The Week In Cannabis: Amazon Supports Legalization, NY Expands Its Medical Program, Stocks Underperform And More

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Below is a recap of the main news related to the cannabis industry and markets for the week of January 24, 2022.

Amazon Supports GOP’s Legalization Bill

The big news item this week related to Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), which announced its support for a Republican-backed congressional bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level and allow states to decide how and whether to ban or regulate it. 

Congresswoman Nancy Mace’s (R-SC) State Reform Act, released in November, would remove cannabis as a Federal Schedule I substance and introduce a 3% federal tax on it. As it was the first bill issued by the Republicans, it created quite a stir at the time.

Now, Amazon, which already supported cannabis legalization, has expressed support for the GOP bill.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Amazon’s public policy department said, “We’re pleased to endorse @RepNancyMace’s States Reform Act. Like so many in this country, we believe it’s time to reform the nation’s cannabis policy and Amazon is committed to helping lead the effort.” 

Mace said Amazon was likely motivated to approve her bill because legal issues with marijuana could make hiring difficult. 

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

“They see it from a worker’s point of view,” Mace said, according to Forbes. “The ban at the federal level actually affects their workforce.” 

New York Relaxes Medical Rules

The New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced on Monday the launch of a new medical cannabis certification and registration system that will not only be far easier to use but will expand eligibility criteria for patients who can benefit from medical cannabis.

The program, the first of its kind nationally, will allow the certification of a patient by a practitioner for any condition that the practitioner believes can be treated with medical cannabis, reported local CBS News outlet WRBG Albany. A precedent can be found in Argentina’s REPROCANN program.

Practitioner’s discretion in certifying patients was essentially granted with the passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalized cannabis last March. 

Recommended read: [Chart] Cannabis Stocks: Is There Any Port In This Storm?

The new certification and registration system brings the system under the full control of the state’s OCM and continues the work of expanding the program, pursuant to the MRTA.

Markets

Stocks were down this week. Over the five trading days of this week:

  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ: lost 2%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF YOLO: tumbled 5.2%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF MSOS: fell 5.6%.
  • The Cannabis ETF THCX: was down 4.2%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF CNBS: slipped 4%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY was up 1.3%.

M&A

  • Icanic Brands Company, Inc. ICAN (OTCQB: ICNAF), a multistate cannabis operator in California and Nevada, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire California extraction company LEEF Holdings for $120 million.
  • Jupiter Wellness, Inc. JUPW revealed plans Monday to dividend its wholly-owned subsidiary, SRM Entertainment to its stockholders with Jupiter’s merger with Next Frontier Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Each Jupiter Wellness stockholder will be entitled to approximately one share of SRM Entertainment common stock for every four shares of Jupiter Wellness common stock owned. In conjunction with the stock dividend, Jupiter Wellness intends for SRM Entertainment to raise up to $10 million through its own equity offering and seek the listing of its common stock on Nasdaq.
  • Schwazze, (OTCQX: SHWZ) completed a transaction to acquire the assets of BG3 Investments, LLC dba Drift, which consists of two cannabis dispensaries located in Boulder, Colorado, increasing the company’s dispensary footprint to 20. Consideration for the Drift acquisition was $3.5 million, paid as $1.9 million in cash and $1.6 million in common stock.
  • BevCanna Enterprises Inc. BEV BVNNF (FSE:7BC) announced Friday that it has closed its previously announced acquisition of solventless cannabis extraction and delivery technology provider Embark Health Inc. Pursuant to the amalgamation, BevCanna issued to holders of common shares of Embark an aggregate of 54.93 million common shares of BevCanna as consideration for the purchase price of $21 million, plus an estimated closing working capital adjustment of $3.72 million.

Financings

  • Jushi Holdings JUSHF closed a non-brokered private placement offering of an aggregate of 2,717,392 subordinate voting shares at $3.68 per share to Graticule Asset Management Asia for gross proceeds of $10 million. 
  • Agrify Corporation AGFY announced a $27.3 million private placement. The company signed a securities purchase agreement with an institutional investor and other accredited investors in a private placement transaction. Under the agreements, Agrify will issue and sell 4.02 million shares, in lieu of common stock, pre-funded warrants and accompanying warrants exercisable six months from closing to buy up to 3.02 million shares for a period of five years at an exercise price of $7.48 per share. Shares and warrants will be sold at a combined purchase price of $6.80.
  • Chicago Atlantic Real Estate Finance, Inc. REFI funded $10 million as the initial advance of a new $25 million senior secured credit facility to Sanctuary Medicinals LLC to support the company’s retail and cultivation expansion in Florida.
  • Marijuana brand TSUMo Snacks raised $4 million in a seed round led by Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital investment fund. TSUMo Snacks is focused on changing the way people consume THC, offering its innovative salty & savory cannabis-infused snacks.
  • Trulieve Cannabis Corp. TRUL TCNNF completed the second tranche of its previously announced private placement of 8% senior secured notes due 2026 for total gross proceeds of $75 million. Combined with the first offering of notes, which closed on October 6, 2021, Trulieve has issued notes totaling aggregate gross proceeds of $425.0 million.

Earnings Reports

High Tide Inc. HITI HITI (FSE:2LYA) released its year-end unaudited 2021 financial results Thursday, with yearly revenue of CA$181.1 million ($141.9 million), up by 118% from the previous year. For the fourth quarter, the company disclosed revenues of CA$53.9 million, up by 117% year-over-year.

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

First Cookies Dispensary In Canada

Michigan-based marijuana brand Gage Growth Corp. GAGE GAEGF will open a flagship Cookies dispensary in the heart of Toronto, Canada on Jan. 29th.  A popular cannabis brand will be located at 278A Queen Street West, offering Cookies and Gage branded products cultivated by their exclusive collective production partner, NOYA Cannabis Inc.

This marks the 12th dispensary in North America operated by Gage and the first Cookies store in Canada.

Weed Weddings In Vegas

Couples can now say “I do” at Planet 13 (OTCQX: PLNHF) and have a Las Vegas ‘Weed Wedding’ at the world largest cannabis dispensary SuperStore.

Or, if you’re feeling green, you can exchange vows at a Planet 13 cultivation facility just steps from the Las Vegas Strip.

The weed wedding planners are offering couples several cannabis packages to choose from, which include either the venue of their choice and the officiant fee.

Clever Leaves Enters US

Clever Leaves Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: CLVR) has officially entered the U.S. CBD market through the launch of its consumer-oriented CBD line JoySol.

JoySol, the U.S. nutraceutical division of Clever Leaves, which is produced by Herbal Brands, Inc., an Arizona-based consumer goods manufacturer and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clever Leaves.

Top Stories Of The Week

Check out the top stories on Benzinga Cannabis this week:

Top Spanish Stories

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Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.

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