The DEA’s recently announced Interim Final Rule (IFR) related to the 2018 Farm Bill has far-reaching negative consequences for the entire hemp and hemp-derived CBD industry. On August 20, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued proposed rules for hemp and CBD to put the federal agency officially in compliance with the 2018 Farm Bill. The good news: as part of the IFR, the DEA modified the definitions of THC and marijuana extract to exclude legal hemp, removed FDA-approved CBD-based drugs from scheduled control under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and removed restrictions on importing and exporting hemp and its derivatives. The bad news: in what could be a big blow to the hemp industry – especially processors – the agency clarified that all hemp derivatives or extracts exceeding 0.3% delta-9 THC remain schedule I controlled substances. This is critical because hemp extract that is not in its final form almost invariably exceeds 0.3% delta-9 THC concentration at some point during the extraction process before that percentage is brought back into legal compliance for the final product. Therefore, the DEA’s IFR, if implemented in its current form, would mean that anyone who processes hemp is involved in an illegal activity and could thus face criminal charges.

The DEA’s position on hemp extracts goes against the spirit of the 2018 Farm Bill which intends to legalize hemp and hemp-derived products. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, hemp derivatives, hemp extracts, and cannabinoids in hemp. However, it did not explicitly cover hemp processing and testing. This created a regulatory gap and left the Bill open to interpretation since hemp testing is neither regulated by the USDA or the FDA, and there is no federal requirement for processors to test hemp CBD for THC levels (see infographic on next page). Therefore, the DEA’s interpretation of the Bill may be legally correct. However, it does go against the intent of the 2018 Farm Bill that is aimed at legalizing hemp – including extracts – that contain less than 0.3% delta-9 THC concentration on a dry weight basis. Achieving this goal without legalizing all parts of the value chain is not possible.

Legality aside, the rule is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to implement without hurting processors and other players across the hemp industry’s value chain. As this article on CBD Testers explains, hemp goes through a stage referred to as Work-in-Progress Hemp Extract (WIPHE) while creating CBD products, during which the concentration of THC temporarily exceed 0.3%. Products in the WIPHE stage are only partially processed, and not intended for sale or consumption. Fluctuating levels of cannabinoids is a normal part of the process and is impossible to avoid as even during the most basic levels of production, there will always be a point where the product has more than 0.3% THC. So, by classifying WIPHE products as illegal, the DEA is effectively criminalizing all final hemp and CBD extracts made using these products and used by consumers across the U.S. The DEA has given a 60-day window to submit comments about this IFR, and we expect hemp and CBD companies and industry bodies like the National Hemp Association (NHA) to engage with the federal agency aggressively, given the severe negative impact it can have on industry participants across the value chain. Until a final decision is made, this IFR only adds to the regulatory uncertainty facing the U.S. hemp industry due to the stalemate between state and federal regulators over rules for growing hemp, with the production plans of many states still under review by the USDA and other states like New York halting their hemp program citing strict federal regulations as the reason.

The hemp industry faces regulatory uncertainty across the Atlantic, too, with the European Commission (EC) looking to classify hemp extracts as narcotics. In a move that shook industry participants across the European Union, the EC in July suspended applications for hemp extracts and natural cannabinoids under the EU’s Novel Food rules by arriving at a “preliminary conclusion” that extracts from the flowering and fruiting tops of the hemp plant should be considered a drug under the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. This move comes even though hemp and its downstream products are not subject to international drug controls under UN treaties and the 1961 Convention exempts hemp from the scope of international drug controls. Further, news reports suggest that stakeholders are concerned about what the EC will recommend to EU member states that will vote on cannabis and medical CBD issues at a critical meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on December 4 in Vienna. The EC’s position is surprising since on one hand it is looking to ban natural and enriched CBD extracts (that have a lower carbon footprint) but on other hand, it is authorizing the use of synthetic extracts that require more energy during the production process even though the end products made from both are the same in most cases. The move could wipe out a large segment of hemp-producing farmers in the EU that will be forced to sell their fast-growing hemp supply at low prices in the highly competitive CBD exports market and who will not be able to compete with large players that can afford synthetic production of CBD. According to the European Industrial Hemp Association, such a move also prevents the parallel development of value chains for the valorization of co-products (hemp fiber and shivs) that can be used for the production of paper, construction material, textiles, cosmetics, and bio-based plastics – a big setback for a young industry with a long growth runway across the world.

Chart 1: The Lack of Regulatory Clarity on Hemp Processing in the U.S. Is Reflected in the DEA’s Ambiguous IFR   Source: Intro-Blue, Harris Bricken article titled “Federal Policy on Hemp CBD Is Taking Shape: What Needs to Be Addressed?”

Chart 1: The Lack of Regulatory Clarity on Hemp Processing in the U.S. Is Reflected in the DEA’s Ambiguous IFR 
Source: Intro-Blue, Harris Bricken article titled “Federal Policy on Hemp CBD Is Taking Shape: What Needs to Be Addressed?”

CANNA NEWS

COVID-19

Did marijuana users spend their stimulus checks on weed? There was a very substantial increase in the sales of cannabis in dispensaries and legal markets in the country on April 15, an increase which can be strongly attributed to the stimulus checks that were given to millions of Americans all over the country. The aid given to the American people to deal with the financial fall-out of the COVID-19 pandemic largely depends on the income of each person, but with a check that amounts to $1,200 it is highly possible that the majority spent a good percentage of their checks on cannabis. A survey by Jane Technologies which is a regular online cannabis marketplace for cannabis users shows that a staggering increase of 48% was observed across the country for data of cannabis dispensaries across the country. Read More (Cannabis.net)

STATE AND REGULATORY NEWS

U.S. House to vote on the MORE Act in the week of September 21. The MORE Act, a bill that would deschedule marijuana and thereby legalize it federally – with massive business implications – is scheduled to be considered by the full U.S. House of Representatives the week of Sept. 21, according to an email sent by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, discussed the plans in a Monday email providing colleagues an update on the House floor schedule for September. On Friday, House leaders signaled a September vote but details were uncertain. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Biden administration will pursue marijuana decriminalization, VP pick Harris says. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his vice-presidential running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) discussed marijuana decriminalization and other drug policy reforms during their first joint interview as a ticket. Harris was pressed on her prosecutorial record, specifically as it concerns her previous call for more law enforcement officers in the streets. She talked about policing reform but went on to state that, under a Biden administration, there will be a “policy that is going to be about decriminalizing marijuana.” This is the first time since Biden and Harris were formally nominated that they’ve addressed drug policy reform, and it’s notable that the senator opted to call for “decriminalization” rather than legalization. Read More (Marijuana Moment)

Trump worried marijuana could derail his re-election hopes. According to a report at the Daily Beast, Donald Trump has added the American public’s desire to legalize marijuana to the list of topics that could cripple his chances at re-election. At issue are states that are crucial to his electoral hopes including initiatives to allow recreational use of weed on the ballot — which will drive up Democratic participation. As the Beast notes, “The president and some of his team, already obsessed with the potential drop-off of various demographic groups that make up his battered coalition, have begun openly worrying that the drive to legalize or decriminalize marijuana might hurt him and fellow Republicans at the ballot box,” adding, “According to two GOP strategists who’ve independently discussed the topic with Trump this year, the president believes that inclusion of marijuana initiatives on state ballots could supercharge turnout for voters who lean toward Democratic candidates and causes.” Read More (Yahoo!)

Marijuana should be ‘left up to the states,’ Republican National Committee head says. The head of the Republican National Committee (RNC) recently dodged a question about where the party stands on medical marijuana and stressed that the issue should be addressed at the state level. Gray Television Washington News Bureau reporter Alana Austin told RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel about a recent interview she had with a Virginia-based RNC delegate who uses cannabis to treat chronic pain. She asked whether there’s “a place in the GOP for folks who support medical marijuana.” “I don’t really address policy issues like medical marijuana,” McDaniel replied. “That’s left up to the states and there’s going to be variances between states, but that’s not something that the RNC puts forward as policy, that’s a legislative issue.” Read More (Marijuana Moment)

Is marijuana legalization a red or a blue issue in a politically charged world? While it’s good to finally see that politicians are standing up to legalize cannabis with proposed bills like The MORE Act and the likes; there is something we are beginning to see clearly. Cannabis is no longer really a left or right issue. There are plenty of bipartisan sponsored bills floating around in Congress and the Senate that it simply doesn’t seem that Trump’s narrative holds ground. However – when you start calculating the age factor, you begin to see the divide. Take a closer look at all the people opposed to cannabis reform and you’ll notice that they are all OLD. Joe Biden is 77-years old; Trump is 74. People under the age of 40, irrespective of their political belief tend to not care about whether weed should be illegal or not. Read More (Cannabis)

Pennsylvania governor urges legalization of adult-use cannabis. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called on lawmakers to legalize a commercial recreational marijuana program during the fall legislative session. The request reflects the mounting pressure for states to legalize given budget shortfalls stemming from the coronavirus pandemic as well as the continued momentum for adult-use legalization in the Northeast. Pennsylvania lawmakers have only 11 session days before the November election, according to TV station WPMT, so legalization might be somewhat of a long shot this year. But Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the dominoes to fall soon, especially considering fiscal pressures, the success of the state’s medical marijuana program, and the likelihood that adjacent New Jersey will pass an adult-use referendum in November. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Nationwide sales of adult-use cannabis further eclipse those of medical marijuana. While the U.S. has three times as many state medical marijuana markets than adult-use programs, recreational sales are expected to be roughly 30% or more above MMJ in 2020. Legal adult-use sales in the U.S. likely will top $10 billion this year, while medical sales are expected to bring in $5.8 billion-$7.1 billion, according to estimates from the eighth edition of the Marijuana Business Factbook. The gap between the two markets continues to grow, with 2019 MMJ sales estimates at $4 billion-$4.9 billion, compared with adult-use sales of $6.6 billion-$8.1 billion. Adult sales first eclipsed MMJ in 2018. From 2012 to 2020, the number of medical markets in the U.S. more than doubled, from 18 to 37, while recreational markets increased from two to 12. The barriers to access are a key reason why adult-use sales far outpace medical. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Chart 2: Retail Cannabis Market Overview: Number of Markets and Estimated Retail Sales by Year  Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Factbook

Chart 2: Retail Cannabis Market Overview: Number of Markets and Estimated Retail Sales by Year
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Factbook

California Legislature still weighing significant marijuana and hemp bills in final days of session. With only a few days left in the 2020 legislative session, California state lawmakers are still considering three significant bills related to both marijuana and hemp that could yet become law. The measures include: 1) Assembly Bill 1525, which would make it easier for legal marijuana companies to obtain banking services; 2) Assembly Bill 2028, which would establish new hemp industry regulations if an amendment is formally adopted. The legislation in effect would impose stricter regulation on hemp and CBD products; and 3) Senate Bill 827, which would forestall state-level marijuana tax increases for a year. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Massive illegal pot farms discovered in California wilderness. More than 42,000 illegal marijuana plants discovered recently on California public lands have been eradicated. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office announced that the street value of the plants was estimated at between $84 million and $169 million. Vast groves of marijuana were discovered in three locations in Inyo County, a sprawling Eastern Sierra wilderness with the town of Independence as its county seat. Agents working for state and federal agencies spent three days destroying 42,306 marijuana plants at the undisclosed locations. An investigation is ongoing and, as of August 21 afternoon, no arrests had been made. Read More (L.A. Cannabis News)

Record wildfires start cannabis industry’s annual burn. As 17 major wildfires continue to rage across California at a historic scale, once again the cannabis industry is feeling the heat close to its annual make-or-break harvest season. Worst case scenario, crops have been lost to the flames. But the problems trickle down to many other farmers close to the frontlines currently manned by 14,000 firefighters and 2,400 engines as they do their best to save the tens of thousands of structures currently at risk across the state. Read More (LA Weekly)

Several Colorado cities, counties may loosen marijuana business restrictions. As local governments across the nation look to expand their tax base during the recession, several in Colorado are contemplating loosening restrictions on marijuana companies, including prohibitions on home delivery, repealing bans on adult-use or medical cannabis sales, and adding new social equity business permits. According to Denver alt-weekly Westword, some of the cities and counties weighing major changes include: Denver (considering allowing MJ delivery and social equity permits), Aurora (considering allowing MJ delivery and social equity permits), Lakewood (might have recreational MJ ballot measure to allow production and sales), and Littleton (will likely have recreational MJ ballot measure to allow production and sales) among others. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Nevada takes new tough stance on delinquent cannabis taxpayers. Nevada marijuana regulators have been bearing down on licensees who collectively owed millions of dollars in back taxes and license renewal fees. The state’s Cannabis Compliance Board recently notified delinquent taxpayers that they would be cut off from Nevada’s track-and-trace data base if they didn’t make arrangements to pay, according to The Nevada Independent. 18 delinquent marijuana businesses holding a combined 48 licenses either paid or negotiated repayment plans on debt ranging from $500 to $4 million, some dating nearly 1½ years, according to the news outlet. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Small Ohio cultivators want to grow more cannabis. More than a year and a half into medical cannabis sales in Ohio, many cultivators are seeking some regulatory relief—on the amount of space they can use to grow, and how they can package, sell and market cannabis product. Across Ohio, smaller growers are requesting more cultivation space. “We’re moving stuff pretty quick, as we can get it ready and out the door,” said Scott Golden, facility manager at Agri-Med Ohio. As a Level II grower, Agri-Med has maxed out its 3,000-square-foot indoor cultivation space in Langsville. It requested an expansion but was denied, Golden says. One of the concerns some Level II growers have expressed is that with space remaining limited to 3,000 square feet as demand grows, many in the state’s expanding patient base may be unable to access products or cultivars that help with their ailments. Read More (Cannabis Business Times)

U.S. cannabis spot index up 1.3% to $1,547 per pound, September forward closes up $35 to $1,485 per pound. The simple average (non-volume weighted) price decreased $14 to $1,762 per pound, with 68% of transactions (one standard deviation) in the $958 to $2,566 per pound range. The average reported deal size was nominally unchanged at 2.1 pounds. In grams, the spot price was $3.41 and the simple average price was $3.88. The average reported forward deal size was 29 pounds. The proportions of forward deals for outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor-grown flower were 40%, 33%, and 27% 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

Retail cannabis sales in Canada exceed CAD $200 million in June. Retail Sales continue to grow with Statistics Canada reporting sales in June over CAD $200 million. This is a major milestone for the legal cannabis sector, which had revenues of only CAD $91.5 million in June 2019. Retail sales are still dominated by Alberta, which can be attributed to its massive retail footprint. Ontario with 40% of Canada’s population contributes 22% of the total retail sales despite only having 12% of the total retail stores. With a strong correlation between storefront and retail sales, Cannabis Benchmarks expect Ontario sales to rise this year as more brick & mortar stores are planned to come to market. Total dry cannabis consumed by recreational users in Canada continues to grow with more product variety and a larger retail footprint. Sales in May continued to show strength with cannabis stores being deemed essential and remaining open during COVID lockdowns. The growth in reported sales in June suggests more consumers are purchasing legal cannabis through legal channels. The current Statistics Canada data reports estimates through September 2019, with the balance coming from Cannabis Benchmarks models. Read More (Cannabis Benchmarks)

Chart 6: Retail Sales and Canadian Stores by Province  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 6: Retail Sales and Canadian Stores by Province
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

 

Chart 7: Total Canadian Dried Cannabis Sold for Recreational Use (Kg)  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 7: Total Canadian Dried Cannabis Sold for Recreational Use (Kg)
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

 

Chart 8: Total Canadian Cannabis Oil Sold for Recreational Use (Kg Equivalent)  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Chart 8: Total Canadian Cannabis Oil Sold for Recreational Use (Kg Equivalent)
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks

Legal pot spending beat black market for first time in Q2: StatsCan. Statistics Canada said that Canadian household spending on recreational cannabis reached $648 million in the second quarter of 2020, an increase of 74 percent from the same period last year. Meanwhile, spending on medical cannabis was flat at $155 million in the second quarter, StatsCan said. Canadian household spending on illicit cannabis fell to a new low of $784 million in the second quarter, StatsCan added. Taken together, the legal cannabis market now accounts for 50.5 percent of all pot-related spending in Canada. “The progress is there and there’s more progress to come,” George Smitherman, chief executive officer at the Cannabis Council of Canada, told BNN Bloomberg. Read More (BNN Bloomberg)

Illegal cannabis expenditures at multiyear low in Canada, data shows. Estimated expenditures on unlicensed adult-use cannabis fell to CAD $785 million ($600 million) in the latest quarter, almost half what they were before Canada legalized marijuana in late 2018. The Statistics Canada data shows that spending on recreational cannabis products via regulated channels reached CAD $648 million in the same period. Estimated expenditures on cannabis products for medical use approached CAD $157 million, according to the data. The underground market is the biggest competitor for legal cannabis businesses. Legal businesses have become more competitive by gradually lowering prices, improving quality and offering a better selection of products – including vape pens and edibles. Access to physical legal stores is another factor driving sales. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Chart 9: Legal vs. Illegal Adult-Use Cannabis Expenditures in Canada  Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Statistics Canada

Chart 9: Legal vs. Illegal Adult-Use Cannabis Expenditures in Canada
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Statistics Canada

Basket size growing at NSLC. As the quarterly reports roll in, corporate and provincial cannabis retailers alike are seeing sales continue to grow. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) released its results, reporting a 7.8% increase in cannabis sales compared to last year, moving $17.3 million in product between April and June. Greg Hughes, President and CEO of the NSLC calls it ‘unprecedented’. “We adjusted our business to continue to provide service to Nova Scotians during the pandemic and we’re happy we were able to keep our doors open,” he said in the report. Read More (Cannabis Retailer)

No decision this summer on New Brunswick cannabis store privatization. A decision to privatize cannabis store sales in New Brunswick will not be made until after the province’s September election. The province had anticipated executing an agreement in early July, but the pandemic delayed the expected timeline. New Brunswick has said it intends to hit the reset button on how adult-use cannabis is sold, and it might be willing to pull the plug on at least some of the 20 existing government stores under any new retail system. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

COMPANY NEWS

Curaleaf rises to the top of U.S. marijuana industry with footprint covering about two dozen states. Curaleaf (CURLF) has become one of the largest multistate cannabis operators in the U.S. by adopting a broad-market approach – with scores of cultivation, processing and dispensary facilities now stretching across 23 states. While other MSOs have scrapped acquisitions in recent months, Curaleaf has completed two big deals since February totaling more than $1 billion in value: Oregon-based Cura Partners and, most recently, Illinois-based Grassroots Cannabis. The reasons for Curaleaf’s success so far can be attributed to a combination of factors, according to industry experts, media reports and company officials: 1) Curaleaf enjoys billionaire backing and raised $400 million in its initial public offering in October 2018, enabling the company to rapidly expand into new markets; 2) The company has executed its operations well; and 3) Curaleaf has been able to raise large amounts of capital to fuel expansion and acquisitions. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Clever Leaves’ Portugal operation granted license to cultivate, sell, and export medical cannabis. Clever Leaves announced that it has been granted a license from INFARMED I.P., the Portuguese regulatory authority with oversight over the pharmaceutical industry in Portugal, including medical cannabis, to cultivate, import and export Good Agricultural and Collecting Practice (GACP) quality dried flower, produced from Clever Leaves’ Portugal cultivation site. Clever Leaves’ Portuguese facility is located on approximately 9 million square feet of land and consists of approximately 110,000 square feet of greenhouse facilities. The license marks the commencement of Clever Leaves’ cultivation activities in Europe and its ability to produce, commercialize and export high-quality, GACP cannabis flower for medicinal purposes. Clever Leaves’ cultivation and post-harvest facilities have been purposely constructed to comply with internationally-recognized quality standards and production systems. Read More (GlobeNewswire)

Gaining headway: GW Pharmaceuticals carves a niche for cannabinoid medicines. In Europe, medical cannabis is increasingly recognized for a panoply of ailments including neurological diseases, chemotherapy-related nausea, inflammatory diseases, pain, and epilepsy, to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. The pharmaceutical brand with the biggest traction is Epidiolex from U.K.-based GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH), a success story across Europe as a popular prescription drug  for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, two forms of epilepsy. Sativex (also known as nabiximols, also from GW Pharma), has been approved in 17 European countries, and is now available in nine of them. It is also prescribed to treat MS-related spasticity, if typically, only after other attempted treatments have been exhausted (it must be used in tandem with another anti-spasticity medication). The artificial cannabinoid Nabilone is used for the nausea associated with chemotherapy – again, only after other treatments have proven unhelpful or unsuitable. Such examples suggest that there is market potential in designing products with specific illnesses in mind. Read More (New Frontier Data)

Chart 10: GW Pharmaceuticals Epidiolex Sales  Source: Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data

Chart 10: GW Pharmaceuticals Epidiolex Sales
Source: Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data

Canopy to open 10 stores in Alberta under Tweed and Tokyo Smoke banners. Canopy Growth (CGC) says it will open its first retail cannabis stores in Alberta. The Ontario-based company says it’s set to open 10 stores under the Tweed and Tokyo Smoke banners and has additional locations in the pipeline. The stores, which are to open over this week, include seven locations in Calgary, one each in Spruce Grove, Lethbridge and Edmonton.  Canopy says it will create more than 100 jobs in Alberta. The company says the expansion into Alberta will bring its number of retail locations across Canada to a total of 50, with more planned later this year. Read More (BNN Bloomberg)

Trulieve to introduce edibles in the Florida market. Trulieve Cannabis (TCNNF) has announced that it will soon begin offering edible cannabis products to patients in Florida. Following finalized regulations from the Florida Department of Health for the sale of edible cannabis products and approval of its products, Trulieve will introduce edibles in its medical cannabis dispensaries across the state, expanding patient access to the types of products they have been requesting for years. Trulieve has planned for the debut of edibles and, with the final guidelines in place from the Department of Health (DOH), once its products are approved by the DOH, will be able to introduce an exciting assortment of edible products. Read More (Cannabis Business Times)

Columbia Care to close on major deal to acquire Colorado marijuana retailer. Columbia Care (COLXF) is set to close on a full-stock deal to acquire major Denver-based vertically integrated cannabis company The Green Solution, which would significantly expand the New York-based MSO’s presence nationwide. The deal, expected to close September 1, would net Columbia Care 23 retail stores, six cultivation facilities and one manufacturing operation that are expected to generate about $88.5 million in revenue this year, according to a news release. The transaction increases Columbia Care’s footprint to 95 facilities that are open or under development, including 73 dispensaries and 22 cultivation and manufacturing locations. Although the terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed, when the deal was announced in late 2019, the acquisition was valued at $140 million with 79%, or $110 million, of the consideration to be paid in Columbia Care equity. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Ascend Wellness completes $68 million raise, acquires Illinois marijuana shops. Ascend Wellness Holdings said it closed a $68.2 million funding round and reached agreement to acquire two more Illinois marijuana retailers. The raise is yet another sign that funding in the marijuana industry is slowly opening. The stores Ascend plans to buy in Illinois – pending approval of state regulators – are located in Chicago and owned by Modern Cannabis (MOCA). The acquisition gives Ascend six Illinois locations and puts the company a step closer to the state ceiling of 10 retail storefronts per company. Ascend said it plans to purchase more stores until it hits the state cap. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Wyllow launches premium flower brand based on inclusivity and affordability. Wyllow, a new line of California-grown cannabis flower, has launched in the Los Angeles area with inclusivity and affordability at the forefront of its brand. Although CEO Camille Roistacher said Wyllow is intended for all cannabis consumers, the brand was inspired by a desire for more women representation in the cannabis industry. “If I walk into a dispensary today, I would like to see more products on the shelves that are geared or marketed towards women that are also owned and operated by women, so that’s one angle to our inclusivity,” she said. The other angle, she added, is centered on the brand’s pricing strategy. “The goal is really to not have $80 or $90 eighths on the shelves, especially considering everything that’s going on,” Roistacher said. “People are losing their jobs, unfortunately, and money is tight. So, how can we bring our really nice product at a reasonable price to the consumer?” Read More (Cannabis Business Times)

Ayr Strategies to acquire Pennsylvania cannabis assets for $57 million. Ayr Strategies (AYRSF) has reached an agreement to acquire and develop six retail dispensaries and a significant cultivation and production footprint in a limited license state for total consideration of $57 million. The PA market is undersupplied with high barriers to entry and potential for substantial growth, as it has only 32 grower processor licenses and 198 dispensary permits to serve a rapidly growing medical patient base. Ayr plans to acquire the membership interests in a licensed operator which includes a 143,000 ft² cultivation and processing facility with the initial construction phases comprising 45,000 ft² nearly complete. The 13-acre site provides ample room for further expansion even beyond the existing 143,000 ft² facility. Read More (New Cannabis Ventures)

EARNINGS

Inner Spirit Holdings reports over $20 million in system-wide retail sales, record total revenue, and positive adjusted EBITDA. Inner Spirit Holdings’ (INSHF) system-wide retail sales were $20.5 million in Q2 2020 and $37.6 million in H1 2020, increasing 343% from Q2 2019 and 497% from H1 2019, respectively. The total revenue stood at $5.4 million in Q2 2020 and $9.6 million in H1 2020, rising 575% Q2 2019 and 669% from H1 2019, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA was $0.5 million in Q2 2020, compared with an adjusted EBITDA loss of $2.5 million in Q2 2019. “The company’s financial results for this year’s second quarter show impressive year over year growth with over $20 million recorded in system-wide retail sales for the Spiritleaf network,” said Darren Bondar, president and CEO of Inner Spirit. Read More (Newswire)

Vireo’s revenue rose 70% Y/Y, operating cost structure improves. Vireo Health International (VREO-CA) revealed its total revenue, including contributions from discontinued operations, amounted to $12.2 million in the second quarter of 2020. That’s up by 70% compared to the same period last year. Its retail revenue increased by 46% over the year to roughly $9.2 million. The Minneapolis-based company reported the gross profit (before fair value adjustments) of $3.5 million, or 32 % of revenue, versus $3 million in the second quarter of 2019. Total operating expenses amounted to $15.4 million for the period ended June 30, while other expenses were $3.4 million. Vireo posted a net loss of $7.7 million during the quarter. Read More (PR Newswire)

YSS Corp. Q2 revenue increases 12% Q/Q to $4.7 million. YSS Corp. reported its second quarter revenue increased 12% to $4.7 million over Q1 2020 and exceeded the company’s Q2 2020 outlook of $4.6 million. Record quarterly results were driven solely by existing store growth, as no new stores were opened in Q2 2020. The company’s store-level EBITDA stood at $359 thousand in Q2,  representing a 132% increase over the previous quarter. Forecast revenue for Q3 2020 is expected to exceed $5.6 million, representing growth of approximately 18% to 20% over Q2 2020. Read More (Newswire)

Flowr’s gross revenue increased 7% Y/Y to $3 million in Q2 2020. The Flowr Corp. (FLWPF) generated gross revenue of approximately $2.9 million in the second quarter of 2020, a 7% increase vs the same period in 2019 and a 192% increase sequentially from the first quarter in 2020 while net revenue in the second quarter 2020 was $2.3 million, a 6% increase vs the same period in 2019. The company’s adjusted EBITDA loss of $2.9 million in the second quarter was a $4.0 million improvement sequentially from the first fiscal quarter in 2020. The company re-iterates its objective of becoming cash flow positive in H2 2020 even with the uncertainty around COVID-19. Read More (GlobeNewswire)

Auxly posts Q2 results, sees Y/Y revenue spike of 200%. Auxly Cannabis Group (CBWTF) reported earnings report for the second quarter and the first half of 2020. The Toronto-based company reported total revenues of $8.6 million in Q2, up by 200% year-over-year. The amount includes $6.8 million of cannabis net revenues and $1.8 million of research revenues from KGK. Auxly realized a gross profit of $2.8 million following fair value adjustments during the second quarter of 2020 and $5.5 million during the first half of 2020. This compares with gross profits of $0.3 million for the second quarter of 2019 and $0.1 million for the first half of 2019. Read More (Benzinga)

Decibel records 500% revenue growth in 1H20. Decibel Cannabis Company reported it has achieved positive cash flow “for the first time” during the second quarter. Over the same period, its net revenue increased by 17% to $5.9 million. The net revenue for the first six months of 2020 amounted to roughly $11 million, up by around 500%. Moreover, it’s first-quarter earnings report revealed its revenue ten-folded over the year. The Calgary, Alberta-based company said that revenue growth could be attributed to the development of same-store sales and demand for Qwest products. Even though the first six months of this year “presented some great challenges” for the company, it continued to “make significant strides in becoming a premier producer of premium cannabis and cannabis 2.0 products.” Read More (Benzinga)

Jushi sees 73% revenue spike in Q2. Jushi Holdings (JUSHF) reported its revenue rose by 73% sequentially to $14.9 million in Q2 2020. The Boca Raton, Florida-based company — which recently closed a $37 million purchase of Vireo Health International (VREO-CA) Pennsylvania-based subsidiary — reported gross profit of $7.5 million and gross margins of 50% during the quarter. Jim Cacioppo, the company’s chairman, and CEO said that its operations in Pennsylvania and Illinois drive strong sequential revenue growth. “As we move into the second half of the year, we’re focused on maintaining this momentum by continuing to build depth in the markets where we operate today, while thoughtfully driving operational improvements across our footprint,” added Cacioppo. Read More (Benzinga)

Cansortium Q2 revenue increases 117% to $13.2 million. Cansortium (CNTMF) reported results for the second quarter and the first six months of fiscal 2020. The company saw a 117% increase in consolidated revenue over the year, to $13.2 million in the second quarter. For the first half of 2020, the company posted consolidated revenue of $23.4 million. For the second quarter, consolidated income from operations amounted to $0.8 million, versus a loss from operations of $8.1 million in the same period of 2019.  The company reiterates its full year 2020 outlook for consolidated revenues in the range of $55 million to $60 million and adjusted EBITDA of more than $15 million. The forecast is based on projected revenues of at least $45 million for Cansortium’s Florida operations with additional revenue from the Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas markets. Read More (New Cannabis Ventures)

CAPITAL MARKETS

Cannabis ETFs: Safe harbor for investors of all types? Although the cannabis industry is growing steadily, with legal sales of nearly $15 billion globally in 2019, stocks in the space have proven to be much more volatile than expected, especially in the past year. In this context, cannabis ETFs emerge as a practical possibility to easily diversify an investment and reduce the natural risk of the stock market. According to Matt Markiewicz, manager of The Cannabis ETF, a large portion of cannabis investors choose to seek out the most liquid and sought-after stocks, those of vertically integrated cultivation companies. But they don’t always make for the best opportunity. The four main ETFs traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the most familiar to investors in Latin America, are: 1) ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ); 2) Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS); 3) The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX); and 4) AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO). Read More (Benzinga)

Good news for cannabis operators seeking capital. Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, and traditional banking products and services are unavailable to cannabis operators, they are left to navigate the capital markets in a different way. A sale-leaseback is a great option in obtaining capital for cannabis operators, and one that has been used by many of the largest companies in the space. A sale-leaseback is essentially what it sounds like. An operator sells their real estate to an investor and agrees to what’s typically a long-term lease on the same property, freeing up the operational capital while maintaining operations from the same facility. Not only is this a way to liquidate locked-up capital, there are numerous advantages to a sale-leaseback. One such advantage is on the cannabis company’s balance sheet. If a company were to take on debt, that loan goes on the balance sheet as a liability as an encumbrance on the overall company. In a sale-leaseback, however, the company adds cash to its balance sheet and avoids taking on corporate debt. Read More (High Times)

MEDICAL CANNABIS

Florida medical marijuana sales expected to rise as edibles approved. Florida’s fast-growing, three-quarters-of-a-billion-dollar medical cannabis market is about to experience another surge in sales – this time from edibles. The state health department has issued long-awaited edible production rules, and medical cannabis operators already are champing at the bit. The expected boost to the market comes less than 18 months after Florida allowed the sale of flower, which roughly doubled sales. “Similar to what we saw when flower was introduced in 2019, we expect that edibles will contribute to a sizable share of overall sales,” Kim Rivers, CEO of Florida-based MMJ operator Trulieve (TCNNF), said in a news release. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Nebraska medical marijuana initiative has enough signatures for ballot, but legal challenge filed. Activists behind a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska announced that the secretary of state’s office has informed them they collected enough signatures to qualify their initiative for the November ballot. Meanwhile, a law firm representing unnamed state residents filed a last-minute legal challenge attempting to prevent voters from having a chance to decide on the measure. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana said in an email blast that while the secretary of state has not formally certified the initiative, office staff informed them that they submitted enough valid signatures to make the cut. Read More (Marijuana Moment)

Oklahoma case study: Cannabis market sizing and underreporting of cannabis usage. By August 3, nearly 330,000 Oklahoma residents had registered as medical cannabis patients. Registered patients now account for about 11% of adults (age 18+) in the state, nearly matching its total estimated cannabis consumer population. What is being seen in Oklahoma illustrates complications from trying to measure cannabis use though self-reported surveys. Various factors may lead to underreporting during surveys, raising a question of possible self-censoring which may artificially suppress reported usage rates. As seen in markets having turned legal, margins of underreporting decrease with time following legalization, in tandem with actual increases in usage. Read More (New Frontier Data)

Chart 11: Oklahoma’s Registered Patients Outpace Estimates of Heavy Cannabis Consumers  Source: Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data

Chart 11: Oklahoma’s Registered Patients Outpace Estimates of Heavy Cannabis Consumers
Source: Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data

CBD/HEMP

Nearly all hemp products experienced decline in prices during August. Prices for most hemp products covered by Hemp Benchmarks’ (HB) reporting declined in August, one area of notable increase was the rate for smokable Bulk CBD Flower. Additionally, HB this month began to collect price data on smokable CBD flower by grow type: indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor. HB do not yet have enough data points to justify publishing official assessments, but early observations show prices for indoor-grown flower are elevated compared to those for greenhouse product, with the former sometimes going for as much as double the latter, while outdoor-grown flower generally fetches the lowest rates. Read More (Hemp Benchmarks)

Chart 12: Month-on-Month % Price Change  Source: Intro-Blue, Hemp Benchmarks

Chart 12: Month-on-Month % Price Change
Source: Intro-Blue, Hemp Benchmarks

U.S. senator: Legislation possible if industry dislikes FDA rules for CBD. An Oregon legislator instrumental in legalizing hemp in 2018 says Congress can always create laws to regulate CBD if the industry isn’t happy with the rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, blamed the FDA for stifling the growth of the CBD market during a speech to the American Herbal Products Association. He boasted that Oregon is one of the largest hemp-producing states. “However, as you all know far too well, the FDA continues to make it difficult to produce and sell CBD products,” Wyden said. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Hemp in California: Battle for sound CBD regulations nears final stretch. A long-simmering dispute over hemp and CBD legislation in California is coming to a head, with a compromise bill. There isn’t much time. The race is on to get California CBD legislation passed before the end of August, when the state legislature’s 2020 session ends. Lawmakers have to file, debate and pass the bill – or California’s booming hemp and CBD industries will have to wait until 2021 to see an update to creaky CBD regulations in the nation’s most populous state. Advocates told Hemp Industry Daily there is a potential compromise after years of failed efforts to find agreement on CBD rules among state lawmakers, the California governor’s office, the California Department of Health, hemp and marijuana industry interests, and health and wellness advocates. “We’re holding our breath to see the final language and hoping we’re on the same page,” said attorney Jonathan Miller of hemp industry lobbying group, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

McConnell recommends hemp face masks, talks up industry’s potential. Hemp face masks are “one of the best” ways to battle the spread of COVID-19, according to U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell held up a black facial covering made of hemp while touring an Ecofibre hemp factory in Georgetown, Kentucky. McConnell recommended masks and social distancing as the best tools to slow the pandemic while the nation awaits a vaccine “I recommend a hemp mask as one of the best,” McConnell said in remarks aired by Lexington TV station WKYT. McConnell talked about his efforts to revive hemp production in his home state. Kentucky saw a flurry of investment in hemp production after passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, but also saw some hemp businesses declare bankruptcy amid market volatility. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Disruptions from pandemic spur hemp companies to delay Q2 postings. In a survey of publicly traded companies, the Hemp Business Journal found that 17 out of the 31 leading ones offering hemp and CBD products have delayed filing their financial results for the fiscal period ending on June 30. Though some companies chose not to disclose their specific reasons, other companies that shared comment about their late filing, such as Charlotte’s Web Holdings (CWBHF), cited the COVID-19 outbreak as the prevailing factor. While the growing number of hemp companies seeking filing extensions has frustrated some financial analysts and investors looking to gauge how the hemp industry is fairing during the COVID outbreak, information can yet be gleaned from information already available. Read More (New Frontier Data)

Chart 13: Hemp’s Q2 Marked by Disruptions, Delayed Filings  Source: Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data

Chart 13: Hemp’s Q2 Marked by Disruptions, Delayed Filings
Source: Intro-Blue, New Frontier Data

This is why some CBD companies will thrive, and some will die. Throughout 2019, the CBD market was so oversaturated that those earning less than $1 million in annual revenues occupied over 97 percent of the market, according to research by the Cannabis firm Brightfield Group. But many CBD companies still truck on without having a single distinguishing factor between them and the other 65 billion CBD products that exist. Many of these companies have ditched the CBD idea altogether, finding it to be an unsustainable industry. Because of the immense competition and the limited advertising capabilities, these companies have realized it too much effort to distinguish themselves enough to make a good profit in the CBD industry. Read More (Green Entrepreneur)

New Zealand company develops world’s first hemp-based fake meat. A food manufacturer in New Zealand has developed the world’s first fake meat made of hemp. Sustainable Foods sell plant-based fake meat products through their Craft Meat Co brand, offering customers soy-based burgers, sausages and mincemeat. In 2021, the brand will be releasing a bizarre new product – hemp-based fake meat. Over the past few months, Sustainable Foods have been working alongside researchers from Massey University’s Riddley Institute. Together, they’ve developed a line of hemp-based meat products, using hemp supplied by medical cannabis supplier Greenfern Industries. According to Sustainable Foods co-founder Kryan Rei, the new range of hemp-based meat will contain more protein than an equivalent serving of meat. Read More (Pondering Pot)

Nike launches hemp sneaker with UK retailer. A UK retailer has launched a limited-edition hemp textile sneaker by U.S. athletic apparel giant Nike. Nike has partnered with the UK retailer, called size?, to sell the Nike Air Zoom Type ‘Hemp’ shoe. The shoe launched on the retailer’s app and in stores, priced at £140 ($185). Nike did not respond to several requests for comment from Hemp Industry Daily. According to a Hypebeast report, Nike has also partnered with clothing brand Stüssy to manufacture another hemp-based version of its Air Force 1 shoe. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Australia’s Ecofibre’s purchase of U.S. partner will support hemp facemask supply chain. Ecofibre Limited, an Australian manufacturer of hemp-derived CBD, food products, textiles and composites, has completed a $42 million purchase of a portfolio of manufacturing businesses in North Carolina to support the commercialization of its Hemp Black facemask and gaiter line. The acquisition of textile manufacturing platform TexInnovate, completed ahead of schedule last week, was completed for $10.5 million in cash, $10.5 in Ecofibre shares and a future payout of up to $21 million in cash and shares over the next five years, pending TexInnovate’s achievement of $6 million in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) for two consecutive years. Ecofibre CEO Eric Wang said the acquisition was key in establishing the necessary infrastructure to profitably market and sell Hemp Black products. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

New law in Brazil could crack open a massive hemp market. Brazil could have regulations in place for medical cannabis and hemp by early next year, opening up a market of nearly 210 million consumers, if a recently proposed law is enacted. Draft legislation announced would set rules for the sectors under a proposal set out by a commission formed last year. Brazilian hemp consultant Lorenzo Rolim da Silva told HempToday he expects the law to be fast tracked through Brazil’s legislature. “I would not be surprised if we start 2021 with a functional regulation in place in Brazil, allowing the country to finally compete in the sector,” said Rolim da Silva, who is also President at the Latin-American Industrial Hemp Association (LAIHA). Read More (Hemp Today)

RETAIL

Nova Scotia doubling number of cannabis stores as sales flounder. Nova Scotia’s regulated adult-cannabis market continues to flounder, with the latest sales figures showing no improvement compared to the start of legalization almost two years ago. Cannabis sales for the April-June 28 fiscal quarter were CAD $17.3 million ($13.17 million), according to the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. (NSLC), which manages recreational marijuana retail in the province. That’s about 10% lower than the previous quarter, when CAD $19.3 million of cannabis products were sold in Nova Scotia. The NSLC attributed the strong January-March results to the introduction of new cannabis products, including vape pens, as well as pantry loading in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that did not last. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Chart 14: Nova Scotia Cannabis Sales: 2018-2020  Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Nova Scotia Liquor Corp.

Chart 14: Nova Scotia Cannabis Sales: 2018-2020
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Nova Scotia Liquor Corp.

More licensed cannabis stores coming to Manitoba. The next wave of cannabis stores has begun to arrive in Manitoba, giving Canada’s regulated marijuana industry a chance to increase market share in the country’s fifth-most-populous jurisdiction. Manitoba’s government started taking new applications for licensed cannabis stores on June 1, prioritizing applicants without any existing Manitoba stores. Provincial cannabis wholesaler Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) told Marijuana Business Daily it has received more than 120 applications for new retail agreements. “It typically takes between two and four months to enter an applicant into an agreement,” wrote an MBLL spokeswoman. The first of the new wave of stores, The Joint Cannabis Shop, opened in Winnipeg in early August. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Strawberry Fields plans to launch cannabis vending machines in Colorado dispensaries. Strawberry Fields, a vertically integrated cannabis operator in Colorado with four dispensaries in the state, is preparing to debut four cannabis vending machines at its Pueblo Central location. General Manager Ethan Shean said the Strawberry Fields team has been working with Anna, the company providing the cannabis vending machines, for roughly nine months to implement the automated, self-processing and compliant machines at its dispensary. “[The vending machines are] basically meant for the daily shopper, the daily consumer that really needs minimal assistance in cannabis purchasing, while maintaining all the compliance metrics that Colorado provides,” Shean told Cannabis Dispensary. Read More (Cannabis Dispensary Mag)

Quebec’s marijuana monopoly has relatively few stores, but why? Quebec has fallen far behind its nine provincial counterparts in terms of regulated cannabis stores per capita, limiting consumer access to brick-and-mortar stores in Canada’s second-biggest recreational marijuana market. The province is Canada’s largest by area and second-largest by population, with roughly 8.5 million people, or nearly a quarter of the country’s total population. Physical store openings appear to be driving growth in Canada’s regulated cannabis market, with ever-growing monthly retail sales figures correlating with increasing store counts. But Quebec’s government-owned Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) cannabis retailer, which has a total monopoly on regulated recreational cannabis sales in the province, has opened fewer than 50 stores since legalization in late 2018. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Chart 15: Per Capita Cannabis Stores by Province in Canada   Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily

Chart 15: Per Capita Cannabis Stores by Province in Canada 
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily

PRODUCTS

Hexo, Molson Coors launch Truss cannabis beverage portfolio. Canadian cannabis producer Hexo Corp. (HEXO) and brewer Molson Coors Canada have launched new beverage products under their Truss Beverage Co. joint venture, marking increased competition in Canada’s much-hyped marijuana beverage market. The lineup of five drink brands unveiled includes both CBD and THC products. Most contain 2.5 milligrams to 5 milligrams of THC, characterized as a “medium dose.” The “XMG” beverage brand contains 10 milligrams of THC, the maximum allowed under Canadian cannabis regulations. Like competitor Canopy Growth (CGC), which is backed by liquor giant Constellation Growth, Truss’ beverage strategy appears to involve attracting new or infrequent cannabis consumers with products that don’t rely on combustion. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Study: Vaping-related lung illnesses much lower in states with legal cannabis. Rates of vaping-related lung illnesses were much lower in states with legal marijuana markets than in states without licensed marijuana, according to a new study. The vaping health crisis that arose in 2019 shook the cannabis industry, even causing some state programs to temporarily ban the sale of marijuana vape products. Data published in the journal Addiction show that the five earliest states to legalize recreational marijuana – Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – all had less than one case of vaping-related lung illness per 100,000 residents aged 12 to 64. The states with the highest numbers of vaping-related illnesses – Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, Delaware and Indiana – do not allow recreational marijuana use. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

SOCIAL

Cannabis legalization in one state does not lead to higher crime in neighboring states. A new study has found that just because one state legalizes marijuana, it doesn’t mean crime will go up in neighboring states. In fact, researchers found that crime went down, undermining a longstanding anti-legalization argument. The study focused on the border counties in neighboring states to Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana. They contrasted crime rates in those counties to crime rates in other counties of neighboring states that did not border Colorado and Washington. Read More (Green Entrepreneur)

Rates of e-cigarette and marijuana use not associated with vaping-related lung injuries, study finds. Higher rates of e-cigarette and marijuana use in U.S. states did not result in more e-cigarette or vaping-related lung injuries (known as EVALI), a new study from the Yale School of Public Health finds. Published in the journal Addiction, the study estimates the relationship between states’ total reported EVALI cases per capita as of January 2020, and pre-outbreak rates of adult vaping and marijuana use. “If e-cigarette or marijuana use per se drove this outbreak, areas with more engagement in those behaviors should show a higher EVALI prevalence,” said Assistant Professor Abigail Friedman, the study’s author. Read More (Science Daily)

INTERNATIONAL

Brazilian plan for legal cultivation of industrial hemp, MMJ moving ahead as nation battles pandemic. Draft legislation that would allow Brazilian farmers to grow cannabis for medical and industrial purposes on domestic soil for the first time has been submitted to the country’s lower house of Congress. The bill was delivered to the House of Deputies speaker by lawmakers Paulo Teixeira and Luciano Ducci, co-sponsors of the bill who sit on the chamber’s special commission for the regulation of medicinal cannabis. Sponsors say that opening up Brazil for the cultivation and production of cannabis-derived products on the medical and industrial spaces represents a major opportunity for the country at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a global economic downturn. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Making sense of Mexico’s dual legalization measures. Mexico is heading down two paths toward legalization of both hemp and marijuana simultaneously. The first is legislatively driven and would legalize cannabis for all uses. The second legalized both plants for medical use in 2017, but the government has failed to meet deadlines to establish a regulatory structure. In fact, both roads have faced delays for years, but a clearer picture about cannabis regulations for medical and recreational uses might emerge soon. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

Chart 16: How Mexico’s Two Different Legalization Paths Compare  Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily

Chart 16: How Mexico’s Two Different Legalization Paths Compare
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily

Chile health authority warns of ‘counterfeit’ cannabis medicines. The Public Health Institute of Chile (ISP) issued a warning recently about CBD products offered for sale online without a required sanitary registration. Many CBD products “suddenly disappeared” from the market after the ISP news release, local sources told Marijuana Business Daily. In recent months, the gray market had expanded considerably, according to MJBizDaily’s second edition of the Latin American report. It seems Chilean health authorities are aware of the phenomenon and are trying to enforce the rules. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Jamaica reports $1.3 million in B2B cannabis trade as license issuances rise. The total value of trade between Jamaica’s cannabis industry license holders was approximately $1.34 million from May 2019 through July 2020, according to recent figures provided  by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) to Marijuana Business Daily. The figure excludes retail herb house sales and covers trading among license holders only, the CLA said. July’s total of about $74,500 is an increase from June’s $51,500, demonstrating steady industry growth despite persistent banking challenges. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Chart 17: Cannabis Business Licenses Issued in Jamaica  Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Cannabis Licensing Authority

Chart 17: Cannabis Business Licenses Issued in Jamaica
Source: Intro-Blue, Marijuana Business Daily, Cannabis Licensing Authority

Medical cannabis growers risk overcapacity in Europe as planned production scales up. For the majority of the previous two decades, the Netherlands was responsible for the sole commercial cultivation of cannabis in Europe. Now, half a dozen European states – Italy, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Macedonia, and Malta – produce cannabis for domestic or international sales, with new countries expected to join in the near future. As of August 2020, all fully licensed operators in Europe had the capacity to produce some 34 tonnes of cannabis flower a year, either sold as dried herb or extracted into manufactured products, which is three times the estimated European demand in 2020. Read More (Prohibition Partners)

Chart 18: Medical Cannabis Cultivation in Europe 2020  Source: Intro-Blue, Prohibition Partners

Chart 18: Medical Cannabis Cultivation in Europe 2020
Source: Intro-Blue, Prohibition Partners

CANNA SCIENCE

Will cannabis soon have molecular ‘tags’ to trace its origins? A New York-based company says it has technology that will allow cannabis producers, customers, and regulators to track cannabis flower from seed to harvest to the dispensary shelf. Applied DNA Sciences’ “CertainT” platform tags raw cannabis materials and products with a unique molecular identifier that the company says can be tracked as the product travels through its entire supply chain, potentially enabling new levels of compliance, quality control, and safety. According to John Shearman, Applied DNA Sciences’ vice president of marketing & cannabis business lead, this method has already been used to great success in the textile industry. The company applied its molecular tags to cotton before it was shipped from the gin in order to verify the finished products’ components and origins. Read More (Benzinga)

TECHNOLOGY

Saw your investments go to pot? Consider cannabis tech. Technology and software seem to hold the most promise at this time for cannabis investors, as seen by venture-backed names – and some public ones. Here are some tech-infused names to watch: 1) Akerna (KERN) has street ‘cred’ – One of the OG’s of cannabis tech, KERN, made an announcement that could potentially have a big impact on the industry. The company signed an agreement with Priority Technology Holdings (PRTH) to provide CBD and hemp retailers that use Akerna’s MJ Platform with a credit card payment processing service. 2) Driven Deliveries (DRVD) pulls up – Driven recently reported quarterly revenue of $5.7 million in the second quarter of 2020, a 158% sequential increase over the first quarter. But rather than just dispensary delivery, Driven can work with brands to deliver products directly to the customer from the brand’s website. Read More (The Street)

LEGAL & IP

Spice grinder on hemp? Colorado lawsuit alleges multimillion-dollar error caused by wrong equipment. Two Colorado hemp producers are suing a California processor for allegedly trying to get out of paying for hemp biomass by putting it through a spice grinder. The hemp growers – Moose Agricultural and Colorado Hemp Solutions, both of Grand Junction – say that Layn USA and its affiliate Hemprise agreed to buy hemp biomass grown on roughly 600 acres in 2019 and 2020. Layn was to pay for the biomass based on its CBD content, if the product had at least 8% CBD, according to the growers. The biomass tested at an average of just 7.3% CBD – after the biomass was run through a conventional spice grinder, which the growers say ruined the product. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

‘Hostage’ hempseeds prompt cross-state lawsuit. A Colorado hempseed producer is accused of “holding hostage” some 4 million seeds that belong to Exotic Canopy Solutions, a California hemp company. A lawsuit filed against Colorado Hemp Operations LLC and Curnativ Farms LLC says the breeders were hired in January to produce seeds of a CBD-rich cultivar for Exotic Canopy. But the deal soured after the seeds came in late because of what Exotic Canopy calls “incompetence” by the Colorado producers. The seeds also failed testing for viability and purity, according to the lawsuit. Still, the California buyer is suing to get the seeds. Read More (Hemp Industry Daily)

SUSTAINABILITY

Black entrepreneur creates platform to promote diversity in the cannabis industry. A Maryland man created a new platform aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion within the state’s emerging cannabis market. Kevin Ford is the CEO of Uplift Maryland, a new platform to provide training and resources for Black people looking to get into the medical marijuana sector. Ford says he got the idea after exploring medical markets in other legalized states and his own experience in using medical marijuana. “While I was studying marketing in college, I took an interest in the medical cannabis markets in California and Colorado. When the market began to open up in D.C., I watched it closely in hopes that I’d have an opportunity to mix my entrepreneurial spirit with cannabis in a legal, medical market in Maryland,” says Ford. Read More (Black Enterprise)

Michigan cannabis group urges faster track for social equity applicants. A Michigan cannabis trade association is calling on state regulators to make social equity candidates eligible for adult-use marijuana licenses a year early but keep a moratorium until December 2021 for other recreational applicants. State regulators recently said they were considering making recreational-only licenses available in November, a year ahead of schedule. Michigan allowed existing medical cannabis operators the first crack at the adult-use market in December 2019 by establishing a two-year moratorium on most additional adult-use licenses. Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

Minority cannabis ownership negligible in Colorado, but new social equity law aims to spur progress. As is true in other mature cannabis programs, Colorado falls short in minority representation among business owners. But advocates and industry leaders are trying to correct that – a difficult task in a highly competitive and well-established market – and hope social equity legislation Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law at the end of June will help the cause. “Black and brown business owners were left out,” said Wanda James, president of Denver cannabis company Simply Pure. “This is an opportunity for America to recover, rebuild and repair a lot of the injustices it has done.” Read More (Marijuana Business Daily)

CANNA FACTS

Chart 19: Most Influential Brands in the Cannabis Industry (Week Ending August 26)  Source: Intro-Blue, Pioneer Intelligence, Green Entrepreneur

Chart 19: Most Influential Brands in the Cannabis Industry (Week Ending August 26)
Source: Intro-Blue, Pioneer Intelligence, Green Entrepreneur

CANNA CAPITAL MARKET TRENDS

Chart 20: Weekly Summary (August 17 – August 21, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors Chart 20: Weekly Summary (August 17 – August 21, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 20: Weekly Summary (August 17 – August 21, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 20: Weekly Summary (August 17 – August 21, 2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

 

Chart 21: Cannabis Capital Raises by Week (2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 21: Cannabis Capital Raises by Week (2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

 

Chart 22: Cannabis M&A by Week (2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 22: Cannabis M&A by Week (2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

 

Chart 23: Capital Raises by Sector (2020 vs. 2019)  Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

Chart 23: Capital Raises by Sector (2020 vs. 2019)
Source: Intro-Blue, Viridian Capital Advisors

CANNA PRICES – WEEKLY TREND

Chart 24: U.S. Cannabis Market Prices  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 24: U.S. Cannabis Market Prices  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 24: U.S. Cannabis Market Prices
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

 

Chart 25: U.S. Implied Forward Prices (Week Ending August 28, 2020)  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 25: U.S. Implied Forward Prices (Week Ending August 28, 2020)
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

 

Chart 26: Canada Cannabis Spot Index  Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

Chart 26: Canada Cannabis Spot Index
Source: Intro-Blue, Cannabis Benchmarks Price Index

CANNA BRANDS AND PRODUCTS RANKING – STATE IN FOCUS: COLORADO

Chart 27: Best-Selling Flower Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 27: Best-Selling Flower Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 28: Best-Selling Edibles Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 28: Best-Selling Edibles Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 29: Best-Selling Vapor Pen Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 29: Best-Selling Vapor Pen Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 30: Best-Selling Beverage Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 30: Best-Selling Beverage Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 31: Best-Selling Capsule Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 31: Best-Selling Capsule Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

Chart 32: Best-Selling Topical Brands and Products in Colorado  Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

Chart 32: Best-Selling Topical Brands and Products in Colorado
Source: Intro-Blue, Headset

 

CANNA INDEX

Chart 37: U.S Cannabis Index  Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

Chart 37: U.S Cannabis Index
Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

 

Chart 38: Canada Cannabis Index  Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

Chart 38: Canada Cannabis Index
Source: Intro-Blue, The Marijuana Index

Important Disclosures

Analyst Certification

I, Peter Wright, certify that the views expressed in the research report accurately reflect my personal views about the subject securities or issues. I also do not receive direct or indirect compensation based on my recommendations or views.

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