Cannabis stocks were mostly lower Monday, as investors moved to the sidelines to await the fate of a bill that aims to provide protections for companies in states that have legalized weed.
Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Dem-Oreg., and Barbara Lee, Dem-Calif., will join the Minority Cannabis Business Association for a press conference on Tuesday at 11.00 a.m. Eastern to discuss cannabis policy and industry inclusion for people of color.
“The lawmakers and business leaders will discuss the path forward for ending the prohibition of marijuana, steps toward restorative justice for those negatively impacted by the war on drugs, and ways communities of color that were disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition can benefit from the new industry as owners, investors, managers and employees,” according to a media advisory.
Blumenauer is one of four lawmakers to introduce The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, or States Act, last week, along with Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Dem-Mass. and Cory Gardner, R-Colo. And Dave Joyce, Rep-Ohio. The bill seeks to amend the federal law that continues to ban cannabis to include exemptions for businesses and individuals who comply with state laws.
Cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, which classifies it alongside heroin and cocaine, preventing banks that are federally insured from offering services to companies in the sector.
In Canada, Toronto opened its second legal cannabis store on Sunday, according to website Globalnews.ca. The store is the second to open in the city after the Hunny Pot Cannabis Cos. And one of five licenses for the city approved by the Ontario government.
Israel has decriminalized cannabis for adult use in a law that also ends punishment for possession of a homegrown plant, according to media reports. Israeli citizens who are found in possession of cannabis in public without medical approval will face fines, rather than criminal proceedings.
In Australia, Canada’s Asterion Cannabis has gained clearance to build a facility in Toowoomba in Queensland that can produce up to 20,000 plants in a single day for harvest, according to website CannabisRadar. Under Queensland’s medical cannabis program, the substance is used to treat arthritis, epilepsy, nausea, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
In company news, CannTrust Holdings Inc. said Health Canada has approved the final part of its phase 2 expansion plan, meaning the full 450,000 square feet of its perpetual harvest greenhouse in Pelham, Ontario is licensed. The company is expecting to be operating at full capacity by the end of the second quarter.
The company says it expects to reach a total annualized capacity of 200,000 kg to 300,000 kg in the second half of 2020. Shares bucked the negative trend in the sector Monday to trade up 0.5%.
New Age Beverages Corp. NBEV, +38.77% a company that has ambitious plans for a line of CBD-infused drinks under the Marley brand that it acquired in 2017, also bucked the trend with a more than 28% gain following news of a distribution deal with retail giant Walmart Inc. WMT, +0.23%
The company said it would start selling three flavors of Marley Mate, an organic yerba mate beverage, in early April, that will not contain CBD. “This is just the first initiative that we expect to do with them on the Marley brand and other New Age products on which we are in active discussions,” Craig Thibodeau, vice president of key accounts for New Age, said in a statement.
New Age’s CBD plans were put on hold after the passage of the December Farm Bill, which legalized hemp but not CBD, which has now come under the purview of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
That agency has said it is not allowing CBD, a non-intoxicating ingredient in the cannabis plant, to be added to food, drinks or cosmetics for now. New Age said it is planning to launch a Marley Mellow Mood with CBD globally in 2019. A spokesperson said the company is planning to fully comply with FDA rules. The FDA is to hold talks this month on how to regulate CBD, which it views as a drug, because it is part of the only cannabis-based drug to receive FDA approval as a treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy.
Elsewhere in the sector, Canopy Growth Corp. stock CGC, -1.55% WEED, -2.59% was down 1.9%, Aurora Cannabis Inc. ACB, -1.20% ACB, -2.04% was down 1.3% and Cronos Group Inc. CRON, -4.24% CRON, -4.78% was down 3.9%.
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