Week two of 2020 was an exciting one, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledging to legalize adult-use marijuana in the state this year, news about a medical marijuana legalization measure making it to the November ballot in Mississippi, and South Dakota announcing its Secretary of State Steve Barnett has approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize adult-use cannabis and make the state legislature enact a hemp cultivation law.
Commenting on the latter, Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project told Benzinga, “The majority of South Dakota voters support legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adults. Elected officials in the state have not taken action to effectuate the will of the people, so the only recourse for advocates is to bring this issue to the ballot for voters to decide.”
In Illinois, the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation disclosed sales of recreational marijuana had almost hit $11 million in their first week, while Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport and Midway Airport installed boxes for passengers to dispose of any cannabis they might have before boarding an airplane in the wake of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois on Jan. 1.
In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly revealed two of the most important goals for the year, one being the expansion of Medicaid, and the other, medical marijuana legalization.
Meanwhile, the Argentine province of Chubut announced a government sponsored cannabis event, at the same time as Mexico prepares for its final debate around the regulation of legal cannabis. The Senate now has till April 30 to make a decision on the regulation of the use of recreational weed in the country.
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In the scientific realm, researchers discovered two new cannabinoids in the cannabis plant: tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP) and cannabidiphorol (CBDP). The latter is believed to have similar properties to those of CBD, while the former is thought to be similar to THC, although 30 times stronger in potency.
In the corporate world, High Times Holding Corp., owner of High Times Magazine, Dope Magazine, and other cannabis brands, named Stormy Simon, former President of Overstock.com Inc (NASDAQ: OSTK), as its new CEO, following the departure of Kraig Fox less than one year into his tenure. The company also announced it will be developing a physical and virtual cannabis distribution businesses.
Canopy Growth Corp (TSE: WEED) (NYSE: CGC) announced it will be working in conjunction with 10 Ontario retail license holders to open new Tokyo Smoke-branded retail cannabis stores across the province.
FSD Pharma Inc (CSE: HUGE) (NASDAQ: HUGE) started trading on the Nasdaq.
“This is a transformational deal for Cresco and represents the culmination of the better part of a year’s work for both the Cresco and Origin House teams,” Charlie Bachtell, Cresco’s CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.
Finally, Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (CSE:HARV) (OTC: HRVSF) filed a lawsuit against an R&D and brand development company, Falcon International. The former is seeking to terminate a merger.
“The federal lawsuit is a petition to compel arbitration between the companies, and Harvest said it will seek both restitution and the appointment of a receiver for Falcon's business and assets,” explained Benzinga’s Dustin Blitchok. Check out the full story here.
Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga, “We continue to see cannabis deals unwind and this week's termination between Bhang and Origin House is the latest. However, Origin House did note that its deal with Cresco Labs is still on and looks to close pretty soon. The cannabis industry has taken a beating when it comes to valuations and most companies are focused on profitability and not expansion at this point, so I expect we'll hear of fewer deals in the 2020.”
Cannabis stocks posted moderate losses this week, dragging ETFs down. Over the last five trading days:
• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) was down 3.64%.
• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) lost 1.97%.
• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) dropped 3.45%.
• The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) tumbled 2.83%.
• The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) declined 3.44%.
• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 1%.
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