Cannabis Weekly Round-Up: A Dispute Breaks Out in Canada

- November 29th, 2019

The Investing News Network rounds up some of the biggest company and market news in the cannabis market for the past trading week.

During the past trading week (November 25 to 29), the two co-owners of a marijuana producer in Canada have officially entered a dispute over the ownership status of the entity.

A California-based multi-state operator is pulling back its expansion plans across key states, while NBA superstar Kevin Durant joined the cannabis investment world.

Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest cannabis news over the week.

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Emerald contends claims from partner Village Farms

The ownership and a payment due is in contention for Emerald Health Therapeutics (TSXV:EMH,OTCQX:EMHTF) and Village Farms International (NASDAQ:VFF,TSX:VFF) as the parent companies of Pure Sunfarms.

The two public firms created the joint venture in 2017 as a 50/50 split; now, Village Farms has informed investors it advanced a claim of a majority ownership by way of an equity contribution worth C$5.9 million done after Emerald defaulted on a pending payment in question.

“We can’t speculate on Village Farms’ motivation for making this irresponsible and inaccurate claim, but we want to reassure investors that there has been no change in ownership of (Pure Sunfarms),” Riaz Bandali, CEO of Emerald, said. “We are disappointed at the aggressive approach of Village Farms in this matter; however, we continue to believe that cooler heads will prevail.”

Emerald issued an update to investors on Wednesday (November 27) and told the Investing News Network (INN) it is considering all options to maintain its 50 percent stake.

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Durant partners with Canadian marijuana investment firm

Canopy Rivers (TSX:RIV,OTC Pink:CNPOF) became the latest marijuana company to secure the participation of a celebrity in its business. Kevin Durant, a basketball player with the Brooklyn Nets, has formed a partnership with the cannabis firm by way of his business associate and sports executive Rich Kleiman and their investment firm Thirty Five Ventures.

“This was a perfect angle for us to work with Thirty Five Ventures, because here’s a company that understands how to create a brand, how to speak to certain demographics … that are passionate about sports in general,” Canopy Rivers CEO Narbé Alexandrian told INN.

With this partnership, the Canadian firm is looking to expand its presence in the cannabidiol (CBD)-based sports products.

“We think there’s a huge market for both the professional and amateur athletes as well as for the general consumers … to really get in on certain brands that would really help (them) in terms of recovery and performance,” Alexandrian said.

Market updates

This past week, Canadian firm Tetra Bio-Pharma (TSXV:TBP,OTCQB:TBPMF) received a boost in the open market thanks to the unexpected development of its drug development pipeline using cannabis elements. The pharmaceutical company obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to relaunch its clinical trial for its candidate, PPP001, in a study as a potential treatment for pain management in cancer patients.

Guy Chamberland, CEO and chief regulatory officer of Tetra, told INN the company was ready to move on from this candidate but was surprised to discover the FDA seemed on board with the revised model of the study. The trial was originally stopped due to the mycotoxins found in its original design.

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“Their biggest concern was not the mycotoxins; they obviously thought we were addressing it adequately for them. The issue was patient safety from a liver toxicity point of view,” he said.

The first ever dual listed company from the NEO Exchange in Toronto and the NASDAQ made its public debut earlier in November. In an exclusive talk with INN, the deal makers behind the debut of the Merida Merger Corp I (NASDAQ:MCMJU,NEO:MMK.UN) explained the need for this most recent special purpose acquisition company’s (SPAC) listing.

“We just personally believe the greatest need for capital (is) for companies that are in the smaller end, … three to five hundred plus million market cap ranges,” Peter Lee, president and CFO at Merida, said. “We would like to assess the minority stake and … partner with a company to see it enter the public markets and also grow over the next three to five years.”

The SPAC will pursue its acquisitions within the cannabis market but it is not limited purely to the industry. Lee also said the SPAC will look for assets in the ancillary businesses of cannabis.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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