Upcoming Mergers in the Cannabis Industry to Watch

The number of cannabis companies doing deals is expected to rise in 2021.

THE AMOUNT OF CAPITAL raised during the past two months is a strong signal that the cannabis sector is prepping for more acquisitions in 2021 as more states have legalized the adult use of marijuana.

“We’ve already seen a number of deals conducted in late 2020,” says Timothy Seymour, founder of Seymour Asset Management in New York and portfolio manager of the Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (ticker: CNBS), whose top three holdings are GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH) at 10.7%, Aphria (APHA) at 8.6% and Canopy Growth Corp. (CGC) at 8.6%.

The larger multistate operators have raised money and are on a land grab before the sector opens up to larger strategics and institutional capital, he says, and the level of deal flow will rise during the next three to six months.

“The cannabis industry is already a $50 billion industry and this should triple by the end of the decade,” says Seymour, whose exchange-traded fund CNBS generated a return of 60% year to date and 137% for the past six months. “We are talking about recreational, medical, wellness, lifestyle and consumer packaged goods all rolled up into one massive growth opportunity.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill in February legalizing recreational use of cannabis even though voters approved adult use last November. Virginia lawmakers also approved a bill in February for the recreational use of marijuana, but sales would not start until 2024. There are now 15 states along with the District of Columbia that have legalized the recreational use of cannabis.

Deal activity has ramped up during the past three months – Cresco Labs (CRLBF), a Chicago-based multistate operator that has a footprint in nine states, acquired Bluma Wellness for $213 million, and Verano, a Chicago-based multistate operator in 12 states bought Florida-based Alternative Medical Enterprises (AltMed) for an undisclosed amount. Another large deal occurred when New York-based Ayr Strategies (AYRWF) acquired Florida-based Liberty Health Sciences (LHSIF) for $290 million.

Public Companies That Could Seek Deals

Since January, the cannabis industry has raised $2 billion in equity capital without conducting any roadshows or receiving funding from banks, which will increase the momentum in merger and acquisition, or M&A, activity, Seymour says.

“The companies raised the money themselves,” he says. “Now that these companies are fresh with new cash, they can buy companies for cheaper prices rather than doing a share deal. This is going to fast-forward the M&A calendar.”

The number of deals in 2021 could exceed last year, and the trend could continue for both public and private companies during the next couple of years, says Jason Spatafora, co-founder of marijuanastocks.com and head trader at truetradinggroup.com.

“The deals will depend heavily on the geography and some of the tailwinds the industry is facing,” he says. “It’s a good thing the Democrats are controlling the three executive branches of government.”

Some cannabis companies were caught off guard when the Democrats won the Senate in 2020, since they advocate for the legalization of marijuana use, Spatafora says.

“This added a premium to acquisitions, and there were higher deal prices,” he says. “Some companies thought they had more time to enter some state markets.”

Cresco Labs is likely done with acquiring companies for the short term while Curaleaf (CURLF), a Wakefield, Massachusetts-based vertically integrated cannabis operator, has done a good job with its acquisitions and “planted a lot of flags,” Spatafora says. The company operates in 23 states with 101 dispensaries and has 22 cultivation sites and more than 30 processing sites.

“Curaleaf does not have to be as aggressive as some other companies that were more focused on building out their own networks,” he says.

The likelihood of public cannabis companies acquiring their public competitors remains low right now, and companies have earmarked their cash for other priorities, Spatafora says. Once politicians iron out the details of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act on how banks and financial institutions can work with the cannabis industry since the federal government has not legalized the drug, then the access to the cost of capital could be lower.

Areas in Cannabis That Will See M&A

The companies armed with cash will be very inquisitive and aggressive. Those include Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF), a Vancouver and Chicago-based national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer, and TerrAscend (TRSSF), a New York and Toronto-based cannabis company operating dispensaries in California and a manufacturer and distributor of hemp-derived products, Seymour says.

“The stocks of these companies rallied after they raised capital,” he says. “They should be seen as growth companies. This is a big moment for the industry.”

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (TCNNF), which is primarily a Florida operator, will also be active on the deal-making front, Seymour says. The company reported $193.4 million in cash as of September 2020.

Private companies such as PharmaCann, Ascend Wellness and Holistic Industries are also looking to grow their footprint through deals, while companies such as Parallel now have structures in place that will lead to aggressive deals on M&A, he says.

“Ultimately, many companies in the sector are looking to sell to a bigger strategic player at some point,” Seymour says.

The overall surge in equity prices in cannabis stocks the past few months has left many operators with a strong cash position and in search of acquisition targets, says Aaron Raub, senior equity analyst at Ambria Capital in Puerto Rico.

One company that could seek more deals is GrowGeneration Corp. (GRWG), a Denver-based hydroponic grow supplier, he says.

“The management team has a multiyear track record of opening new stores in prime locations through organic growth or acquiring hydroponic and organic garden centers at attractive valuations in a very fragmented industry where competitors often lack the scale and host of services that GrowGen provides,” Raub says.

GrowGeneration has ample capital to deploy since it had a heavily oversubscribed equity offering of $172.5 million in December 2020. Its fourth acquisition was San Diego Hydroponics & Organics, which adds nearly $10 million in “incremental top-line revenue to the company,” he says.

GrowGeneration has 50 stores and plans to have 55 by the end of the year. In 2020, the company added 14 new and acquired stores.

One of the risk factors is that the company’s long-term acquisition strategy is based on a combination of stock and cash. If there is a sharp pullback in the stock market, it could slow down the pace of capital raised and also decrease the number of acquisitions the company conducts, but GrowGeneration has low debt levels, Raub says.

The number of cannabis deals should rise in the second quarter, but they could be more expensive, especially in Ohio, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia, Massachusetts and Illinois, since many of those states limit the number of licenses companies can own, says Michael Berger, founder of Technical420, a Miami-based company that researches cannabis stocks.

“U.S. companies now realize you need to partner with one of your own size in order to compete,” he says.

Cannabis companies need to be acquisitive before premiums rise – several companies are generating $200 million in sales per quarter and are no longer small businesses, Berger says.

“Sales growth was strong in 2020,” he says. “No matter what economy we are in, people want cannabis products. It’s a defensive industry; it’s medicine for some people and it has therapeutic uses for recreational users. People will spend money to improve their mental health.”

Companies will look to secure licenses in limited markets they are not currently in, especially markets that have only legalized the medical use of cannabis such as Florida or only recently went recreational and likely have significant growth ahead, says Jason Wild, president of New York-based hedge fund JW Asset Management.

All regions in which cannabis is legal will see more deal flow, while the East Coast and Midwest will prioritize land acquisitions in addition to filling out vertical licensing in individual states, he says. On the West Coast markets, Wild says M&A “will be motivated in large part by consolidation and a desire for scale.”

Mexico moves closer to becoming the world’s largest legal cannabis market

“We’re taking away this beautiful plant from criminals and putting in the hands of retailers and farmers,” said former Mexican President Vicente Fox.

Mexico is inching closer to becoming the world’s largest legal cannabis market as lawmakers prepare to debate a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Chamber of Deputies, Congress’ lower house similar to the U.S. House of Representatives, will take up the issue early next week, Martha Tagle Martínez, a member of the chamber’s health committee, said in a series of tweets.

The Senate approved the legalization of medical marijuana almost four months ago, and two months later, the Health Ministry published rules to regulate the use of medicinal cannabis.

Former President Vicente Fox, who is on the board of global medical marijuana company Khiron Life Sciences Corp., said he sees the potential for Mexico to cash in on much-needed job creation, economic investment and medical advancements.

A regulated market could also help to lessen the cartel violence that has become synonymous with the country.

“Many great things will happen,” he said. “We’re taking away this beautiful plant from criminals and putting in the hands of retailers and farmers.”

Mexico has been steadily marching toward creating a cannabis market since 2015, when a federal judge ruled in favor of importing cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, for medical reasons. The ruling stemmed from a case involving a young girl suffering from a severe form of epilepsy.

The parents of the girl, Grace Elizalde, who was 8 years old at the time, had tried just about everything to treat her Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which triggered 400 seizures a day. At their most desperate, the family drove three hours to Laredo, Texas, to acquire Cosyntropin, a synthetic peptide that can be used to treat seizures. The medication cost more than $5,000, said Grace’s father, Raul Elizalde, who is now the president of the international CBD company HempMeds.

Elizalde eventually reached out to a Mexican lawmaker who publicly supported adopting cannabis legislation in Mexico after Washington state and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. That lawmaker, Fernando Belaunzarán, wrote a letter to Mexico’s health secretary on behalf of the Elizalde family, seeking permission to import cannabis oil for Grace’s treatment.

Initially, the Health Ministry declined the request, but a federal judge stepped in and allowed Elizalde to import CBD.

“There was not a lot of information back then in 2015,” Elizalde said. “It was hard to find any information about cannabis, especially CBD.”

Elizalde said Grace’s doctor had been interested in research taking place around the world on CBD as a potential treatment for epilepsy and thought it was worth a try for his daughter, who is now 13. Her seizures have decreased to about 20 on a bad day, Elizalde said.

In 2017, Enrique Peña Nieto, the president at the time, signed a bill allowing the medical use of marijuana products containing less than 1 percent of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The bill also called on the Health Ministry to draft and implement regulations for the nascent industry.

It took three more years for Mexico to finalize regulations. During that time, public perception gradually shifted as more families spoke publicly about using cannabis-derived medication to treat various ailments.

“The domino effect is happening,” Fox said. “The No. 1 challenge is to convey, inform and educate consumers and patients. And also educate the medical community. There is still some hesitancy in Mexican culture.”

In a poll published last year in the newspaper El Financiero, 58 percent of respondents opposed full legalization. But among respondents under age 40, more than half said they were in favor of legalizing cannabis.

“Mexico is changing,” Elizalde said. “We never thought we would change the law. Now it’s changing faster than we thought possible.”

While the road to full legalization appears to have accelerated, especially compared to the U.S.’s debate over the so-called war on drugs, Mexico’s path has not necessarily been driven by public or political demand. Instead, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a series of five rulings declaring the ban on the consumption of cannabis unconstitutional.

Under Mexican law, the number of decisions needed to set a precedent is five.

“Mexico went down the legalization path because of a quirk in the way their judicial system works,” said Andrew Rudman, director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan research organization.

While the court’s mandate forced lawmakers to build a framework for regulating cannabis, it did not necessarily create a desire among elected officials to do so quickly.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador campaigned on the promise to change the country’s approach to its drug war, including negotiating peace and amnesty for people involved in or affected by the illegal drug trade. Despite his campaign promises, legalizing cannabis is not necessarily a top priority, Rudman said.

“It was more that the court basically said to the Congress, ‘You have to do this,'” he said.

With the clock ticking for Mexico to finalize both its medical and recreational cannabis programs, the U.S. could be left in an awkward position if its neighbors to the north and the south each have legal frameworks in place. Canada legalized recreational cannabis in 2018; marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S.

“It creates some really interesting trade issues,” Rudman said. “Mexico legalizing is going to strengthen the push for, if not legalization, decriminalization in the U.S.”

The Chamber of Deputies has until the end of April to comply with the court mandate to legalize cannabis

Do CBD Gummies Show up on Drug Tests?

BD can be an excellent way to enhance wellness, promote well-being, and encourage relaxation. CBD lovers worldwide often enjoy many potential benefits. They may consume various forms of CBD throughout their day. One of the most innovative ways users get their boost of CBD is from gummies. CBD gummies are delectable treats that have a burst of CBD. Many consumers enjoy taking this snack on the go or for sharing with friends.

However, there are still ongoing discussions surrounding CBD’s status, both federally and within states. Due to this issue, it’s understandable that consumers may feel some trepidation. This is especially true when it comes to blood work for employment. Many users may want to know, “Will I have a CBD positive drug test?”

CBD in drug tests may not have a straightforward answer. It may depend on a few factors, including quality. This article will go over these factors and highlight some critical aspects regarding CBD and hemp. We’ll also delve into how high-quality hemp and CBD gummies for sale can make a difference.
What Is CBD?

Before launching into a detailed explanation, the best starting point may include an examination of CBD. CBD or cannabidiol is a substance that growers can harvest from hemp. Unlike marijuana, CBD derived from hemp has minimal THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. Researchers and users alike have cited THC as having intoxicating effects, including intense drowsiness, lethargy, and paranoia.

Studies show that CBD may not induce the physiological reactions often associated with marijuana. In addition to its non-intoxicating nature, CBD may have other potential benefits. Developing bodies of research indicate that CBD may quell symptoms related to anxiety, sleep deprivation, and stress-related syndromes.
Why Worry About Quality?

CBD has become increasingly popular. Consumers can purchase it from a variety of places, including gas stations and other retail outlets. However, the quality of any of these CBD-infused items, including gummies, may be questionable at best. And when it comes to gummies, ensuring that a purchase is premium means buying from a seller that uses industrial hemp. This is especially important for drug tests.

Some may wonder just how industrial hemp relates to drug testing. Well, most drug tests screen for certain drugs and other substances, and this includes THC. Low-quality or subpar hemp may contain a higher level of THC than American industrial hemp. Products derived from industrial hemp, including CBD-infused gummies, typically have minimal amounts of THC.

This translates into a test that won’t indicate THC use. In fact, researchers recently found that a threshold of 15ng/ml of THC is sufficient for a positive urine sample. Most high-grade CBD items from industrial hemp have 0.3% or less THC. And it’s not only where hemp comes from that counts. Extraction methods are essential, as well. When CBD comes from top-notch extraction procedures such as natural CO2, growers can harvest a higher grade of CBD.

Companies that take CBD seriously source their CBD from American farms that adhere to stringent growing practices. They may also ensure the best ways of getting CBD, including CO2 extraction. The result is a low-THC product with little chance of affecting a drug test.

When shopping around, it’s also important to note that reputable companies will often include detailed lab reports. These reports will contain the amount of CBD, THC, and other substances in a given item.
Getting Your Gummies: PureKana Online

Gummies can be an excellent source of CBD. They are transportable, easy to share, and can satisfy a sweet tooth. CBD fans looking for this tasty treat can buy them in a variety of places and cities. Online CBD gummy sellers abound, but not every company is reputable and sources from high-grade hemp.

A company like Purekana offers top of the line gummies with premium ingredients. PureKana’s gummies boast up to 25mg of industrial-hemp derived CBD per serving. Each bottle of their regular or all-vegan gummies features 20 gummies with fruity flavors.

Their gummies also have an added bonus of affordability. They feature price points that won’t bust a budget. And with a responsive customer care team, consumers may find that they have additional security and assistance.

Feb. 21, 2021 12:00 a.m. Marketplace

3 Marijuana Stocks With High Hopes for the Future

Marijuana stocks are enjoying a bit of a renaissance these days. With Joe Biden in the White House and Democrats taking the Senate, bullish investors are hopeful that greener days are ahead. That’s why immediately after Joe Biden’s victory, we saw marijuana stocks gaining a lot of ground.

Nevertheless, some are wondering is whether this is another false dawn. When Canada legalized cannabis on a federal level, many believed it was a watershed moment for the Cannabis industry. Consequently, several investors rushed in, leading to outsized valuations.

After some essential bubble-bursting, companies are now attractively valued. The post-election momentum caused a momentary blip, and more attractive valuations will return soon.

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But I digress. Picking quality stocks is never an easy task, especially when you are focusing on a sector that is under the hammer. That’s why you need to separate the wheat from the chaff.

On this list, we include companies that have a strong track record of growth. Stocks will always ebb and flow, depending on the news. However, the companies with excellent performance metrics will continue to do well, regardless of the wider industry’s external circumstances.

So, without further ado, here are three marijuana stocks that will push your returns higher:

  • GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:GWPH)
  • Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA)
  • OrganiGram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI)

Marijuana Stocks To Buy: GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH)

marijuana falling out of a prescription container next to a stethoscope

Source: Shutterstock

GWPH stock soared 46% after Jazz Pharmaceuticals(NASDAQ:JAZZ) agreed to a $7.2 billion acquisition of the CBD biopharma in a cash-and-stock deal expected to close in the second quarter.

GW Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing novel therapeutics from its proprietary cannabinoid product platform, Epidiolex, in a broad range of disease areas.

Epidiolex is a liquid formulation of pure plant-derived cannabidiol used to treat several rare childhood-onset epilepsy disorders. The company also develops and markets Sativex, an oromucosal spray for spasticity treatment due to multiple sclerosis.

GWPH is a very consistent performer, having exceeded analyst expectations in the past six quarters consecutively. It will boost profits of its new parent with double-digit revenue growth of 41% next year.

Valuation is also a plus for this one. Recently, many pure-plays in the cannabis space have skyrocketed on the back of positive news. Valuations are now outsized. However, GWPH stock trades at 13.5 times price-to-sales. Not too bad, considering the recent blockbuster merger.

Aphria (APHA)

An Aphria (APHA) marijuana product

Source: Shutterstock

Aphria does not have exposure to the U.S. CBD or THC markets due to federal prohibition constraints. Nonetheless, now that the Democrats are in power, we can see headway on that end.

Aphria operates through retail and wholesale channels in Canada and internationally. It has operations in over 10 countries outside of Canada and is the main distributor of medical cannabis to Germany.

Although not having a U.S. presence is its main Achilles heel, it does have some exposure in the form of SweetWater, a craft brewery. Aphria closed the acquisition last year.

CEO and Chairman Irwin Simon said the purchase would allow the Canadian licensed producer to build brand awareness in the U.S. ahead of federal legalization.

In the past five years, sales have grown 179.6% on average. Looking ahead, it’s expected that the company will increase sales by 31.5% next year. For all this, if you get shares for just 9.8 times P/S, I’d say it’s a steal.

Marijuana Stocks To Buy: OrganiGram Holdings (OGI)

30 Marijuana Stocks to Buy as the Future Turns Green

Source: Shutterstock

OrganiGram Holdings focuses on producing indoor-growth cannabis for patients and adult recreational consumers and developing overseas business partnerships.

Its brand portfolio includes Edison Reserve, Edison Cannabis Co, ANKR Organics, and Trailblazer.

OrganiGram has disappointed investors with its sluggish revenue growth and cash burn. But analysts are expecting the next year to bring some relief. Sales and EPS are expected to grow 64.1% and 320.0%, leading to a bullish reading. OGI stock is up 77.4% in the last month. But shares are still trading at 11.2 times price-to-earnings.

OGI has outperformed the S&P 500 by 185.1% and its sector by 198.2% in the past five years. That kind of performance is rare, but investors will ideally want some improvement in fundamentals to accompany this. All the data points to the company turning the corner soon. Until then, the general euphoria regarding the sector will continue to drive shares higher.

On the date of publication, Faizan Farooque did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

Faizan Farooque is a contributing author for InvestorPlace.com and numerous other financial sites. Faizan has several years of experience analyzing the stock market and was a former data journalist at S&P Global Market Intelligence. His passion is to help the average investor make more informed decisions regarding their portfolio.

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Tilray CEO says he expects U.S. federal cannabis legalization within two years

Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Canadian cannabis company Tilray, is optimistic that the United States will take steps toward federal legalization of marijuana in the near future, a move that will shake the industry forever.

“I expect that pressure from the North and the South will ultimately lead the U.S. to implement a federal program here at some point in the next 18 to 24 months,” Kennedy said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Mexico published regulations for medical cannabis use and Kennedy is confident that Mexico and Canada’s positive stance on marijuana will put more pressure on the U.S.

Tilray announced Tuesday that it has been chosen as a supplier of medical cannabis for experimentation in France by the country’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products.

Since 2017, the company has been selling its cannabis products in Germany. With the French program getting underway in the first quarter, Kennedy is optimistic that other European countries will implement medical marijuana programs as well.

“While we are excited for our opportunities in Germany and France, we expect to see additional opportunities for our European businesses in the coming quarters,” Kennedy told CNBC in an interview.

Tilray has cannabis production licenses in Canada and Portugal, where their main cannabis facility is located.

Has San Francisco reached its COVID peak?

While California’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be bumpy amid the deadliest days of the pandemic, the latest numbers on new cases and hospitalizations from the San Francisco Department of Public Health reveal the surge may be easing in the city.

In a Tuesday update, San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said while the number of new daily cases remains higher than before the explosion of cases after Thanksgiving, the most recent data shows promising signs. The case rate is currently 38.3 per 100,000 people, down slightly from the high of 42.5 new cases per 100,000 on Jan. 10.

“This trend is promising, but it’s too early to know for sure so we simply can not let our guard down,” Colfax said. “Our current number per 100,000 is far higher than our summer surge when we peaked at just 15.4, but we are still doing better than California as a whole where the average is 100.9 per 100,000.” (Note: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate per 100,000 in California was 90.3 as of Jan. 20.)

The post-holiday rise in hospitalizations is beginning to trend down “just barely” with the weekly change in hospitalization rate declining by 1%, Colfax said.

“That rate in change is important because it reflects the demand put on our hospitals for acute care and ICU beds to care for COVID-19 and other patients,” he noted. “Again, this is promising and hopeful news.”

With cases finally starting to decline slightly and the distribution of vaccines slowly increasing, some may be wondering: Did San Francisco hit its peak?

“I think the answer is yes,” said UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford. “We’ve seen the positivity rate start to go down. We’ve seen cases start to go down. We’re seeing hospitalizations go down. We’ll start to see ICU admissions go down and then we’ll see deaths go down. So I say yeah, probably. It think we’re on our way down.”

Rutherford said this with caution, noting that numbers can easily increase if people stop wearing masks and social distancing. “You have to be careful,” he warned. “It could bounce right back up.”

Health officials are in a race against time, not only as patients continue to become sick and die but as the virus mutates into forms that can spread much more easily.

An L452R variant has been found in at least a dozen counties and was identified in several large outbreaks in Santa Clara, San Francisco and Monterey counties.

Rutherford believes the new variants are unlikely to cause a major surge in San Francisco if people wear their face coverings, don’t gather and follow public health guidelines.

“What causes outbreaks is people not wearing masks and not socially distancing and getting into crowded situations,” he said. “If it’s one strain or another, they all cause outbreaks. Some may transmit more than others, but at the end of the day it’s all behavioral.”

UCSF infectious disease doctor Dr. Peter Chin-Hong agreed numbers are trending slightly down, but he’s hesitant to say S.F. hit its highest peak; Chin-Hong is worried about the L452R variant, which is increasingly being identified in cases.

“That rate of increase is making me worry it’s going to be the U.K. variant all over again,” Chin-Hong said. “It’s becoming a larger part of the genotype scene. It suggests it’s taking over the COVID.”

He said he also worries people will become less vigilant in following the public health orders. “Just when it’s getting warm and the vaccine hope is there, I’m worried we’ll slack off,” said Chin-Hong, noting that people will still need to wear masks after they’ve been vaccinated. “Until there’s consistency in the numbers, I can’t say for certain we’ve hit the peak.”

Across California, infection indicators are “all showing trends in the right direction,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. A surge following Christmas and New Year’s had been feared on top of the surge after Halloween and Thanksgiving that drove case levels and hospitalizations to record levels.

Only a couple of weeks ago, it was feared some hospitals in Los Angeles and other hard-hit areas might have to begin rationing care as they ran out of surge capacity as regular beds were filled.

But statewide hospitalizations are down 8.5% over 14 days, with the number of intensive care patients also easing. Hospitals that had been seeing 3,500 new patients each day are now seeing 2,500 to 2,900 daily admissions — still distressingly high, but “quite a significant reduction,” Ghaly said.

When Cannabis Came Out: Remembering Prop 215

Recently, SF Weekly journalist Veronica Irwin went out on a limb and exclaimed, “It’s because of gay activism that Californians have a regulated cannabis market.”

She rattled off a list of famous gays, without genuinely honoring the foot soldiers, not the superstars of the movement. Guys like Michael Koehn, 74, and David Goldman, 69, a gay couple, who met in 1988 and married in 2008. Both have spread the ganja gospel far and wide, and both have benefitted from recreational and medicinal weed. When I visited them in the Castro District, they shared their favorite cannabis products with me—along with their own individual stories that tell much of the bigger picture.

After Michael Koehn graduated from the University of Wisconsin, he worked for the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department. He tells me he’s never been in the closet as a gay man. “I didn’t think to be secretive, though coming out caused friction with my mom,” he says. “I explained to her, ‘I have to be who I am.’” But while Koehn was out of the gay closet, he was in the cannabis closet. “So was everyone else,” he says. “We smoked on the sly, brands like Acapulco Gold.”

Dave Goldman, an ex-New Yorker and a graduate of the University of Chicago, taught generations of school kids in Marin. “In the 1970s, to be openly gay was fraught with perils,” he tells me. “Jobs were threatened.” Goldman first used cannabis at 18. He hasn’t ever stopped. “It’s been downhill all the way,” he says.

Goldman wisely kept cannabis separate from his day job. “I didn’t socialize with colleagues,” he says. In San Francisco, all through the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, Goldman lost friends. So did Koehn, who attributes his survival to a half-dozen factors. “I have good genes, I was in support groups and I had good luck,” he says. “Cannabis gave me an appetite, eased my nausea and provided relief from pain.”

In the wake of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and with savvy lobbying by Dennis Peron and others, plus nifty maneuvering by San Francisco D.A. Terence Hallinan, Californians approved medical marijuana in 1996. After Prop. 215 passed, Koehn and Goldman were out of the cannabis closet for good.

With Covid-19, they practice all the prudent things. “This is our second pandemic,” Koehn says. “Two more than we wanted.” Covid-19 hasn’t deterred them from their cannabis activism, which links them to NORML, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the San Francisco dispensary, Green Cross, where they sit on the board of directors. “Cannabis isn’t just about getting high,” Goldman says. “It’s about everyone getting educated about marijuana.” This winter, Goldman and Koehn fly to Florida for much needed R and R. Bon voyage, guys.

Jonah Raskin is the author of “Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War.”

2 Top Marijuana Stocks to Buy in January

Marijuana stocks have been on fire lately. Many investors are hoping that a Democratic-controlled senate will steer the U.S. on the path to decriminalization — or even to legalization of the drug at the federal level. If — and it’s a big “if” — legalization did happen, it would create the world’s biggest cannabis industry with over $100 billion in annual sales.

In the past month, the Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF(TSX:HMMJ), a leading indicator of pot stocks, is already up over 12%. That’s just below the S&P 500’s 12.8% return over the same period. Given all the enthusiasm, let’s take a look at two of the best marijuana companies to choose from this January. 

 

1. Aphria

Aphria (NASDAQ:APHA) and medical cannabis company Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) will merge this year to form the biggest marijuana grower in the world, with nearly 900 million Canadian dollars in annual revenue. The combined entity is well positioned to expand into the U.S. cannabis market, with its line of beverages and cannabidiol (CBD) products available at tens of thousands of retail locations throughout North America.

During the fiscal second quarter of 2021 (ended Nov. 30, 2020), Aphria increased its sales by 33% year over year to CA$160.5 million. Simultaneously, its cash production cost per gram of cannabis fell 6% quarter over quarter to CA$0.79. After adjusting for changes in its convertibles’ fair value, one-time transaction costs, and share compensation expenses, the company posted a surprise profit of CA$0.01 per share.

It is quite remarkable for a pot grower to become profitable while it is expanding. The company’s free cash flow also improved by as much as CA$70 million over the past quarter.

Right now, Aphria sees significant demand for its Canadian pot business as well. It managed to sell approximately 26,730 kilograms of cannabis in Q2 2021, up from 20,880 kg sold in the previous quarter. Given the potential for its momentum to continue, I highly recommend marijuana investors pick up shares of Aphria, even while it’s trading at about eight times revenue.

2. HEXO

Pot grower HEXO (NYSE:HEXO) sports the largest market share in the Canadian province of Quebec. It, too, is eyeing the multi-billion cannabis opportunity south of the border. Currently, HEXO runs a joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE:TAP) to develop its line of CBD-infused beverages. The partnership’s CBD sparkling water was just launched in Colorado.

Despite being a relatively new venture, its beverages are already wildly successful. HEXO now holds a 54% market share in Canada’s cannabis drinks industry, a title previously held by Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC).

Back in the first quarter of 2021 (ended Oct. 31), HEXO’s beverage revenue totaled CA$3 million, a sizable increase over the CA$2 million it brought in during the previous quarter. Moreover, the company managed to break even in terms of gross profit, compared to a negative gross margin of 121% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

 

It also should be noted that HEXO is more than doubling its sales year after year and is very close to breaking even. Furthermore, its CA$150 million in cash more than offsets the company’s CA$59 million in debt and convertibles. Trading at about 9 times revenue, HEXO’s growth premium is well worth it. Investors should expect the company to break past its earnings estimate as it makes the most of its leading role with its pot beverage brands.

 

Here’s The Marijuana Stock You’ve Been Waiting For

A little-known Canadian company just unlocked what some experts think could be the key to profiting off the coming marijuana boom.

And make no mistake – it is coming.

Cannabis legalization is sweeping over North America – 15 states plus Washington, D.C., have all legalized recreational marijuana over the last few years, and full legalization came to Canada in October 2018.

And one under-the-radar Canadian company is poised to explode from this coming marijuana revolution.

Because a game-changing deal just went down between the Ontario government and this powerhouse company…and you need to hear this story today if you have even considered investing in pot stocks.

The Different Types of Medical Marijuana and Their Effects

If you’re new to medical marijuana, it helps to know that there are two strains of marijuana: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Established in the 18th century, these two classifications were made by scientists who noted definite differences in the two strains’ makeup and resin production, appearance, flowering time, flavor, and yields.

The Two Strains Explained
Cannabis professionals and many medical marijuana users claim that the two strains vary greatly in the effects they deliver and the symptom relief they provide. In the medical marijuana community, the Indica strain is known to provide a sedative effect, providing a full-body relaxation and calm. The Sativa strain, on the other hand, has an uplifting, energizing effect. For people suffering from chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, or nausea, the Indica strain tends to provide the most symptom relief. For people with depression, ADHD, fatigue, or other mood disorders, the Sativa strain is the best option.

Is There Really a Difference?
Some scientists believe that there is no real difference in the effects provided by the two strains. They claim that the differing effects aren’t really rooted in reality, but in what the user expects the effects to be. Whether this claim is true or not is still up for debate, but what is known is that cannabis affects each person differently – regardless of the strain.
If you’re in San Bruno or elsewhere in San Mateo County and have a valid medical marijuana card, be sure to visit Elevated of San Francisco to learn more about how our cannabis products can help you find relief from your symptoms. Elevated serves patients by providing quality marijuana products and a personalized in-store experience.

A Short History on Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has been around since ancient times. The ancient Chinese talk about cannabis and its therapeutic properties for gout, constipation, rheumatism, and senility in old writings. In fact, Chinese Emperor and pharmacologist, Shennong, described using cannabis for medical reasons in a book published in 2737 BC.

Medical Marijuana in the United States
​Medical marijuana has always been considered a viable treatment option in the United States. Unfortunately, in 1937, the federal government outlawed its use in defiance of the American Medical Association. From that point, medical cannabis was only available to a select few through the Investigational New Drug (IND) program. Once part of the program, patients could receive up to nine pounds of marijuana a year.
For years, the American public was largely blocked from obtaining marijuana for medical use. It wasn’t until the 1990s that voters began demanding that the weed be legalized for medical purposes. California, through Proposition 215, became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Since California’s bold move in the late ’90s, dozens of other states have followed suit and made medical marijuana legal.
Today, more than half of the US population has access to cannabis as a medical treatment. The sad news is that at a federal level, marijuana of any kind is still illegal. In October 2009, however, the federal government stated it would not penalize citizens who hold valid medical marijuana cards or the distributors who follow state laws.
If you live in San Francisco or Daly City and you hold a medical marijuana card, Elevated of San Francisco is the best marijuana dispensary in the area. Offering a wide array of cannabis products for both medical treatment and recreational use, every visitor is sure to find exactly what they’re looking for.