Cannabis stocks were back in the green this week, with major ETFs all posting moderate gains. Over the five trading days of the week:
• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ): rose 2.6%.
• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO): advanced 4.8%.
• The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX): was up 3.5%.
• The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS): gained 3.5%.
• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 3.4%.
“As earnings season ramps up, we are beginning to get more details on how the COVID-19 virus is affecting companies in both the U.S. and Canada. Despite being deemed an essential service in many states, supply chains have been disrupted and businesses have had to make social distancing accommodations that have hurt production and sales,” Green Market Report CEO Debra Borchardt told Benzinga. “Still, BDSA’s data showed that sales rose in March despite the pandemic in all states but Nevada and Massachusetts.”
Among the earnings reports of the week, the most notable was probably Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ: CRON), which posted a revenue spike of 181% during the first quarter of 2020. “Despite the challenges and uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain agile and focused as a business,” Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein said in a prepared statement.
“Our brand portfolio continues to launch innovative products to consumers as we adapt to an online-first distribution model in both the U.S. and Canada. We continue to reach our stakeholders and consumers through creative digital marketing. And our product innovation and R&D projects continue to progress.”
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Cronos reported an operating loss of $45.1 million in the first quarter versus a $10.1-million loss in the same period last year. The loss was driven by an increase in general and administrative expenses, the company said, including internal review costs of $4.4 million related to the restatement of the company’s 2019 interim financial statements, higher sales and marketing costs related to brand development and research and development costs related to its deal with Ginkgo Bioworks Inc.
In other big news, a Colombian-Canadian company announced that it will be the first to export cannabis seeds from Colombia to the United States. The milestone was announced by Avicanna Inc (TSX: AVCN) (OTC: AVCNF) and arises from the need for countries producing legal cannabis to have hemp seeds in the middle of the winter cycle.
Through its subsidiary in Colombia, Santa Marta Golden Hemp, Avicanna will export a batch of 100,000 seeds to Denver, Colorado. Management says this will be the first of several export batches.
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More News From The Week
Flower One Holdings Inc. (CSE: FONE) (OTC: FLOOF) closed its non-brokered private placement. The Toronto company raised CA$10.9 million ($7.8 million).
Lexaria Bioscience (OTC: LXRP) (CSE: LXX) sold more than 8.9 million shares of its common stock — including warrants to purchase shares of common stock — in a private placement deal for more than $2 million with a price per share of 23 cents.
Cannabis-focused law firm Feuerstein Kulick tapped Jeff Schultz, former Navy Capital general counsel and chief compliance officer, to become a partner.
Ethos Cannabis agreed to acquire dispensaries in Pennsylvania and Maryland from 4Front Ventures Corp (OTC: FFNTF) (CSE: FFNT). The $18-million sale was first announced by 4Front a few days earlier, but the buyer wasn’t disclosed at the time.
MediPharm Labs Corp. (TSE: LABS) (OTC: MEDIF) announced that its subsidiary has entered into a two-year supply agreement with a New Zealand company.
Separately, Pat McCutcheon, the CEO of MediPharm Labs, was appointed to the board of Champignon Brands Inc (OTC: SHRMF), a company focused on the formulation and manufacturing of novel ketamine and psilocybin treatments for mental health. Recently, Champignon acquired the CRTCE, a novel flagship ketamine clinic which is also the only clinic in Canada to be certified for psilocybin research by the Health Board of Canada.
Caroline Heinz, formerly the vice president of HempMeds Brasil, and Raul Elizalde, formerly the president of HempMeds operations in Mexico and Latin American, were named co-CEOs of HempMeds. Together, they will oversee all global operations for the company, a subsidiary of Medical Marijuana Inc (OTC: MJNA).
MassRoots (OTC: MSRT) obtained a loan under the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which has been critical in ensuring employees are paid their regular salaries so they in turn have the money they need to support their families, cover medical bills and pay rent.
The company says it is spearheading a movement referred to as “Paycheck Protection Program Equality,” based on the belief that all cannabis-related businesses, both plant-touching and ancillary, should be able to obtain PPP loans in order to support the hundreds of thousands of employees in the regulated cannabis industry
CEO Isaac Dietrich is asking supporters, both individuals and businesses, to take the following steps to raise awareness and help cannabis businesses obtain equal access to PPP funding:
- Tweet the reasons you support #PPPEquality to @realDonaldTrump, @PressSec and your Senators and Congressmen.
- Email the White House and President Trump’s campaign in support of #PPPEquality at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
- Call the White House at 202-456-1111 and your Senators and Congressmen in support of equal access to PPP funding.
- If you’re employed in the cannabis industry, please record a video testimonial on how PPP funding would impact your life. You can submit it here or tweet it, tagging @realDonaldTrump, your senators and representatives and using #PPPEquality.
- Post on Instagram, tagging the White House and your representatives, using #PPPEquality on the reasons why you support cannabis businesses having equal access to PPP loans.
AXIM Biotechnologies (OTC: AXIM) created and filed a patent for a super CBD molecule that is 338 times more water-soluble than naturally occurring CBD. It allows for less CBD to be used in products and therefore reduces both dosage and toxicity, the company said. The identity of this super CBD molecule has been verified by mass spectrometry/liquid chromatography.
Also included in the patent application is AXIM’s discovery on how to combine multiple cannabinoids into one chemical entity, resulting in the modulation of their pharmacological properties or acquisition of new properties. This increases solubility, improves circulation time and/or increases the potency of cannabinoids, AXIM said.
“We hope that, through this new patent application, we can provide new solutions for cannabinoid water solubility and help spark innovation of many new products,” said CEO John Huemoeller II.
Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTC: MJNA) released its 2019 fourth-quarter and year-end financial and operational results. The company’s net revenue surpassed $75.6 million, a 26.3% year-over-year increase from 2018.
Some notable accomplishments include:
- Gross margins increased from 67.4% in 2018 to 76.4% in 2019.
- GAAP net income increased to $84.4 million.
- Positive adjusted EBITDA of $139,000 as compared to a loss of $1.2 million in 2018.
- GAAP gross profit for the year was $57.7 million, an increase of 900 basis points over 2018.
- GAAP general and administrative expenses decreased as a percentage of sales from 24.1% in 2018 to 16.9% in 2019.
- GAAP sales and marketing expenses decreased as a percentage of sales from 56.6% in 2018 to 54.6% in 2019.
- The cash position at the end of 2019 was $5.8 million, an increase of 35.2% over 2018.
“In 2019, we successfully continued to execute on our strategic growth action plan and I could not be more excited to share these financial results with our partners and shareholders,” said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus.
“We were able to increase revenues and focus on our bottom line by making strategic adjustments to expenditures.”
Leafbuyer Technologies (OTC: LBUY) announced that it is giving away texting and loyalty services to help non-cannabis businesses recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
“We feel fortunate that some parts of the cannabis industry haven’t been hit as hard as the other businesses we count on each day. These local businesses are our neighbors, our friends. They have been there when we needed them, so we want to give them a voice to talk to their customers and rebuild,” said CEO Kurt Rossner.
Because marijuana dispensaries have largely been considered “essential businesses,” the cannabis industry has not been hit as hard as other small businesses. Now, Leafbuyer is offering up its platform to 500 small businesses in five cities so they can communicate with their customers and offer incentives to come into their stores.
Businesses can learn more and apply at www.Leafbuyer.com/Gives.
Talaria Transportation, a national logistics provider for the legal cannabis industry, expanded its services to Maryland. “Our goal was to build the optimum logistics company that could compliantly serve all facets of the industry’s unique distribution system. Over the last two years, we’ve seen exponential growth and it was the natural next step to move into the Maryland market,” said CEO Ari Raptis.
Cannabics Pharmaceuticals (OTC: CNBX) spent the last seven years examining the necrotic effects that it says cannabinoid compositions induce in human cancer cells.
During this time, thousands of different cannabinoid compositions were scanned vs. multiple cancer types. Cannabics also looked at how different extraction methods impact the anti-cancer activity of cannabinoids.
Recently, the company decided to home in on cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, with a focus on colon cancer. By utilizing its HTS platform in Israel, the company said it identified certain cannabinoids that demonstrated complex combinatorial effects on colon cancer cells, which led to the creation of a proprietary formulation targeting this specific type of cancer. An application for a provisional patent was filed with the USPTO on April 13.
“This formulation marks the culmination of our efforts thus far in personalizing cannabinoid-based therapies. We look forward to conducting clinical trials and validating the formulation. The regulatory environment in Israel permits such trials and we intend to move forward as quickly as possible. We are excited and intrigued to take part in such an endeavor,” said co-founder and CTO Dr. Eyal Ballan.
Top Stories Of The Week
Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:
Check out these and many other cannabis stories on Benzinga.com/cannabis
Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.
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