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Are Big Cannabis Stocks Losing Steam?

Are Big Cannabis Stocks Losing Steam?

As the cannabis industry expands, so do cannabis IPOs.

In other words, as more and more states legalize cannabis, the opportunity to become a publicly traded cannabis company has become enticing to many in the industry. But restrictions are fierce.

Due to federal law in the United States, no plant-touching cannabis business — regardless of its operation in a legal state — can list their business in American stock markets. Which is why Canadian cannabis stocks have become the focus of any would-be cannabis investor.

Canadian Cannabis Stocks

Being the first first-world country to fully legalize the sale and consumption of cannabis, Canada is on the forefront of managing a nationwide industry. And with a 100% legal industry, Canadian cannabis companies are free to go public. This has led to some big companies all but taking over the entire marketshare of cannabis.

The three main competitors in Canada currently are Canopy, Aurora and Tilray. Over the last year, these companies went public with a bang, building up shares and raking in the investment dollars. But after the IPO, there has been a consistent decline in stock value for all of these companies.

While Tilray made close to $46 million in this quarter ended June 30, they still posted a loss of $32.9 million. The second place contender, Aurora is still holding strong with no reports of major losses that would impact shareholders. However Canopy, the largest marketshare holder in Canada’s industry isn’t showing great gains.

While none of these major stocks are in danger of bottoming out any time soon, the recent projections that show profitability is still some time away have some investors considering other options. This is leading to a rising interest in smaller cannabis stocks in Canada and the US.

Smaller Cannabis Stocks Rising Up

No “small” business is going to be listed on the stock exchange, which means even the smaller cannabis stocks we talk about here are still going to be relatively large businesses. It is also important to keep in mind that as big as Canada is in size, it’s legal cannabis industry is relatively small compared to the U.S.

For example, while Colorado has an average of one cannabis dispensary to every 10,000 people, Ontario has one store for every 600,000 people, and Quebec only has one store for ever 500,000. That’s a lot of people for one location to service, which means that demand is high for quality products from whoever is selling it.

While Canopy made a lot of money in the topical, oils, and edibles market, they failed to account for the demand for high-THC products, including cannabis flower. Now they are changing their strains and upping their THC content, but until that happens, smaller companies can come in and get the deals.

Companies like Supreme Cannabis Co., MediPharm Labs Corp. and Pure Sunfarms Corp. all posted positive gains and earnings this quarter. Pure Sunfarms Corp. even reported a net income of $37.2 million Canadian, which is the largest net income reported to date in the Canadian market.

What’s next for cannabis stocks

There are people who are paid a lot more money than me to determine the future of cannabis stocks, so I won’t even try to guess. What I can say though, is that Canadian cannabis stocks aren’t going to be the only option in the near future.

While plant-touching businesses cannot be listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ, ancillary businesses are all fair game in the United States. This opens the door for companies that design the containers that cannabis is sold in, paraphernalia manufacturers, and other businesses that supply equipment, legal services and more to the legal cannabis industries around the country.

Whether or not companies in these fields will list themselves is up to them, just as deciding whether or not to invest in them is up to you. But The Real Dirt will do its best to keep you updated on exciting stocks and news that you should know about the industry. 

Illinois Legalization: Illinois becomes 11th state to legalize cannabis

Illinois Legalization: Illinois becomes 11th state to legalize cannabis

Illinois residents can soon enjoy cannabis freely in their home state, they just have to wait a while.

Illinois has become the 11th state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis for recreational use after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that will allow the licensed growth, sales, possession and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and older. One of Pritzker’s campaign promises, the bill also implements the nation’s first comprehensive statewide cannabis marketplace designed by legislators.

Suffice to say the governor was excited to sign the bill into law, and said that it was long overdue in the state. However Illinoisans will still need to wait a while to start working in the cannabis industry in the state.

Illinois Legalization

With this new bill comes a few big steps for the state of Illinois. The bill will allow the licensed growth, sales, possession and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and older, allowing possession of up to an ounce for residents, and 15 grams for non residents.

Illinois is also the first state to fully legalize commercial sales of cannabis through the legislature, rather than through referendum. But one aspect of this bill that will start impacting individuals immediately, is the expungement clause.

Pritzker emphasized that the law provides for automatic expungement of arrests for marijuana possession under 30 grams, and that he will pardon those with convictions for possession up to 30 grams. Individuals and prosecutors may go to court to seek expungement of cases involving up to 500 grams.

“Today we are giving hundreds of thousands of people the chance at a better life,” Pritzker said.

Once the market grows to maturity, the program is estimated to generate $500 million a year in taxes. That would come from a 10% tax on products with up to 35% THC, the component of the plant that gets users high; 20% for cannabis-infused products such as edibles; and 25% for THC concentrations of more than 35% — plus local sales taxes.

In a concession to law enforcement, an earlier provision to allow adults to grow five plants each at home was eliminated. Instead, only certified medical marijuana patients would be allowed to grow up to five plants each at home.

Now What?

While the bill has been signed into law, Illinois won’t be selling recreational cannabis to its citizens anytime soon. The permits the sale of legal cannabis products starting in January of 2019. So while not that far away, Illinoisans still have over 6 months to wait before they can purchase or grow their own cannabis.

The governor emphasized that 25% of the revenue from marijuana taxes will go to marijuana business ownership in black and brown communities that were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. In addition, 20% will go to substance abuse treatment and prevention and mental health care, with additional funds going to pay the state’s bills, law enforcement and public education on marijuana health issues.

To address concerns that cannabis retail shops will end up concentrated in minority neighborhoods, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, a co-sponsor of the bill, said there are minimum distances between shops to avoid a “liquor store on every corner“ phenomenon.

Local governments can still ban marijuana businesses or set rules to determine where they are allowed. While municipalities cannot prohibit people from possessing marijuana, landlords can still keep it off their property and employers can prohibit use by their employees.

It’s going to be an intense 6 months in the Illinois legislature as application processes begin and citizens start applying en masse. The state will need to establish how many applications it approve, and how many licenses will be given out to commercial growers, processors and retailers.

Stay tuned on The Real Dirt for updates about Illinois legalization and what’s happening with the cannabis industry development in the state.

Is New York Next to Legalize Cannabis?

Is New York Next to Legalize Cannabis?

New support from New York’s Farm Bureau could be the final push the state needs to legalize cannabis. But will it be enough?

The New York Farm Bureau issued a memo Monday backing a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in New York, which lawmakers are considering before they end their annual session June 19. And farmers have a lot to gain if this bill passes and New York decides to legalize cannabis.

This bill specifically includes measures meant to ensure struggling farmers in New York’s poorer counties get a chance to break in to the marijuana and hemp industries. While the farming industry in New York isn’t in any risk of shutting down any time soon, getting preferential treatment should the state legalize cannabis would mean big money for the industry.

What’s in the New York Bill to Legalize Cannabis

The bill, should it pass, would create a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the recreational and medicinal marijuana industries, as well as the hemp industry.

Only those above the age of 21 would be able to legally purchase marijuana, and local governments would have the ability to hold a public referendum to block legal sales within their borders. This has happened in states like Massachusetts, where local governments kept cannabis illegal despite the state’s decision to legalize cannabis for adult us.

The bill overall is relatively standard for states that legalized in the past. Adult use, cultivation and sale will be permitted, but until the bill passes, there won’t be an Office of Cannabis Management to begin working on the details.

Farmers Might Not Be Enough

While the Farmers Bureau represents over a thousand farms in New York state, the only votes that matter in this case are those of the Democrats in New York. 30 Democrats have gotten on board with the bill, but 32 are needed to pass without any Republican support.

However the Democrats are confident that the bill will at least have enough votes to pass the lower chamber, and Governor Cuomo of New York has pledged to sign the bill if it gets to his desk.

New York has the third largest population of any state in the country, an a legal cannabis market would bring in massive amounts of revenue to the state. While California has had a slew of problems since they legalized cannabis due to the surplus of private market growers and illegal dispensaries, New York wouldn’t have the same problem.

If done right, New York could potentially become the new cannabis hub of the world. But that is a big IF.

Should New York legalize, there’s going to be a bunch more farmers planting clones outside for the very first time. Luckily The Real Dirt has that covered.
CBD Laws Could Be Changing

CBD Laws Could Be Changing

CBD has gotten too big for the FDA not to intervene. The question now is what are they going to decide?

Contrary to the hundreds of CBD products you can buy online and at your local health store that would suggest otherwise, CBD isn’t technically legal. However it isn’t technically illegal either. And that’s why there’s a problem.

CBD is a naturally occurring cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. A relative of the cannabis plant that was just legalized, hemp, also contains CBD. With hemp legal, people saw no problem in breeding hemp specifically for CBD to make products.

However, CBD was not included in the legislation that legalized hemp, and because it is also found in psychoactive cannabis cultivars, there’s some controversy over whether or not it should be legal. Now almost 6 months after legalization, the FDA is finally getting involved.

FDA CBD Laws

With economists predicting that the CBD industry could reach a market worth of $16 Billion by 2025, the FDA has no choice but to make a regulation decision. Compared to other non-FDA approved products, CBD is already much more well known and popular, and even dangerous, should the FDA decide so. Which is why their decision is so important.

During a hearing at the end of May, the FDA will be presented with remarks from manufacturers, consumers, health professionals, academics, and more on scientific data and information about CBD products that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, such as CBD.

Because of the wide range of uses for CBD, from foods and face creams to pills and oils, the FDA needs to regulate CBD more strictly compared to other ingredients that may just be used in one specific product. With now CBD laws specifically on the books, more and more pressure is being placed on the FDA to regulate.

Potential Outcomes

There are a lot of way the FDA could decide to regulate CBD laws. In the worst case scenario, they could ban CBD altogether. This is pretty unlikely, as the now ex-Commisioner of the FDA had stated in February of 2019 that the FDA would take a more “flexible” approach to CBD regulation.

What seems more likely, is the FDA regulating CBD to only be allowed to be extracted from legal, industrial hemp, while banning CBD extraction from cannabis, i.e. any other cannabis plant with a THC level over .3%. They could also permit CBD extraction from any cannabis plant as long as there is no THC included.

All we can do for now is speculate while the hearing takes place, but many CBD business owners and entrepreneurs will be anxiously awaiting the results.

The Future of the CBD Industry

It’s probably safe to say at this point that if the FDA did decide to ban CBD altogether, there would be massive, nationwide outrage. From the parents who use CBD as medicine for children with epilepsy, to the avoid CBD consumers who have made the cannabinoid an essential element of their daily nutrient routine.

While obviously the former would be most negatively affected by a full CBD ban, it would be the masses who consume CBD recreationally that would have the biggest voice in the matter. And with so many hopping on board the CBD bandwagon, we can assume CBD isn’t going anywhere.

Colorado Cannabis Delivery and Social Consumption Makes Big Moves

Colorado Cannabis Delivery and Social Consumption Makes Big Moves

Cannabis has been legal in Colorado since 2012. But it’s been hard to figure out where it’s safe to consume it.

Unless you owned a home or had a cool landlord, you would be at a loss trying to find a safe place to consume the cannabis you just bought. Since legalization, it has been illegal to consume cannabis in a public setting in Colorado. 

The only place that was legal to consume was a private residence. As mentioned before, if you’re renting and your landlord puts a “no cannabis” rule in the lease, you’re out of luck (as someone in that situation I can vouch for the inconvenience).

But finally, that’s all about the change.

House Bill 1230

Under this new bill, dispensaries will be able to apply for a tasting room license similar to the one used for breweries in this state, while businesses such as hotels, restaurants, music venues, art galleries and yoga studios can apply for private consumption licenses and limited cannabis sales.

Mobile cannabis lounges such as tour buses and limousines would also be licensed but could not sell cannabis. Social consumption businesses would have to apply for a license through the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, and would be exempt from the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, a state law that bans public indoor smoking.

“In expanding access to regulated spaces for adults to consume cannabis, we are taking the responsible approach to cannabis consumption in a safe environment,” says Senator Vicki Marble, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, in a statement about the bill. “HB 1230 protects the will of voters who asked for the freedom to choose marijuana as an alternative and to curb dealing and use in parks and on the street.”

Nothing is Final

There are still some hurdles before cannabis cafes can open in your town. Governor Jared Polis still needs to sign the bill into law, which appears to be pretty likely at this point.

However, even if Polis signs the bill, local governments would have to opt in to the new licensing program, and could modify it to ban certain forms of consumption, such as indoor smoking. And the City of Denver’s social marijuana consumption licensing program, which already has its own location qualifications and bans indoor smoking, would remain unaffected by new stipulations in the bill, unless Denver City Council or the mayoral administration decide to alter it.

Baby Steps are Still Steps

If there’s anything the members of the cannabis community have learned through the years, it is that cannabis regulation moves slow. While counties in Colorado will be able to begin the application process in January of 2020, should Polis sign the bill, counties can still make their own regulations.

It’s likely that many places will still ban indoor smoking even with the new law permitting this with the proper licensing. However a big driving force behind this bill specifically was the cannabis tourism industry in the state. With current laws, out-of-state visitors who legally purchase cannabis cannot consume it in hotels.

With House Bill 1230, hotels and other local businesses could gain additional tourism revenue by getting on board and applying for a public consumption license.

cannabis delivery in colorado could soon be legal

Dispensaries in Colorado could start using free delivery as a sell point if the new cannabis delivery bill passes.

Cannabis Delivery in Colorado

The day before the passing of House Bill 1230, House Bill 2019-1234 passed the state Senate with a vote of 20-14, and the state House with a vote of 38-27. The bill allows for “marijuana delivery permits” for licensed medical marijuana dispensaries and “transporters” to deliver their products to private residences once a day only.

Should the bill get the final signature from Polis, medical cannabis delivery would start in 2020, with recreational delivery following soon after in 2021. A $1 surcharge would be tacked on to each delivery made and would then be funneled back into local law enforcement for the sole purpose of administering local marijuana laws. 

Those licensed to make such deliveries would also be protected from criminal prosecution while on the job. Similarly to the other bill, local county governments and city councils could still restrict deliveries.

Proponents of cannabis delivery in Colorado site those medical patients that cannot make it to a dispensary due to immobility or other issues and a desire to eliminate the illegal delivery market currently operating in the state, while opponents worry that cannabis delivery could damage in-person dispensary sales and even open the opportunity for big players like Amazon to eventually take over.

Nevertheless it looks like a bright future lies ahead for cannabis consumption in Colorado, and it’s about time. For over 6 years cannabis consumers in the state have had to hide or find somewhere secluded enough that they wouldn’t get caught.

Hopefully these bills will get the final signature from Polis and we can begin to move forward into the next phase of legal cannabis in Colorado.

The Hemp Industry in Oklahoma: What you need to know

The Hemp Industry in Oklahoma: What you need to know

The Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program is taking off. There’s some important laws and rules to know so you don’t get left behind.

Oklahoma’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program allows universities and institutes of higher education to work with Oklahoma farmers to cultivate certified hemp seed for research purposes.  The state defines industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis Sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”

So already, Oklahoma has some serious restrictions on who can grow industrial hemp. But because they are still within the federal law put forward by The Farm Bill, they don’t need to change it.

Industrial Hemp in Oklahoma

Industrial hemp grown pursuant to the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is excluded from the definition of “marijuana” in the state’s Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.  The definition of marijuana also expressly excludes CBD derived from the mature stalks (including cannabidiol [CBD] derived from the fiber, oil, or cake of the mature stalks), of the cannabis plant.

At this time, it is not clear whether CBD produced from industrial hemp flower would qualify as “industrial hemp” and therefore be excluded from the state’s definition of marijuana, or whether CBD must be produced from the mature stalks of the cannabis plant (both marijuana and hemp) to be exempt from the definition of marijuana.

This mish-mash of laws is going to make it difficult for those trying to enter the legal hemp and CBD industries in the state. It seems to be a grey area regarding where CBD can be derived from, with no clear “yes or no” answer on deriving it from the actual hemp flower. People can get away with a lot of things in grey markets, you just need to be willing to take that risk.

Selling Hemp in Oklahoma

 On February 19, 2019, the Oklahoma State Department of Health issued an announcement stating that businesses that manufacture or sell food products containing CBD are required by state law to obtain a food license. The agency indicated that it would give businesses until April 26, 2019 to comply with the law before initiating further action.

Suffice to say, if you are manufacturing or selling CBD edibles or other food products and don’t have your license already, you could be in some trouble. While commercial sales are permitted in Oklahoma, a product-specific legal analysis should be undertaken to fully understand the risks of operation in the state for your product.

More information on the rules regarding hemp sales and manufacturing can be found on the Oklahoma Agriculture, Food and Forestry website. 

Be Prepared

It is important to keep in mind that Oklahoma hemp laws are different from the federal law. It doesn’t matter if you abide by federal law to the tee in Oklahoma, you can still get in trouble if you don’t go through the proper application process to join the Pilot Program.

Another aspect of cannabis industries (including hemp) is that they are mostly new. Each state establishes their own laws surrounding hemp, and those laws can change. Under those laws could be additional regulations that also change over time.

As a business owner in the hemp industry, you need to be able to adjust your business to meet these new regulations, sometimes on short, strict deadlines. However, Oklahoma is starting off on the right track. Regulations should loosen over the next year or two as more is learned about hemp’s potential, and more opportunities will be opened to the general public to enter the industry.

Ready to apply? Here’s the link to the application.

Learn more about the legal hemp industry, the laws surrounding it and the economic opportunities that are available on The Real Dirt Podcast, featuring Shawn Hauser and Andrew Livingston from Vicente Sederberg LLC. Shawn is the head of V.S.’s Hemp Division, and Andrew is the Director of Economics and Research for the firm.

Get exclusive legal advice that would costs thousands anywhere else, only on The Real Dirt.

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