This past trading week (July 31-August 4), the cannabis world saw the introduction of a Senate bill which seeks to fully decriminalize cannabis in the US. High Times, a popular culture magazine, announced the public offering of their company as they prepare to launch their stock. Investors got an in depth profile of one of the leaders of the industry in Canada and the Investing News Network (INN) was there to report on market news.
Leafly published a profile of Chuck Rifici the CEO of Cannabis Wheaton (TSXV:CBW) in which investors can get a closer look at the work Rifici does and his history with cannabis.
“After being on opiates for any amount of time, that was the beginning of a shift in my thinking. I was more open to cannabis generally after living through that kind of pain,” he told Leafly. “Cannabis seems to be a very effective answer for symptom relief, versus continually increasing your amount of opiates. I find that’s usually what resonates most in the medical community.”
In the US, Sen. Cory Booker introduced a massive piece of legislation titled the Marijuana Justice Act. This bill will see to remove cannabis from the illegal list of drugs with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and would even offer recent prisoners to ask for an appeal on their crimes, based on small possession or consumption.
“[Drug laws] don’t make our communities any safer,” Senator Booker said.
Despite the promise of the bill, cannabis financial analyst, Alan Brochstein of 420 Investor, told INN he doesn’t expect the act to become law but hopes it might spark a conversation at evaluating these laws.


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INN also reported on the amount of money cannabis companies have raised so far this year. According to a report from Marijuana Business Daily, numbers from Viridian Capital Advisors indicate over $770 million has been raised for cannabis related business, compared to the $43 million collected during the first half of 2016.
Prior to the end of the week, Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED) released a statement indicating they are not pursuing business activities in federally illegal jurisdictions. The company is worried they could expose themselves to risks, jeopardize their listings and even face prosecution.
“Canopy Growth investors can feel confident that they are not being exposed to undue risks,” CEO Bruce Linton said in the press release.
In a  similar vein, he Canadian Securities Exchange released a statement regarding guidelines cannabis companies listed on the exchange must go if they hold assets or conduct business in the US.
“CSE maintains the position that appropriate risk disclosure for existing and potential investors should include a comprehensive discussion of the current legal framework,” the exchange indicated.
On Monday (July 31), Eight Capital analyst Daniel Pearlstein spoke on Bloomberg TV Canada about the upcoming catalysts for cannabis stocks following a slow summer. He said he expects multiple states at the federal and provincial level of government and said is bullish on the Fall.
High Times is ready to take their business into the public market. Despite investors not jumping on board the cannabis opportunities in the states, CNBC wrote, this is an interesting opportunity for investors who wish to enter this market.
“[T]his listing creates an opportunity for retail investors in a company that is close to the sale of cannabis, but not directly involved in it,” CNBC reported.
In terms of ETFs and shares, the Canadian marijuana ETF decreased over the week. Over the five-day trading period, the Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (TSX:HMMJ) dipped 3.5 percent. As of 2:00 p.m. EST on Friday, the ETF traded at $9.10. Year-to-date, the index has dropped 11.32 percent.
Over the week, a number of major cannabis stocks also saw a decline in their stock price. The two with the least decreases were Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED) and Supreme Pharmaceuticals (TSXV:FIRE).
Over the week, Canopy saw a 1 percent drop while Supreme had a 3.33 percent decline.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience and @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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** This article is updated each week. Please scroll to the top for the most recent information**

An Interview with Analyst Neal Gilmer and Cannabis Wheaton Expands

By Bryan Mc Govern, July 28, 2017
During this past week (July 24-28), the Investing News Network (INN) had the opportunity to speak with cannabis analyst Neal Gilmer about a variety of issues in the market, including the proposed shortage Canada is set to face once full legalization is passed in 2018.
“[Health Canada] would rather have the recreational market upset of a supply shortage than the medical market,” Gilmer said about the potential legislation he expects the agency to create to protect the medical users in the market.
In company news, Cannabis Wheaton (TSXV:CBW) received confirmation from the TSXV regarding its acquisition of ABcann Global (TSXV:ABCN).
“This is an exciting milestone for the company as it marks the first step towards building Cannabis Wheaton’s proprietary platform which will support a wide range of cannabis cultivation companies,” Cannabis Wheaton’s CEO Chuck Rifici said in a press release.
A majority of Canadian LP’s banded together to introduce a grouping that will seek stricter regulations in the way cannabis will be branded and promoted.
“The main reason behind the request for regulation comes as a way to guarantee the safety of younger people while the LPs seek a way to “compete effectively” against the illegal market in Canada,” INN reported.


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On the international scale, following the legalization of adult-use in Uruguay, an almost immediate shortage due to high demand took place in the country.
“I was left with no stock,” Sebastian Scaffo, the owner of one of the four licensed pharmacies in Montevideo told La Nacion. “[I] couldn’t call to get my stock replenished.”
Looking over to the US, Michigan is set to push forward with legislation to legalize recreational cannabis. According to reporting from The Detroit News, a coalition–which has helped the legalization case in several other states–has raised over $818,000 for their efforts to earn enough signatures and put the issue on the ballot for 2018.
In a move that challenges Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ intentions against cannabis, the Senate passed an amendment to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which protects medical marijuana programs from the Department of Justice.
Finally, in Canadian cannabis news, Aphria (TSX:APH) offered a closer look at its phase 3 expansion through a flyover video of the facility, which the company tweeted is expected to produce 15,000 kilograms of medical cannabis.

This week also saw the public launch of Aphria’s US investment, Liberty Health Sciences (CSE:LHS).
“Liberty was launched to acquire and operate U.S.-based companies in the medical cannabis market, with initial focus of operations in the State of Florida,” the company said in a press release.
To round out the week, the Canadian Securities Exchange approved a three company amalgamation to begin trading on the CSE as the DOJA Cannabis Company under the DOJA symbol.
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_LifeScience and @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.
Editorial Disclosure: ABcann Global is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.


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Multi-state cannabis leader highlights events, partnerships, and activities to coincide with Juneteenth holiday

Trulieve Cannabis Corp . (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF), a leading and top-performing cannabis company in the United States and its dispensary group Solevo Wellness, today announced the sponsorship of expungement clinics in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as well as additional initiatives celebrating the Juneteenth holiday.

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A summertime series of expungement events, employee volunteerism, documentary filmmaking, fundraising and more demonstrate the importance of commitment to reform and restorative justice to build an equitable, inclusive cannabis industry

Today, on the 50 th anniversary of when America started its longest war—the War on Drugs— Cresco Labs (CSE:CL) (OTCQX:CRLBF) (“Cresco” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated multistate operator and the number one U.S. wholesaler of branded cannabis products, announced the launch of a summer-long social justice campaign supported by its Sunnyside retail brand and flagship cannabis brand, Cresco . Through community expungement events, employee volunteerism, a film documenting the impact of unjust prosecution, and financial contributions from the Company and our third-party vendors, the “Summer of Social Justice” campaign aims to influence reform to help shape a future cannabis industry with limitless opportunities for everyone. The campaign will amplify the ongoing restorative justice, community business incubator and education and workforce development programming facilitated by the Company’s established SEED (Social Equity & Education Development) initiative.

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Florida’s legal cannabis program has gained plenty of investor attention as the potential for this segment of the US cannabis market continues to expand.

The US cannabis industry is largely fragmented because the plant remains illegal at the federal level. Despite that obstacle, several states across the country have implemented medical and recreational cannabis legislation allowing for cultivation, processing, commercial sale and consumer use.

While this legislation differs greatly from state to state, one state’s medical cannabis industry has seen unprecedented growth: Florida.


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The coastal state’s journey to cannabis legalization has been a challenging one. In 2016, over 70 percent of Floridians voted for a constitutional amendment to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

However, in the 2017 legislation that created the state’s legal medical cannabis framework, then-Governor Rick Scott banned smoking medical cannabis. It wasn’t until March 2019 that Ron DeSantis, the current governor of Florida, lifted the ban on smokable marijuana.

In the face of those challenges, the Sunshine State has developed one of the most attractive medical cannabis markets in the country. In fact, Florida’s medical marijuana space is one of the fastest growing in the country.

Read on to learn more about the investing opportunities in Florida’s legal cannabis space and the top marijuana stocks to look out for.

Florida medical cannabis: High-growth market

Florida’s large population — the third biggest in the US — is a factor in the attractiveness of its cannabis market. The state is also the fourth largest economy in the US with a gross domestic product of just over US$1 billion in 2020.

A 2020 report from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics shows the US legal cannabis industry is expected to grow by 18.2 percent between 2019 and 2025 to reach US$33.9 billion. Florida ranks among the jurisdictions that will contribute the most to that growth.

“The Total Available Market, or TAM, is one of the most critical factors for any industry,” states Dustin Robinson, founding partner of Mr. Cannabis Law, in an article written for Green Entrepreneur. “Florida’s marijuana industry happens to have one of the strongest TAMs in the world.”

As of a June 2021 update from Florida Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), the state had 569,450 qualified medical marijuana patients and 2,542 qualified physicians.

Florida’s patient count is a small percentage of its population of 21 million, but it has been steadily growing since the drug was legalized in the state in 2016. In fact, the patient figure has more than doubled in the past two years.

According to Robinson, there are almost 300 retail locations in Florida, with another 500 locations expected by the end of 2022.

Beacon Securities analyst Russell Stanley has said Florida boasts a healthy list of addressable medical conditions that can be treated with cannabis, unlike the medical marijuana programs in other states.

“Some other states have had trouble expanding their programs, in part because it’s been very difficult for patients to get access to product,” Stanley told the Investing News Network. “Other states have had restrictions on which healthcare practitioners can recommend it and what they can recommend it for.”


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Florida cannabis market: High barriers to entry

The 2017 Florida medical marijuana law established a cap on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries and required that each center be vertically integrated — they all had to manage their own operations, from cannabis cultivation and processing to distribution and sales.

The cap on the number of dispensaries expired in April 2020. While the vertical integration requirement portion of the law underwent a three year court battle, the Supreme Court of Florida recently upheld the legislation, meaning this requirement will continue to shape the Florida cannabis market for years to come.

During a panel discussion, Steve Hawkins, CEO of Horizons ETFs Management (Canada), said he views vertical integration as one of the key benefits for US companies compared to the Canadian cannabis market. Only players that have been able to develop cannabis production, manufacturing and distribution capabilities can compete in the marketplace.

As of March 2021, the state had 22 licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) and five laboratories licensed for third party testing. The low number of licenses currently awarded creates high entry barriers, which is a big plus for the currently operating companies that have already established a strong foothold in the market.

Robinson believes that “the 22 Licensees are in a great position to build multi-billion-dollar companies in Florida’s growing marijuana industry.”

These 22 established licensees will also have an advantage if and when recreational cannabis becomes legal in the state. “In Florida, the medical marijuana license allows the current MMTCs to build out as big of a footprint as possible in preparation for adult use (recreational) legalization,” he said.

Florida cannabis market: Top Florida cannabis stocks

As the legal cannabis industry grows in Florida, some players have begun to stand out in the state.

Florida native Trulieve Cannabis (CSE:TRUL,OTC Pink:TCNNF) holds the lion’s share of the market and has continually been a top-performing stock in the state.

Trulieve opened Florida’s first medical marijuana dispensary back in 2016, and since then it’s grown into a force in the industry, with a current market capitalization of US$5.52 billion.

As of June 4, 2021, Trulieve had 82 dispensing locations in the state, according to data released by the OMMU. In one week’s time it sold more than 76.5 million milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products and 1.6 million milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) products, in addition to 32,295 ounces of dried flower.

Shortly after smokable marijuana was legalized, Trulieve began selling flower and was the first in the state to do so. Trulieve has also benefited from a vertically integrated structure that includes cannabis cultivation, production and distribution, which is essential since cannabis cannot be moved across states lines just yet.

Surterra Wellness comes in at a distant second place with 39 dispensing locations and sales of over 22.2 million milligrams of THC products and 1.6 million milligrams of CBD products, in addition to 6,911 ounces of dried flower. Surterra is owned by Parallel, one of the largest privately held multi-state cannabis operators (MSOs) in the country.


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Parallel recently announced its intentions to go public through a definitive business combination agreement with Ceres Acquisition (NEO:CERE,OTCQX:CERAF), a special purpose acquisition company.

Another big player in the state is Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings (CSE:CURA,OTCQX:CURLF). Though not native to Florida, Curaleaf’s presence in the state’s cannabis business is substantial. Of the MSO’s total 101 dispensaries, 37 are in Florida, putting it in third place behind Trulieve and Surterra.

The vertically integrated company also launched the state’s first medical cannabis tablets in September 2019, followed by the first sublingual tablets in July 2020.

Curaleaf put up impressive revenue numbers for 2020, reporting retail revenue of US$423.2 million compared to US$138.7 million in 2019. The company attributed the 205 percent increase to new store openings in its operating states, including five opened in Florida in 2020.

Liberty Health Sciences, which was acquired by Ayr Wellness (CSE:AYR.A,OTCQX:AYRWF) in February 2021 in all-stock transaction, also has a considerable stake in Florida. According to the OMMU, Liberty currently has 36 dispensing locations in the state.

Ayr Wellness plans to increase that footprint to 42 dispensaries by the end of 2021, and has a target of roughly US$4 million in annual retail revenues per store for 2022. In May 2021, the company announced the launch of its Origyn premium concentrate line in the state. The product line includes wax, crumble, Rick Simpson oil and shatter. Ayr has also begun construction of a 10 acre outdoor cultivation expected to be completed in Q3 2021.

Florida cannabis market: Investor takeaway

As its medical marijuana industry continues to grow, Florida has a lot to offer in terms of investment opportunities. BDS Analytics projects that Florida’s medical cannabis market will hit US$1.5 billion in sales in 2021, up 53 percent over 2020 sales.

The research firms predicts that recreational cannabis could be legal by 2023, which would set Florida on a path to become the third largest US legal cannabis market by 2026. Regardless of whether adult use gets the green light that soon, investors should still consider the Sunshine State as a premier cannabis jurisdiction.

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Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF) (“Trulieve” or “the Company”), a leading and top-performing cannabis company based in the United States announced today the opening of a new Florida dispensary, the Company’s 90th nationwide.

The latest dispensary, located in the Florida Keys, supports Trulieve’s goal of ensuring medical cannabis patients across Florida have safe, reliable access to the medications they rely on. The Tavernier dispensary joins the nearby Key West dispensary, as well as several others throughout the Miami area.

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Company to Donate: $30,000 to Assist with Elk Grove Village’s Community Events and Outreach Programs; Additional $15,000 to Go Towards Supporting Alexian Brothers Medical Center’s Foundation, Elk Grove Village Police Drug Education Program and Kenneth Young Youth Center

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