10 Eateries Serving CBD Food and Drinks in 2018

As CBD proves to be a versatile ingredient in everything from beauty products to coffee grounds, this cannabis extract shows no signs of slowing down. CBD has now started to pop-up on dinner and drink menus at some restaurants, as interest in its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties continues to increase. Coffee shops, diners, and even hotels are picking up on the CBD trend and creating cannabis-infused foods for their customers.

We looked at restaurants from across the country to find the most innovative uses of CBD in different dishes, drinks, and desserts. It was no easy feat to curate this list, but the ten eateries listed here impressed us with their CBD-infused food and drink options, and are worth adding to your culinary bucket list.

The James New York—NoMad Hotel

It may not fall into the restaurant or coffee shop category, but The James NoMad Hotel is a popular destination where guests have the opportunity to order room service from a CBD menu. On this menu, guests can choose CBD-infused dishes that range from spicy meatballs and butter salad, to ice cream sundaes and gummies—even CBD dog treats can be delivered to your room. It’s rare to find a full menu dedicated to CBD-infused food and treats, which is definitely an added bonus for visitors staying at this hotel.

Where: New York, NY


Best known for its traditional American eats and an “off the commercial food grid” philosophy, Bubby’s is embracing this mindset by introducing CBD-infused drinks to their customers. On Bubby’s menu, there is a section dedicated to beverages that incorporate CBD into coffee, tea, and lemonade. Bubby’s makes note to only serve these drinks to customers who are 21 or older, and they use CBD-infused Azuca sugars and syrups that are absent of any other cannabinoids.

Where: New York, NY

The Butcher’s Daughter

With restaurant locations in New York and California, The Butcher’s Daughter is a growing juice bar and cafe that gives their patrons the option to add CBD to their smoothies, coffee, or lattes. The additional charge to add CBD is only $3 in New York, and $4 at the California location. The Butcher’s Daughter sources their CBD from the brand Plant People, and it may also be possible to add CBD to their food dishes or pastries upon request.

Where: Brooklyn, NY
New York, NY
Venice, CA


A vegan-based eatery with locations in the U.S. and Europe, by CHLOE has an extensive menu that features a section dedicated to CBD-infused treats. Titled “FEELZ,” this portion of by CHLOE’s menu incorporates CBD into cookies, rice crispy treats, cupcakes, and brownies, which are baked fresh, in-house each day. The restaurant chain has locations in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Providence, but these CBD desserts are only available in their New York stores.

Where: New York, NY


Also featured as one of the best spas offering CBD treatments in 2018, the Chillhouse doubles as an eatery and earns its place among the most buzzworthy. A trendy location for many, this cafe offers lattes and beverages enhanced with CBD tinctures, on top of their nail care services and CBD-infused massage treatments. Designed as a destination for self care, Chillhouse excels in creating a relaxing environment with multiple ways to experience CBD.

Where: New York, NY

Monarch & the Milkweed

A self-serving restaurant based out of Vermont, Monarch & the Milkweed specializes in serving cocktails, pastries, and cannabis confections. Some of their treats, like bon bons, strawberry blondes, or white chocolate truffles include CBD, and they also offer some THC options since marijuana is legal in the state of Vermont. Monarch & the Milkweed also impresses with their labelling, which lets customers know how many milligrams of CBD (and possibly THC) are present in the cannabis confections they are buying.

Where: Burlington, VT

Caffeine Underground

A modern coffee shop with creativity in mind, Caffeine Underground is a cool place to get a cup of CBD-infused coffee. Customers can also enjoy CBD caramels, or opt to add CBD jam to their bagel or toast for an extra $2. In addition to their CBD-infused food and drinks, Caffeine Underground hosts fun events each week, from live music to film showings and open mic nights, this coffee shop has it all.

Where: Brooklyn, NY

Moon Juice

Based in plant-sourced ingredients and natural remedies, Moon Juice aims to represent a holistic lifestyle that extends beyond basic juices and milks. This shop only serves organic foods and drinks, with patrons having the option to add CBD into their choice of milk, latte, juice, tea, or other beverages. Listed under the “mood booster” portion of Moon Juice’s menu, it only costs $3.50 to upgrade any drink with CBD mint chocolate or olive oil hemp extract.

Where: Los Angeles, CA
Venice, CA

Original Hemp Cafe

Situated at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains, the Original Hemp Cafe aims to incorporate hemp into all of their products, including teas, coffees, pastries, and more. This cafe and lounge uses full-spectrum CBD oil sourced from reputable Colorado hemp growers, and no THC is used in their brewing or infusion processes.​ They also have seed to table policies in place to ensure that their customers are getting the best experience possible, while still offering a wide variety of CBD food and beverage options.

Where: Colorado Springs, CO


Focused on creating delicious and healthy plant-based food options for its customers, Koku offers soft-serve with superfood ingredients and various toppings—including CBD cacao. This cannabis-infused cacao is used in Koku’s Zen bowl with fresh blueberries, coconut chips, and black sesame granola on raw cacao flavored soft serve. CBD is incorporated into this dish for its antioxidant benefits, with the intention to support the body and its many systems.

Where: New York, NY


CBD’s Popularity Boom: Four Edible Directions

As CBD bursts into consumer consciousness – thanks in part to the commercialisation of cannabis – savvy restaurants are welcoming this wellness-enhancing compound, incorporating it into everything from mocktails to tasting menus.

As highlighted in A Budding Opportunity, CBD (the non-psychoactive compound of cannabis) is believed to alleviate anxiety, pain and other ailments– although scientists still know relatively little about its effects. CBD’s legality varies, and many US states haven’t addressed specifics. Surprisingly, California allows recreational cannabis, but banned CBD from restaurant menus in July 2018.

  • High Dining: Cannabis-infused fine dining, as explored in our American Food Influencer Round-Up, is being reinterpreted for mainstream menus with CBD. New York restaurant Lalito partners with cannabis lifestyle magazine Gossamer to host dinners showcasing CBD’s distinct grassy, vegetal flavour. Upscale vegan restaurant Farmacy Kitchen in London offers afternoon tea with hemp tea, alongside CBD-infused cocktails and chocolates.
  • Add-On Benefits: NYC fast-casual restaurant Inday provides CBD-infused ghee for its Indian-inspired meals, nodding to cannabis’s wellness appeal, as outlined in 10 Wellbeing Trends to Watch. Meanwhile, American vegan fast-casual brand By Chloe tempts Instagram foodies with CBD-boosted desserts laden with sprinkles and edible glitter (see Sweet Treats: Dessert & Chocolate Trends).
  • Comfort Inn: Several hotels are touting CBD’s relaxation benefits as an amenity for travellers. US chain The James Hotel offers a room-service menu with CBD-infused comfort foods such as meatballs and tater tots (for more on The James’s wellness initiatives, see The Brief). Meanwhile, hotel group The Standard stocks its US minibars with CBD gummies from Californian cannabis brand Lord Jones.
  • Soothing Sips: At New York restaurant Bubby’s, diners can order coffee, tea and lemonade with CBD-infused granulated sugar from the owner’s brand, Azuca. Also in New York, restaurant Adriaen Block offers CBD-tinged mocktails and low-ABV cocktails for a healthier night out.For more on infused drinks, see Fresh & Functional Formulations in Fluid Flavours and Coca-Cola Considers Cannabis.

EVENT: The New York Coffee Festival 2018

October is the time to get excited about the annual New York Coffee Festival. After my experience last year, I couldn’t wait to get my caffeine buzz going again. Held every year at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, the New York Coffee Festival hosts everything New York has to offer in the field of coffee and related foods, activities, and organizations.

New York’s best coffee establishments were onsite giving out samples of their Coffee, Espresso, Cold Brew, and everything in between. Sey CoffeeJoe CoffeeStumptownCoffee of Grace (and many more) were among the specialty roasters to set up shop. Guest coffee roasters from other parts of the world were also in attendance serving their best, including Ebel Coffee and Daterra Coffee. To try everything is a challenge, but to then pick highlights among all of the expert roasters, that is even harder. But I’ll try: here’s my coffee highlight from this year’s festival:

Nobletree Cold Brew: Bold but smooth, this is an “all day” type of brew. 6am? 4pm? I’ll take a large, please. Thanks for powering me through this eventful festival!

If you’re looking to lighten your coffee, you’ve got options. Super Creamer can add a high-protein, lactose-free boost. Califia Farms was ready to add one of their many almond milk varieties. Oatly made me a “CortadOat” with Variety Coffee!

NYC based Azuca explained the health benefits of CBD, and their vision of CBD options in all of NYC’s coffee shops. Instead of asking for two pumps of simple syrup, ask for two pumps of a CBD syrup like Azuca!

Local bakeries such as Danny Macaroons and The Good Batch had the perfect coffee pairings. If you prefer your coffee pairings sans gluten, don’t worry! Sans Bakery has a wide variety of baked goods suitable to your diet. One food to be careful of: the Espresso spread by Flat Brew. It is a delicious alternative way to intake your daily caffeine, by spreading it on a bagel for example. Just be careful of pairing it with coffee, that’s a heavy dose!

I tried the coffee questionnaire at Trade Coffee which matched me up with a roast based on my normal coffee preferences and habits. They matched me with the Southern Weather Blend by Onyx Coffee Lab, and I received a pour-over coffee on the spot to confirm! Take the quiz at Trade’s website to see your ideal coffee: https://www.drinktrade.com/.

The festival always brings you a step further than just eating and drinking. Breville had a half dozen espresso machines open to the public and instructors to teach proper barista technique. A Sensory Experience was offered to isolate tastes, smells, and sounds, and identify their role in the coffee experience. Industry experts explained the supply side of the coffee bean procurement process. Finally the masters of coffee faced off and competed in a number of categories.

The Coffee Music Project and the Coffee Art Project both showcased and gave a platform to up and coming artists, as well as raised funds for Project Waterfall.

Profits from the festival go towards Project Waterfall, which, in partnership with NYC based charity: water, develops projects to get clean water to the communities of coffee-growing regions of the world.

If you missed it (or just miss it) New York Coffee Festival will return next year! October 11-13 2019 has been confirmed, and The Couch Sessions will keep you in the loop as the event approaches! Click here for more pictures from this year’s festival, or check out the official event hashtag: #NewYorkCoffeeFestivalfor everyone else’s experience!

Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week

Big news on the international plane this week, with Mexico’s Supreme Court ruling an absolute ban on the adult use of cannabis is unconstitutional and the UK allowing doctors to legally prescribe cannabis products for a number of conditions like epilepsy, MS and chemotherapy-induced nausea.

"It’s important to understand that Mexico didn’t legalize cannabis,” Leafly editor Ben Adlin told Benzinga. “Mexico’s Supreme Court essentially struck down prohibition with these rulings, but the court can’t actually replace those criminal laws with new ones. So for now, laws barring cannabis are still on the books, they’re just unenforceable.

“The thing to watch at this point is how Mexico’s Congress responds. Lawmakers have 90 days to change the country’s drug laws to conform with the court’s rulings, and it’s not yet clear what action they’ll take. They could use this as an opportunity to legalize more broadly—allowing, say, regulated sales and commercial cultivation—or they could set up a more restrictive system like we currently have in Vermont or Washington, DC, where possession and homegrown are legal, but commercial activity is not.”

To get a financial perspective, we decided to reach out to Matthew Nordgren, CEO of ARCADIAN Fund.

“We have been exploring Mexico for over two years now through longstanding relationships and feel that the market has a tremendous amount of upside in the very near future,” he said. “They will announce license holders early next year and probably have six months of import/export business but have plans to cultivate and manufacture their own product locally shortly thereafter.”

In other news, GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH 7.51%’s Epidiolex is now available to U.S. residents in all 50 states, Aphria Inc APHA 7.27% started trading on the NYSE, and Curaleaf debut on the CSE with a valuation around $4 billion.

“Little by little, the federal government - including key regulatory agencies - are recognizing the enormous benefits that the cannabis plant has to offer. The availability of Epidiolex to residents in all 50 states is a positive and monumental first step towards ensuring that our citizens are provided all of the medical options that are available to them and their loved ones,” Scott Mandell, President of Cannabistry Labs told us.

Debra Borchard, CEO of Green Market Report said “The market is continuing to see the maturity of the cannabis industry... Another positive sign for the industry was the removal ofIndia Globalization Capital, Inc. NYSEIGC from the NYSE. Companies that only claim to be cannabis companies like IGC hurt investors and the industry alike."

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., gained 26.8 percent in just one week, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, spiked up 12.7 percent.

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF HMLSF 5.37% (TSE:HMMJ) slipped 0.2 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ 4.7% surged 0.2 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY 2.63% closed the week up 2.3 percent.

Stock Moves

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $100 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

• 22nd Century Group Inc XXII 8.94%: up 5.8 percent

• Aphria Inc APHA 7.27%: up almost 1 percent on its Friday NYSE debut

• Aurora Cannabis Inc ACB 4.22%: down 1.6 percent

• CannTrust Holdings Inc CNTTF 5.05%: down 8.6 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp CGC 3.85%: down 4.5 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. CRON 8.27%: up 2.2 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd TGODF 0.94%: up 1.4 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc GTBIF 8.98%: down 4.1 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH 7.51%: up 7.3 percent

• Hexo Corp HYYDF 5.79%: up 8.5 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc ITHUF 9.31%: up 6.2 percent

• Medical Marijuana Inc MJNA 7.56%: down 0.2 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMNFF 2.28%: up 27 percent

• Scotts Miracle-Gro Co SMG 1.13%: up 5.2 percent

• THC Biomed Intl Ltd THCBF 12.09%: down 11.3 percent

• Tilray Inc TLRY 4.41%: down 9.1 percent

• Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc ZYNE 10.28%: down 3.4 percent

In Other News

CPA and financial advisory services firm MGO and cannabis financial advisory services firm ELLO announced an official alliance that entails an exclusive collaborative professional services offering across their rapidly growing cannabis practices in the U.S. and Canada.

“With the massive growth and major ‘milestones’ being achieved in the industry, it is important for cannabis companies to have access to a robust suite of professional services that addresses the specific needs, obstacles and opportunities that they face,” Evan Eneman, CEO of Ello and MGO/ELLO National Cannabis Practice Leader, told Benzinga. “This alliance sets us apart as a professional services firm in that we can deliver specifically tailored solutions and scaled services that allows our clients to be agile and dynamic which is frankly critical for success and growth in this rapidly moving complex environment."

Eneman was a co-founder and former managing partner at cannabis focused VC fund Casa Verde Capital.

Benzinga recently reported on Verano Holdings receiving financing of $120 million. Andy De Francesco is chairman and CIO of SOL Global Investments, a firm that put in most of the money in the latest round.

“We have reviewed and entertained more than 100 US opportunities in the past 4 to 6 months and a few are very good and we are investing,” he explained. “But I can say without hesitation the team George and Sam have assembled are the rock stars plain and simple. They understand every piece of vertical integration in this business. They execute faster and smarter BUT with massive conscience for the bottom line…If this was basketball, these guys would be the 1990’s Chicago Bulls.”

Helix TCS Inc HLIX 4.76%’s technology subsidiary, BioTrackTHC, launched its latest integration with customer relationship management platform and loyalty provider, springbig. The integration will enable BioTrack's 2,000+ customer locations to harness their dispensary point of sale data using the best-in-class loyalty tools provided by springbig, allowing them to optimize revenue growth by targeting customers based on best-selling products, purchasing trends and more.

"The data that businesses are collecting through their BioTrack dispensary point of sale software is the most essential asset for long-term success and sustained growth for both businesses and the industry at large," said Dr. Moe Afaneh, COO of BioTrackTHC. "It's crucial that we provide our customers with multiple ways to leverage that data and turn it into customer retention, loyalty, and increased sales."

Azuca, a the line of all-natural cannabis edibles and ingredients founded by Chef Ron Silver, announced the launch of its CBD division, with plans to offer hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) simple syrup direct to consumers as well as to restaurants, bars and coffee shops through a wholesale model. To support growth of the CBD business, Azuca has expanded its ranks with the addition of two new team members. Cannabis industry veteran Jonathan Teeters joins as General Manager and Director of Business Development, with Barney Stacher joining as Executive Sales Director.

“Part of our global expansion strategy, the launch of Azuca’s CBD division is a reflection of our team’s unwavering dedication to delivering fast-acting, consistent and trustworthy products at scale,” said Kim Rael, Azuca CEO. “Our ultimate goal is to make the benefits of cannabis available to a broad, international audience in an approachable, delicious form that appeals to both the novice and experienced consumer. The addition of two passionate and savvy new professionals positions us for continued growth as we work towards setting the industry standard for consistency, precision and predictability in edibles.”

Documentary film “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” was the latest to experience Facebook Inc FB 6.32%’s cannabis censorship. This is a film aimed at educating audiences about cannabis legalization and generating debate around debate the federal drug policy; yet, Facebook won’t allow the producers to promote with ads.

Director Windy Borman said, “Facebook’s tricks are not new: legitimate content is censored while millions of fake accounts post ‘fake news’. The company states ‘advocacy and awareness campaigns are allowed’ but then blocks our ads when cannabis is legal in Canada and four US states are voting on cannabis this Election Day. That’s censorship pure and simple. Facebook should shut down real threats to democracy not punish filmmakers for following the rules.”

The Hemp Biz Conference is seeking experts in both hemp and business to speak at its inaugural B2B conference May 1 and 2 2019, in Denver, Colorado.

“We have spent two years reviewing the nascent hemp industry and have identified key issues within the current supply chain. We’re seeking the brightest minds to share insights from their business experiences in regulation, agriculture, processing, manufacturing (including CBD, functional foods, fiber and fuel), education and new consumer acquisition,” said the organizers.

Jane Technologies, a retail tech company that created a cannabis-focused ecommerce marketplace, completed a successful Series A funding round of $6 million through private investors. This comes after the rapid growth and expansion of their marketplace to nearly 500 dispensary partners across 19 states and US territories, in just over a year. The funding will help Jane continue to bring dispensaries both the latest technological advances and data analytics, while providing consumers a smarter, optimized shopping experience.

“This funding will enable us to continue supporting the growth of our dispensary partners in this booming, competitive landscape,” said Jane CEO and Co-founder Socrates Rosenfeld. “Our model supports dispensaries in increasing online and in-store traffic, improving customer service, and ultimately increasing sales. We remain committed to transforming e-commerce for this industry and providing consumers with the ability to shop for their cannabis in the same manner as they shop for everything else in this world.”

CannaTech Sydney took place this week. Jeff Kiehn, CEO of 365 Cannabis, a seed-to-sale tracking software fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics ERP technology, told Benzinga Sydney-based Solaris Nutraceuticals will utilize 365 Cannabis for its greenhouse operations when it launches in 2019.

Solaris Nutraceuticals plans to build the largest medicinal cannabis greenhouse in the Southern Hemisphere, approximately 1.2 million square-feet. According to New Frontier Data, the Oceania cannabis market, both legal and illicit, is estimated at $5 billion.

Healthier Choices Management Corp. HCMC announced it has been issued three U.S. Patents related to its Q-Cup technology. This is a significant milestone for HCMC and represents their continued commitment to the growth of shareholder value.

Jeffrey E. Holman, CEO Healthier Choices Management Company said, "The timing was extremely fortuitous as our partners in Las Vegas will be hosting their launch event on Nov. 4, 2018, for hundreds of the most significant players in the Nevada Cannabis market. They've rented an entire 140 room hotel for the event and will be showcasing our technology with the launch of their new Highland Brothers brand.”

Nexien Biopharma Inc. NXEN 3.92% announced it acquired New Jersey-based CRx Bio Holdings. The combined companies will formulate FDA approved cannabinoid therapies with the objective of enhancing the bioavailability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of cannabinoids.

Alex Wasyl, CEO Nexien Biopharma told us that “The acquisition...is a major step in developing FDA approved cannabinoid therapeutics and optimized delivery system platforms. As a serial life sciences entrepreneur, I founded CRx with this vision, based on my 10 years of research in cannabinoid and related sciences, with the goal of creating real pharmaceutical medicines.”

Lifestyle cannabis company WeekendUnlimited Inc. (CSE: YOLO) entered into an arms-length binding letter of intent to acquire the Jamaican cannabis company, R&D Pharma, one of three approved Tier-3 cultivators in the country. The acquisition also includes a 49 percent stake in one of the other two Tier-3 license holders in Jamaica.

“By adding R&D to our brand portfolio, we secure a highly coveted asset for cultivation in a low cost, high-quality environment like Jamaica, which has international appeal in the cannabis space, with unparalleled lifestyle applications. This acquisition in Jamaica represents a significant step for Weekend Unlimited as it implements its strategy to be a top tier integrated cannabis company,” said Weekend Unlimited President and CEO, Cody Corrubia.

Find out more about these news and others on MedMen, Cresco Labs, Sugarmade, Hydrofarm, Tiger Global, Casa Verde, the Wayland Group and Nevada cannabis sales with our friends at Marijuana Money, who make a weekly video summary of the top financial and business news in the cannabis industry.

More From Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk

Over the week, Benzinga’s also reported on:

Aurora’s rocky NYSE debut.

Danny Moses, a private investor and entrepreneur best known for his role as a trader navigating the global financial crisis as chronicled in Adam McKay’s Oscar-winning movie "The Big Short," being named the third independent member of Merida Capital Partners’ six-person investment committee.

The Biggest Lesson Cannabis Investors Can Learn From The Sell-Off In Stocks.”

One cannabis stock that is not in a downtrend.

Molson Coors Brewing Co TAP 3.11%’s intention to launch a cannabis beverage next year.

New Frontier Data’s take on hemp investing, surge in electricity usage for cannabis cultivation.

Jeff Siegel’s picks among small cannabis companies.

Check out these and more cannabis stories in our Cannabis section.

Interesting Data

Cannabis media outlet The Fresh Toast surpassed High Times in terms of traffic for the first time ever, Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN 5.74%’s Alexa data shows.

“Hard work pays off... The steady growth of our online audience shows there’s tremendous interest from mainstream readers in cannabis lifestyle and medical content. At the end of the day, everything is about our readers, and we are so grateful that so many people are turning to us for their cannabis information,” said founder and publisher JJ McKay.

Brightfield Group survey of more than 5,000 CBD users around the country found that 24 percent have used it as a method to quit smoking. Quitters are often replacing cigarettes with either smokeable hemp or vaping: 41 percent of quitters have entirely replaced tobacco with hemp CBD entirely.

Jamie Schau, Senior Analyst at the Brightfield Group told Benzinga, “CBD lends itself extremely well to the needs of those who have been struggling to kick their tobacco habits and need a better option.

"Since it can be vaped or smoked, hemp CBD can substitute the physical need smokers feel to hold a cigarette (or vape, for that matter). Furthermore, CBD is known for curbing anxiety, nausea and other maladies smokers turn to cigarettes for – but isn’t known to be addictive, while nicotine is. It doesn’t give users a high, so it is more approachable by those who haven’t used cannabis before or are concerned its effects will have negative repercussions in their work/school/home environments. CBD allows for a gentle transition away from tobacco, and as the tidal wave of hemp CBD use grows, smokers are taking notice.”

Events Calendar

Nov. 3: The Green Solution will celebrate the grand opening of its 16th location in Colorado, with vendor pop-ups and product specials. The new location is located at 3318 S. Federal Blvd. in Sheridan, Colo. Founded in 2010, The Green Solution was one of Colorado’s first dispensaries and now offers more than 50 strains of cannabis, as well as a variety of concentrates, edibles and related cannabis products.

Nov. 8: Doctors in Baltimore can enhance their knowledge about medical cannabis treatment, and how it affects the 35,000-and-growing Maryland MMJ patients, at the inaugural Maryland Medical Cannabis Forum (MMCF).

“As more and more states legalize medical cannabis, it is important to move the narrative from legalization to legitimization,” said Stephen Gardner, CMO of Tikun Olam, one of MMCF’s sponsors. “One clear way to do this is through education and presenting clinical trials and studies, like the ones Tikun Olam has done in Israel. Due to the favorable regulatory environment in Israel, we are able to partner with leading hospitals and universities in our quest to better understand this plant. We hope forums like these better equip doctors to make informed decisions.”

Nov. 9: Benzinga is hosting the Benzinga Michigan Cannabis Business Roundtable in Detroit. Join us along an all-star group of investors and operators as we seek to accelerate the growth of the cannabis industry in Michigan. This will be the first event focused on the cannabis space after the all-important Nov. 6 cannabis legalization vote.

Nov. 26: Dustin Brandon Is bringing together over 35 farms for an Oregon event that celebrates “Croptober." Oregons top farm’s can network and meet with representatives from over 180 Portland registered dispensaries and some of Oregon's best oil processors.

Dec. 10–12: Five years after the approval of the first comprehensive cannabis regulation law in the world, Monitor Cannabis Uruguay and the School of Social Science of Universidad de la República are convening an academic discussion on the various aspects that arise from the implementation and results of a law of this kind.

With this congress, Monitor Cannabis Uruguay intends to improve the flow of evidence-based information on cannabis regulation policy, as well as to disseminate and facilitate scientific research linked to cannabis in Uruguay, the region and the world. The congress will be held at the School of Social Science of Universidad de la República.

Bubby’s Hosts Ume Tasting with CBD Infused Products

The beloved restaurant Bubby’s and owner Ron Silver earlier this month hosted a special launch tasting to introduce Wakayama Ume to New York City.

The stateside debut of one of Japan’s rarest plums highlighted a food demo that will soon be available in November at the Tribeca location.

Esteemed for its ability to aid in fatigue recovery and purify the body, the Wakayama Ume boasts a distinctively sour flavor that has solidified a place in the hearts and on the menus of Japan’s top chefs.

Health benefits of the fruit were discussed as guests enjoyed plates featuring Ume syrup on Bubby’s pancakes and in the whipped cream of a warm cobbler.

Guests discovered several health benefits of the fruit, as well as experienced the restaurants special CBD-infused servings. Soon for all of New York City to enjoy and to find a new form for ideal health will be such selections as Ume Mimosas, and Azuca CBD infused Ume Soda.

Be sure to check out the location and here for more details.

12 Incredible Moments From The 2018 New York Coffee Festival

It’s really something to witness Chelsea’s distinguished Metropolitan Pavillion transform into a patchwork quilt of New York City’s finest coffee companies. This is our fourth year as media partners of the New York Coffee Festival, a younger sibling of the game-changing London Coffee Festival, which by all counts is one of the largest attended consumer-facing coffee events in the world. What surprises us most about the festival is its ability to keep surprising us—booths seem to up the ante each year with attention-grabbing and crowd-pleasing design and programming. It’s a thoughtful blend of experimental exhibitions, unexpected vendors, and tried-and-true events-within-events.

Here’s a collection of some of our favorite moments and details from the 2018 New York Coffee Festival.

T-Shirt Canons & Booth Design

For a moment on Saturday, La Marzocco USA and Variety Coffee Roasters—two prominently featured exhibitors at the event—took part in a heated t-shirt canon battle royale. Perhaps the first of its kind at a coffee tradeshow, the companies, each armed with compressors and canons, shot t-shirts to the crowd (and, reports suggest, each other). Projectiles aside, La Marzocco’s booth at the festival drew oohs and ahs all weekend long, featuring a vintage sports scoreboard theme and a live “shot counter”—each guest was invited to pull a shot of espresso, then entered to win a La Marzocco Linea Mini.

Vendors Large and Small

Roxanne Royce, the inventor of the BevBag (pictured left), exhibits with her mother at the New York Coffee Festival. The insulated bag holds four coffees in a reusable 3D-printed carrier. Royce invented the bag after experiencing the pitfalls of delivering coffees—namely the spills and the heat loss. The bag, Royce tells us, sells big with corporate clients and with folks on Amazon, where it holds a strong four-star rating. And while the fashion hits did not stop all weekend long, Mother Royce’s lewk was one of the very best at New York Coffee Festival.

Chai Marshmallows

There’s no shortage of snackables at the New York Coffee Festival, but our personal favorite was the chai-infused marshmallows on hand at the Dona Chai booth. Paired with their herbal ciders and chai-spiked hot cocoas, these lovely treats were like little cozy hugs in marshmallow form.

Pyschic Energy

Spiritual guide Angelina—practicing Palm, Tarot Card, and Crystal Readings in New York City for over 20 years—offered special readings for attendees all weekend long. “There’s a great energy here,” we were told by one of the many on hand at the booth. It’s great to see folks like Angelina at coffee festivals, and there was plenty of interest from attendees. Maybe we’ll see Angelina and their crew at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston?

Living Booths

The plant story was strong at the Sey Coffee booth over the weekend. Marco SP9s serving delightful coffees by co-owner Tobin Polk were practically hiding behind a wall of plant-life. Prominently placed at the entry to the show floor, and beautiful in its simplicity, this was a strong showing from the Bushwick based brand.

CBD Everything

We have entered (or perhaps about to enter) peak the age of cannabidiol-in-everything. Azuca, a New York-based company specializing in sweeteners infused with CBD and THC, are marketing the legal non-psychoactive CBD products to cocktail bars and coffee companies alike. We’re watching this space as we continue to see CBD show up as an upcharge on upscale cafe menus across the country.

Virtual Reality

Project Waterfall, a non-profit started by the festival’s founders, is a project aimed at providing clean drinking water to coffee-growing communities. The initiative is present at each festival, and this year guests were invited to put on VR-goggles and go on a virtual reality thrill-ride.

High Art

This piece of art, on display at the Coffee Festival’s Coffee Art Project competition, sold on the first day for what we believe was around $800.

Coffee Jewelry

While London Coffee Festival is paced by no-one when it comes to fashion-forward vendors (almost an entire floor is dedicated to attire and accessories), the NY Coffee Festival is catching up. That’s thanks to the help of jewerly-maker Anna Steinerová and her line of coffee-themed accessories Kaawa. Based in the Czech Republic, Kaawa has been specializing in coffee jewelry since 2013. These beautiful designs turned heads all weekend long.


The robots are still coming—and the pour-over robot du jour comes to the festival from the folks at Bubble Lab Robotics. The pour-over bot (Drip) is expected to come out in early 2019 (we were told March) and is going to retail for around $8,000. The booth also showcased an undercounter beverage delivery system (Drop) capable of supplying hot or cold beverages. A unit was positioned next to an espresso machine for cold milk delivery. This device is expected to run $3k and also expected to arrive March, 2019.

Anthropomorphic Cold Brew

Buzzy and Spesh watch out, there’s a new anthropomorphic coffee in town. Variety Coffee Roasters debuted their fun-loving cold brew mascot, followed by a boombox toting man to provide the tunes with which to dance. It was an instant hit. People love mascots.

Fashion-Forward Exhibitors

Winning all of the awards for best-dressed, Revelator Coffee roaster Cameron Heath stunned in a purple suit ensemble, expertly matching the coffee on offer at the Trade booth. Revelator teamed up with Trade, a new e-commerce company that launched in April this year.

Here are a few runner-ups:

James McCarthy and Cora Lambert of Equator Coffees & Teas deliver espresso at the La Marzocco USA Basketball Booth in fashion-forward, function-friendly uniforms inspired by vintage mechanic wear.

An old-timey carnival barker challenges guests to a game of ring toss at the Toby’s Estate Coffee booth (the rings were tossed at portafilters).

For more from the fest, please check out @newyorkcoffeefestival on Instagram, and follow @Sprudge for live looks from the weekend. Up next: we’ll see you at the Los Angeles Coffee Festival November 9th—11th.

These Entrepreneurs Were Even More Energetic Than Usual: They Were at the New York Coffee Festival!

The caffeine flowed freely, and so did conversations by dozens of coffee entrepreneurs -- who perhaps talked a tad faster than normal -- at the fourth annual New York Coffee Festival in Manhattan this past weekend.

Featured at the event were booths for espresso machines, French presses and eco-friendly coffee cups, plus free tastings of every flavor of roasted bean imaginable -- as well as “latte design” demonstrations, and even coffee bean-inspired jewelry from the Czech Republic.

There was also one especially popular booth inviting coffee aficionados to swap out the simple syrup in their morning joe for syrup infused with CBD (the cannabis compound cannabidiol) -- something that’s now legal in multiple states.

“These are the people that are genuinely obsessed by coffee,” Jeffrey Young said in an interview. He’s the Australian-born founder and CEO of London-based Allegra Group, which puts on the festival in Manhattan and next month will launch a West Coast version, in Los Angeles, starting Nov. 9.

Young glanced happily back over his shoulder at the jam-packed Metropolitan Pavilion event space (with a line outside of still more attendees waiting to get in). Based on registrations, Young said he expected a total of 12,000 to 14,000 visitors over three days. These coffee devotees had come to hobnob with about 100 vendors plus their guest vendors, who included some 200 different roasting companies, Young said.

“It’s a passion for them,” Young said of the festival-goers sipping free lattes and nibbling pastries across the Pavilion’s huge expanse, or wandering upstairs to hear coffee lectures. “Somehow they like the personality of coffee, whatever that means. It’s very personal to them.

“And it’s not just about coffee itself," he continued. "It’s about coffee spaces, about the community that coffee brings.”

And the entrepreneurs? “That room is full of entrepreneurs,” Young confirmed. “These are the young coffee entrepreneurs building their businesses, some of them growing very, very rapidly. And there’s a few big businesses in there, like Breville, [and other] coffee equipment companies. But underlying this is, it’s a very entrepreneurial marketplace.”

To underscore that point, Young described the flurry of acquisitions that has occurred in the industry this year. “JAB Holding Co., a privately held company, really set the tone for acquisitions in this market,” Young said. “You’ve seen Nestle acquire [a majority stake in] Blue Bottle Coffee this year; and, local here to New York, a business created here in New York and spreading all over the country is Bluestone Lane. They’re being invested in by Stephen Ross,” the billionaire chairman of Related Cos.

In recent years, Young added, JAB acquired Stumptown Coffee Roasters, as well as Peet’s Coffee, and took a majority stake in Pret a Manger last year. JAB further led the group of investors that acquired Keurig Green Mountain. And this year, JAB was also reported to be interested in the Italian chain Illycaffe SpA (Nestle reportedly was, too); Coca-Cola, meanwhile, invested in Costa Coffee.

“What these beverage companies have realized is that coffee is the most exciting beverage at the moment,” Young said. As a result, ”Entrepreneurs are seeing these [high] valuations out there in the marketplace; and there’s a lot of interest in investment in the small boutique coffee chains.”

A stroll through the Pavilion reflected Young’s assessment, as various entrepreneurs spoke with enthusiasm about their caffeine-fueled passion:


In an interview, Eben Freeman, executive product development director, was bullish about his Massachusetts-based company’s CBD-infused simple syrup. “It solves most of the problems you have with CBD oils or edibles,” Freeman said of the syrup. That’s good, he explained, because, in a word, CBD’s natural flavor tastes like … cabbage.

What makes Azuca’s line of sweeteners, which will be available online this week and are already sold in some outlets (including company owner Ron Silver’s Bubby’s restaurants, in New York) special is their absence of terpenes. Terpenes are the hydrocarbons that give CBD products their bad smell.

“When you put [the product] into dilution, a cup of coffee, you really don’t taste it at all,” Freeman claimed.

CBD, for those not in the know, has been credited with helping people combat depression, anxiety and chronic pain. It lacks the cannabis ingredient THC and so produces no “high.”

Azuca’s CBD syrup is sold in bottles, whose smaller version offers four servings -- each with 10 milligrams of CBD -- priced at $18. “You can put it into your coffee in the morning, into your tea in the afternoon or your cocktail at the end of the night,” Young said.

Biohazard Coffee

Kelly Driscoll, marketing director of the two-year-old company Biohazard Coffee, frequently had to step aside at her company’s booth to allow her colleague “Patch” to pose for selfies being taken by visitors eager to be seen with him, because he was attired in a biohazard suit and mask.

The stunt was related to the company’s name, which Driscoll explained stems from the coffee’s “928 kilograms of caffeine for 12 fluid ounces. That makes it three to four times the amount of caffeine you’ll find in normal barista-made coffee,” she said.

The company prides itself on not adding anything to the raw coffee and on using “100 percent robust” beans which, Driscoll said, strips away the beans’ natural bitterness. “For me personally, I drink three or four cups of coffee a day,” Driscoll said. “So, instead of having three to four cups a day, I have one in the morning and I’m good to go.”

“In the U.S. we’re by far the strongest” coffee, Driscoll continued, while acknowledging that a competitor could beat Biohazard at its own game. “That’s the thing with highly caffeinated coffees,” she said. “Someone could always come out with something stronger.”


“My name means ‘to be calm,’ which I’m not,” declared Rachael Calmas, referring to her career as a publicist who promotes a company making espresso machines. Specifically, Calmas works for the Australian food equipment company Breville, whose U.S. headquarters, for 15 years, has been in Torrance, Calif.

The company’s focus is on kitchen machines for the home market -- such as countertop electric pizza ovens offering pies with a wood-fired taste -- as well as espresso machines for coffee-adoring Americans.

Some of those stainless steel works of art were on display at the Coffee Festival. Breville’s most recent machines, the Oracle Touch and Barista Touch (both automatic and manual), each won a “Best New Product” award at the Specialty Coffee Association Expo.

Coming out next month is Breville’s newest machine, the Bambino-Plus, a $500 mini espresso machine. It’s joining a crowded market -- one, Calmas said, that boasts machines that are beautiful “statement” pieces for your kitchen counter, as well as machines for the “smart home” category, “where you have a phone [and tell it] ‘Make my coffee before I get out of bed.’” Breville’s products are the medium between those two extremes, Calmas said.

The real key to a good espresso? Not just a fancy machine, the publicist acknowledged, but “the right texture of milk" -- and that’s not easy to get every time. “Honestly,” she added, “the highest-fat whole milk is going to give you the best quality.” Of course it's the machine's steam-wand techology that gives the proper barista-quality milk texture.

Ecoffee Cup

David McLagan, founder and CEO, explained how he founded Ecoffee Cup, an eco-cup company, back in 2014, “when we found out that over 100 billion single use cups go to landfills.”

His company is English and Dutch, and based in London and Amsterdam, but it’s establishing a U.S. foothold, in Brooklyn, N.Y., soon.

The company’s eco-cups -- which come in 100 different designs and four different sizes -- are made from a composite of bamboo fiber, cornstarch and resin. The cups offer the same durability as ceramic and also the ability to hold temperatures stable for 45 minutes. The $11.76 cups are phthalate-free.

Cafes, McLagan said, are willing to put their coffee in customers’ own eco cups; Starbucks gives a 10 cent discount.

Interestingly, Ecoffee’s website boasts the relatively new extension “eco” on its name. Companies have to apply for the honor of using that “eco” extension by providing an impact statement and environmental credentials.

At the festival overall, environmentalism was a concern voiced not only by Ecoffee Cup but by Project Water Fall, a British nonprofit whose mission is “to bring clean, safe drinking water, sanitation and education to coffee growing communities”

The Northeast Recreational Coffee Association

Latte artists -- the folks who put those cool cinnamon designs on your latte foam -- have the souls of entrepreneurs in that they’re out to push the envelope and throw their heart into their work.

The Association holds a monthly New York-based “throwdown” among baristas, and is part of a wave of such competitions nationwide, said organizer Lanny Huang.

Huang equivated latte art to “plating a dish” meaning the art upscale restaurants engage in to create a beautiful dinner plate. “Latte art is pouring a design over a latte, and the skills involved have a lot to do with texturing whole milk correctly,” he said.

“Basically, latte art has grown and specialty coffee has grown because it’s kind of a signature of elevating the coffee experience,” Huang said, pointing out the La Marzocco espresso machine behind him. As a matter of fact, that company thought enough of the Association’s efforts to sponsor its festival booth.

“You generally won’t find good coffee served without latte art on top,” Huang declared.

Wakayama Ume (Japanese Plum) Promotion Event

On Oct.10, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and The Norinchukin Bank invited the press and people in the food and restaurant industry to an event in New York promoting ume (plums) from Wakayama, Japan. This prefecture produces 60% of the ume grown in Japan and 80% of the umeboshi (salt pickled ume). During the event Ms. Emi Horiguchi of JETRO Osaka introduced the agricultural systems in Wakayama’s Minabe Town and Tanabe City, which utilize a unique bee pollination system. Mr. Todd Van Horne of Nakata Foods Co., Ltd. explained the history and characteristics of ume, which are unique in the way their acidity increases as they ripen. Finally, Chef Ron Silver of Bubby’s shared his thoughts on ume and ume products. He introduced original sweets and cocktails made by using Wakayama ume and related products, such as pancakes with ume syrup, warm ume cobbler, ume mimosa and Azuca CBD-infused ume soda.

Location: Bubby’s Tribeca
120 Hudson St., (at N. Moore St.), New York, NY 10013

October Round Up: All Treats, No Tricks

It’s that yummy time of year. From Halloween to all the other upcoming holidays, thoughts turn to hosting and/or attending some friendly festivities. For adults planning Halloween parties in recreationally legal states there are new enchanting alternatives for elevating your celebration with cannabis-infused edibles.

Infused options should be offered separately from other party snacks, so guests are well informed on what’s being served. If the guest list is diverse, with newbies as well as experienced cannabis connoisseurs, it’s a good idea to serve only one or two low-dose options along with plenty of information. Expect a lot of questions, in that party scenario.

An important tip: NEVER serve cannabis-infused edibles without clear labeling so guests are 100 percent aware of what is being served, in regards to ingredients and dosage strength. It’s just plain wrong to take a chance that any guest would be uninformed, even mistakenly, and eat an unwanted edible–similar, perhaps, to situations where there’s an issue with food allergies. Let your network know in advance that infused edibles will be served, so they can opt out if they choose, though it’s more than likely they’ll want to bring a few friends after they find out. Also, make sure guests are of legal age in your state.

If you source your edible treats from a producer or dispensary, they can provide info on recommended, reasonable dosage limits, product testing, and other questions. If you’re an at-home treat-maker, there’s a lot of info online; again, refer to any company that you shopped for specialized kitchen equipment. For gatherings of seasoned cannabis consumers, perhaps, a very special offering of treats containing more THC for select, experienced edible epicureans.

The digestion process slows the effects of cannabis, so guests should take into consideration that it may be an hour or more before they feel effects; that said, the effects of THC-infused edibles have been described as somewhat more potent and longer-lasting than when cannabis is inhaled.

Any party attendees who feel they may have overindulged in any consumables should Uber or Lyft home, of course. Another tip, recommended by budtenders and cannabis insiders–have some CBD products on hand for anyone that may have had a little too much THC, whether from edibles or a jittery sativa strain. Dr. Joe Cohen, who is a holistic doctor of cannabis medicine and owner of Holos Health in Denver, Colorado, told Lifehacker.com, “The best reversal for the unpleasant side effects of too much THC is CBD.”

Okay, now that you’ve avoided any unwanted tricks, it’s time to have fun. Media reportshave said that former Olympic skater Tonya Harding, royals Harry and Meghan, and sharks are popular Halloween costumes this year.

When it comes to cannabis edibles, there are so many sweet ones to choose from. Here’s ten menu options for Halloween hang-outs:

The Nova Decarboxylator–Not precisely an edible, but a treat for the budding chef or at-home baker. “Decarboxylation is the process of converting cannabis into its active form, making it bioavailable for the human body. It’s a critical step for any consumption method, especially those who prefer to consume via oral, sublingual, or topical applications,” said the product website. The Nova allows you to infuse your own butters and oils at home with one-button convenience. Use those infusions in your own recipes or order a specialty kit from the makers of Nova, to create infused caramel at home. From ArdentCannabis.com.

Azuca Pate de Fruit–A classic version of Pate de Fruit candies–the colorful candy gems found displayed in any fine French candy store. Made with real fruit syrups and other natural ingredients for the freshest, most vibrant flavors. Made with pectin, not gelatin, so they’re also suitable for Vegans and vegetarians. Founded by chef Ron Silver, Azuca’s menu of high-end edibles are created with patent-pending processes that allow more rapid absorption than typical edibles, with delicious effects in 15 minutes or less. Available in Massachusetts, from Azuca.co.

Bhang’s® The Bite Chewy Chocolate Truffle–For experienced cannabis connoisseurs and vampires only, this little chocolate treat packs a big punch with 180mg THC in one ounce of dark chocolate chewiness. “A little goes a long way,” Bhang said on their website. A second place winner in the 2012 San Francisco Cannabis Cup for Best Edible, other ingredients include Turbinado sugar, milk, cocoa powder, agave syrup, vanilla, and essential oils. The Bite is available in California, but various Bhang products can also be found in Illinois, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, and Canada. At GotBhang.com.

Blue Kudu Bon Bons–This assortment includes dark chocolate bonbons filled with a creamy vanilla bean caramel, and milk chocolate bonbons filled with a smooth peanut butter filling. Made in-house, then nitrogen-flushed during packaging to ensure maximum freshness with every bite. Child-resistant packaging. Each bonbon contains 10mg THC, in indica, sativa, and 1:1 (THC to CBD) blends. Cacao sourced from Rainforest Alliance Fair Trade Certified Farms. Available in Colorado. At BlueKudu.com.

The Cannabis Shack 420 Hell Sauce–An award-winning infused hot wing sauce; 5.3 ounces is enough for 6-12 wings. Recipe includes mustard, honey, cannabis oil, red wine vinegar, cayenne pepper, aged cayenne puree, soy, infused coconut oil, brown sugar, horseradish, Thai ginger, chipotle, red chili pepper, kaffir lime, ground red pepper, garlic, lemongrass, shallot, black pepper, 120 mg THC, and a few secret ingredients. Available in Maine only. At TheCannabisShack.us.

Cheeba Chews Black Chocolate Taffy Chill and Chews–“The ideal way to describe the effects of these individually dosed three gram chocolate taffies. Known to provide a relaxing ‘body buzz,’ an indica chew great to consume to unwind and decompress. Settle in for a movie, or put your mind at ease with these indica blend chews,” is how Cheeba described these microdosed sweets. It isn’t Halloween unless you get some taffy, after all. Cheeba Chews has various products available in California, Nevada, and Colorado. At CheebaChews.com.

Evergreen Organix Magic Bar–“Made from scratch with all premium ingredients, Evergreen Organix Magic Bars are a rich layer bar” infused with cannabis. Sweet caramel batter is layered on a graham cracker crust, and then covered with coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and butterscotch morsels. Available with 25mg and 100mg THC options. Handcrafted in small batches, the company is locally-owned, family-operated, and has grown to become a leading supplier in Nevada. Their full range of baked treats includes cereal and chocolate bars, and even their own cannabutter and infused coconut oil for the DIY edible baker. At EvergreenOrganix.com.

Goodship Peppermint Patties–Made with organic, pure peppermint essential oil and organic dark chocolate; the smooth, cool fondant center is infused with C02-extracted cannabis oil for no unpleasant “weedy” taste. The peppermint patties are available in THC-only and THC/CBD varieties. At Goodship, consumers will find a full range of sweets, as well as the brand’s Heady Lecture series, where cannabis experts bring education and info to cannabis-curious series attendees. Available in Washington State. At TheGoodship.com.

incredibles Pumpkin Pie Delight Bar–This leading, award-winning edibles manufacturer offers its take on the beloved seasonal flavor. “Cool white chocolate with pumpkin spice and graham cracker for a medicated experience you’ll savor,” described incredibles, adding that each batch is triple-tested for dosing accuracy and quality. Gluten-free, non-GMO, and made with sustainably sourced oils. Other chocolate bars in fall-like flavors from incredibles include S’mores, Peanut Budda Buddha, Affogato, and Fireberry, among many other choices. At ILoveincredibles.com.

VCC Brands 1:1 THC/CBD Churro Cookies–With a flavor that’s on track to be one of the newest yummy trends in treats, traditional churro cinnamon-sugar flavor is all rolled up into delicious mini Vegan cookies, from a pioneering, award-winning California edible manufacturer. Founded as Venice Cookie Company, VCC Brands is a family-owned, local brand available in California. Each childproof, resealable pouch contains 100mg CBD and 100mg THC. 10mg CBD, 10mg THC per cookie, with ten cookies per pouch, for manageable microdosing. At VCCBrands.com.

Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week

It was another busy week for the cannabis industry, with Aurora Cannabis Inc (OTC: ACBFFapplying to list on the New York Stock Exchange, tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) reportedly showing interest inin Aphria Inc. (OTC: APHQF), and Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMTconfirming it conducted “some preliminary fact-finding” related to selling cannabis-based products in its stores.

The biggest news come out of MedMen Enterprises Inc (OTC: MMNFF), which completed its $682-million acquisition of PharmaCann, becoming the largest U.S. cannabis company.

“This week’s move by MedMen shows that the company is hyper focused on grabbing as much market share, as early as it possibly can. It’s a big pivot from the company’s original strategy to stick to limited specific markets,” Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga. “Another big development this week was the reverse takeover plan from Cresco Labs, and the merge between MJ Freeway and MTech [see our notes below]. It’s possible that, with MJ Freeway getting listed on Nasdaq, we’ll get our first female CEO of a cannabis company to trade on a major exchange.”

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) said it lifted its ban of search results for cannabis-related pages.

“It has been the best news Facebook has released all year,” said Abraham Villegas, owner of the digital marketing agency AV Social Strategies, and Founder of The Medical Cannabis Community. "I operate several online medical cannabis communities, and what is most disheartening is that people truly rely on our groups for information. Many people have no other way of finding out about cannabis and as a result, frequently resort to online searches for answers… I am so glad and grateful that this shadow ban has been lifted as it will once again allow people the chance to find our communities and obtain the relief they need.”

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., closed the week flat, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, gained almost 1 percent.

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) rose 2.3 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) rose 1.2 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the week down 4.1 percent.

Stock Moves

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $100 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

• 22nd Century Group Inc (NYSE: XXII): up 6.4 percent

• Aphria Inc (OTC: APHQF): up 16.4 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): up 4.7 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): up 0.8 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF): down 7.6 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF): up 3.1 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): down 5.6 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): down 5.2 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF): up 36 percent

• THC Biomed Intl Ltd (OTC: THCBF): down 3.3 percent

• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): up 1 percent

• Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ZYNE): down 6.4 percent

In Other News

The parliament in Lithuania voted to legalize medicines containing cannabis. “If the parliament is ready to adopt this decision, we will make a very important step towards guaranteeing the best possible treatment for patients suffering from serious illnesses,” Mykolas Majauskas, member of the parliament, said during the parliamentary debates.

Benzinga reached out to Eduardo Blasina, managing director of Cannabis Uruguay Ltd. and founder of the Montevideo Cannabis Museum.

“This reaffirms the huge opportunity that the cannabis market represents, not only in the U.S. and Canada, but also on a global scale. Take a country like Uruguay, which can export cannabis-derived products… The potential is massive,” he said. “Every step in the direction of legalization helps us advance on our ethical commitment to providing access to cannabis to anyone who needs it.”

MTech Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: MTEC) and MJ Freeway entered into a definitive merger agreement. Under the deal, Denver-based MJ Freeway and MTech will become subsidiaries of a newly-created company. The merger, which is subject to approval by equity holders of each company, is slated to close in early 2019.

"This merger allows us to amplify our vision and strategy, thus extending our leadership role along the cannabis technology ecosystem," said Jessica Billingsley, co-founder and CEO of MJ Freeway. "With an increased balance sheet, we have the financial support needed to help cannabis businesses make intelligent decisions faster. With our acquisition partners, MJ Freeway will fast-track growth and expand product offerings to meet the evolving demands of a highly regulated industry."

MediPharm Labs (OTC: MLCPF) announced a three-year Cannabis Concentrate Program Agreement with Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc (OTC: EMHTF) whereby Emerald will provide MediPharm with dried cannabis to create premium quality cannabis oils, marking the fifth agreement of this kind for the processor.

Medical Marijuana Inc. announced the launch of its newest brand, Dixie Botanicals Canada, partnering with Canadian extraction and formulation company Salvation Botanicals.

"The company is pleased to be launching this well-known brand to such a promising new market," said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. "Dixie Botanicals Canada now offers a collection of Triple Lab Tested CBD products while consistently meeting its ever-growing customers' needs."

Phoenix Life Sciences International Limited (OTC: MJMD) said it received approval from the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) to establish operations in the country and manufacture botanical pharmaceutical products.

“This is a major step for the company and our operations in Vanuatu,” said Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Life Martin Tindall. “With this application approval, we can begin to establish the necessary resources required to initiate clinical trials and develop scalable production capacity for our botanical pharmaceutical medications and begin leading the global health initiative to end the diabetes epidemic.”

Green Flower is expanding its educational initiatives, announcing this week a new strategic partnership with dialogEDU. The companies are working together to provide designs for online higher education cannabis programs for trade schools, colleges and universities entering the global cannabis education market. Green Flower will utilize its extensive library of videos and multimedia assets combined with dialogEDU to provide schools with designs for cannabis courses for online and on-ground students that may be used for programs leading to certificates, diplomas and degrees.

CannAmerica Brands announced it will list on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Oct. 15.

PotBotics Inc. announced it entered into a letter of intent to complete a reverse takeover of Express Capital Corp. Upon completion, the resulting entity will apply to list its common shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

"We're excited to give everyone the opportunity to take part in one of the leading medical cannabis technology companies. With an established AI ecosystem and the upcoming release of the first dose-measuring vaporizer, the RYAH, we hope to bring more professionalism and transparency to the medical community while tracking some of the most exciting analytics this industry desperately needs,” said David Goldstein, CEO of Potbotics.

Azuca, a line of fast-acting, chef-quality cannabis edibles and ingredients, launched in the Massachusetts medical market through a licensing of its Intellectual Property to iAnthus. Azuca products rely on a patent-pending technology that wraps cannabis molecules to make them more water soluble, allowing for easy digestion in the stomach, and avoiding the gut and liver where cannabis is degraded and absorption is slowed.

“I developed the Azuca brand in order to solve the most prominent issues facing the cannabis edibles sector today: lack of proper dosing and unpredictable effects. With fast-acting, consistent results in precise doses, Azuca products are designed to build trust among both new and seasoned cannabis consumers alike,” said Ron Silver, Founder and Chief Creative Officer. “Our team is in the midst of executing a multi-state—and global—expansion strategy, which will bring Azuca’s breakthrough technology to consumers worldwide who are looking for an approachable, tasty and reliable edibles experience.”

Cresco Labs announced its plans to reverse takeover Randsburg International Gold Corp. This move would allow Cresco to go public and seek approval to list its stock on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

Find out more about these news and others on Green Acre Capital, Canadian legalization and Aphria with our friends at Marijuana Money, who make a weekly video summary of the top financial and business news in the cannabis industry.

More From Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk

During the week, Benzinga also reported on:

New Frontier Data’s take on the DEA’s re-scheduling of cannabis-derived drugs, on California’s legalization of hemp cultivation, and on how cannabis production consumes less energy than McDonald's Corp (NYSE: MCD) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX).

Pyxus International Inc (NYSE: PYX)’s recent breakout and Citron Research’s bullish view.

The most actively-traded over-the-counter stocks for September.

Cowen’s view on Tilray, Canopy and the overall cannabis market.

The views of Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial, on cannabis stocks’ valuations.

New ways for cannabis companies to raise money.

Blockchain as an alternative solution for the industry’s banking challenges.

Interesting Data

Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics released a report looking into the edibles market. According to the papers, people in the U.S. and Canada spent more than $1 billion in cannabis edibles last year and consumption is expected to surpass $4.1 billion by 2022.

Events Calendar

Oct. 11–13: The New West Summit, a conference focused o disruptive developments in technology, science, media and investment within the cannabis space will hit Oakland, California. Speakers include Weediquette’s Krishna Andavolu, Slow Ventures’ Dave Morin, BerneSteve DeAngelo, Ricardo Baca and others.

Oct. 16: Voters in five states (Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah) will have their say on how marijuana should be regulated. Ballotpedia, the encyclopedia of American politics, is hosting a free webinar tracking these measures. Editor-in-Chief Geoff Pallay told Benzinga: “Heading into November, 31 states and D.C. have legalized or decriminalized marijuana. Nine states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. The legalization, in one form or another, of marijuana has had far reaching implications for the country and ballot measures have been at the forefront of this legalization. 2018 will be no exception.”

Oct. 19–21: The Initiative presents Hustle Hard: A Cannabis Friendly Retreat For Women Who Mean Business, a three-day intensive retreat for women in cannabis in Bend, Oregon.

Oct. 20–27: A coalition of over 20 organizations working at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and reparative justice, will join local and community groups across the country for the inaugural National Expungement Week (N.E.W.). Conceived to aid those disenfranchised by the war on drugs, N.E.W. will offer free clinics to help to remove, seal, or reclassify eligible convictions from criminal records. N.E.W. events will be held in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Haven, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Organizers will also provide attendees with a varied (depending upon location) range of supportive services including employment resources, voter engagement, health screenings and more.

Oct. 24: Fast Company's Innovation Festival session on Cannabusiness is coming to New York City. Panelists include Verena VonPfetten, co-founder, Gossamer, Michael Steinmetz, CEO of Flow Kana, and Karan Wadhera, Managing Partner of Casa Verde Capital. Panel discussion will cover the three principal ways individuals are jumping into cannabis: from plant touching operations rooted in northern California’s sustainable cannabis community, to a celebrity-backed investment fund, to a woman-led media company.

Oct. 25–26: Enlighten, the first full-scale enterprise technology solution in the cannabis space will be partnering with Lemonhaze to put on The Lemonhaze Cannabis & Comedy Convention, taking place at the newly refurbished Tacoma Dome. This event hopes to be for Cannabis what SXSW has been for technology, pairing innovation and a hub of influence with fun and education. The event will feature comedy by Doug Benson and will combine a major networking event for the cannabis industry.

Oct. 30–31: Michigan is hosting its 1st Commercial Cannabis Conference & Expo. This inaugural year is special - celebrating its first year in a commercial framework and supporting the upcoming recreational legalization vote. Collectively, the state's cannabis community is taking a stand for a healthy and strong cannabis industry in Michigan. Sponsorship, booths, and tickets are available.

Nov. 1: The Arcview Group, CannaTech and URI Capital Management are co-hosting Hong Kong’s first-ever Cannabis Investor Symposium, focused on the global investment opportunity, with an emphasis in those attractive to the Asian market.