Citron Bullish on Aphria | STATES Act Shot Down By McConnell |

HighLights

Aphria The Next Acquisition Target?

Citron Research // 12.18.19
Citron Research released a report arguing that Canadian cannabis firms have become acquisition targets for CPG companies. While legalization in the US is slowly turning the corner, realistically it could take two years for laws to change. Cronos (NASDAQ: CRON) surprised everyone with its recent partnership with Altria (NYSE: MO). Considering the company's current reputation and low valuation, Citron argues that Aphria (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APH) could be the next target.

STATES Act Shot Down By McConnell

The Denver Post // 12.18.19
US Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) attempted to attach the STATES Act to the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that's expected to pass this week. The STATES ACT would remove the threat of federal prosecution in states where cannabis is legal, in addition to lifting restrictions on banking institutions unable to work with the cannabis sector. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the Gardner in a procedural maneuver. Gardner announced on the floor of Congress that he will continue to fight for the piece of legislation and hopes to reintroduce the bill in the next Congress.

Terra Tech Denies Allegations of Fraud

New Cannabis Ventures // 12.18.18
Terra Tech Corp. (OTCQX: TRTC), a California cannabis firm with operations in Nevada, recently was accused of fraud. The lawsuit includes an interview with plaintiff Heidi Hegerich, an investor in partnership since 2014. Terra Tech has denied the allegations and is counter suing Hegerich. The Morning Blunt plans to do an in-depth piece on developments surrounding this story.

Stocks

Tuesday in Review

The Morning Blunt // 12.19.19
Take a look to see how well cannabis stocks like Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY), Cronos (NYSE: CRON), Canopy Growth (NYSE: CGC), Terra Tech (OTCQX: TRTC), MedMen (CSE: MMEN) (OTCMKTS: MMNFF), Organigram Holdings (TSXV: OGI) and more fared on Tuesday.

US Canna Firms Outpacing Canadian Operators

Bloomberg // 12.18.19
US cannabis firms are out-fundraising Canadian operators, with US consumer spending on cannabis is expected to reach $20.9B by 2021, dwarfing Canada's expected $4.5B. According to CEO Richard Carleton of the Canadian Securities Exchange (the only stock exchange in either country that will list US cannabis operators) US issuers provide a more compelling story to investors. US cannabis firms come with operating history, revenue in place, and a sense of maturity that Canadian producers lacked "back in the day." Carleton argues that the Canadian growth story is flattening while the US market is accelerating.

TILRAY SOARS ANNOUNCING NEW DEAL WITH NOVARtIS

CNBC // 12.18.19 
Tuesday, Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) announced a new global supply and distribution agreement with a subsidiary of Swiss drug-maker Novartis (NYSE: NVS) known as Sandoz. Under terms of the agreement, Tilray will supply non-smokable and non-combustible medicinal cannabis products to the global network of countries with legal medicinal marijuana programs. Closing out the day surging at 17%, Tilray shot as high as 21.9% in intraday trading over Monday’s closing price of $65.89 to $80.30 per share.

Aphria: A Risk Worth Taking?

Investor Place // 12.18.19
Despite Aphria's (NYSE: APHA) recent issues with reputation, cannabis stocks are still in demand. The low P/E ratio Aphria trades at, combined with the high demand of cannabis stocks could revive the company. Aphria trades with a forward P/E ratio of 13.8, while Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) comes in at 231. Aurora (NYSE: ACB) comes in around 53, and Cronos (NASDAQ: CRON) has a P/E of 246. Soon to trade on the NYSE, CannTrust (OTCMKTS: CNTTF) trades at 25.8 forward P/E.

Aurora Cannabis Facing More Volatility

Post Analyst // 12.18.19
With another underwhelming trading session for Aurora Cannabis (NYSE: ACB), it's easy to wonder what's next for the stock. Monday, the volume appeared at 10.5M contracts compared to the 15.44M shares per day the company has averaged the last 90 days. Take a look at why analysts are saying Aurora Cannabis has been tagged with a $0 price target.

iAnthus Opens First Florida Medical Cannabis Dispensary

New Cannabis Ventures // 12.18.19
US cannabis operator iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc. (CSE: IAN) (OTCQX: ITHUF) announced that its first flagship dispensary in Florida will open December 19, 2018, with two more scheduled to open before the end of 2019. The dispensary will operate under the iAnthus brand "GrowHealthy."

Policy Change Could Fire Up Cannabis Industry

Cision PR News Wire // 12.18.19
The expected passing of the 2018 US Farm Bill and other US policy changes could fire up the cannabis industry. In addition to upcoming policy changes, Global Payout Inc. (OTC: GOHE), Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTC: CBWTF) (TSXV: XLY), NightFood Holdings Inc. (OTC: NGTF), Freedom Leaf Inc. (OTC: FRLF), and Potnetwork Holdings Inc. (OTC: POTN) have each issued press releases pertaining to recent developments within their respective companies.

Puration Inc Teams Up With Kali Extracts

Nasdaq // 12.18.19
Tuesday, Puration Inc. (USOTC: PURA) and Kali Inc. (USOTC: KALY) announced a THC extraction partnership. The two companies will combine their extraction efforts to manufacture value added products to be distributed in California and Colorado.

Sunniva Teams Up With HelloMD to Provide Telemedicine Services to Patients

New Cannabis Ventures // 12.18.19
Tuesday Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQB: SNNVF) announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Natural Health Services Ltd. will partner with online cannabis telehealth company, HelloMD. The partnership aims to offer telemedicine services to medical patients in need of convenient access to medicinal cannabis advice.

Business

Royal Bank of Canada Wants Piece of $194B Cannabis Industry

Business Insider // 12.18.19
Tuesday the investment banking arm of Royal Bank of Canada announced it will begin advising marijuana companies on takeovers and stock sales. Until now, many of the financial institutions working with cannabis companies have been smaller investment banks like Canaccord Genuity. Being selective with their clientele, Royal Bank of Canada has established a policy that the institution is comfortable with. Royal Bank will join the Bank of Montreal in pursuing deals and initiating coverage for the cannabis industry.

Green Thumb Industries Granted One of Few New Jersey Cannabis Licenses

Proactive Investors // 12.18.19
Chicago based cannabis company, Green Thumb Industries Inc (CSE:GTII) (OTCQX: GTBIF) has been approved for one of the very few vertically integrated cannabis business licenses in New Jersey. The state's Department of Health granted the company cultivation, processing, and retail rights.

How Much Should Cannabis Cost?

Bloomberg // 12.18.18

New Leaf Data Services has launched a new cannabis spot price index the legal cannabis market. The Cannabis Benchmarks’ new metric to track cannabis prices for the Canadian industry came after Canadian legalization boosted interest in the cannabis sector. The group aims to update prices daily and eventually in real time. According to the company the price of cannabis is currently up $.08 from the week prior to $7.79.

Important Communication Tips Cannabis Companies Should Follow

New Cannabis Ventures // 12.18.18
Cory Ziskind and Tim Streeb of ICR public relations company list important communication tips for cannabis companies to follow that will help them be successful in the industry. Ziskind and Streeb recommend making sure that your corporate narrative and brand position is consistent, compelling and credible. Avoid ‘oversaturating’ the media with press releases for small milestones. Respond to criticism with professionalism, keeping communications cordial, concise and and fact-based. The ‘hype vs. reality’ dynamic in the cannabis industry has to be strategically managed to establish credibility with stakeholders and grow in the industry.

How Cannabis Companies Use Media to Attract Investment

Forbes // 12.18.19
Cannabis companies are getting creative with ways to find new investors in such a competitive and oversaturated market. Some businesses are trying to establish themselves as “thought leaders”, or experts in their industry. Investors will gravitate naturally to people who are seen as leaders or experts in the industry. A smart way to become a thought leader in your field is to start writing and publishing high-quality content that is relevant to your industry. The most widely used tool for investors is social media, though regulations online and federal laws make promoting cannabis businesses tricky on sites like Facebook and Instagram. As legalization reaches the federal level, cannabis companies will become even more present in the media and advertising will begin to take place on a multitude of platforms.

Global News

Trinidad and Tobago Introduce Marijuana Legislation in 2019

St. Lucian News // 12.18.18
Tuesday the Government in Trinidad and Tobago announced their plan to introduce legislation in 2019 that would decriminalize the use of marijuana for recreational and medical purposes. Attorney General Faris Al-Rawu told Senate that administration would introduce the legislation in early 2019. This conversation is following the latest Caribbean legislation to decriminalize marijuana in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, the chairperson of the Caribbean Community Commission on Marijuana, is a strong supporter of the marijuana legalization and is traveling around to speak about the need for change in the regions cannabis laws.

Regional and Cultural Implications of South Korea Legalizing Medical Cannabis

WikiLeaf // 12.18.18
November 23rd, 2018 South Korea’s National Assembly passed a bill to amend the Narcotics Control Act and allow for limited use of medical cannabis. There are a lot of cultural and regional implications surrounding this change in legislation. The Cannabis Control Act, as it stands, will jail and/or fine anyone caught smoking marijuana, and anyone habitually involved could by law be sentenced to death, but no one has met that fate. The law is so strict that it can punish South Koreans for using marijuana abroad, even in countries that have legalized it for recreational use. A few factors are at work to change the cultural and political views on marijuana used for medical purposes.

US News

Joe Kennedy Calls For Federal Legalization of Marijuana

My San Antonio // 12.18.19
US Congressmen Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts argues that a patchwork of medical and recreational laws compounds the dysfunction surrounding cannabis reform. In an online publication called STAT Kennedy urged the federal government to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and federally legalize the substance.

Florida's $250M Medical Cannabis Market Could Open Up to New Businesses

Marijuana Business Daily // 12.18.19
Florida's $250M medical marijuana program is expected to open its doors to new cannabis companies in 2019 after two rulings in recent months that could shape the competitive landscape. In August a Florida judge struck down an unconstitutional restriction on the number of licenses, he also ruled that the requirement that cannabis businesses be vertically integrated was flawed. In May, another judge ruled the ban on smoking cannabis was unconstitutional.

Over 2,200 Medical Marijuana License Applications in Oklahoma

New Cannabis Ventures // 12.18.18
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has 2,275 approved medical marijuana license applications as of December 9th. Out of the total applicants, over half, 1,206, are licenses for cultivation, 754 are for dispensaries and 315 applications for manufacturing. Green Prairie, of Wagoner County, is taking advantage of the reform and changing their crop from tomatoes to marijuana. A few companies have applied for multiple licenses, SGOK Inc has 21 approved applications in the three approved activities, cultivation, dispensary and manufacturing. Receiving approval on the application is one thing, but companies need to register through the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control before they can start operations.

250K NEW JOBS EXPECTED IN MARIJUANA INDUSTRY BY 2020

ABC Buffalo // 12.18.18

With medical and recreational legalization reaching over half the nation, job openings in the marijuana industry have increased by 445%. According to New Frontier Data, 250,000 jobs are expected to be created in the marijuana industry by the end of 2020. Jobs range anywhere from entry level jobs with no experience required, to career jobs on the higher end that can pay as much as $250,000 a year. The legal marijuana industry is currently an $8.5 billion dollar business and continues to grow.

California News

California Cannabis Market Offers Growth for Cultivation Suppliers

PR Newswire // 12.18.18 California, one of the largest recreational cannabis markets in the world, is expected to grow exponentially in 2019. For example, Sugarmade, Inc. (OTC: SGMD) is one of the companies anticipated to profit in the next year because of their popular hydroponic equipment. Sugarmade’s most recent investment is in Hempistry., Inc, a Nevada based company that grows hemp to be used in CBD products. Currently, licensing backlogs are the only thing slowing down the pace of the cannabis industry reaching its full potential in the state. Canadian cannabis companies like Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY), Aphria (NYSE:APHA) (TSX: APHA) and Cronos Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) are investing in the global market in Chile, Portugal, Germany, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Oakland’s First Equity Dispensary

Black Enterprise // 12.17.18
The first Equity Dispensary opened this week in Oakland. The city offered an equity permit program to longtime residents who were impacted by the drug war or convicted of cannabis crimes prior to legalization. The requirements for eligibility including a cannabis conviction in the last 22 years or a 10 year residency in a neighborhood with disproportionate cannabis arrests. The applicant must also have an income of 80% or less than the city's average. Brittany Moore and Alphonso T. Blunt Jr are the owners of Blunts + Moore, and were one of the four applications that were chosen by a lottery in January.

Legalization’s Threat to California Cannabis Culture

Los Angeles Times // 12.18.18
Following Proposition 64 and the legalization of recreational marijuana, growers in California are suffering from the fall of cannabis prices and the rising costs of licenses. Small cannabis farmers are struggling with changes made by code enforcement combined with the rapid growth of the industry. The first Emerald Cup following state wide legalization was held the weekend of December 15-16th, and putting on a big festival now that every transaction has to be regulated proved to be a lot more complicated than anticipated. In the past, the Emerald Cup has been a largely cash based economy, but with the new regulations, vendors had electronic cash registers and customers got a receipt with purchase. The Emerald Cup founder said that the company spent almost half a million dollars on compliance and lobbyists as to not cause any problems with the state. While the state is clear-eyed about legalization, cannabis culture is still threatened during this time of transition.

California Could Legalize Cannabis Deliveries Statewide

The Proclaimer // 12.18.18
The California Bureau of Cannabis Control announced this month it would adopt a set of regulations that would legalize statewide cannabis deliveries. With the current law, a delivery from a vendor in a city that has commercialized pot could be apprehended when delivering to an address that is in a city that prohibits cannabis products. The new proposed regulations would allow cannabis to be delivered to any city in the state. Another law passed by state legislature comes into effect this January and will allow for sidewalk street vending statewide. The League of California Cities is strongly opposed to these regulations and will diminish municipal control over these decisions.

CALIFORNIA CANNABIS CONTINUES TO FAIL CONTAMINANT TESTING​

CBS LA // 12.18.18 
Cannabis products at dispensaries in California are being tested for 66 different types of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides before reaching the consumer. The recent shutdown of Sequoia Analytical Labs raises questions about production companies modifying results and unlawfully reporting their test results to consumers. An interview with scientists at a lab in Santa Ana stresses the importance of being an educated cannabis consumer and reading the breakdown of test results listed on products to fully understand what it is you are consuming.

Harborside Health Center Wants to Reform 280E

Forbes // 12.17.18
Current taxing structure, specifically Code Section 280E, states “No deduction or credit shall be allowed for any amount paid or incurred during the taxable year ...if such trade or business...consists of trafficking in controlled substances ...which is prohibited by Federal law or the law of any State in which such trade or business is conducted”. The Harborside Health Center went to tax court to challenge IRS Audits in an attempt to change the code now that over half of the united states have legalized marijuana in some capacity.

Police Find 6,000 Pounds of Marijuana in Lodi

The Sacramento Bee // 12.18.18
Eleven individuals were arrested Thursday with 6,000 pounds of hash following an inspection of a building in Lodi, California. Police were called by a concerned neighbor when they could smell marijuana and chemicals coming from the building. When the police arrived, the people claimed to be Fly-N-High employees running a butane hash oil lab. The suspects were taken in on charges of manufacturing a controlled substance and police searched the facility. More than 6,000 pounds of dried marijuana, 300 pounds of BHO, lab equipment, illegal firearms and suspicious amounts of cash. Police responded immediately to the tip about the smell of the lab following a hash oil lab explosion in the same week that put two young children in danger. Police concluded that the two incidents were not related.

Canadian News

Canadian Instagrammers Gain Following in Cannabis Community

The Growth Op // 12.18.18
Cannabis culture on Instagram has skyrocketed in the last two months since legalization, but some of the more popular accounts have been posting cannabis content to users since before it was legal. When asked “why Instagram?” influencers said that it is good for branding things, hashtags and to engage with people through a photo. Most importantly, to engage with a lot of people very quickly. Some of these accounts have up to 43,000 followers and are sponsored by various cannabis companies, who use the owners of the accounts for branding and marketing in exchange for free products.

Weekend Unlimited Inc. Appoints New President and CEO

Cannabis Business Times // 12.18.18
Weekend Unlimited Inc. in Vancouver BC has appointed Paul Chu as the new President and Ceo of the company. Chu has plans to build the company into the world's leading recreational cannabis lifestyle brand through their many successful products and global expansion to Canada, Jamaica, and Washington state.

Science

For Infrequent Smokers, Vaporized Cannabis Produces a Stronger High

Analytical Cannabis // 12.18.18
A recent study published in the American Medical Journal and performed at John Hopkins Medicine used vaporized and smoked cannabis and a Drug Effect Questionnaire (DEQ) to compare the levels of impairment. The double-blind study was conducted with 17 participants who had not used cannabis within 30 days of testing. Participants were given 0mg, 10mg or 25mg of THC before testing. The results showed that when given a 25mg dosage of cannabis, participants had an average DEQ score of 77.5/100 when vaping and 66.4/100 when smoking. Compared to those who had smoked an equivalent amount, participants who vaped the cannabis had a 500% performance drop during divided attention tasks. The overall goal of the study was better model what an average first time recreational user would experience their first time using cannabis, and help them make informed decisions about safe and controlled dosages.

Oral Cannabis Spray Successful for Treating Spasticity in Motor Neuron Disease

MedPage Today // 12.17.18
Nabiximols, an oral cannabis spray, is proving to be successful in treating spasticity in patients with Motor Neuron disease. A study called the Cannabis Sativa Extract in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and other Motor Neuron Disease (CANALS) through the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan is the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of a drug for spasticity and the fist study of nabiximols in motor neuron disease. The trial included 59 adults with ALS or PLS from four centers in Italy. In 2013 and 2014. The researchers randomized patients and administered a mouth spray or a placebo for 6 weeks. The researchers rated the spasticity in patients compared to an established baseline. At 6 weeks, scores had improved by 55% in patients receiving the nabiximols. In addition to reducing spasticity, the participants also noticed a decrease in neuropathic pain.

Smoking High THC Weed Puts People at a Higher Risk of Dependencies

Civilized // 12.18.18 Smoking cannabis with higher potency levels of THC put the user at risk for developing a dependency. A new study from Iowa State University followed people with drug abuse in their families and found that participants who started using high THC strains of cannabis were more likely to develop a dependency. The researchers are suggesting that states regulate potency levels to reduce the risk of dependencies.

Weeds of Canada

Ottawa Citizen // 12.18.18
Gary Mulligan, 91, of the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, ON spent his life and career as a research scientist specializing in the study of farm weeds. In his retirement, he created an online database, Weeds Canada, for people to look up information about weeds in Canada and the Northern United States. Following the nationwide legalization of cannabis, weedscanada.com came online as a dispensary in Vancouver, BC, causing the traffic on Mulligans website to drop to nearly zero. Mulligan says he might consider changing his domain name, but worried it might confuse avid site users. For the time being people trying to get their weeds identified will not be able to access Mulligan’s website.

CBD Is Bad For Glaucoma But THC Gives Gift of Sight

Forbes // 12.18.18
Researchers at Indiana University published a study in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science which has determined that CBD increases pressure in the eye. Scientists are concerned about CBD's recent increase in popularity, as increased pressure in the eye is especially problematic for those at risk or who have glaucoma. THC, however, reduces pressure in the eye and is beneficial for those with glaucoma. More research is needed on the effects cannabinoids have on eyesight.