As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread, more and more states in the U.S. decide to declare cannabis an “essential” good, just like basic groceries and traditional pharmaceutical medications. Interestingly, a majority of Americans seem to agree with these decisions.
Most Americans (53%) believe medical marijuana dispensaries should be considered essential services.
Democrats (62%) are more likely than Independents (52%) and Republicans (43%) to say this.
— YouGovUS (@YouGovUS) March 25, 2020
But, while states are being pretty weed-friendly, the federal government maintains its anti-pot stance, excluding marijuana companies from its $2 trillion economic stimulus bill – which did include hemp.
David Culver, VP of Government Relations at Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC) commented on the issue, arguing “cannabis companies need and deserve the same economic relief extended to other industries.”
Now, despite the lack of federal support, cannabis companies have been thriving in recent weeks, with most stocks up considerably, as sales hit record highs amid the coronavirus outbreak. So, why are so many of them, from Leafly to The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) (OTC: FLWPF) to The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTC: TGODF) been firing its employees in bulk?
“It’s true that many cannabis companies have been laying off employees lately,” said Green Market Report’s Debra Borchardt. “Is that really due to the virus or is the virus just cover for poor management decisions?
“Several dispensaries have reported big increases in sales, so it’s hard to unpack who is really struggling. What we do know is that employees laid off during a crisis with little severance pay are the ones who are really struggling.”
As mentioned above, cannabis stocks had a strong week nonetheless. Over the last five trading days:
- ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) gained 24.7%.
- AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) rose 23.2%.
- Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) spiked 28.3 %.
- Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) traded up 22.2%.
- SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 10.75%.
Two big Canadian cannabis companies had especially good weeks, price-action wise: Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY) closed the week up almost 150%, while Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB) posted gains of more than 41%.
While reasons were not totally clear, sources pointed toward a sector rebound, wider economic recovery, and “speculation that states could accelerate legalization as a way to recoup losses.”
More News From The Week
Vertosa, which provides customized hemp and cannabis emulsion systems for infused products, is launching new products as part of four new brand partnerships for spring 2020: the THC sparkling beverage line Calexo; hemp-CBD infused cold brew coffee from California cannabis brand Caliva; CC Wellness’ first ever CBD sensual care products; and a custom development partnership with Resonate Blends, a cannabis-based wellness lifestyle company working to showcase the full potential of cannabinoids and terpenes.
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Endocanna Health, a research and development biotechnology company specializing in endocannabinoid DNA testing and precision cannabinoid formulations, announced the creation of its Scientific Board which will help the organization assess and get involved with endocannabinoid, cannabinoid, and genomics research while also helping drive investment into clinical trials and research.
“The Endocanna Health Science Board was formed to look at the role of plant medicine in modern therapeutics as they pertain to genomics. We believe the Science Board will also help us identify and get involved with research that investigates the link between genotypes, the endocannabinoid system and personalized endo-compatibility.”
Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. (TSX: CWEB) (OTC: CWBHF) and Abacus Health Products Inc. (CSE: ABCS) (OTC: ABAHF) agreed to a CA$99 million ($68.2 million) merger. On the heels of this major M&A announcement, the former reported its fourth quarter and full-year 2019 financial results, with quarterly revenue of $22.8 million, compared to $21.5 million in the same period of the prior year. For the full year, Charlotte’s Web disclosed revenue of $94.6 million, versus $69.5 million in 2018.
Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTC: SHRMF) — a developer of formulations made with medicinal mushrooms and mushroom-infused products — acquired Novo Formulations Ltd. The deal provides Vancouver, Canada-based Champignonwith access to Novo Formulations’licensed facilities.
Novo is operated by a team of PhD’s and has IP for many different novel formulations and delivery methods for therapeutic Ketamine.
Pure Harvest Cannabis Group, Inc. (OTC: PHCG) said it plans to buy 51% of the outstanding membership interest in a Michigan-based medical marijuana processor, How Smooth It Is, Inc.
Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (CSE: CURA) (OTC: CURLF) posted record fiscal year 2019 revenue of $221 million, up by 187% from the previous year. The earnings report comes on the heels of an expansion effort for the Wakefield, Massachusetts-based company. That same day, Curaleaf announced that it will purchase three Arrow Alternative Care dispensaries in Connecticut.
MedMen Enterprises Inc. (CSE: MMEN) (OTC: MMNFF) hired Errol Schweizer to its board of directors. Prior to joining MedMen, Schweizer spent 15 years at Whole Foods Market Inc.
Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (CSE: HARV) (OTC: HRVSF) and Verano Holdings LLC said they are no longer planning to merge, at least for the foreseeable future.
Hightimes Holding Corp. offered to buy Humboldt Heritage Inc., a California-based cannabis holding company for an undisclosed amount.
Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd. (NYSE: CANF) reported its full-year 2019 financial results, showing a net loss of $9.59 million, versus a loss of $6.57 million in 2018. The company’s revenue for 2019 hovered$2million, compared to $3.8 million for the prior year.
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
Northern California sustainable cannabis producers Aster Farms have partnered with Ganja Yoga and California Bay Area cannabis delivery companies Sweet Flower and Sava to provide a much needed health and wellness break during these trying times.
Ganja Yoga founder Dee Dussault will lead live Ganja Yoga classes via Instagram Live twice weekly beginning March 27. For four weeks, classes will air every Tuesday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. PT and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PT. During the four-week campaign, participants will receive 20% off any Aster Farms purchase at Sweet Flower and Sava using the code: aster during checkout. The combination of cannabis with yoga is an ancient practice. Since 2009, Ganja Yoga has fostered a community of modern-day cannabis yogis all over the world.
“We’re hoping to provide some needed relaxation and exercise for our community while sheltering-in-place,” says Aster Farms President Sam Ludwig. To join Aster Farms x Ganja Yoga, please visit: @ganjayoga on IG Live during the scheduled.
Benzinga will be hosting a virtual Cannabis Capital Conference in June. Check out details here.
Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.
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