cannabis has lost its “buzz” • & more…


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Support for legal cannabis in the US remains sky high … among Democrats.

A new Public Religion Research Institute poll of 2,527 adults found that 67% of Americans support legalizing adult use cannabis. But, when you look at political affiliation, there is a divide: support is at 79% and 71%, respectively, among Democrats and Independents, but falls to 46% among Republicans.

Check out the full poll, which covers a number of issues expected to be in the spotlight in the 2020 elections, here.

More FDA and FTC warnings issued to CBD product manufacturers. 

The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission yesterday sent yet another letter to a company that was marketing a CBD product with false claims. In this case, the company was Rooted Apothecary, based in Florida, which claimed its products had the potential to treat conditions like infant ear pain and autism (read the warning letter here). As the FDA prepares to unveil regulations for a legal CBD industry, the agency is increasingly attempting to crack down on bad actors.

Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs Ned Sharpless tweeted yesterday, “We are working to protect Americans from companies marketing products with unsubstantiated claims. This is especially concerning when companies are peddling unproven CBD products for use in vulnerable populations like infants and children.

“FDA treats cannabis/cannabis-derived compounds the same as any other substance. As we examine potential regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of cannabis products, protecting & promoting public health through sound, science-based decision-making remains our top priority.

“We’ve sent numerous warning letters that focus on matters of significant public health concern to CBD companies, and these actions should send a message to the broader market about complying with FDA requirements.”

Cresco sells two Illinois properties for $32.8 million; plus Origin House acquisition news. 

The property acquisition and leaseback by Innovative Industrial Properties, a REIT that focuses on cannabis properties, gives Cresco “support … to continue to enhance productive capacity of these facilities,” which are licensed for Illinois’ adult use program launch in January. Earlier this month, we noted in our newsletter that Colorado’s LivWell sold a Michigan property to IIP for $19 million as LivWell expands in the state.

Cresco also announced late last night that the waiting period has passed for its $823.5 million acquisition of leading California distributor Origin House, which is part of the review process for M&A approval from the DOJ and the FTC under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. Cresco said in the announcement that the companies are “working towards closing the Transaction on terms that will be mutually agreeable to both parties.”

Ontario to allow “up to 26 stores on First Nations reserves.”

The government yesterday released the list of First Nations selected to apply for a retail license, and announced that the number of licenses available increased from 8 to 26. Canada’s most populous province has been among the more cautious in its rollout of adult use cannabis sales, first only allowing online purchases via a government-run shop, then moving to allow a limited number of privately owned shops. As we noted in our newsletter earlier this month, now the province is also considering relinquishing its control over cannabis wholesale.

The list of selected First Nations is here.

Horizons ETFs says that cannabis has lost its “buzz.”

This time last year, it seemed nothing could stop cannabis stocks, and Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF hit $1 billion in assets. But it has been more or less downhill since then for the cannabis market.

Horizons’ Q4 2019 Advisor and Investor Sentiment Survey found that, “After hemorrhaging -36.07% in performance over Q3 2019, the cannabis sector, as represented by the North American Marijuana Index, registered the biggest confidence drop of the asset classes among investors, at -15%. Despite the steep sentiment tumble, investors are still bullish on marijuana, with bulls edging out the bears at 43% to 39%.” 

Steve Hawkins, president and CEO of Horizons ETFs, said in a statement, “While there are some that are decrying the ‘marijuana moment’ over, there is a silver lining to these significant sector declines, and that is valuations are now more aligned with fundamentals, establishing a more balanced entry point for investing in cannabis.” 

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