The Week In Cannabis: Corporate Turmoil, Mass Layoffs And Stocks In Red


It was a turbulent week, with both Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY) and Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB) announcing mass layoffs, each getting rid of approximately 10% of employees.

Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy explained the move was part of a companywide restructuring focused on driving continued growth. “By reducing headcount and cost, Tilray will be better positioned to achieve profitability,” he said in a statement.

Aurora experienced an ever bigger shakeup, which included the retirement of its CEO Terry Booth, who will be replaced by interim CEO Michael Singer. Aurora also laid out a plan to increase the size of its board and a “business transformation plan” as it seeks to achieve positive EBITDA. These moves may signal an industry-wide issue, and an inevitable market correction. Read about it here.

Commenting on the new, Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Marker Report, told Benzinga, “It was a rough week for the cannabis industry… While the Canadian markets continue to face headwinds, the U.S. market continues to heat up as Planet 13 in Las Vegas once again reported huge monthly sales.”

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In some good news, Illinois announced recreational cannabis sales hit $39.2 million in January, the first month of adult-use sales. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Pablo Zuanic pointed out that 22% of sales, or $8.6 million, were to out-of-state residents. “This should lend further credence to the domino effect thesis: i.e., more neighboring states to follow,” the analyst said.

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire Senate approved the passage of a bill that could make it legal for medical cannabis patients and their caregivers to grow cannabis at home. The USDA announced “details of 2 risk management programs for hemp producers. Producers may apply for both programs now through March 16, 2020."

Leafly came out with its annual jobs report, recounting 243,700 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs supported by the legal cannabis industry as of January of 2020. This number marks a 15% year-over-year increase in cannabis jobs. Check out details of the report here.

On Friday, Acreage Holdings Inc (OTC: ACRGF) announced it had secured a $100 million credit facility that would not dilute the terms of its deal with Canopy Growth.

In Mexico, we saw the creation of the Mexican Council for Cannabis and Hemp, focused on promoting and regulating the use of medical cannabis, among other things. And, in Argentina, the governor for the province with the first medical cannabis license in the country promised the first batches of marijuana oils would be produced this year.

ETFs were once again in the red. Over the last five trading sessions:

  • The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) was down 5.07%.
  • The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) lost 2.72%.
  • The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) fell 2.84%.
  • The Cannabis ETF (NYSE: THCX) slipped 3.29%.
  • The Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE: CNBS) lost 2.46%.
  • The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 3.25%.

More News From The Week

Old Pal announced that Kiva Sales and Services (KSS) will be its exclusive distribution partner for the state of California. This partnership between these two powerhouse brands is projected to more than double Old Pal’s retail availability.

“The partnership with Kiva Sales and Service is a recommitment to our dispensary partners and ultimately our customers to ensure consistent service and delivery of our products. Accessibility is a foundational pillar of the Old Pal brand and continuing to expand our availability throughout the state with a best in class partner like KSS allows us to deliver on that mission,” Rusty Wilenkin, CEO and co-founder of Old Pal, told Benzinga.

Avicanna Inc (OTC: AVCNF)(TSE: AVCN), a biopharmaceutical company focused on organic and sustainable plant-derived cannabinoid-based products, was rated highest amongst global cannabis companies participating in the SAM Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA), issued by S&P Global. This sustainability index family is one of the most prestigious benchmarks for investors who understand sustainability as the principal component of a successful business models in order to produce long-term shareholder value. As an emerging segment, cannabis companies are starting to play a role in this kind of index, and Avicanna received the highest score …

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