The Week In Cannabis: Schumer’s Bill, The Super Bowl, Leafly, Canopy Growth, Tilray, Hexo, Sundial And More

Below is a recap of the main news related to the cannabis industry and markets for the week of February 7, 2022.

Schumer Urges Senators To Help Finalize Marijuana Legalization Bill

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked senators to help them complete the marijuana legalization bill expected to be filed in April. To that end, the top Senate Democrats sent letters to their colleagues encouraging them to get into the drafting process and help finalize this legislation.

The letter comes nearly a week after Schumer told a press conference in New York City, that in April he plans to officially file the long-awaited bill to federally legalize cannabis.

“In the coming weeks, we’re ramping up our outreach—and we expect to introduce final legislation. Our goal is to do it in April,” Schumer said. “Then we begin the nationwide push, spearheaded by New York, to get the federal law done. As majority leader, I can set priorities. This is a priority for me.”

It’s been around six months since Schumer unveiled details of the bill.

Benzinga Cannabis’ content is now available in Spanish on El Planteo.

“Right now, we’re taking those comments [on the draft version] and reaching out to Democratic and Republican senators,” said Schumer, adding that “we have some Republican support.”

It was not clear if Schumer was referring to having GOP cosponsors of the legislation or general support from voters.

No Weed At The Super Bowl

Super Bowl ads…ever more creative, sophisticated and humorous. In recent years, some newcomers have gotten in on the fun: hard liquor and sports betting apps. This year’s newbie on the screen: cryptocurrencies.

Yes, Comcast CMCSA‘s NBC is allowing crypto, but not cannabis ads, to air during Sunday’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals.

So, all of this begs a question: why is cannabis once again shut out of the Super Bowl? NBC’s placement of cannabis in the “restricted” category does not quite cut it as an explanation.

This is the third year that cannabis has been rejected from showing its face in the biggest advertising event of the year, though it persists. In 2019, Acreage Holdings ACRDF tried to place a heart-wrenching yet informative ad about cannabis’ medical benefits in treating children with epilepsy, adults with depression and military veterans with PTSD. No go, NBC said.

When California-based Weedmaps MAPS, or WM Technology, broached the subject with NBC about placing an ad in the LVI Super Bowl, the response “was a blanket ‘no,’” Juanjo Feijoo, Weedmaps COO told Inverse.

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But, to prove an important point, Weedmaps made a humorous yet poignant digital ad for the Super Bowl anyway, starring a life-sized broccoli sprout – a symbol for cannabis – who is tired of being mistaken for something he’s not.

Mixed Messages

Also this week, Tavarres King, a former Georgia Bulldog and NFL player told Atlanta’s Channel 2 sports director Zach Klein that 80% of the players in the league are using cannabis.

And finally, the NFL announced it is giving UC San Diego $500,000 to study if cannabis can be used to help athletes manage pain from injuries and recover more quickly.

The NFL awarded the contract to UCSD’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, to conduct a study on professional Rugby players partly because cannabis is a banned substance in the NFL. Rugby is the sport with some of the highest injury rates in the world. The study will involve administering THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and cannabidiol (CBD), the second most-active ingredient.

The study will be led by Dr. Mark Wallace, director of the Center for Pain Medicine at UCSD, and Thomas Marcotte, co-director of the cannabis research center. The San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to Dr. Wallace, who explained that in spite of the lack of scientific evidence, “the NFL knows that players and many elite athletes are using cannabis for sports-related injuries and recovery.”

Recommended read: Will The US Legalize Cannabis In 2022? Experts & Lobbyists Explain What Investors Can Expect

Canopy Growth’s Quarterly Results And Analyst Reactions

Canopy Growth Corporation WEED CGC reported its financial results Wednesday for the third quarter fiscal 2022 ended December 31, 2021, revealing a decline of 8% sequentially in net revenue to CA$141 million (US$111.12 million).

Cantor Fitzgerald’s analyst Pablo Zuanic said sales were in line with his estimate.

However, global cannabis revenue came in at CA$83 million, well below the analyst’s estimate of $CA91 million, while consumer products sales reached CA$58 million, beating estimates of CA$50 million.

Lisa K. Lewandowski, BofA Securities’ research analyst, said in her note that net sales were “driven by stronger growth from “other consumer products” including Storz & Bickel vaporizers and BioSteel beverages partly offset by lower sales from Canadian adult use.”

The Canadian cannabis giant disclosed that recreational B2B cannabis sales continue to decline, dropping 21% in the third quarter to CA$33 million.

Lewandowski said that the company “struggles to provide flower products with in-demand attributes and continued price compress.”

Zuanic noted that Canopy is stabilizing its market share by launching new SKUs across formats, focusing more on the mainstream and premium segments.

“However, with value flower accounting for 2/3 of the company’s flower portfolio (Hifyre), we assume the company will still need to defend that part of the business,” Zuanic said.

In the meantime, adjusted gross margins of 13% were “in part due to ongoing price pressures and loss of operating leverage,” Zuanic added.

Cash burn remains an issue, with 9-month FCF of -$440Mn, the company is now for the first time in a net debt position,” Zuanic said. “The consumer unit was strong” during the quarter. 

 With the “festive season and less supply chain disruption,” the company posted sales of CA$25 million vs. CA$14 million in the prior period.

In addition, BioSteel sales continued to expand the nationwide distribution, with purchases more than doubling to CA$17 million.

Lewandowski noted that growth in consumer products revenue was led by a 130% increase from BioSteel.

“We maintain our Underperform rating given our cautious NT outlook and limited visibility toward profitability,” Lewandowski concluded.

Recommended read: Chart: Is Cannabis Debt Priced Accurately? This Unique Credit Tracker Has The Answer

Leafly’s Nasdaq Debut

Leafly Holdings Inc. LFLY started trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market on February 7, following a combination with Merida Merger Corp. I MCMJ, a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by Merida Capital Holdings.

Hexo Cuts 180 Jobs

Hexo Corp HEXO is eliminating 180 jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan, resulting in annual savings of approximately $15 million on an annualized basis.

Half of these positions are related to the previously announced closure of its Stellarton facility. The remaining reductions are related to reducing back-office positions where there is significant overlap as a result of recent acquisitions and simplifying HEXO’s operating model to drive clearer accountability.

Increased THC Percentage In Hemp Products Sought Under New Congressional Bill

A new bill that would raise the legal THC threshold for hemp products, currently below 0.3%, was filed by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME).

The Hemp Advancement Act seeks to amend the rule under which hemp must remain below 0.3% total THC on a dry-weight basis by increasing it to 1%.

The measure would also provide several other reforms, including removing the ban on market participation by people with prior drug-related felony convictions in the past ten years. It also addresses the issue of THC levels for in-process hemp.

The proposal allows for in-process hemp to avoid being subject to any THC limits as long as the final product does not exceed 1%, thus addressing concerns regarding the temporary increase of THC content in a crop during the process of hemp extraction.

Moreover, the bill would remove a requirement under the 2018 Farm Bill that the crop can only be tested at laboratories registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Markets

Cannabis stocks were up this week. Over the five trading days of this week:

  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ: gained 8.9%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF YOLO: rose 8.9%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF MSOS: advanced 10.4%.
  • The Cannabis ETF THCX: was up 7.2%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF CNBS: gained 11.9%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY was down 0.6%.

M&A

  • Schwazze SHWZ closed a transaction to acquire substantially all the operating assets of Reynold Greenleaf & Associates, LLC, and the equity of Elemental Kitchen & Laboratories, LLC for $42 million with a potential performance-based earnout. The company also closed the transaction to acquire MCG, LLC (Emerald Fields) for $29 million in cash and stock.
  • Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. RWB RWBYF closed its acquisition of PharmaCo, Inc. via RWB Michigan, LLC.
  • Gold Flora acquired Airfield Supply Company.
  • TILT Holdings Inc. TILT TLLTF signed a definitive agreement to exercise its purchase option for ownership of its Taunton, Massachusetts facility for a purchase price of approximately $13 million.

Financings

  • Silver Spike Investment Corp. SSIC closed its IPO of 6.07 million shares of its common stock, at $14.00 per share. SSIC’s shares of common stock began trading on the NASDAQ Stock Market on February 4, 2022, under the symbol “SSIC.” SSIC received net proceeds from the offering of approximately $83.3 million.
  • FARMACEUTICALRX closed a $34 million senior secured term loan provided by Chicago Atlantic Real Estate Finance, Inc. REFI a commercial real estate finance company, and other institutional lenders.
  • Global Cannabis Applications Corp. APP (FSE:2FA) FUAPF entered into a CA$1.8 million($14.2 million) two-year unsecured promissory note dated February 1, 2022, with Abbey Technology GmbH.
  • CEA Industries Inc. CEAD CEADW announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 5.81 million shares of the company’s common stock and warrants to purchase up to 5.81 million shares of the company’s common stock at a combined public offering price of $4.13 per share and warrant for aggregate gross proceeds of $24 million.

Earnings Reports

This week, we saw earnings reports from:

  • InterCure Ltd. INCR INCR
  • Aleafia Health Inc. AH ALEAF
  • Clever Leaves Holdings Inc. CLVR
  • Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. NEPT NEPT
  • Aurora Cannabis ACB ACB 
  • Entourage Health Corp. ENTG ETRGF
  • India Globalization Capital, Inc. IGC
  • Anebulo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ANEB
  • Organigram Holdings Inc. OGI OGI

Find all the details on these and other earnings reports on Benzinga Cannabis’ Earnings Center.

Tilray Consolidates Its Portfolio

Tilray Brands, Inc. TLRY TLRY announced the launch of Tilray Medical, a global medical platform that consolidates its medical cannabis brands under one strategy, mission and vision.

Sundial Growers Granted 180-Day Extension By NASDAQ

Sundial Growers Inc. SNDL, received an extension of 180 calendar days to regain compliance with NASDAQ’s minimum bid price requirement.

Top Stories Of The Week

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

Top Spanish Stories

Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.


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