for cannabis research. A researcher at the University of California Los Angeles has been awarded a $3.9 million grant to study how cannabis can help with pain relief, the institution announced on March 18. The grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health was awarded to Ziva Cooper, the research director of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative. Cooper, who is also an associate professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will use the grant to study whether cannabis terpenes can reduce the amount of opiate medication a person needs to reduce pain. Read More (High Times)

Basics of aeroponics and how this method is being scaled for large-scale cannabis growing facilities. Aeroponics is a method of growing plants in an environment with no soil. Aeroponics offers the highest degree of control for growers looking to patent new strains and increase potency. Crops grown in aeroponic systems have the highest yield of trichomes. Aeroponic systems also allow growers to reduce the density of pesticides in their operations by lowering the chance of contaminants in the system with the elimination of soil. In an industry that has a reputation for being not so sustainable, aeroponic systems are a highly effective solution for reducing cannabis growers’ carbon footprints. In fact, aeroponic systems use between 90% to 98% less water than traditional cannabis cultivation methods, since the water is recycled back into the system. They also take up far less space and produce higher yields. As a result, aeroponic grow ops are much more sustainable. Read More (Cannabis Tech)

TECHNOLOGY

Cova POS and Dutchie Partner to enable consumers to order cannabis from home. Retail cannabis point-of-sale software company, Cova Software announced a partnership with Dutchie to offer online ordering to cannabis customers for in-store pickup or delivery, where permitted. This integration will expand revenue streams allowing retailers to continue to provide a superior customer experience while streamlining retail operations. By integrating with Dutchie, in addition to providing an alternate way to shop, Cova can help clients maintain up-to-date inventory details, eliminate the need for manual entry and fulfill online orders from the menu integration partner directly within the Cova platform. Read More (Marijuana Retail Report)

LEGAL & IP

Vermont hemp processor sues Maryland grower, alleging it lied about pesticides. A Vermont hemp processor is suing a Maryland grower, accusing the company of lying about the plants it sold being pesticide-free. The federal lawsuit filed by Newton Hill Labs, based in Milton, was filed March 17. It alleges Bay Water Greens and Baywater Farms of sold Newton Labs 5,000 pounds of biomass in October 2019 that contained elevated levels of two pesticides, Azoxystrobin and Propiconazole. The test results caused buyers to cancel orders for CBD and terpenes from Newton Hill Labs, “resulting in substantial lost profits.” Newton Hill Labs argues that it lost more than $400,000 in profits from the biomass, plus another $500,000 in lost profit on terpenes. The plaintiff told the court it is “left with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of unsellable terpenes.” Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

What does the federal tax deadline extension mean for the cannabis industry? The federal government announced that it would extend the deadline for tax payments until July 15 amid coronavirus concerns. Dean Guske, CPA with Guske & Company, is advising his cannabis clients to take advantage of this delay, while keeping adequate capital on hand to cover their tax bills. “If a government agency gives you a deferral to pay your taxes, take it,” Guske tells Cannabis Business Times. “You’re being given an opportunity to hold on to cash for a longer period of time, and I would take it. It’s like they’re allowing you to borrow from them. It’s an interest-free loan, basically.” Cannabis companies should still hold on to as much capital as they can to meet their tax obligations, however. “I would be just trying to keep that in the bank, keeping your capital as long as you possibly can,” Guske says. The deadline extension allows individuals to delay tax payment of up to $1 million until July 15, while corporations can delay payment of up to $10 million. Federal tax returns should still be filed by April 15, however, unless an extension is filed. Read More (Cannabis Business Times)

SUSTAINABILITY

Why hemp producers should use biocontrols to promote sustainable production. As planting season approaches for outdoor hemp and marijuana, cultivators need viable solutions for pest control. That’s where biological controls (biocontrols) come in—more specifically, beneficial insects and biological control agents (BCAs), the “good bugs” that provide an ongoing line of defense against “bad bugs” and diseases. Many cannabis producers already use biocontrols in indoor grows. But with marijuana and especially hemp crops growing outdoors—often near row crops farmed with conventional chemical inputs—there is a broader need for research and education about the role of biocontrols in sustainable production. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

CANNA FACTS

Chart 11: Most Influential Brands in the Cannabis Industry (Week Ending March 18)  Source: Intro-Blue, Pioneer Intelligence, Green Entrepreneur

Chart 11: Most Influential Brands in the Cannabis Industry (Week Ending March 18)
Source: Intro-Blue, Pioneer Intelligence, Green Entrepreneur

CANNA CAPITAL MARKET TRENDS

Chart 12: Weekly Summary (March 9 – March 13, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 12: Weekly Summary (March 9 – March 13, 2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 12: Weekly Summary (March 9 – March 13, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 12: Weekly Summary (March 9 – March 13, 2020) Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 12: Weekly Summary (March 9 – March 13, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 12: Weekly Summary (March 9 – March 13, 2020) Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

 

Chart 13: Cannabis Capital Raises by Week (2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 13: Cannabis Capital Raises by Week (2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

 

Chart 14: Cannabis M&A Activity by Week (2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 14: Cannabis M&A Activity by Week (2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

 

CANNA PRICES – WEEKLY TREND

Chart 15: U.S. Cannabis Market Prices  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 15: U.S. Cannabis Market Prices Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 15: U.S. Cannabis Market Prices  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 15: U.S. Cannabis Market Prices Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

 

Chart 16: U.S. Implied Forward Prices (Week Ending March 20, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 16: U.S. Implied Forward Prices (Week Ending March 20, 2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

 

Chart 17: Canada Cannabis Spot Index  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 17: Canada Cannabis Spot Index
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

CANNA BRANDS AND PRODUCTS RANKING – STATE IN FOCUS: COLORADO

Chart 18: Best-Selling Flower Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 18: Best-Selling Flower Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 19: Best-Selling Edibles Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 19: Best-Selling Edibles Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 20: Best-Selling Vapor Pens Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 20: Best-Selling Vapor Pens Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 21: Best-Selling Beverage Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 21: Best-Selling Beverage Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 22: Best-Selling Capsules Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 22: Best-Selling Capsules Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 23: Best-Selling Topical Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 23: Best-Selling Topical Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

CANNA INDEX

Chart 28: U.S Cannabis Index  Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

Chart 28: U.S Cannabis Index
Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

 

Chart 29: Canada Cannabis Index  Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

Chart 29: Canada Cannabis Index
Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

 

Important Disclosures

Analyst Certification

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