France has launched a public consultation about cannabis legalization asking citizens about their views on cannabis and what government policies people would prefer, France24 reports. While the comment period is open until February 28, more than 175,000 people have already responded on the website since January 13. Normally such consultations get about 30,000 responses, the report says.
France has the highest rates of cannabis use in Europe.
Questions posed by the consultation include: “Do you think current policies on cannabis are effective in fighting against drug trafficking?” and “Do you think the risks associated with cannabis are the same as, more serious than or less serious than those associated with alcohol consumption?”
Several Canadian cannabis company CEOs were among the highest paid corporate executives in the nation in 2019, according to a Centre for Policy Alternatives’ analysis titled “The Golden Cushion: CEO compensation in Canada.”
Aphria Inc. CEO Irwin D. Simon was the seventh-highest-compensated executive earning more than $18.4 million in 2019. The company reported a $16.5 million net loss in fiscal year 2019.
Former Cronos Group CEO Michael Gorenstein earned about $15 million in 2019, making him the 14th-highest-paid executive on the list. Cronos reported a $121 million operating loss during the 2019 fiscal year.
In 2020, one of the most interesting themes of the cannabis sector was related to the number of reverse stock splits that were announced by large companies. The reason we found this interesting is because these cannabis operators were forced to conduct reverse stock splits in order to remain listed on a big board US stock exchange like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) or the Nasdaq.
So far this year, we have seen the reverse stock split trend continue and we expect to see more reverse splits that we did in 2020. Today, we want to highlight 5 cannabis companies that have either conducted a reverse stock split to uplist onto one of these big board stock exchanges or companies that have been forced to conduct a reverse stock split to remain listed on such exchanges.
Aurora: Conducts Reverse Split to Remain Listed on the NYSE
We believe that Aurora Cannabis (ACB.TO) (ACB) is the most high-profile company to conduct a reverse stock split in order to remain listed on the NYSE. Last year, the Canadian cannabis producer announced a 12 for 1 reverse stock split to bring the stock price well above the exchange’s minimum required price level.
Following the reverse stock split, Aurora Cannabis traded in a volatile pattern and this is a trend that we continue to closely follow. The company has reported a number of transformational developments following the reverse split and we will monitor how the changes supports the growth of the business over the long-term.
HEXO: Lowered the Size of the Planned Reverse Split
From a reverse stock split standpoint, HEXO Corporation (HEXO.TO) (HEXO) has followed a pattern that is similar to Aurora Cannabis. The reason we consider it to be similar and not the same as Aurora Cannabis is due to HEXO’s management team changing the structure of the reverse split prior to it taking effect.
In late December, HEXO completed a 4 for 1 reverse stock split and the trend has been less volatile when compared to Aurora Cannabis. A few weeks prior to the split taking effect, the management team reported to have changed the terms of the transaction from being an 8 for 1 reverse split to a 4 for 1 reverse split.
Prior to the stock splits taking effect, there were major differences between HEXO and Aurora Cannabis. From the number of shares outstanding to the strategic partners that are involved with the businesses, HEXO seems to be better positioned for long-term growth and we will monitor how the story advances from here.
Lexaria: Conducts Reverse Split to List on the Nasdaq
Earlier this week, Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (LEXX: Nasdaq) (LXX.CN) surprised the market and announced that it will conduct a 30 for 1 reverse stock split. The next day, Lexaria reported a major milestone and commenced trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
Unlike Aurora Cannabis and HEXO, Lexaria conducted a reverse stock split to trade above the $4 minimum price level that is required by the Nasdaq to list. When Lexaria announced that it would uplist to the Nasdaq, it also announced an underwritten public offering of approximately $9.6 million worth of units.
Going forward, Lexaria intends to use the net proceeds for research and development studies, patent and legal fees, and general working capital purposes. The company has strategic partnerships with two major tobacco companies, Altria (MO) and British America Tobacco (BTI). We consider these relationship to be significant for Lexaria over the long-term and will monitor how the market responds to the new listing.
FSD Pharma: A Nasdaq Up-Listing that has Gone Wrong
2020 was a strange year for the global economy as well as the cannabis sector. In January 2020, FSD Pharma (HUGE.CN) (HUGE: Nasdaq) announced that it was approved to commence trading on the Nasdaq and this was a development that we found to be surprising to say the least. Since inception, we have been cautious with FSD Pharma and believe that there are much mor attractive opportunities on the market.
A few months before FSD Pharma was approved to trade on the Nasdaq, the company announced a 201 for 1 reverse stock split. Although the reverse stock split played an important role in the up-listing, it also made the stock much less liquid. Since conducting the split, the trend has been to the downside and we will continue to monitor the opportunity from the sidelines.
Sundial Growers: Expect a Reverse Split in 2021
Sundial Growers Inc. (SNDL) is a Canadian cannabis company that we expect to follow the path of HEXO and Aurora Cannabis (from a reverse stock split standpoint). In August 2019, Sundial went public on the Nasdaq and the trend has been ugly since the first day of trading.
Last month, Sundial announced that it would transfer the listing of its stock to the Nasdaq Capital Market. This was done so the company could take advantage of the additional 180 calendar day compliance period that is offered on the Nasdaq Capital Market. This development extends the period that Sundial has to regain compliance with Nasdaq’s minimum bid price requirement. Like FSD Pharma, we remain very cautious with Sundial and will monitor how the story advances from the sidelines.
Michael Berger is Managing Partner of StoneBridge Partners LLC. SBP continues to drive market awareness for leading firms in the cannabis industry throughout the U.S. and abroad.
MediPharm Labs Corp. (TSX: LABS) (OTCQX: MEDIF) (FSE:MLZ) a global leader in specialized, research-driven pharmaceutical-quality cannabis extraction, distillation and derivative products, today announced the appointment of Warren Everitt to its Board of Directors (the “Board”), effective immediately.
Mr. Everitt joined MediPharm Labs in 2017 to establish the Company’s presence in the Australian market. As the founding CEO of Australia Pacific, he oversaw all aspects of the build out, start-up and commercialization of the GMP-certified extraction operation in Wonthaggi, Australia including licensing, factory design, finance, sales and marketing. Under his ongoing leadership, MediPharm Labs Australia has developed an impressive customer portfolio in the Asia Pacific and European medical and wellness cannabis markets.
“In reviewing the stewardship needs of a business that is rapidly expanding in the most promising cannabis markets worldwide, the Board concluded that Warren’s unique expertise, diverse perspectives and two decades of proven international experience would be highly accretive to MediPharm Labs’ corporate governance,” said Pat McCutcheon, Chairman, MediPharm Labs. “From start up to commercialization and now to operationalization of MediPharm Labs Australia as a dominant producer, Warren has achieved what few executives in our nascent industry have and has done so cost effectively and with a keen eye to talent development. For these reasons, we are delighted to welcome Warren to the Board.”
Before joining MediPharm Labs first as Managing Director, Australia, and subsequently being appointed CEO Australia Pacific, Mr. Everitt served in progressively more responsible leadership roles at MarketOne International, a global consulting firm specializing in marketing and lead generation. Over eight years, he founded MarketOne’s Asia Pacific operations in Melbourne, Singapore, Bangalore and Tokyo that serve some of the world’s leading brands. Earlier in his 20-year career he served as a consultant in the UK, Europe, Singapore and Canada and founded a leadership and performance coaching consultancy. He is a graduate of Swinburne University of Technology (Bachelor of Computer Science) and Chisholm Institute in Melbourne. An Australian citizen, he currently resides in Melbourne.
“As pharmaceutical and manufacturing experts with two fully GMP certified platforms and a portfolio of enabling licences, MediPharm Labs is positioned for a new wave of growth as we open the door to sophisticated new pharma accounts and new medical and wellness-focused cannabis companies in emerging international jurisdictions,” said Mr. Everitt. “Through this Board appointment, I look forward to serving with experienced, invested Directors who are setting the tone for disciplined execution that benefits all stakeholders.”
With Mr. Everitt’s appointment, MediPharm Labs’ Board of Directors will consist of eight members, five of whom are independent. The independent members include recognized experts in the pharmaceutical, pharmacy, consumer packaged goods, clinical research, finance and capital markets industries.
About MediPharm Labs Corp.
Founded in 2015, MediPharm Labs specializes in the production of purified, pharmaceutical-quality cannabis oil and concentrates and advanced derivative products utilizing a Good Manufacturing Practices certified facility with ISO standard-built clean rooms. MediPharm Labs has invested in an expert, research-driven team, state-of-the-art technology, downstream purification methodologies and purpose-built facilities with five primary extraction lines for delivery of pure, trusted and precision-dosed cannabis products for its customers. Through its wholesale and white label platforms, MediPharm Labs formulates, develops (including through sensory testing), processes, packages and distributes cannabis extracts and advanced cannabinoid-based products to domestic and international markets. As a global leader, MediPharm Labs has completed commercial exports to Australia and has fully commercialized its wholly-owned Australian extraction facility. MediPharm Labs Australia was established in 2017.
This news release contains “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” (collectively, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements and are based on expectations, estimates and projections as at the date of this news release. Any statement that involves discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions, future events or performance (often but not always using phrases such as “expects”, or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, “plans”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “forecasts”, “estimates”, “believes” or “intends” or variations of such words and phrases or stating that certain actions, events or results “may” or “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken to occur or be achieved) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements. In this news release, forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, statements regarding: rapid expansion in the most promising cannabis markets worldwide; a new wave of growth; sophisticated new pharma accounts; new medical and wellness-focused cannabis companies in emerging international jurisdiction; and disciplined execution that benefits all stakeholders. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results and future events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; the inability of MediPharm Labs to obtain adequate financing; the delay or failure to receive regulatory approvals; and other factors discussed in MediPharm Labs’ filings, available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com . There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements and information contained in this news release. Except as required by law, MediPharm Labs assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements of beliefs, opinions, projections, or other factors, should they change.
Ambassador of Happiness wasn’t just a nickname, or some informal moniker used around his inner circle of close friends and colleagues, but rather it was the official and legal title for Joel Matthew Fischer, a co-owner of Oregon-based East Fork Cultivars. For IRS purposes, he was literally the company’s Ambassador of Happiness.
Along with his fellow co-owners – Nathan Howard, Aaron Howard and Mason Walker – Fischer was part of a quartet known as the East Dorks on East Fork Ranch in Takilma, about 40 miles southeast of Medford, where their cannabis and hemp business launched in 2015. They own about 40,000 square feet of canopy along with 12 acres of craft hemp.
Also a licensed realtor, real estate investor and personal finance coach, Fischer died unexpectedly Jan. 8, at age 37, leaving his East Fork family devastated. Fischer is survived by his wife, Tricia Chin, mother, Terry Fischer, and brothers Mike Fischer and Dave Fischer.
“His death has broken me,” Nathan Howard said in a post on social media. “When I’m able to put myself back together, I hope to do so with his spirit, love and approach to life as guideposts.”
Howard described Fischer as a “magical” person who went through life with “surreal zest” and passion that is legendary among his friends and family.
Fischer, who grew up in Portland, built and developed an ability to impact those around him through his belief that people are capable of so much more than they think.
“There’s room for everyone to be further empowered in their lives, and they really just need a mentor,” Howard said of Fischer’s ideology. “So, a cornerstone to Joel’s approach to everything was that if people believed they can do it, they can. And if people have been traumatized or beaten down or bullied or told by others that they can’t do it, it’s the worst thing if they internalize that, because that makes it all the more likely that they won’t change their lives or do what they want to do.”
In addition to empowering others to follow their passions, Fischer was big on giving away small gifts, like organic lavender that he’d buy in bulk and put in small, blue vials to keep in his pocket and hand out to people he’d meet for the first time.
Not to mention, Fischer would often help counsel others for free, whether it came to buying a house or just financial planning in general. His generosity earned him the nickname, “Patron Saint of East Fork Cultivars.”
“It was small and big stuff,” Howard said. “But the Ambassador of Happiness title was really about helping other people find more happiness in their lives.”
According to his obituary, Fischer made a point of making those around him feel loved. He was always up for an adventure and spent much of the last few years traveling the world. His presence in Oregon’s cannabis community, and in his own community, was extensive.
“The impact he’s had on people across Oregon and the world is spectacular,” Howard said. “And [it’s] only becoming more clear in his death. His accomplishments, personal and professional, are similarly striking.”
Nathan and Aaron Howard also experienced the grief of losing a loved one when their other brother, Wesley Howard, died in 2017 from complications associated with a severe case of neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue such as the brain, spinal column and nerves.
Wesley’s condition is what sparked the Howards to start growing medical cannabis at their southern Oregon home, a former llama breeding ranch, in an effort to help their brother manage his pain and other ailments.
When his brother Wesley died, Nathan Howard said Fischer was there for him.
“Joel and I were together at a business meeting, working to build what’s become East Fork, when I got the call that my older brother Wesley had suddenly passed away,” Howard said. “Joel drove me to Wesley’s apartment, hugged me, stayed with me while saying goodbye to his body, and helped my family make all the post-death arrangements that we’re now making for Joel. He shared essential wisdom he had gained after losing his father far too soon.”
But Fischer didn’t leave behind just his tight-knit community of about 25 co-workers at East Fork Cultivars. On a memorial website created for Fischer, those who knew him from all walks of life shared their condolences and memories.
Before joining East Fork, Fischer, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Oregon State University, spent 12 years working in Oregon politics. Oregon state Sen. Sara Gelser and former Oregon House Speaker Dave Hunt paid tribute to Fischer with their testimonials.
“My heart is broken,” Sen. Gelser said. “I began working with Joel early, early, early in my legislative career. He was always so bright and funny and cheerful and flexible and charismatic. To all who were lucky to have him be part of your regular life, please know how deeply admired he is, how loved he is and that you are wrapped in love in this time of sorrow.”
Hunt wrote on Fischer’s memorial page that they both grew up as sons of American Baptist preachers, but they really got to know each other when Fischer started his political journey on former state Rep. Chris Edwards’ legislative campaign in 2006 in Eugene.
“Although Joel and Chris were both proud Beavers, it was fun to watch him hide his ‘colors’ and find success in the heart of Duck country,” Hunt said about Fischer being an Oregon State graduate working in the same city as the University of Oregon. “His successful journey then continued in and outside the [Oregon] Capitol. He demonstrated his ultimate commitment to equity and justice at [Oregon Business Industry] in 2018.”
Hunt continued and said, “Joel and I both lost our fathers about 15 years ago. We shared many conversations since then about how much we missed our dads and struggled with their premature deaths. May God bring comfort to Joel’s wife, mom Terry Sue, family and friends during these tragic days.”
Early on in Fischer’s political career, he was the policy adviser for current Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, whom he helped redesign the state’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program – which is designated to help low-income families with children achieve economic self-sufficiency – and guide it through the political process, according to Fischer’s LinkedIn page.
When it came to cannabis legislation, Howard said Fischer was involved in the work that led to the passing of Ballot Measure 91, which legalized adult-use cannabis in the state in 2014.
Oregon state Sen. Michael Dembrow, whose district Fischer resided in for a long time, will be introducing a bill in the upcoming legislative session to honor Fischer’s memory, legacy and all of his political contributions on the floor of the upper chamber, Sen. Dembrow confirmed. “Joel was a great guy, much loved and respected by those he worked with at the [Oregon] Capitol,” Sen. Dembrow said.
While Fischer’s political impact extended to all corners of the state, back on the ranch at East Fork is where he found his favorite original cultivar – sour pineapple. Mentally, Fischer said in his company bio that it picked him up when he was down and settled him down when he was up. Physically, he said it is excellent for post-workout recovery and general relief. Those who also enjoy East Fork’s sour pineapple can do so with a connection to Fischer.
Since last Friday, Howard said he’s spent a lot of time with Fischer’s family and friends at Fischer’s home trying to wrap their minds around the fact that he’s gone.
“We spoke most days for the past five years,” Howard said. “Many of my favorite memories from recent life are with Joel. We didn’t say goodbye to each other when we were done hanging out or hopping off the phone – we said, ‘I love you.’”
The UFC is looking to get involved with research into psychedelic drugs as a therapy for fighters’ brain health.
The promotion has been in contact with Johns Hopkins University about its psychedelics studies with an eye toward seeing if the drugs can be helpful for fighters dealing with brain issues, UFC president Dana White told MMA Junkie on Wednesday.
“We’re diving into that,” White said.
UFC senior vice president of health and performance Jeff Novitzky told ESPN that the interest came from a segment from HBO’s “Real Sports” last month. Novitzky said White gave him a “directive” to look more into psychedelic research and he has been in contact with Johns Hopkins over the past few weeks.