Same Ol’ War On Drugs | Sen. Cory Gardner’s STATES ACT | Weed Stocks Mixed

HighLights

NEW WINNERS, SAME LOSERS IN THE WAR ON DRUGS

The Morning Blunt // 12.20.19
Is legalization bolstering, rather than undermining, the cannabis black market? Legalization was intended to squash the black market by offering consumers a legal alternative. That hasn't exactly worked out as planned. Legal cannabis operators struggle with heavy taxation and an inability to compete with black market operations. Combined with the high cost of entry to the cannabis market, producers are forced to keep their prices higher than the black market, essentially defeating the purpose.

SENATOR CORY GARDNER RESPONDS TO MCCONNEL'S PROCEDURAL DEFEAT

The Morning Blunt // 12.20.18
Sen. Cory Gardner (CO-R) was prevented from attaching the STATES Act to the First Steps Act. The STATES Act is a piece of legislation that would protect individuals and cannabis operators compliant with state law from federal prosecution. The bill would also allow financial institutions to offer banking services to the cannabis industry. After a heated Congressional session, Gardner gave an impressive speech vowing to continue to campaign for the bill next year.

Stocks

WEDNESDAY’S MIXED BAG FOR CANNABIS STOCKS

The Morning Blunt // 12.20.18
Take a look how Canadian stocks like Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY), Cronos (NASDAQ: CRON), Aurora (NYSE: ACB), and Aphria (NYSE: APHA) performed. See how Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR), Auxly Cannabis Group (TSXV: XLY) (OTCMKTS: CBWTF), Terra Tech Corp (OTCQX: TRTC), and others fared.

Tilray Enters Into Joint Venture With Ab InBev

CNBC // 12.19.18
Wednesday Canadian cannabis firm Tilray (NASDAQ: TLRY) entered into a $100M joint venture with beer giant Ab InBev (NYSE: BUD) to study cannabis-based beverages. This comes only a day after Tilray announced a separate supply and distribution agreement with Novartis' subsidiary Sandoz. News of this deal sent Tilray soaring over 22% Tuesday, but fell more than 6% over Wednesday.

Aleafia Acquires Emblem Corp.

New Cannabis Ventures // 12.19.18
Aleafia Health Inc. (TSXV: ALEF) and Emblem Corp. (TSXV: EMC, OTCQX: EMMBF) have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Aleafia will acquire all of Emblem's issued and outstanding common shares in an all share transaction valued at $173.2M. The combination will result in Canada's largest medical cannabis clinic network consisting of 40 clinics and education centers.

Investing In Cannabis With Bruce Campbell

Valens // 12.19.18

Finance expert Bruce Campbell, Founder and Portfolio Manager at StoneCastle Investment Management and the Chief Investment Officer of Cannabis Growth Opportunity Corporation, is one of the top performers in the cannabis sector. Campbell shares his insights to the cannabis industry, giving his future market projections in this half hour interview. 

Micromedic Enters Cannabis

Globes / 12.19.18
Cancer research firm, Micromedic Technologies Ltd. (TASE:MCTC) announced its intention to enter the cannabis sector. Micromedic's share price soared 10% after the issuing their press release. The company's largest shareholder is BioLight Life Sciences (TASE: BOLT), a subsidiary of an investment group headed by former Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) (TASE: TEVA) CEO Israel Makov. While Micromedic has no experience in the cannabis industry, the company is confident in its plant extraction capabilities and is expected to dominate the extraction segment.

KHIRON TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM

Midas Letter // 12.19.18

Chris Naprawa, President of Khiron Life Sciences Corp (CVE: KHRN) (OTCMKTS: KHRNF) (FRA: 4KH), believes Mexico’s announcement to legalize cannabis is the biggest news to hit the sector to date. The Mexican market is significantly larger than the Canadian market and is not yet saturated with competition. In November, the company announced a partnership with Farmalisto, the regions leading drugstore, to expand into the Mexican market. Farmalisto will distribute Khiron’s wellness brand Kuida.

AgraFlora Organics Acquires 100% of AAA Heidelberg Inc.

News Wire // 12.19.18
International cannabis firm, AgraFlora Organics International Inc. (CSE: AGRA) (Frankfurt: PU31) (OTCPK: PUFXF) announced the acquisition of 100% of London, Ontario-based licensed cannabis producer, AAA Heidelberg Inc.

Business

Top Carriers are Offering Insurance to Cannabis Companies

Forbes // 12.19.18
Max Meade is a New Jersey based insurance broker who specializes in providing insurance to cannabis companies through his firm, Brown & Brown Metro. With more states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, there is a growing need for insurance in the industry. Meade encourages his cannabis clients to get the maximum amount of coverage to help cover unique risks associated with the industry. Because cannabis is still federally illegal, Meade is working to ensure his clients are proactive when protecting themselves and able to navigate the ever-changing industry.

TerrAscend wins Medical Cannabis License in New Jersey

The Seed Investor // 12.18.18
TerrAscend Corp. (CSE: TER) (OTCQX: TRSSF) announced Tuesday that the company has been awarded a permit to apply for a vertically integrated license in Phillipsburg New Jersey. The company’s operations will include cultivation, processing, and retail. This license is one of six given out by the New Jersey Department of Health. TerrAscend Corp. is a biopharmaceutical and wellness company with brands and products for the cannabis community.

Global News

THAILAND IS TAKING STEPS TOWARD LEGALIZING MEDICAL MARIJUANA


Bloomberg // 12.18.18
Expected to become the first nation in Southeast Asian to legalize medical marijuana, Thailand is inspiring some countries to consider not only legalizing cannabis, but exporting it as well. Proposed legislation in Thailand prioritizes domestic companies for licenses to produce, extract and research the plant. Once Thai companies have had the opportunity to obtain licenses, the market will become open to foreign firms who are interested in joint ventures with Thai producers. Thailand’s conversations about medical marijuana have inspired other Southeast nations like Malaysia and Singapore to debate legalization. Despite the proposed legalization of medical cannabis, marijuana for recreational use would remain strictly forbidden. 

US News

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Endorses Legalization

The New York Times / 12.19.18
Just three days after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced his mission to adopt recreational adult-use cannabis, the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio lent his support to the agenda, announcing his support for legalization. New York City officials issued a 77 page report offering recommendations on how to approach recreational cannabis. De Blasio will issue a statement on the report Thursday. This also comes after Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez called for certain marijuana convictions to be dismissed.

Cannabis Measures On-Track to Reach House Floor in 2019

The Hill / 12.19.18
Supporters of legalization are hopeful that the 116th Congress will move forward with a couple of measures that would aim to normalize the cannabis industry. Head of the National Cannabis Industry Association, Aaron Smith said that Republicans and Democrats agree that the federal government should not interfere with state law. The new measures would allow cannabis businesses access to federal banking, which would increase deductions for business expenses ,and align federal and state policy where voters have opted for legalization. Following the replacement of Pete Sessions (TX-R), backers of legalization are more confident marijuana related amendments will reach the house floor in 2019.

New Jersey Legalization on Hold Until 2019

The Growth Op // 12.18.18
A report announced yesterday that New Jersey lawmakers will not include a bill to legalize recreational marijuana before the end of the year. Governor Philip Murphy took office with the intent to legalize marijuana and has been working with lawmakers to iron out the details, which are expected to be finished in 2019. Many details have been agreed on surrounding lounges, expunging criminal records, and delivery, however an agreement cannot be reached regarding the tax structure. Governor Murphy wants to tax weed at 25%, but legislative forces are pushing for a 12% tax rate on retail sales. When the state reconvenes in 2019 discussions will continue regarding recreational legalization statewide.

Lawmakers Pre-File Bills to Allow Medical Marijuana On School Campuses

Marijuana Moment // 12.18.18
The bill in Virginia, authored by Delegate Chris Hurst (D) would allow medical patients to use legal CBD or THC-A products on school campuses, school buses, or at school sponsored events. A bill pre-filed by Brian Blake (D) in Washington State would require school districts to adopt a policy that would authorize a parent or guardian to administer marijuana to a student for medical purposes while on school grounds. The legislation includes provisions to protect schools from federal involvement, ensuring there will not be a disruption to education funds. These bills are inspired by similar laws in California, Colorado, Illinois, and Florida, creating a national dialogue about medical marijuana use at schools.

Texas May Expand Medical Marijuana Program in 2019

Cannabis Business Times // 12.18.18
The cannabis industry in Texas is anxiously awaiting new legislation in 2019 that would make changes to the strictly regulated medical marijuana program. Currently, legislation makes it difficult for patients to access physicians willing to prescribe medicinal cannabis. The upcoming legislation is expected to make it easier for doctors to talk to their patients about cannabis. Additional qualifying conditions and cannabis research are also expected to pass in 2019. In the next year, cultivation is expected to ramp up, more patients are expected to gain access to the medical program, and half a dozen cannabis-related bills have already been filed, ranging from small scale decriminalization to an expansion of the medical program.

California News

California's Proposed Regulation Changes

Cannabis Business Times / 12.19.18
California's Bureau of Cannabis Control has made public the final version of the state's proposed regulation changes. Currently the modifications are being reviewed by the California Office of Administrative Law and won't take effect until January.

Product Labeling: Warning for California Executives

Cannabis Industry Journal // 12.18.18
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has little to no guidance for cannabis companies on how to label their product. Despite the FDA lack of requirements, California state has many rules to protect consumers from misleading advertising and labeling. In California, packing must contain a list of contents and the manufacturer or distributor name and location. All packaging is required to list the applicable state laws and where they fall within the cannabis legalization. Sound research, consulting and strategy is recommended when creating new packaging to ensure compliance and avoid excess costs.

Property Owners in Adelanto Seek Rezoning of 133 Acres for Cannabis Cultivation

Daily Press // 12.18.18
The city of Adelanto California has received close to two dozen requests to rezone 133 acres in the southwest part of the city for cannabis cultivation. Plans include 22 structures, over 2.2 million square feet of production facility, and 2,250 parking spots for employees. City Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to make a decision regarding zoning.

Canadian News

Ottawa’s Watchdog Warns Cannabis Users About Credit Card Privacy

The Growth Op // 12.19.18
Due to the collection of personal information, Ottawa cannabis users have been warned not to pay for cannabis products with a credit card. According to Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien, consumers must understand their privacy rights and responsibilities. Because the only way to purchase legal marijuana in Ontario is through online dispensaries, consumers have no option but to use a credit card. The Ontario Cannabis Store reported a breach in privacy last month, where a hacker accessed private consumer information through a Canada Post delivery tracking tool. Nearly 4,500 individuals were impacted by the breech. Cannabis companies are working to train staff in privacy and security policies in order to better protect consumer data.

Science News

MedMen’s Lawsuit A Lesson for the Cannabis Industry

Live Science // 12.19.18
The Journal of Epigenetics published a study on December 19th comparing sperm genetic profiles in cannabis consumers and non-users. Researchers at Duke University found that genetic changes in sperm DNA (the variation in hundreds of genes and regulatory pathways) were more prevalent in men that consumed marijuana than in those that did not. The higher the concentration of THC in the urine, the more pronounced the changes to sperm were. The researchers conducted the same study on rats and found similar results. The sperm DNA is not mutated, and there is no conclusive evidence that the men who had changes in their genetic profile would have difficulties in the fertilization process. Fertility experts are encouraging additional studies to be conducted to identify possible impacts cannabis has on sperm function and offspring health.