CULTIVATED: A boutique cannabis bank founded by Goldman and JPMorgan alums is chasing deals, CannTrust is exploring a sale

Happy Friday!

Hello from the tiny town of Winhall, Vermont, where I'm thankfully escaping the 90-degree weather in New York.

This week, we saw the latest fallout at embattled Canadian marijuana producer CannTrust as the Ontario Securities Commission opened an investigation into the company.

CannTrust hired the investment bank Greenhill & Co to explore a sale, though Robert Marcovitch, the company's interim CEO, said in a BNN interview that he'd still prefer CannTrust remain independent.

The Globe and Mail had reported this week that CannTrust insiders sold $6 million worth of company stock after the company's chairman was informed of the unlicensed cannabis growing.

As CannTrust grabbed headlines, short sellers were working on a report about Hexo, another Canadian cannabis producer. (I covered Hexo's run-in with Riposte Capital, an activist investor, last year).

The short-sellers claim that Hexo was promoting products on Snapchat — a social media platform used mostly by teens under the legal consumption age — as recently as June. According to the short report, the ads "included slogans that encouraged risk-taking, and associated Hexo's brand and products with glamour, excitement, and vitality."

That's all clearly against the rules Health Canada laid out about advertising cannabis to kids. Snap itself admitted that its age control restrictions don't work, because kids, well, they're not stupid. Health Canada has since opened an investigation into Hexo.

And cannabis producer WeedMD invited some Twitter controversy of its own after it partnered with Instagram star Dan Bilzerian's cannabis company, Ignite. Bilzerian's marketing tactics, relying on semi-automatic weapons and half-naked women, seem to appeal to a narrow slice of 17-year-old boys, and nobody else.

So far, neither company has backed down from the agreement.

Both the CannTrust and Hexo debacles show that Health Canada has its hands full with the move-fast-and-break-things Canadian cannabis producers. And like we've reported before, the Canadian public does not view the cannabis sector favorably. Expect more questions from investors, short-sellers, journalists, and regulators alike.

In other news, cannabis producer Aphria defied Wall Street and turned a profit.

And on the home front, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill decriminalizing marijuana possession in New York State.

The penalties will be similar to a traffic ticket once the law goes into effect: $50 for possessing less than an ounce of pot or a maximum of $200 for 1 to 2 ounces. The bill will also allow certain past offenders to expunge their records for low-level marijuana possession.

Looking forward to next week — I'll have a pair of stories about how the mainstream venture capital world is looking at cannabis, so look out for those.


Stress and Anxiety and Burnout, Oh My! Have You Tried Hemp for Self-Care?

Upset stomach. Headaches. Irritability. Tense muscles. Low energy.

If you’ve experienced these symptoms as a result of stress, you’re not alone. According to a recent Gallup poll of more than 150,000 Americans, stress levels are at their highest in a decade. As a society, we’re feeling stress, anger and worry at an alarming rate.

One way to address these feelings is with self-care. But between demanding work hours, the kids’ sports schedule and that never-ending list of yardwork, who has the time?

We’ve ignored self-care for too long and the effects on our health are serious. Self-care is often thought of as an escape, when in actuality it should be a way for you to create a life you don't need to escape from.

Using hemp for self-care is a simple way in which you can focus on your health and well-being. Looking for more details on self-care and how you can begin to incorporate hemp into your routine? Read on.

Why Self-Care is Important

Self-care is any action deliberately taken to improve emotional, mental or physical health. Practicing self-care can help you better regulate your emotions, learn how to be kinder to yourself and others as well as restore your energy.

The self-care industry is estimated to be worth $11 billion, but at the end of the day, self-care doesn’t have to cost you more than a bit of effort and commitment.

Self-care exercises and activities can include:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Moving your body in a way that feels good
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Improving time management skills
  • Becoming more assertive
  • Avoiding burnout
  • Turning down invitations to reduce stress

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of suggestions as there are dozens of other ways to practice self-care. Among our favorites? Incorporating hemp into your routine.

Using Hemp for Self-Care

Hemp contains cannabidiol, or CBD, which is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that doesn’t produce the ‘high’ that’s often associated with hemp. Instead, hemp-derived CBD helps provide support for overall health and wellbeing.

Hemp-derived CBD can be delivered to the body in multiple ways, including topical creams, salves, lotions, vapor and edibles. Each method has its own unique advantages but what’s most important is choosing a reputable CBD vendor that offers pure and effective products. If you need guidance on how to find your ideal hemp product, check out our blog post on the matter here.

4 Ways to Practice Self-Care with Hemp

If you’re ready to make hemp-derived CBD part of your self-care routine, here are four suggestions from the Azuca team:

  • Massage – Whether you ask your significant other or have a professional knead away muscle tension and stress, this is one of our favorite ways to treat yourself and practice self-care. If you’re someone who has trouble tuning out the rest of the world when it’s time to relax, an edible, like Azuca chocolate coins, can help you get more from your massage experience.
  • Bubble Bath – A claw foot tub overflowing with bubbles is the perfect way to end the work week and spend a little time focusing on your wellbeing. Consider sipping on an Azuca-infused herbal tea to enhance your soak.
  • Friends Night In – Spending time with close friends is a great way to slow down and enjoy making memories. If you want to keep the party mellow, serve up a variety of Azuca-infused mocktails while playing a trivia game or planning a friend-filled summer getaway.
  • Netflix Binge – Put on your sweatpants, sprawl out on the couch and get started on that series you’ve been wanting to watch from start to finish in a single weekend. No viewing marathon is complete without snacks, so consider adding some berries and cream sprinkled with Azuca sugar to the menu.

Using hemp for self-care is a beneficial way to relax more often, listen to your body's needs, and practice kindness towards yourself. To be effective, make self-care become a habit, and schedule self-care routines into your day if you’re struggling to remember. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup so take care of yourself in order to help others.

Do you have questions? Contact us! Azuca is committed to providing pure, precise and delicious products that help guide your quest for the best life possible. We love to share knowledge and hear about your best Azuca product experiences! If you have any questions about our products or would like to get in touch, drop us a line at

Azuca’s partnership with Abercore featured in Benzinga’s weekly cannabis roundup

Edibles brand Azuca announced plans for international distribution via a partnership with Abercore, a sugar and sweetener supplier headquartered in the U.K.

Abercore will market and distribute Azuca’s hemp-derived CBD products, as well as its TiME Technology, to both retailers and food and beverage manufacturers throughout Europe.

“What we’re seeing right now is explosive growth in the CBD market both domestically and abroad. There has been a boom in demand for CBD in the states, and that level of desire is equally as high for CBD on the global scale, which makes this an opportune moment to expand Azuca’s reach internationally," Azuca president and CEO Kim Rael told Benzinga.

"Partnering with Abercore is an excellent way to educate consumers on the power TiMETMTechnology, and we look forward to engaging with new audiences, manufacturers and potential retail and wholesale partners."

Read the full article

Azuca Partners with Abercore for International Distribution

—UK-based sugar supplier, Abercore, introduces Azuca CBD products to European markets—

COLORADO (July 25, 2019)—United States-based edibles brand Azuca is going global. First started in 2018 in New York City, with expansion to Colorado last month, Azuca has partnered with sugar and sweetener distributor Abercore to take its hemp-derived CBD sugars, syrups and other products to the international stage. The partnership will concentrate its efforts in Europe, and allow Abercore to market and distribute Azuca products and the brand’s four-patent-pending TiMETM Technology to both retailers and food and beverage manufacturers.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Azuca. We are seeing exponential demand growth for CBD-infused ingredients and we are convinced that Azuca’s fast acting TiMETM Technology will revolutionize the CBD edibles space,” said Luca Galbiati, Director at Abercore.

Short for Thermodynamic individual Molecular Encapsulation, Azuca’s TiMETM Technology encapsulates individual cannabinoid molecules to make them more “water friendly,” resulting in a fast-acting, highly bioavailable product. Current Azuca CBD products include simple syrup, Valrhona dark chocolate coins and organic turbinado sugar in bulk. Azuca CBD Flakes are available for commercial agreements and offer a non-sugar TiMETM Technology application.

“Partnering with Abercore was a natural fit. Two of Azuca’s pioneering products—namely our infused sugar and simple syrup—are a seamless tie-in to Abercore’s core focus of supplying thoughtfully sourced sugars and sweeteners throughout Europe,” said Azuca President and Chief Executive Officer, Kim Rael. “The market for CBD is continuing to grow both domestically and globally, and we take great pride in being an active player by setting the tone for international expansion as the space evolves. We are excited to grow Azuca’s footprint in partnership with Abercore.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gwen Steuart at or 646.695.7050.


About Azuca

Azuca is a privately held, investor-backed company which commercializes its own line of edible products. Using its patent-pending TiME™ Technology, Azuca encapsulates cannabinoid molecules making them easy to metabolize and more “water friendly,” for a predictable and controllable experience every time.

Azuca’s hemp-derived CBD products are sold online at Azuca’s THC products are available in Massachusetts at Mayflower Medicinals, Verilife in Wareham and Triple M in Plymouth and Mashpee. Follow Azuca on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Despite Regulatory Limbo, New Research Forecasts CBD Market Will Hit $23.7 billion by 2023

The market for hemp-derived CBD is expected to hit $5.1 billion in 2019 and $23.7 billion by 2023, according to new research from CBD and cannabis-focused market research firm, Brightfield Group. But despite bullish projections from researchers, enthusiasm from the industry, and curiosity from consumers, many federal and local agencies still treat it as a forbidden substance.

“Market research firms are coming in and saying, 'this is blowing up.’ And it is,” said Jamie Schau, who oversees CBD research at Brightfield Group. “It hits the nail on the head with a variety of phenomena that are happening in our country right now. The opioid backlash is a huge one, there’s a huge trend toward natural health products, nutraceuticals. People see CBD as something to fill in that gap.”

Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp and derivatives like cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act, the market for CBD has exploded. Despite a dearth of research on the compound, it has been embraced for its purported therapeutic qualities -- as well as for not getting its users high -- and can be found in everything from lotions and supplements to makeup and coffee. Consumers have embraced the unregulated substance, and the market has grown seven-fold from about $627 million in 2018 to a projected $5.1 billion in 2019, according to Brightfield.

“The space has just happened to blow up very much. The FDA can see that not only are consumers and politicians interested in getting this passed, but there is a huge economic impact potentially for cultivators, for processors, for vendors,” Schau said.

Brightfield’s figures take into account that the FDA, Congress, or both will design regulations that permit CBD in both pharmaceutical medications, like GW Pharmaceuticals’ ($GWPH) Epidiolex, and in lower potency over-the-counter formulations. The firm anticipates tinctures will continue to dominate the market -- they’ll make up about 25 percent of the market in 2019 -- but will slowly be eclipsed by more consumer friendly forms, like capsules, topicals, and beauty products. And mass retailers, like CVS, Walgreens and Kroger, which only entered the market within the past year, are driving the charge. Brightfield estimates they’ll account for 57 percent of sales in 2019.

Regulators haven’t kept up with the rising demand. The Food and Drug Administration held its first public hearing on hemp-derived CBD at the end of May. Without Congressional intervention, establishing regulations for CBD could take three years. In the interim, the agency has cautioned that it’s unlawful to make unsubstantiated health claims about CBD, and use it in food and beverages subject to interstate commerce.

"This lack of research, and therefore lack of evidence, to support CBD's broader use in FDA-regulated products, including in food and dietary supplements, has resulted in unique complexities for regulation including many unanswered questions relating to safety … what if children access CBD products?" Dr. Ned Sharpless, the FDA's acting commissioner, said at the hearing. "These and many other questions represent important and significant gaps in our knowledge."

State and local governments have adopted more liberal approaches to marijuana regulation, but local regulators have mostly fallen in line with the FDA’s recommendations, in spite of rising industry investment and enthusiasm.

The New York City Department of Health announced a city-wide ban on the substance. Beginning July 1, the city said it would embargo items found to be in violation of the FDA’s recommendations, and, starting in October, inspectors will begin issuing fines.

“The Health Department is responsible for promoting the safety of the food available to New Yorkers,” a spokesperson for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said in a statement. "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has advised that it is unlawful to add cannabidiol (CBD) to food or drink. We have been informing businesses in New York City that may sell food and drink about this regulation to help them achieve compliance.”

For entrepreneurs who’ve built their businesses on the growing CBD trend, these bans are disheartening. Ron Silver, chef, restaurateur, and founder of CBD edibles business Azuca, serves up CBD-infused cocktails in the two locations of his Manhattan restaurant, Bubby’s. Azuca’s infused sweeteners promise fast acting, precision dosing, Silver said, and they’re triple-tested in labs for purity and potency.

“What we really want to do quite frankly is be a good example of how to offer a responsible product,” Silver said.

Silver didn’t seem overly concerned about the impact New York City’s ban would have on Azuca, since most of his company’s business is done online with states that permit CBD. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t frustrating.

“It makes it so that I can’t sell my own product in New York or at least in my own restaurants,” Silver said. “We certainly don’t want to be pushing uphill or against the stream when we have opportunities that are more encouraging and more open to development in other states.”

So for Bubby’s and its patrons, the ban means no more infused teas, cocktails, and coffees come October, when the Health Department starts writing fines. Silver did mischievously indicate that “there may be a case to serve [CBD] on the side.”

Brian Baum, president and CEO of Colorado-based Cannovia, which sells an array of CBD-infused products, said he thinks that ultimately local pushback against CBD will be “a blip on the radar” in the grander scheme of the growing CBD market.

“A lot of pressure being applied to the FDA, and I think if they can find a way out of this they will,” said Baum, who has a background in traditional healthcare.

Less than a month after the FDA’s initial hearing, Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy issued an update on the agency’s progress for anxious consumers and businesses, first in a statement, then in a series of tweets. The FDA is excited about CBD, she said, but is committed to a “rigorous, science-based approach” to regulation.

“CBD is not a risk-free substance, and we need to make sure we understand its potential adverse effects as well as its potential benefits,” she tweeted.

The FDA will continue to collect public commentary on CBD until July 16. But until regulations are fully fleshed out, Brightfield projects people will just keep buying.

“There should be a regulatory system in place and there should be testing standards ... but in the meantime manufacturers are absolutely still selling a ton of product," said Brightfield’s Schau. "Consumers are absolutely seeking out and purchasing more product. Generally, manufacturers are moving forward with the understanding there isn't much consequence, but there is a lot to be gained.”

What can hemp-derived CBD do for you?

Whether you’re looking for a natural way to help manage pain, ease into relaxation, reduce restlessness or all of the above, full-spectrum hemp extract is a viable solution.

But what exactly is hemp-derived CBD (we have an answer for you here!) and how can it help you?

Research—though in its early stages—indicates that hemp extract has a variety of health benefits. However, since research has been prohibited for decades, there is still a lot to learn. To help you navigate the growing cannabidiol (CBD) market, we’ve compiled a list evidence-backed benefits of the cannabinoid as a resource.

The human body endures a substantial amount of wear and tear over the course of a lifetime. From the common bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes, to the more serious surgeries, strains and tears, there’s a good chance you’ve had an experience that caused you to seek relief for your pain.

Cannabinoids, including CBD, have been shown to be an effective and well-tolerated pain reliever for many. Ways to incorporate more cannabinoids into your own lifestyle span an array of products available on the market, including topicals and hemp-derived CBD edibles, like Azuca’s Simple Syrup, Chocolate Coins and Sugar.

Azuca’s very own Jonathan Teeters (General Manager, CBD Division) can attest to the pain-relieving properties of full-spectrum hemp extract. A former college athlete, Jonathan is familiar with the tired joints and inflammation that can afflict athletes during their careers, and even long after. “I take full-spectrum hemp extract before workouts to reduce pain and inflammation in the short-term—it helps me work out harder and longer. Post workout, I have Azuca chocolates, which contain CBD from hemp, for some of the good sugars my body craves and 25mg of CBD. Before bed I take a high-dosage, hemp-derived CBD tincture to help with inflammation during the night. Pain and stiffness post-workout can be mitigated with CBD naturally derived from hemp, helping me enjoy my time in the gym and spend more hours doing the things I love most, like hiking.”

Like pain, inflammation can be a debilitating symptom or condition that affects life’s daily activities. The good news is that evidence suggests that hemp-derived CBD may help regulate inflammatory responses, and that cannabinoids themselves are potent anti-inflammatory agents. Topical ointments and CBD-infused transdermal gels have also been cited as helping to reduce joint swelling.

Additionally, various studies suggest that hemp-derived CBD may be a promising method of treating acne—an inflammation of the skin—as it affects the way in which the body creates sebum, an oily substance that your body produces in order to keep the skin soft. Too much sebum creates an oily build up and potentially clogged pores, causing acne. CBD derived from full-spectrum hemp extract can help counteract this, and its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties can also help the body rid itself of unwanted bacteria and pollutants, which are also common breakout culprits.

How often do you find your shoulders nearing your ears, eyes and forehead tensed and jaw tightened? If you lowered your shoulders and relaxed your face after reading that, you’re in good company.

According to The American Institute of Stress, approximately 77% of people reported that they regularly experience physical symptoms of stress, and 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress. From personal and professional responsibilities to turning to our devices for moments of escape, it can be hard to take time and truly step away from the chaos of the day. But even a few minutes of intentional relaxation can do wonders for your physical, mental and emotional health. Cannabidiol, for instance, is a natural way to help you de-stress and take a moment for yourself. Even just the motion of stirring some of our premier hemp-derived CBD sweeteners, like Azuca Sugar, into your coffee can be a relaxing ritual to take joy in.

Hemp extract is highly regarded for its calming effects, with studies and anecdotal accounts suggesting that CBD can improve the quality and duration of sleep. For instance, one recent study presented strong evidence that hemp-derived CBD can boost one’s quality of sleep in the short-term.

As a bonus, the simple act of having a nighttime routine is a simple and everyday luxury that can act as your body’s signal to slow down and mosey into bed. Whether it’s reading a book, switching to candles past dusk or snacking on a coin of Azuca Chocolate after dinner (our personal favorite), incorporating a pre-bedtime routine into your day can make your dreams that much sweeter.

Full-spectrum hemp extract has the potential to benefit one’s physical and mental wellbeing. Whether you’re looking for a means to relieve pain or a calming solution when life feels out of hand, consider enjoying CBD derived from full-spectrum hemp extract to see what it can do to help you.

No matter your needs, be sure to check out Azuca’s range of full-spectrum hemp-infused products at At Azuca, we pride ourselves on offering precise, pure and delicious edibles that are easy to dose, naturally derived and highly bioavailable. Your experience is our experience—let’s make it stellar.

Finding Your Ideal Product

With hemp research propelling forward at a rapid clip and access to quality products on the rise, there has never been a better time to create a personalized hemp routine.

The versatile nature of the hemp plant alone, with its hundreds of active compounds, referred to as cannabinoids, has boundless potential to improve our well-being. Using products that are tested for consistency and quality is an important first step, and through controlled, conservative exploration it’s now easier than ever to find the ideal cannabinoid balance for you.

Here are some points to consider when seeking your ultimate hemp experience:

Methods of Delivery
There are many ways to receive the benefits of hemp into the body and each has its own benefits. Here are some of the most popular:

Edibles: A great way to enjoy your favorite food or candy and feed your endocannabinoid system at the same time. Need some direction on which edibles are right for you? Try out Azuca’s hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products. Our line of hemp-infused goods utilizes full-spectrum hemp extract, meaning that they contain below 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This nearly negligible amount of THC is low enough that you won’t feel the ‘high’ that’s typically associated with THC edibles, but you’ll be able to glean the full benefits from the synergistic combination of CBD and THC. Our favorite part about edibles? They’re delicious and the possibilities are endless.
Tinctures: Also discreet, tinctures are fast-acting and convenient. They come in a variety of strengths, with or without THC, and are easily combined with other beneficial botanical extracts.
Topicals: Many people report excellent pain relief from applying infused products directly to the skin to assist with morning stiffness, inflammation, post work out woes and more.
Inhalants: Although some people prefer the ritual of smoking, for many this is not an option. Incinerating hemp also destroys a sizable percentage of the medicinally beneficial components of the plant. Vape pens can be one of the fastest delivery methods when quick delivery counts, such as nausea from cancer treatment, but if smoking isn’t for you, Azuca edibles or tinctures are a great smoke-free option.

Each delivery method above introduces hemp to the body through varying biological processes, so onset times will vary greatly. Results will also differ with the physiology of the individual and the cannabinoid profile of the product (such as THC or CBD content). Understanding these different delivery systems and the differences between cannabinoids can help narrow down which product option is best for you.

Purity and Precision
Never consume products that are not tested for purity and consistency. The reasons for this are pretty obvious, not only because the product could be contaminated with a pesticide or mold, but because finding your perfect dose with an unpredictable product will also be quite impossible. Precise measurements of cannabinoid content (and types present) is a must to finding that sweet spot for you, while avoiding unpleasant surprises. Purchase from brands that have their main focus on purity, precision and consistency with clear labelling and detailed product information. And don’t be afraid to ask questions! Inquire where brands source their ingredients and learn what their testing procedures are. At Azuca, for instance, we triple-test each batch of edibles in our lab to confirm that the products are properly dosed.

The industry is maturing and the bar is now raised, so don’t accept sub-par ingredients. Healthy living does not have to stop at your THC and CBD edibles.

Layering for Maximum Effectiveness
Starting out slow is always the best rule. Until it’s understood how your unique body type will react, experiment slowly with very low doses to find what products are most effective.

After becoming more familiar with how a product affects you, consider a layering approach with a variety of product types. Layering has been found by some to be an effective tactic to addressing pain and inflammatory ailments. Some people report enjoying a THC-infused edible or tincture before bed to avoid a “high” during the day. In the morning before a busy day, using a CBD-dominant product may be optimal, or a small low dose THC edible could be consumed mid-day as tolerance allows.

Respecting the Medicinal Power of Hemp
Always be certain how each product takes effect before layering with more products, as some may amplify the effect of others. Make careful note of both of the onset times and the length of effect for each product you try, and remember, if you have questions about possible interactions between certain products and pharmaceuticals, please contact your health care provider. After the effect on your body is known, adjustments can be made to achieve your optimum personal dosage.

Armed with this new knowledge and quality products tested for purity from companies like Azuca, it is now possible to enjoy your ideal hemp experience.

Do you have questions? Contact us! Azuca is committed to providing pure, precise and delicious products that help guide your quest for the best life possible. We love to share knowledge and hear about your best Azuca product experiences! If you have any questions about our products or would like to get in touch, drop us a line at

It’s About Time: An Inside Look at How Azuca’s TiMETM Technology Works

Thermodynamic individual Molecular Encapsulation, or TiMETM Technology, is at the core of Azuca’s production process. Created by Azuca Founder and Chief Creative Officer Ron Silver, TiME Technology puts Azuca in a class of its own.

Curious about what TiME Technology is and how it sets Azuca apart? We asked Ron for his expertise on the matter.

TiME Technology makes full-spectrum hemp-infused edibles highly bioavailable and simple to enjoy by allowing individuals to control their hemp consumption and understand what they’re putting into their bodies.

With four patents pending, TiME’s method of encapsulation acts differently from existing edibles infusion technology, like liposomal and nano-lipid encapsulation. Those methods tap into relatively larger carriers to help the hemp extract make its way through the body. Azuca, on the other hand, delves into the hyper-precise, molecular level.

Picture this: the way into the endocannabinoid system is a garden hose, and the typical nano-lipid technology is a beach ball. It is not easy to get that beach ball through the hose without letting a bunch of air out and pulling it through with pliers.

Now imagine TiME Technology. TiME goes down to the molecular level and makes the molecules in hemp extracts—each individual one—the size of a small marble. That small marble can easily make its way through the garden hose.

How does TiME Technology do this? It focuses on one molecule at a time and wraps each individual molecule, therefore allowing each one to find its way to the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and all over the body. Put simply, TiME Technology utilizes the precision offered by the minute molecules in hemp extracts to activate the endocannabinoid receptors, which, in turn, provide stimulus to the body.

At Azuca, we pride ourselves on delivering precise, pure and delicious hemp-infused edibles by leveraging our one-of-a-kind TiME Technology. Now that you know a little bit more about our process, we invite you to give us a try. Head to our online store at to see our product lineup of Chocolate Coins, Sugar and Simple Syrup, and, as always, feel free to reach out to with any questions.

The Week In Cannabis: Gillibrand's Legalization Plan, Analyst Ratings, South Africa's CBD Store, And Some Legal News

In another big week for cannabis, a committee of the Delaware House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana; Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand unveiled a cannabis legalization plan that includes expungement and social equity measures; and South Africa got its first CBD store. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he doesn’t think there are enough votes in the state Senate to push recreational cannabis legalization forward.

On the corporate front, MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF) announced that a lawsuit filed against the company arguing CEO Adam Bierman and President Andrew Modlin made decisions in their own personal interest rather than that of shareholders has been dismissed. San Francisco-based vape maker Pax Labs announced agreements with leading cannabis companies to leverage its innovative Era device and platform. Signed companies include Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA), Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB), OrganiGram Holdings Inc(NASDAQ: OGI) and Supreme Cannabis Company.

Finally, The Wall Street Journal reported Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ: MNST) is evaluating the cannabis beverages space, and DionyMed Brands Inc. (OTC: DYMEF) filed a lawsuit against Eaze Technologies alleging the latter had gained “an unfair competitive advantage by participating in a scheme to defraud credit card companies and financial institutions into processing cannabis transactions in violation of a host of criminal laws.” Eaze said the claims are false. We spoke with both companies.

In a sad development, Doug Greene, one of New York’s most vocal proponents of cannabis legalization, died at 52 after being fatally struck by an A train subway Tuesday. It is unclear how he found himself on the tracks.

Marijuana Stocks & ETFs

Over the last five trading days:

• The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) gained 3.3 percent.

• The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) rose 3.6 percent.

• The AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSE: YOLO) surged 2.2 percent.

• The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the period up 4.6 percent.

The following are some of the top marijuana stocks — with market caps above $500 million and trading on U.S. exchanges — performed over the last five trading days:

• Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRZF): down 1.4 percent

• Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA): up 10.3 percent

• Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE: ACB): up 0.7 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc (NYSE: CTST): down 0.4 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): up 4.8 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): up 13.2 percent

• Curaleaf Holdings Inc (OTC: CURLF): down 0.65 percent

• Green Growth Brands Inc (OTC: GGBXF): down 6.9 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF): up 3.4 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF): down 6.3 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): down 0.9 percent

• Hexo Corp (NYSE: HEXO): up 0.2 percent

• Harvest Health & Recreation Inc (OTC: HRVSF): down 3.9 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): down 1.75 percent

• Marimed Inc (OTC: MRMD): down 2.1 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF): up 0.5 percent

• OrganiGram Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: OGI): up 0.3 percent

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (NYSE: SMG): up 5 percent

• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): up 2.1 percent

In Other News

Pasha Brands, Canada’s largest craft cannabis brand organization, commenced trading on the CSE under the ticker symbol “CRFT”. The British Columbia-based, vertically integrated organization has raised approximately $25 million in the past two quarters.

Pasha Brands also announced it acquired medical cannabis company Medcann Health Products this week.

Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc (NASDAQ: NEPT), a Canadian company engaged in the extraction, purification and formulation of health and wellness products, has entered into a definitive agreement to provide extraction and purification services to Tilray. Full story here.

Green Thumb Industries announced that its newly acquired company Integral Associates was awarded a retail dispensary and delivery license by the city of Pasadena, California the same day that GTI closed on the acquisition. Integral Associates placed first out of 122 retail applications and is one of only six new licensees in Pasadena. Integral Associates was also recently awarded a retail license in West Hollywood.

The Integral Associates acquisition by GTI includes Essence retail stores as well as the Cannabiotix and Desert Grown Farms cultivation facilities in Nevada. The transaction was valued at approximately $290 million, which included $52 million in cash and the issuance of approximately 20.8 million Subordinate Voting Shares of GTI.

“I’m honored to join GTI’s leadership team which places a strong emphasis on people, brands and delivering superior service. We are also incredibly honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Pasadena," Armen Yemenidjian, GTI president and founder of Integral Associates, told Benzinga.

"Our priority is to offer the very best cannabis products and customer service and to fulfill our promise as a trusted community partner. We look forward to opening the store and becoming an active member of the Pasadena community.”

Organic and natural beverages company New Age Beverages Corp (NASDAQ: NBEV) reached an agreement to acquire Brands Within Reach, a New York-based healthy products company, for an undisclosed price. Full story here.

MJ Freeway announced it has retained Cowen as a strategic and financial advisor pending the consummation of its proposed business combination with MTech.

Following the closing of the business combination, Cowen’s information and technology services investment banking team will assist with MJ Freeway’s strategy of pursuing strategic, accretive acquisition opportunities.

The cannabis industry represents a "beautiful opportunity" that even global securities services company Brink's Company (NYSE: BCO) wants a bigger share of the market, CEO Douglas Pertz told CNBC's Jim Cramer on "Mad Money.". Full story here.

MedMen announced an agreement to buy MattnJeremy Inc, LLC, also known as One Love Beach Club from the Abrams family for $13 million. Full story here.

High-profile cannabis industry investors and entrepreneurs Alain Bankier and Tahira Rehmatullah have joined the leadership team of Ceylon Solutions, a Colorado-based software development company that creates custom digital products for the cannabis industry.

Bankier has a long history as an active early stage investor in cannabis and technology companies. Rehmatullah, who also serves in senior roles for Hyper Ventures and MTech Acquisition Corp, was named one of the most powerful women in the cannabis industry by Fortune magazine and Complex.

The demand for cannabis products in the United States rose by 2.1 percent month-over-month in March, according to Anderson Economic Group's AndCan Index. U.S. legal cannabis product demand grew 19 percent over the same period last year, AEG said. Full story here.

Harvest Health & Recreation will begin selling some of their bestselling CBD product lines through a network of 10,000 convenience stores and gas stations across the country. The rollout will include Colors, CBx essentials and other Harvest-branded products.

The retail channel is expected to generate just under half — $8 to $10 billion — of a $22-billion CBD market by 2022.

The company also announced the opening of three new stores in the competitive and lucrative Florida market; the Jacksonville, North Port and Longwood dispensaries add to the operator’s footprint in state. They have two additional stores open in Orlando and Tallahassee; Florida’s license allows the building of up to 35 locations.

Private equity firm Cresco Capital Partners announced that it closed a $60-million oversubscribed cannabis fund, the CCP Fund II. Full story here.

Cannabiniers announced BASKIN Essentials, its personal care cannabis brand, under license from Ovation Science Inc. (OTC: OVATF), has signed an exclusive distribution and sales agreement with Flourish, the makers of chef-driven cannabis edibles, in an expansion to Arizona.

“We’re excited to launch BASKIN in Arizona,” said Cannabiniers CEO Michael Hayford.

“The cannabis wellness industry is still new, so we understand the importance of providing consumers with high-quality products that they can trust. Flourish holds the same values, making them the perfect local cannabis company for us to work alongside in Arizona.”

Canadian cannabis and hemp company Canopy Growth is reportedly looking to open hemp facilities across seven U.S. states within the next year. Full story here.

Azuca, an edibles brand founded by New York City-based chef Ron Silver, announced it is opening production and manufacturing facilities in Colorado Springs and Golden, Colorado. The westward expansion will streamline Azuca’s production processes for both its B2C and B2B efforts, the company said, and better position it to expand its Azuca Inside initiative.

Green Growth Brands will enter the medical marijuana market in Florida through the acquisition of Spring Oaks Greenhouses. Full story here.

NanoVibronix (NASDAQ: NAOV) announced it's developing CBD patches and cream utilizing a proprietary and nanoparticle-based infusion process. Full story here.

Medicine Man Technologies, Inc. (OTC: MDCL) announced it will acquire Colorado-based cannabis farm Los Sueños Farms, LLC and the cannabis dispensary Mesa Organics Ltd.

“The pending acquisitions of Los Sueños and Purplebee’s announced this week via binding term sheets will not only solidify Medicine Man Technologies as one of the leaders in the cannabis space, but play an integral role in the company’s mission to develop and expand further in Colorado, a state well-known for paving the way for legalized cannabis," Medicine Man co-founder and CEO Andy Williams told Benzinga.

Last week, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed HB19-1090, a law that "opened the doors to Colorado's $1.5-billion cannabis industry and enabled more investments," the CEO said.

The acquisitions come on the heels of the legislative development, Williams said.

"These advances, in addition to the pending MedPharm Holdings and Medicine Man acquisitions, as well as the closing on the first phase of an initial $14-million strategic investment from Dye Capital, make Medicine Man Technologies one of the largest cannabis cultivators in North America with the extraction capability to process the entire production.”

Origin House (OTC: ORHOF) announced that a significant percentage of over 99 percent of shareholder votes cast as of June 5 were in favor of approving a deal for Cresco Labs to acquire all shares of Origin House. June 7 was the deadline for shareholders to submit their votes.

The final tally has yet to be announced, but results were trending heavily in favor of shareholder approval: 99.54 percent of votes cast in favor of the deal, representing 42.8 percent of all eligible votes counted through June 5.

A special shareholder meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 11 to discuss the Cresco Labs-Origin House arrangement.

PharmaCielo Ltd. (OTC: PHCEF) announced it entered into an implementation agreement with Creso Pharma Ltd. (OTC: COPHF) to acquire all of Creso’s issued and outstanding shares and listed options.

The deal is for approximately A$122 million (about $85.2 million). PharmaCielo will pay 63 cents for each Creso share. Both PharmaCielo and Creso's board of directors have unanimously approved the deal. Full story here.

Nabis Holdings, a Canadian investment issuer that invests in high-quality cash flowing assets across multiple industries including the U.S. and international cannabis sector, announced it entered into an agreement to purchase 49 percent of Cannova Medical, with options to purchase the remaining stock later.

“Cannova has proven to be an innovator in the cannabis consumption space. Their line of sublingual strips are an innovative solution that consumers are looking for, especially as cannabis continues to go mainstream and people search for easy and discreet ways to consume,” said Shay Shnet, CEO and director of Nabis.

“We look forward to continuing to expand in the United States, but we can’t ignore companies from other areas of the world, such as Israel, where Cannova is based. Their unique biotechnology is going to elevate Nabis’ position as a leader in the cannabis space, and we look forward to teaming up with them.”

Cannabis brand Heavy Grass signed an exclusive licensing deal with Miramar Brands Group, Inc. to brand and expand its lifestyle products into a global retail strategy. The brand partnership will design and launch new products targeting the alternative cannabis culture. The collaborators have plans for a wide variety of branded product offerings including apparel, cosmetics and household goods including audio, food and beverages.

“Heavy Grass is a lifestyle brand that goes way beyond just what you can buy in a dispensary. As cannabis goes mainstream, you’ll see our products being integrated into all aspects of life that will serve our core demographic,” said Clay Busch, the company's vice president.

Hugs Wellness, a new CBD brand, has partnered with the nonprofit organization 10,000 Beds to donate a percentage of every sale to help 10,000 Beds provide individuals admission into treatment programs for long-term recovery, continuing its mission to promote care and self-love. “We see it as a privilege and an opportunity to give back and help those who need it. Hugs is a mission-driven brand born from our founders' own experiences, and we cannot stress enough the importance of helping others," Hugs founder Josey Orr told Benzinga.

Jean Krisle, the founder of 10,000 Beds, said the organization recognizes that everyone's path to recovery is different.

"There is no right or wrong path to a life free of substance disorder and alcohol dependency. We are excited to partner with HugsCBD to support efforts to provide another option for the treatment of opioid addiction, specifically in the detox stage of treatment and through the reduction of cravings; an option that will save lives and increase an individual's likelihood of completing treatment and developing the skills necessary for long-term recovery.”

CLS Holdings announced their operational and financial results for the month of May, showing revenue of over $1 million and a 6-percent increase in gross margin since last year. The Las Vegas dispensary Oasis achieved a record of servicing over 16,000 customers and posted a year-over-year revenue increase of 55 percent, the company said.

“We have created the foundation with our Nevada operations to utilize what we have learned across multiple states. The results we are experiencing in Nevada are a tribute to the hard working and dedicated team of people who work for this company. Our goal is to continue building revenue, expanding margin and exploiting our rapidly growing wholesale brand, City Trees," Andrew Glashow, CLS' president and COO, told Benzinga.

Seedo Corp. (OTC: SEDO), an agtech company serving the hemp and agriculture industries with what they claim is the world's first fully automated and controlled indoor growing machine, entered into a strategic partnership with the retail innovation firm OutForm.

As part of the partnership, OutForm will assist in the development of Seedo’s retail branding strategy in the U.S. and the optimization of its U.S. distribution channels and supply chain.

"We are entering a new era of home growing where demand for complete automated grow systems will only continue to increase," said Seedo CEO Zohar Levy. "The U.S. is poised to embrace this new world of agritech, and we're thrilled to partner with OutForm to increase Seedo's exposure and introduce our automated home grow device to mainstream retailers and consumers as we expand our extensive community of customers."

Strategic retail branding and distribution partners are both critical components to establishing a company’s market presence. By leveraging its preexisting relationships with the largest U.S. retailers — including Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE: BBYBed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ: BBBY), The Home Depot Inc (NYSE: HD) and many more — OutForm will introduce Seedo's home grow system to consumers across the country through an innovative approach focused on strategic branding.

Planet 13 Holdings Inc (OTC: PLNHF), the world’s largest dispensary and entertainment superstore in Las Vegas, announced the expansion to its second SuperStore location in the Los Angeles market in Santa Ana.

Cardiol Therapeutics Inc. (OTC: CRTPF) said their pharmaceutical partner and CBD manufacturer Noramco, Inc. was selected to present at the Food and Drug Administration’s Scientific Data and Information about Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-Derived Compounds, Part 15 Public Hearing.

Plus Products Inc. (OTC: PLPRF) released its unaudited 2019 first-quarter financials. Highlights include a $3.2-million revenue climb and gross margin growth of 21 percent in the first quarter 2019, compared to 8 percent one year ago.

Halo Labs Inc. (OTC: AGEEF) announced its partnership with High Tide Inc. to introduce Halo-produced products through High Tide’s extensive distribution network throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.

MOXIE's Piña Colada DART Pod was named best THC Vape Cartridge at the 2019 SoCal High Times Cannabis Cup with the support of CCELL’s DART proprietary pod system.

VEGAMOUR launched what they said is the first-ever full line of CBD products for natural hair growth. The line, formulated with full spectrum, micro-encapsulated CBD, includes a hair growth serum, eyelash growth serum, eyebrow serum, hair growth gummies with biotin and hair adaptogen supplements.

“At VEGAMOUR, our manufacturing process is unique in that we decrease the CBD molecule size by over 1,000 percent in order for the CBD particles to effectively deliver its benefits by penetrating into the upper layer of the dermis and into the hair follicle root,” said Dan Hodgdon, CEO of VEGAMOUR.

Asia is a largely untapped CBD market, an d the CBD market in China is estimated to potentially be worth up to $15 billion.

Through the acquisition of Yooya, a content-driven e-commerce platform that reshapes the way that brands connect with Chinese consumers, Regent Pacific will expand Yooga to be the first e-commerce marketing platform to focus on CBD-infused products.

Jamie Gibson, CEO of Regent Pacific, is projecting the rollout of a CBD business in Asia with a line of exceptional consumer-focused products initially in the health and wellness area, including topicals and balms, and working with the world’s largest CBD manufacturers to build out the CBD brands over time.

The acquisition attracted an experienced group of strategic investors including principals of JJR Capital and Abony Enterprises in CBD.

Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. (OTC: LBUY) announced a non-binding letter of intent to acquire a majority stake in the Las Vegas-based trade show operation

The company operates a large expo in the CBD and vape industries. The acquisition would double Leafbuyer’s current revenue run rate.

The agreement additionally includes an ownership stake in an e-commerce website for wholesale and retail CBD products.

“CBD has become a pop culture phenomenon, and trade shows are a lucrative and unsaturated sector of the industry,” said Leafbuyer CEO Kurt Rossner.

“ is a profitable company and has a proven financial model that will increase Leafbuyer’s top line and be a powerful driver for earnings. The significant advantage of this acquisition is the ability for Leafbuyer to drive tremendous brand exposure to another fast-growing segment of the industry. Last year, sold nearly 200 booths; this year we will cross-sell our platform of over 400 clients and look to double that. We will be uniquely positioned to offer a true 360 solution to customers. Our product clients can access millions of consumers through digital and in-person methods to spread brand awareness and increase profits.”

Rob Rodney Bags just hit the consumer cannabis accessories market with a line of customizable bags. As the CBD and cannabis market continues to grow and become more accessible, there is a need for a safe way to store cannabis products, said designer and dad Mark Frahm.

Analyst Ratings

Some of the top analyst ratings over the week include:

• Canaccord Genuity on Planet 13 Holdings Inc (OTC: PLNHF): Speculative Buy with CA$4 ($2.97) price target.

• Canaccord Genuity on TILT Holdings Inc (OTC: SVVTF): Speculative Buy with CA$4 ($2.97) price target.

• Canaccord Genuity on DionyMed Brands Inc (OTC: DYMEF): Speculative Buy with CA$6 ($4.46) price target.

• Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Cronos GroupBuy with $27 price target.

• Wells Fargo on Cronos GroupOutperform with $65 price target.

• Oppenheimer on Cronos GroupPerform.

• Stifel on Cronos GroupHold with CA$18 ($13.44 USD) price target.

• Stifel on Canopy GrowthBuy with CA$64 ($47.77 USD) price target.

• Bank of America on Canopy GrowthBuy with $80 price target.

• Stifel on Aurora CannabisHold with CA$10 ($7.47) price target.

• Stifel on TilrayHold with CA$37 ($27.62) price target.

More From Benzinga Cannabis

The following are some of the most interesting cannabis-related stories from this week.

Barron’s looked at the Colombian cannabis market.

Chris Dier-Scalise shared “4 Facts About Africa's Budding Cannabis Industry.

Calum Hughes wrote about where we stand on medical marijuana for military veterans.

We spoke about building a cannabis education company with Green Flower CEO Max Simon.

We also looked into a new blockchain-based Internet of Things platform aimed at increasing trust and transparency for cannabis consumers and brands.

Elixinol Participates In FDA's First CBD Hearing, Says Guidance, Clarity Will Benefit 'Good Players’

FDA Public Hearing About CBDs Prescribes Caution, Bearishness, and Deliberation.

p>Check out these and many other cannabis stories on


Events Calendar

June 16-18: Martha Stewart will speak at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Stewart is an example of big brands and high-profile personalities that are entering the cannabis space as outdated stigma gives way to mainstream growth opportunities.

“I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in the lifestyle space with this tailored audience,” she said.

“As I begin to collaborate on products for the CBD market, and as the demand for these types of product grows, I’m very interested in the conversations and connections at this event.”

Stewart will be joining Civilized publisher Derek Riedle and Bruce Linton, the founder, chairman and co-CEO of Canopy Growth, onstage in a fireside chat June 18 to close the conference.

The retail pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart will join the event as the third keynote speaker. Ken Weisbrod, the company's vice president of pharmacy business development and initiatives, will share the stage with other high-profile speakers including Stewart and Linton as he opens the event June 17.

"Shoppers Drug Mart is a mainstream retail titan and yet another proof point as to where this industry is headed," said Civilized's Riedle.

"At last year's World Cannabis Congress, we spent a lot of time discussing where we hoped the industry would go in a post-legalization landscape, and here we are. Less than a year later, we're working with the world's top brands to bring cannabis to consumers."

June 25: MjMicro, an investor forum that seeks connects “highly qualified investors with best-in-class and emerging publicly traded cannabis companies,” will debut in New York at the Westin Grand Central. The event is set to be held four times a year, with future events scheduled for Beverly Hills, West Palm Beach and Seattle.

October 23-24: Marijuana Venture Magazine’s Retail and Dispensary (RAD) Expo, a national trade show focused on the retail cannabis industry, will return to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The RAD Expo will feature presentations from industry veterans to speak about successful entrepreneurship and topics including merchandising, partnership management, interior store design and retail operations.

The 2019 show will focus heavily on CBD products and CBD brands with a presence in health grocery stores, luxury retailers, pet stores and other retail categories that carry hemp-derived products.

November 19-21: The Medcann World Forum 2019 will be held in the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta, Malta, which dates to the 16th century. when it was originally built as a hospital  by the order of St. John. The three-day conference will focus on six pillars: medical, business, research, legislation, regulatory and fintech.

The event will host Malta’s top policymakers, international regulatory experts and global business leaders.


—Burgeoning edibles brand taps Colorado resources—

NEW YORK (June 2019)—To support its expansive hemp-derived CBD business, Azuca, the all-natural, chef-driven edibles line from acclaimed New York City chef Ron Silver, has opened processing and manufacturing facilities in Colorado Springs and Golden, CO. The move will allow Azuca to leverage Colorado’s vast resources and progressive legislation to streamline its development and distribution of high quality, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) edibles.

Azuca will lease space from Colorado-based Summit Extraction and Centered Snacks to facilitate compliant product processing, development and manufacturing protocols. Jonathan Teeters, GM of the CBD Division for Azuca, will oversee operations at the Colorado facilities, along with recent hires Jaimie McClellan, Greg Pound and Crystal Stevens.

“Colorado has some of the most forward-thinking legislation surrounding hemp and cannabis,” said Teeters. “It created the framework for states who are looking to become more welcoming to this industry as they recognize that clear, thoughtful and comprehensive legislation is the key to creating a safe and successful hemp market, which in turn will pay dividends economically and socially. We’re looking forward to growing our footprint in Colorado as a base for national and international expansion.”

Currently sold online at, Azuca products are set apart by the use of the brand’s 4-patent-pending TiME™ Technology, which enrobes individual CBD molecules to make them water-soluble and thus allowing for easy uptake, beginning immediately in the mouth and avoiding the gut and liver where cannabinoids like CBD are degraded and absorption is slowed. The brand’s hemp-derived CBD product line includes of a variety of chef-quality edibles ranging from innovative ingredients like simple syrup and raw demerara sugars, to the classic infused chocolate, made with 61% Valrhona chocolate.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gwen Steuart at or 646.695.7050.


About Azuca

Azuca is a privately held, investor-backed company which commercializes a line of edible products. Using its patent-pending TiME™ Technology, Azuca envelops cannabinoid molecules making them highly metabolizable and hydrophilic, or “water friendly.”  Azuca’s TiME™ Technology enhances bioavailability and minimizes absorption delays for a more controlled consumer experience.

Azuca’s hemp-derived CBD products are sold online at Azuca’s THC products are available in Massachusetts at Mayflower Medicinals and Triple M in Plymouth and Mashpee. Follow Azuca on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.