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Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtAugust 20, 2019
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Multi-state operator iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. (CSE: IAN)(OTCQX: ITHUF) said that it has entered into a senior secured term loan of up to $50 million from one or more investment funds managed by Torian Capital Partners. The loan will be doled out in two tranches of $25 million each with similar terms.

iAnthus said it will use the money for its expansion efforts in Florida and the company’s new Be. retail locations in NevadaNew Jersey and New York. The company is expected to report its second-quarter earnings on August 27.  Last month the company noted that its CBD For Life products will be sold in Dillards Department Stores.

“Reducing our cost of capital has been one of our key goals for this year.  We believe this is a great opportunity to add strength to our balance sheet as we continue to invest in our key expansion initiatives, along with people, systems, and brands,” said Hadley Ford, CEO of iAnthus. “This transaction will position us well as we continue our strategic investments to take advantage of the once-ever opportunity presented by the cannabis industry.”

Terms

iAnthus said that the loan will be secured by a first-priority lien on all current and future assets of the company and its affiliates, subject to certain exceptions, including applicable cannabis regulations, and will be guaranteed by all current and future affiliates of the Company.  Each tranche of the Term Loan will bear interest at a rate of 9.0% per annum, payable quarterly in arrears during their respective terms and each tranche will mature 36 months from the date of its advance. Following the 12-month anniversary from the date of advance of each tranche, iAnthus may prepay the outstanding principal amount of the such tranche: (i) in year two, upon payment of 109% of the principal amount outstanding and (ii) in year three, upon payment of 104.5% of the principal amount outstanding.

Further, upon completion of each tranche, Torian Capital will be issued share purchase warrants (“Warrants”) from iAnthus in an amount equal to 20% coverage of each tranche. Each Warrant will entitle Torian Capital to purchase one common share for a period of 36 months from the date of issue. The Warrants issued will, subject to the policies of the Canadian Securities Exchange (“CSE”), have an exercise price equal to a 25% premium to the closing price of iAnthus’ common shares on the CSE on the day prior to the applicable closing of the relevant tranche. The Warrants may be called by iAnthus if the volume-weighted average price of iAnthus’ common shares on the CSE exceeds 2.0x the exercise price for 20 days within any 30-day period, and the daily average trading volume of iAnthus’ common shares on the CSE equals or exceeds 25% of the Warrants then outstanding.


Sean HockingSean HockingAugust 20, 2019
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AUTHOR:  “Jordan Zoot.  “aBIZinaBOX Inc., CPA’s
PUBLISHER:  CANNABIS LAW REPORT

IDPH Making Effort – we are somewhat pleasantly SHOCKED and SURPRISED that the Illinois Dept. of Public Health in particular, and State of Illinois government, in general, seems to be making a REAL and CONCERTED effort to implement cannabis policy.

A bit of background is in order – I am personally licensed as a CPA in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas. The firm is licensed in California, Florida, Illinois and Oregon [due to quirks of CPA licensing at the firm and individual levels and types of practice services performed. I spent the first nineteen years of my career located in New York City, the next eighteen in Chicago, and have had an increasing presence in Oakland over the past three years. Our cannabis industry involvement since roughly 2001 has been entirely in California due to our perception that Illinois state government was corrupt as hell…and that even extended to my home town off Evanston [See outrageous lease ordinance for cannabis dispensary implemented by Evanston City Council when Illinois first legalized MMJ at ) Ordinance 40-O-15 Authorizing City Manager to Execute a Lease Agreement for City-Owned Property at 1804 Maple Avenue and Illinois Cannabis Corruption and Secrecy ] A US District Court Judge forced Illinois to add intractable pain to the MMJ statutes qualifying condition in January 2018 [See Article here.] We have addressed the outrageous terms of that lease elsewhere.

 

IDPH Making Effort To Get It Right

Keep in mind that the State of Illinois legalized medical cannabis [“MMJ”], in August 2013 [Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed Public Act 098-0122 “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act” into law with an effective date of January 1, 2014 (the “Medical Cannabis Act”)].

The Illinois Legislature passed legislation on June 4, 2018, which would allow potentially thousands of patients to receive medical marijuana as an alternative to highly addictive opioids, a move that could provide a notable boost to MMJ sales. The state’s Governor signed the legislation in August 2018. The legislation allowed the use of medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids – a development that could eventually generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional MMJ sales. Marijuana Business Daily estimates the move could add tens of thousands of new patients to a program that has roughly 42,000 currently registered.

Illinois had been a highly restrictive MMJ market. But the Marijuana Policy Project noted some key provisions of the legislation that will ease restrictions, including:

Qualifying patients will receive provisional registration allowing them to purchase medical marijuana for 90 days while their application is being processed (or until it is denied).

Criminal background checks and fingerprint requirements will be eliminated for all participants/applicants in the existing MMJ program and the new Opioid Alternative Pilot Program.

 

IDPH Making Effort To Get It Right

Illinois became the country’s first state to legalize recreational marijuana cultivation and sales through its Legislature, a landmark move that paves the way for the creation of one of the nation’s largest adult-use cannabis markets offering “huge” business opportunities on May 31, 2019 [See Illinois Adult Use and Illinois Cannabis Priorities  , and Illinois House Bill 1438.]

It seems that after the difficult climb to legalize adult-use Illinois has started to get its act together. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed new legislation on

MMJ qualifying conditions added are chronic pain, anorexia nervosa, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, anorexia nervosa, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Neuro-Behcet’s autoimmune disease, neuropathy, polycystic kidney disease and superior canal dehiscence syndrome. Chronic pain tends to be the leading driver for MMJ sales.

Nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, like doctors, now can certify patients for the program. [This is groundbreaking for MMJ programs]

The expansion gives added heft to a program that was bolstered substantially in late January when an opioid alternative pilot program kicked in. Former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed that legislation.

 

IDPH Making Effort To Get It Right

We note that the enactment of adult-use legislation usually results in a decline in MMJ use of cannabis. However, Illinois has done something very encouraging in this regard.

The state’s MMJ program is that there is only a 1% sales tax.

Buyers of adult-use cannabis products, on the other hand, can expect to pay a retail tax of 19.55%-34.75%, depending on the product’s potency, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

The Marijuana Business Factbook recently projected that the Illinois MMJ market would generate $200 million-$240 million in sales in 2019, up from $132.9 million in 2018.

While we have been reluctant to involve our practice in the Illinois cannabis market for close to twenty years, we may test the water. The first major step in this direction is that I have personally applied for an Illinois MMJ card due to my continuing struggle with diabetic neuropathy in my feet. The background to my healthcare team includes my Endocrinologist and Neuromuscular Neurologist at Northwestern Memorial, and Wound Care/ and Pain Management at Shirley Ryan Ability Labf/k/a Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago [“RIC”].

 

IDPH Making Effort To Get It Right

We are going to try both topical CBD for day time use and a high-concentration THC product for night-time pain use. The current Illinois MMJ program Dehabilitating Conditions list is here. The website for the IDPH Opioid Alternative Pilot Program is here. The overall growth of the Illinois MMJ program can be tracked here. The main website for the Illinois MMJ Cannabis Program.

If you are a licensee or are seriously considering applying for a license for a “plant-touching” cannabis business in Illinois preferably in Cook, Lake or McHenry County, we would REALLY like to hear from you. We have very deep and extensive experience with the legal cannabis industry on the Federal level, with extensive experience in California, and significant experience in Oregon. We would be willing to substantially discount our fees and dive into the Illinois cannabis market if we had a significant client. Our further preference is for an operator that is either substantially capitalized or venture-funded with a minimum of $2MM capitalization. Our experience is that we are overpowered for a “mom and pop” and most “friends and family” operations. If you have the interest, enter your contact information below.

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtAugust 19, 2019
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It’s time for your Daily Hit of cannabis financial news for August 19, 2019.

On The Site

MidAtlantic States

New Jersey May Renew Push to Legalize Marijuana in 2019

Recent comments from Governor Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney suggest one final legislative effort to legalize marijuana in 2019.

“I think I’ve been consistent that I hoped we could have one more shot at this,” Murphy told reporters last week. “Getting something to happen sooner, if we have a real shot at that, I’d be all in. … Count me all in to try and work toward that.”

The New York legislature passed a decriminalization bill in June. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law in late July. The law both expunges many past convictions for marijuana possession and reduces penalties in the future. Advocates initially proposed full legalization but shifted strategy after it became clear they lacked enough votes.

“It does do two good things,” said Emma Goodman, a staff attorney in Legal Aid Society’s special litigation unit. Goodman worked with legislators to lobby for legalization.

Florida’s Medical Marijuana Program Part 9

Through late July, the 2019 Cannabis Crusade saw daily cannabis-related news and a literal state of medical marijuana commotion. A timeline of Florida’s battle for solid ground has been outlined in depth throughout my previous articles.

While the strong Florida medical marijuana Crusaders marched forward, the state itself and the legislators who comprise the Rear Battalion lost some footing.

On July 11, 2019, a Florida Appellate Court ruled in the highly-publicized Florigrown lawsuit that the state’s vertical integration was unfair and unconstitutional.

Further explanation and clarity was offered by Beau R Whitney, Vice President and Senior Economist at New Frontier Data, with his insightful Florida Court Rules Vertical Integration Unconstitutional: So, What Now? :

In Other News

CannTrust

CannTrust Holdings Inc. (TSX: TRST)(NYSE: CTST) has received a notice from the Ontario Cannabis Store, the Crown corporation in charge of wholesale distribution of cannabis products to licensed cannabis retailers in Ontario and the operator of Ontario’s online recreational cannabis store, advising the company that the OCS has determined that some of CannTrust’s products sold to the OCS are Non-Conforming Products under the terms of the Master Cannabis Supply Agreement between the Company and the OCS has elected to return these products to the Company.  Under the terms of the Master Agreement, any product that does not comply with applicable law is considered to be Non-Conforming Product and the OCS may elect to exercise its right, among others, to return such product to the Company at the Company’s expense.

The products listed in the OCS return notice constitute all or substantially all of the Company’s products currently held at the OCS and are valued at approximately $2.9 million in the aggregate.  The Company intends to fully perform its obligations under the Master Agreement.  The OCS operates independently of Health Canada.  Health Canada has not ordered a recall in respect of any of the Company’s products.

Kona Gold

Kona Gold Solutions, Inc. (OTC Pink: KGKG) said it has beat Second Quarter projected revenue of $400,000 by $329,000 on revenue of $729,000. Sales from the Company’s Kona Gold Hemp Energy Drinks and HighDrate CBD Energy Waters beat Company estimates by a huge margin.

Valens GroWorks

Valens GroWorks Corp. (TSXV: VGW) (OTCQX: VGWCF)  has qualified to trade on the OTCQX® Best Market in the U.S. The Company’s shares will begin trading, at market open today, on OTCQX under the ticker symbol “VGWCF”. Quotes and market information are now available at: www.otcmarkets.com/stock/VGWCF/quote

“We are excited to begin trading on the OTCQX Best Market.  Access to trading on OTCQX, combined with the current work underway to finalize the Company’s DTC eligibility, will increase Valens’ presence with United States investors, providing increased liquidity to the Company’s growing shareholder base,” says Tyler Robson, Valens CEO.


AvatarHeather AllmanAugust 16, 2019
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26min760
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AUTHOR: Heather Allman
PUBLISHER:  CANNABIS LAW REPORT

Through late July, the 2019 Cannabis Crusade saw daily cannabis-related news and a literal state of medical marijuana commotion. A timeline of Florida’s battle for solid ground has been outlined in depth throughout my previous articles.

While the strong Florida medical marijuana Crusaders marched forward, the state itself and the legislators who comprise the Rear Battalion lost some footing

On July 11, 2019, a Florida Appellate Court ruled in the highly-publicized Florigrown lawsuit that the state’s vertical integration was unfair and unconstitutional.

Further explanation and clarity was offered by Beau R Whitney, Vice President and Senior Economist at New Frontier Data, with his insightful Florida Court Rules Vertical Integration Unconstitutional: So, What Now? :

“A Florida court of appeals decision last month ruled that the state’s regulatory framework for its medical cannabis program mandating vertical integration was unconstitutional. What does it mean for Florida’s system, or for other states? What are the associated implications? They may prove vast, impacting not only Florida’s system, but other state regulatory structures throughout the country.

Immediately, regulators in other states with newly legalized programs will seek to avoid similar pitfalls while striking an effective regulatory balance: Oregon’s unlimited license policy is an opposite example of what other states yet prefer to avoid. Florida’s blueprint for vertical integration had been an obvious bulwark against unlimited licensure, but the court essentially deemed it to be an overcorrection.

Vertical integration allows a company to control all factors of production, from seed to sale in terms of the cannabis trade. The benefits of vertical integration are derived through being able to manage all aspects of the supply chain, affording ultimate control over internal costs of production. There are also associated tax advantages (for now), as one division can pass through costs throughout the chain.”

However, the state is slowly earning back some much-needed ground with tactical policy advancements. Coastal Breeze News reported on July 21, 2019 that Florida currently is Working Together to Fix a Broken Political System.

Florida’s marijuana future is showing promise. NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji reported that one Florida Municipality Is Considering Marijuana Decriminalization Measure. For such an initiative to come to fruition, Florida must consider and adopt good, balanced cannabis frameworks, such as the vital GCP Responsible Cannabis Framework.

On July 18, 2019, in the current spirit of national cannabis cooperation, Bipartisan Lawmakers File Congressional Bill To Encourage Marijuana and CBD Research: “A bipartisan group of House members introduced a bill on Wednesday that would eliminate barriers to research into medical cannabis, a bill that is gaining new co-sponsors weekly.

Although thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of cannabis, according to the National Center for Biotechnological Information, 15 Challenges and Barriers in Conducting Cannabis Research still exist: “Despite these changes in state policy and the increasing prevalence of cannabis use and its implications for population health, the federal government has not legalized cannabis and continues to enforce restrictive policies and regulations on research into the health harms or benefits of cannabis products that are available to consumers in a majority of states.”

In late July 2019, Marijuana hearings and reform bills directly affecting the marijuana industry were introduced in the U.S. CongressCannabis has gone from the butt of jokes on Capitol Hill to milestone hearings and the introduction of landmark legalization reform packages that offer the potential to pave the way for billions of dollars in new business opportunities nationwide.

The current situation is in stark contrast to just a couple of years ago, showing how far and how quickly marijuana reform has come in Washington DC – even if it doesn’t appear at the moment to have a good chance to pass the full Congress. But the efforts could set the foundation for passage of major reform in the next few years.”

  • What specific growth did the current Florida program experience? It begins and ends with Curaleaf.

In mid July, Wakefield, Florida-based Curaleaf continues expansion as largest US marijuana company with $875M Grassroots merger, according to Shira Schoenberg: The Wakefield-based marijuana company Curaleaf announced Wednesday that it had signed an agreement to acquire the Illinois-based Grassroots. It is part of a continued expansion that Curaleaf says has made it the largest marijuana company in the world based on revenue, and the largest operational marijuana company in the U.S. Curaleaf’s revenues are expected to be nearly double that of its closest U.S. competitor.”

  • In more notable state growth, Liberty Health Sciences, another rapidly expanding Florida licensed dispensary, also made news.

Liberty Health Sciences Ranks #2 In Flower Sales In Florida, according to a report on cannabis sales: “It has the second highest sales of smokable marijuana in the state of Florida with 16 dispensaries open. Liberty was one of the first companies in the state to provide smokable medical marijuana in all of its dispensaries when bill (SB 182) was signed into law in March 2019.

Flower sales of Liberty and Papa’s Herb brands is the driving factor of the significant market success for this growing category and the Company continues to cultivate brand recognition and attract a constant stream of new patients.”

Greg Miller, Executive Director, NICI offered a fresh perspective on the strong foothold of Florida’s Liberty Health Sciences in his enlightening piece on how This Company Is Raking in the Cash in Florida: In terms of infrastructure, companies with a medical dispensary now have the edge over companies entering the market after recreational legalization. Current medical dispensaries pretty much already have everything needed in place to sell recreational cannabis.

With 10,000 new patients signing up each month, there’s a cannabis land rush in Florida right now. And if you’ve been following along with industry news, you may have seen that this company is second highest in sales for smokable cannabis in the Sunshine State.

Currently, Liberty Health Sciences Inc. has 16 open dispensaries in Florida, and it plans to open three more dispensaries in August. It is also one of the first companies in the state to offer smokable medical marijuana.”

Liberty Health Sciences » STOCK » Liberty Health Sciences Inc. (LHS.CN) (OTCQX: LHSIF)

Trulieve Cannabis has planted itself firmly in its home market of Florida. This state dispensary frontrunner announced that Availability Of Flower Boosted Florida’s Medical Marijuana Market In Q2: “Tallahassee, Florida-based Trulieve Cannabis Corp. benefited from 19% medical marijuana patient growth in The Sunshine State in the second quarter, fueled largely by the introduction of smokable flower in the state’s medical market, the company said Wednesday. 

Flower accounted for half of product sales in Florida in the quarter, the company said — a quarter-over-quarter increase of about 20%.”

Trulieve Cannabis Corp.» STOCK » Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (OTCQX: TCNFF

  • How did the setbacks of our current state program play out nationally in July 2019?

The latest assault on Florida’s fledgling cannabis program was highlighted by both CNN and Cannabis Business Times: FDA Issues Warning to Curaleaf for ‘Unsubstantiated’ CBD Health Claims: “The warning letter included some examples of how Curaleaf Hemp products have been marketed on the company’s social media accounts.”

The fallout for Curaleaf is examined further in A Bump in the Road to Cannabis Scale: Investors immediately slammed U.S. Cannabis stocks, which resulted in a decline of 3.6% for the NICI U.S. Cannabis Index. Curaleaf’s stock suffered more, selling off 7% and continuing its decline yesterday.”

MarketWatch continued to pay close attention to Curaleaf trading with a July 24, 2019 report stock fluctuations in Curaleaf shares tumble 8% after FDA sends warning letter over CBD health claims.

Paula Krasney outlines allowed CBD claims in Proceed with Caution: Marketing Claims for Cannabis and CBD Products. And yes, there are also solid cannabis advertising guidelines available for Florida to adopt statewide, such as the NACB National Advertising Standards: “Cannabis advertising serves as the public face of the industry, and is thus essential to establishing a trustworthy, professional, and ethical business space. The NACB believes that self-regulation is the most effective way for the cannabis industry to control its own destiny. With consumer-targeted ads becoming more prevalent, we need to self-regulate or we will face charges by heavy-handed government-driven rules that may hinder business’s ability to market to and educate consumers.”

These NACB national advertising standards clearly establish how important it is “that the Cannabis industry develop a robust set of business-approved guidelines to build trust amongst market participants and local state and national regulators. The self-regulatory model has worked for organizations like FINRA and the MPAA, and it can work for cannabis.”

Curaleaf » STOCK » Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF:OTCQX) » LEARN » WeedWeek’s Green Rush Glossary– Alex Halperin

In early August, J. Phillip noted that Cannabis Stocks Bounce Back As FDA Signals Key Regulatory Developments: “The industry got a massive boost after the United States Food and Drug Administration made efforts to speed up the process of creating the framework for the usage of CBD. The arguments in favor of CBD are compelling. It does not have a psychoactive effect and is well known for helping people deal with anxiety, pain, and inflammation among others. 

The agency is ‘expediting its work’ in order to address the CBD issue. Considering the fact that CBD is all set to become one of the biggest industries in the years to come, many of the leading cannabis companies want to have some regulatory clarity from the FDA regarding its stand on the substance.”

  • What Summer 2019 growth happened in the medical marijuana program at large?

With the newfound prevalence of CBD, there is plenty of misinformation to go around without unproven  health claims. On July 25, 2019, The Conversation published Cannabis: Misinformation About CBD Can Be Life-Threatening: “CBD is largely non-intoxicating and therefore is thought to be non-addictive. It also appears to be relatively safe to use. It’s no wonder CBD has garnered so much excitement and positive attention.”

By August, A Petition Milestone signals Recreational Marijuana Is One Step Closer in Florida made headlines, marking a big win overall for marijuana and allowing the possibility for advancement in our state’s medical program.

Exciting dispensary news that  another licensee Florida Pot Operator Gets ‘Okay’ For More Storefronts was announced on August 9, 2019: “State health officials have agreed to allow a second Florida medical marijuana operator to exceed a statutory limit on storefronts. The cap on dispensaries, now set at 35 for each operator, was included in a 2017 state law carrying out a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida.

Health officials on Monday agreed to allow Alpha Foliage, which operates as Surterra, to open six more dispensaries. The company sued after the Department of Health allowed a competitor, Trulieve, to exceed the statutory cap. Surterra attorneys asked the state to interpret the law consistent with the way it did for Trulieve.”

Now that the state has 148 locations, Florida lawmakers and department administrators must pay attention to patient demand and start the Edibles engine. Finalized rules for the state dispensaries to follow must be released so that production and sales can begin immediately. It is long overdue, two years overdue, and Florida patients are entitled to Edibles.

In the meantime, Floridians will have to celebrate the small victories: Palm Beach County law restricts Police Officers from searching vehicles under certain circumstances.

  • How is the current Florida education system experiencing growth from marijuana reform?  

The state’s policymakers at University of West Florida have developed a course called Changing Normative Environment, covering “Medical Marijuana (MMJ) to Recreational Marijuana (RMJ), and the many ways that medical marijuana has influenced social norms and behaviors related to marijuana usage.”

Brittany Shammas announced on August 7, 2019 that a Florida College Will Offer Medical Marijuana ClassesMiami Dade College officials are working on new classes and a certificate program that’ll prepare students for jobs in the medical marijuana industry. But, administrators stress, they won’t be teaching kids how to grow weed. Instead, they’re developing courses on the biology and chemistry of marijuana, as well as the plant’s historical usage and evolving regulation.

That means students will be taught the academic side of marijuana: the physiology of the plant, its natural properties, its medical usage, and how it relates to other medically important plants. They’ll learn about cultivation and extraction, but mostly from a ‘theoretical standpoint,’ says Mark Meade, chair of the college’s Biology, Health, and Wellness Department.”

Florida 2017 legislation “calls for FAMU to receive $10 from each $75 identification card obtained by those approved to purchase medical marijuana. As of last October, the university had received $885,000, according to the Florida Department of Health,concerning Florida A & M University and its inaugural MMERI, or Medical Marijuana Education Research Initiative, as reported by The Tallahassee Democrat. 

Nationally, University of California, Davis “Partners With DEA-Approved Company to Conduct Cannabis Research – Researchers Will Seek to Better Understand the Science of Cannabis,” as outlined by Amy Quinton.

  • Are there corresponding educational setbacks with this new norm of marijuana use?

This USA Today’s opinion warns younger users that Marijuana needs warning labels like tobacco for associated mental, physical health risks.

  • What about physician educational setbacks concerning the new norm of cannabis use? 

Bottom line: physicians-in-training are not prepared to prescribe medical marijuana.

In November 2017, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, warned: “With even more states on the cusp of legalizing medical marijuana, physician training should adapt to encompass this new reality of medical practice. (1) While most physicians-in-training think education about medical marijuana should be required; (2) only 9% of medical schools have medical marijuana documented in their curriculum; and (3) education can improve physician preparedness to prescribe medical marijuana.”

“Why are some doctors still reluctant to prescribe medical cannabis despite evidence of its efficacy? The principal reason is the lack of education. Most doctors have never studied medical cannabis, they only know that cannabis is a drug and that it has no medical application, because that is what they were taught at the university.

This poses a problem because despite the fact that this plant has been medicinally used for thousands of years, doctors are not taught anything about the history of plants with medicinal properties, nor have they studied the endocannabinoid system, the endogenous system that we all have that is the basis of how cannabis works and acts therapeutically in our bodies.

This system was discovered more than 25 years ago, and yet it is still not taught in most universities. It is a shame because it’s such an important system brings balance – so called homeostasis to our bodies.”

For further insight, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians offers a comprehensive report on Educating Healthcare Professionals About the Medical Use of Cannabis.


Sean HockingSean HockingAugust 16, 2019
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8min1210
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AUTHOR: Patrick McKnight
PUBLISHER:  CANNABIS LAW REPORT

August 16, 2019

New Jersey May Renew Push to Legalize Marijuana in 2019

Recent comments from Governor Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney suggest one final legislative effort to legalize marijuana in 2019.

“I think I’ve been consistent that I hoped we could have one more shot at this,” Murphy told reporters last week. “Getting something to happen sooner, if we have a real shot at that, I’d be all in. … Count me all in to try and work toward that.”

The Governor’s promised to legalize marijuana within his first 100 days in office. That was nearly two years ago. The following year and half have been a rollercoaster of rising and falling expectations for reform advocates. After Murphy and Sweeney came to an early 2019 agreement regarding how recreational marijuana would be taxed, the stage appeared finally set for a legislative vote.

In a surprise decision, the vote was called off at the last minute due to a lack of support. Sweeney then announced the measure would be on hold until it could be presented as a ballot initiative for voters to decide in 2020. The legislative effort to legalize marijuana thus appeared on indefinite hiatus. Both leaders’ recent comments indicate otherwise.

Shortly after the New Jersey bill was tabled earlier this year, Illinois passed a legalization bill through its legislature. Perhaps more important for economic considerations in the northeast, the State of New York decriminalized marijuana in July. New Jersey politicians may now feel in danger of losing a first-mover advantage in the region.

Governor Murphy has been more successful in expanding New Jersey’s medical marijuana program through executive action. In July he also signed a new bill to further loosen restrictions and increase access to the program. Enrollment has increased from 15,000 to nearly 50,000 patients since Murphy took office.

 

New York Decriminalization Bill Signed Into Law

The New York legislature passed a decriminalization bill in June. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law in late July. The law both expunges many past convictions for marijuana possession and reduces penalties in the future. Advocates initially proposed full legalization but shifted strategy after it became clear they lacked enough votes.

“It does do two good things,” said Emma Goodman, a staff attorney in Legal Aid Society’s special litigation unit. Goodman worked with legislators to lobby for legalization.

“It makes something that was a misdemeanor now a violation, and it automatically expunges old misdemeanor convictions,” Goodman said. “That’s more than a lot of states have done. The problem is that it’s just getting rid of one very small amount of low-level offenses and it’s not actually legalizing marijuana … violations are still arrestable offenses in New York.”

New York’s medical marijuana program has approximately 102,000 patients. Some Empire State doctors have begun advocating for expanding the program as a safer alternative than opiates for treating chronic pain.

 

Pennsylvania Expands Medical Marijuana Program

Pennsylvania now includes anxiety and Tourette’s on the list of qualifying conditions for enrollment in its medical marijuana program. The recent move by the Pennsylvania Health Department will allow medical marijuana for conditions beyond cancer, epilepsy, seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder, and terminal illness. Similar decisions in other states have led to significant increases in enrollment.

The Keystone State currently has nearly 116,000 patients certified for participation in its medical marijuana program. The program is relatively new, coming online in February 2018.

“The first year that the state’s medical marijuana program has been operational tells us that this program is working to help Pennsylvanians in need of this medication,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “Patients are realizing the benefits and there has been steady, positive progress that I am pleased to report.”

In its first full year, Pennsylvania collected $2 million in tax revenue from growers and processors. Dispensaries reported $132 million in sales. The program has also expanded to allow patients to purchase marijuana is dried leaf form. Initially only pills, liquids, or topical ointments were permitted.

“Our goal for the next year and beyond is to increase the number of grower/processors and dispensaries operating, to register even more physicians and to continue the growth of our scientific, medically based program,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said.

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is noteworthy for its promotion of scientific testing. As part of the program, the state certified eight academic clinical research centers. The mission of the clinical program is to conduct, “Research on the therapeutic or palliative efficacy of medical marijuana limited to the serious medical conditions defined by the act and the temporary regulations.” The state also has four approved laboratories for quality testing and sampling.

Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana have struggled to gain traction. In July, a county judge made headlines when he predicted legalizing marijuana would produce “carnage” on Pennsylvania roadways.

“Marijuana is an hallucinogen,” said Dauphin County Judge William T. Tully. “The idea of legalizing it given the carnage that is likely to result is incomprehensible to me.”

Governor Wolf and Lieutenant Governor Fetterman have expressed their support to “take a serious look” at legalizing recreational marijuana.

 

Patrick McKnight
Law Clerk
Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Two Commerce Square, 2001 Market Street, Suite 3100
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215.606.3994 (Direct)
215.627.6900 (Main)
215.627.2665 (Fax)
patrick.mcknight@wilsonelser.com


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtAugust 16, 2019
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4min2210

The Ontario Securities Commission approved a request by CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CTST) for a management cease trade order (“MCTO”) under National Policy 12-203 – Management Cease Trade Orders. Such a request means that the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and members of the board of directors or other persons who had or may have access to material information that has not been publicly disclosed can not trade shares of the company. CannTrust said that it does not affect the ability of investors who are not insiders to trade.

In addition to that, CannTrust said it will probably miss its filing deadline of August 14, 2019, to file an interim financial report for the three and six month periods ending June 30, 2019. CannTrust is now in a holding pattern waiting on decisions from Health Canada as a result of the company’s facilities not complying with the regulations as stated by law. “Health Canada has advised the Company that it is unable to provide any guidance about the timing or content of its decisions concerning the Company.”

Health Canada could order total destruction of the seized inventory, but so far hasn’t indicated if it will do so. CannTrust also said that has not had any discussions with Health Canada with regards fixing the situation it finds itself in.

NYSE

CannTrust is currently listed on the New York Stock Exchange and said it has kept the exchange up to date on its interactions with Health Canada. The company said in its statement that “The NYSE advised the Company that as a consequence of the Company’s announcements concerning its audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018 and its unaudited financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, the Company is viewed as no longer having a complete annual report on Form 40-F on file for the year ended December 31, 2018.”

For now, CannTrust shares will continue to trade on both the Toronto Securities Exchange and the NYSE. “However, the NYSE advised the Company that (a) it will closely monitor the status of the Company’s late filing and any related public disclosures for up to six months from its due date, and (b) if the Company fails to file its annual report and any subsequent reports within six months of their filing due dates, the NYSE will determine, in its sole discretion, whether to halt trading in the Company’s securities or whether to allow the Company’s securities to trade for up to an additional six months, depending upon the circumstances.” The NYSE also noted that it could begin delisting the company shares at any time if the circumstances warranted it.

Financial Impact

At the beginning of the scandal, CannTrust repeatedly stated that it expected to take some sort of financial hit, but couldn’t determine what that would be. At this time, CannTrust says the estimated value of the inventory affected by the Health Canada decisions is roughly $51 million. This accounts for 53% of the total company inventory and about 30% of the total biological assets. CannTrust still has approximately $250 million in cash and cash equivalents.

 


Video StaffVideo StaffAugust 16, 2019

3min4260

We are in the throes of earning season and in the midst of all this information, the broader market went into a tailspin as equities slid over 800 points one day and bonds signaled recessionary fears.

It wasn’t much better over in the cannabis sector either.

Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC) stock dropped over 10% after the company announced first quarter with net losses of C$1.28 billion which dwarfed last year’s losses of C$91 million. The loss was attributed to a non-cash charge of $1.2 billion in Canopy’s extinguishing warrants related to the Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ)  investment.

Zenabis Global Inc. (TSX:ZENA) (OTC: ZBISF) reported that its second-quarter net revenue rose 78% to $25 million from last year’s $4.1 million but The company also delivered a net loss of $18.5 million. Zenabis said that it expected net cannabis revenue to be in the range of $10 to $12 million but the actual net cannabis revenue for the period was $7,2 million.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. revenue grew 45% to $25 million over last year’s $17.2 million for the same time period. Unfortunately, the net income fell to $2.2 million from last year’s $3.7 million

Tilray’s second-quarter revenue increased 371.1% to $45 million but the company reported a net loss of $35.1 million compared to a loss of $12.8 million last year.

MedMen (MMNFF) reported that its revenue rose 15% sequentially to $42.0 million not counting pending acquisitions. The company also had to amend its deal with Gotham Green to reflect the company’s much lower stock price.

One of the brightest earnings for the week was Trulieve which reported revenue of $57.9 million, an increase of 30% sequentially and net income of $57 million. Not a net loss!

CannTrust  said it received a report from Health Canada telling the company that “Its manufacturing facility in Vaughan, Ontario has been rated non-compliant with certain regulations.” The stock is dropped over 25% on the news that the company has continued to have issues with facilities failing inspections.


AvatarMark TaylorAugust 15, 2019
European.jpg

4min3750
If you wish to re-publish this story please do so with the following accreditation
AUTHOR: Mark Taylor
PUBLISHER:  CANNABIS LAW REPORT

Luxembourg is to become the first European Union country to fully legalize cannabis. The country’s health minister said within two years, residents aged over 18 will be able to buy marijuana for recreational purposes.

A newly-created regulator will oversee production, distribution, and oversight.

Officials are drawing up legislation to be unveiled later this year, which will detail the type of cannabis to be supplied and the taxation levels.

Tourists beware, it is almost certain that non-residents will be unable to purchase cannabis in Luxembourg, and it is also expected that home-growing will be banned. Punishments for breaking the laws are predicted to be severe.

Residents under 18 but over the age of 12 won’t be criminalized for possessing less than 5 grams but can expect a large fine.

In an interview with Politico, Etienne Schneider encouraged other EU member states to follow Luxembourg’s leading, citing strides taken in Canada, Uruguay, and parts of the US.

Luxembourg had previously legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, and recreational use was partially decriminalized for small amounts, although growing, selling and producing the drug remains a criminal activity punishable by law.

The EU state is aiming to follow Canada’s lead and allow residents to hold up to 30g, and tax recouped will go into drug education programs, along with addiction recovery treatments.

“The drug legislation we have been applying for 50 years has not worked,” said the health minister of Luxembourg, Etienne Schneider. “Prohibiting products has made them more attractive to young people. I’m hoping all of us [in the EU] will take a more open-minded attitude toward drugs.”

Less than a dozen EU states have decriminalized cannabis in some minor form, but the drug remains prohibited at the international level, and users even in liberal areas such as Spain and Portugal can expect some level of punishment if caught.

Luxembourg’s move is against the grain within the EU and may cause friction with neighboring states. Germany has no desire to form a recreational market, having enough problems getting a medicinal industry off the ground.

France, along with Ireland and Switzerland, has floated medicinal cannabis trials, but all have added the caveat that such a move will not lead to an adult recreational market.

At EU level, Brussels is keen on reviewing rules around medicinal cannabis research in order to allow firms to push ahead with trials and tests, but the formation of legislation is slow, and a recent European Parliament election has also added to shifting priorities.

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerAugust 15, 2019
daily_hit004-1280x533.png

7min2410

It’s time for your Daily Hit of cannabis financial news for August 15, 2019.

On the Site

Trulieve

Yesterday, Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (OTCMKTS: TCNNF) (CNSX: TRUL) announced the release of its second quarter financial results. Year-over-year, Trulieve’s increased 149% from $23.3 million to $57.9 million. Keeping pace with revenue, operating expenses also rose from $6 million to 14.8 million, representing a 146% increase. Gross profit was $37.6 million, and the gross profit margin was 65%. Adjusted EBITDA was $31.6 million.

Harvest Health & Recreation

Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. (CSE: HARV) (OTCQX: HRVSF) has reported its financial results for the second quarter, ending on June 30, 2019. Revenue rose from $19.2 million in the previous quarter to $26.6 million, representing an increase of 39%. If one were to include Harvest Health’s completed and pending acquisitions, quarterly revenue would be $78 million.

Money Moves From Aurora Cannabis, Green Growth Brands

Aurora Cannabis Inc.  (NYSE | TSX: ACB) said that it has secured commitments from an expanded syndicate of lenders led by the Bank of Montreal to amend and upsize its existing C$200 million secured credit facility.

Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE:GGB) (OTCQB:GGBXF) said that it has entered into backstop commitment letters with each of All Js Greenspace LLC, Park Lane Capital Limited, and Chiron Ventures Inc. in which they have committed to subscribe for and purchase up to C$102,796,241 in the aggregate or roughly $77 million of convertible debentures to support the Company’s operations and capital needs.

Canopy Growth

Canopy Growth Corporation  (TSX: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) stock dropped over 10% after the company announced its financial results for the first quarter ending June 30, 2019. The worst of the news in the release was that the company’s fiscal first-quarter net losses of C$1.28 billion, or C$3.70 a share, dwarfed last year’s losses of C$91 million, or 40 cents a share. The loss was attributed to a non-cash charge of $1.2 billion in Canopy’s extinguishing warrants related to the Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) investment.

In Other News

Vireo Health

Vireo Health International, Inc. (CNSX: VREO) (OTCQX: VREOF) announced that its affiliate, Ohio Medical Solutions (OMS), has been granted a Certificate of Operation by the Ohio Department of Commerce. OMS, which was previously granted a provisional processing license, will begin operations immediately. The license will allow OMS to purchase plant material from cultivators and manufacture Vireo-branded medical cannabis products.  “We are delighted that Ohio Medical Solutions will begin manufacturing Vireo products for the benefit of Ohio patients,” said Vireo CEO, Kyle Kingsley, M.D. “The City of Akron has been great to us and as our business grows, we look forward to continuing to create new jobs and make a positive impact on the local economy.”

Front Range Biosciences

Front Range Biosciences (FRB) announced that it has entered a collaborative licensing agreement with Steep Hill, and that it will acquire Steep Hill’s Genomics Research & Development team. The agreement will help accelerate FRB’s marker-assisted breeding program and develop new traits and varieties of hemp and cannabis. “The Steep Hill R&D team is among the top three cannabis genomics groups in the world, and we are very excited to welcome them to FRB,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaught, CEO and Co-Founder of FRB. “This acquisition is a major value inflection point for FRB…”

Medical Marijuana Inc.

Medical Marijuana Inc. has filed its financial results for the second quarter. Revenue rose 30.8% to $20.7 million. Gross profit was $15.4 million and adjusted EBITDA was $1.5 million. General and administrative expenses decreased from 21% of sales in Q2 2018 to 16% of sales revenue. “We are excited to continue our tremendous sequential success with the second quarter of 2019 proving to be the largest sales revenue quarter in the history of our Company,” said Dr. Stuart Titus, CEO of Medical Marijuana, Inc. “As the world continues to become more receptive to learning about the benefits of hemp-derived CBD, we are enthusiastic about being at the forefront of the global cannabis industry which, according to Arcview Market Research, could be worth $57 billion by 2027.”


William SumnerWilliam SumnerAugust 15, 2019
Trulieve.jpg

2min2390

Yesterday, Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (OTCMKTS: TCNNF) (CNSX: TRUL) announced the release of its second quarter financial results.

Year-over-year, Trulieve’s increased 149% from $23.3 million to $57.9 million. Keeping pace with revenue, operating expenses also rose from $6 million to 14.8 million, representing a 146% increase. Gross profit was $37.6 million, and the gross profit margin was 65%. Adjusted EBITDA was $31.6 million.

A considerable amount of the company’s growth was due to a rise in the number of medical cannabis patients in Florida, which increased by 19%. Driving patient growth was the introduction of cannabis flower to market, which accounted for 50% of total product sales in the state for the second quarter. As of June 30, 2019, there were 181,000 medical cannabis patients in Florida.

Quarterly Highlights

During the last quarter, Trulieve expanded its total cultivation capacity to 1.6 million square feet, completed its acquisition of The Healing Corner medical cannabis dispensary, closed a public debt offering of $70 million, and commenced trading on the OTCQX Best Market under the symbol TCNNF.

Additionally, the company’s founders extended a voluntary lock-up agreement of their 65,253,093 shares, or approximately 59% of shares outstanding on an as-converted basis, until July 2020.  Trulieve also closed its sale-leaseback transaction with Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. to provide capital for its Holyoke, Massachusetts cultivation and processing site.

“Our strong financial results for the quarter combined with our operational and foundational evolution illustrates that Trulieve is not just a cannabis company, but an organization that possesses the key fundamentals expected of leading companies across all industries,” said Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve. “By continuing to focus on operational efficiencies, maintaining sound financial discipline, and leveraging our strong brand awareness and patient loyalty within current markets and in future expansion initiatives, we expect our efforts to translate to new strong results throughout the remainder of 2019.”



About Us

The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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