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GW Pharmaceuticals: Epidiolex sales near $300 million in 2019.
The British company, which is the world’s most prominent cannabis-focused pharmaceutical company, released sunny preliminary unaudited Q4 and full year 2019 numbers this week. (Final results will be out on Feb 25.)
The company’s CBD-based drug Epidiolex was approved by the US FDA in June 2018, the first ever cannabis plant extract to be approved as a medicine in the US. GW estimates that sales for 2019 will come in at $296 million, globally.
The company is also pushing the product in Europe, and recently announced that Epidiolex (also spelled Epidyolex outside the US) will be costs-covered by the NHS in England starting this year.
The first earnings of 2020 begin to roll in.
The final earnings season of 2019 was a rough one for cannabis companies, especially the Canadian ones, and so far 2020 isn’t looking much brighter. (All following dollar amounts are CAD.) Aphria reported yesterday that its net revenue had decreased from the prior quarter, from $126.1 million to $120.6 million, which they attributed to a decrease in revenue out of Germany (how the government reimburses the costs of medical cannabis has affected its German distributor CC Pharma, which Aphria acquired). And Aphria’s net loss for Q2 2020 came in at $7.9 million, compared to a net income of $16.4 million last quarter and of $54.8 million in Q1 2019.
The company has also adjusted its outlook for FY 2020: net revenue is expected to be between $575 million to $625 million, down from $650 million to $700 million.
The factors that went into this include “slower than expected retail location rollout in Ontario” and “the temporary banning of vape products in the Province of Alberta,” among other factors.
An interesting item from the call with investors: with regard to Aphria’s interest in the US, interim CEO Irwin D. Simon said, “We’re not going to jump into the US with a lot of unknown out there and last year when the Acreage-Canopy deal happened, I came back and said it was like buying a lottery ticket.” (Canada’s Canopy Growth agreed to buy US multistate operator Acreage in a multibillion dollar deal to be completed upon federal legalization in the US.)
… And another Canadian company, Organigram, had somewhat better news.
Its Q1 2020 net revenue came in at $25.2 million, up from $16.3 million in the prior quarter (and more than double its Q1 2019 net revenue of $12.4 million). Though, it had a net loss of $.9 million, while in Q1 2019 the company had a net income of $29.5 million.
German researchers find “unanimous” support for CBD’s therapeutic efficacy in cancer treatment.
Researchers conducted a review of existing literature on “animal experiments and observations in humans” to learn more about THC and CBD, a cannabinoid of “particular importance.”
Initial human observations observations suggest confirmation of preclinical results, which highlight that CBD could be a potentially useful therapeutic treatment of cancer because of “inhibition of tumor growth.”
“Preclinical studies, particularly recent ones, including numerous animal models of tumors, unanimously suggest the therapeutic efficacy of CBD. In isolated combination studies, synergistic effects were generally observed,” the research concluded. “In addition, CBD may potentially play a role in the palliative care of patients, especially concerning symptoms such as pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Further human studies are warranted.”
The research was published in Germany’s Der Schmerz.
Montana legalization campaign takes a big step.
New Approach Montana announced yesterday that it had submitted to the secretary of state the language for two ballot initiatives. One is a statutory initiative that would legalize adult use cannabis and allow for sales, which will be taxed at 20%; revenue would go toward conservation programs and veterans’ services, among other allocations. The second initiative is a constitutional amendment that sets the legal age for consumption at 21.
If approved by the SOS and the state attorney general, 25,468 and 50,936 signatures must be gathered, respectively.
Cresco workers vote for union representation.
Tuesday night, workers at Cresco’s cultivation facility in Joliet, Illinois voted to be represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). These are the first cannabis industry workers in Illinois to vote in favor of union representation.
UFCW Local 881 filed a petition for election with the National Labor Relations Board last month. UFCW said Cresco tried to prevent workers from organizing, and that workers have complained about compensation, benefits, and schedules. And Monday night, presidential candidate Bernie Sanderstweeted his support for Cresco workers’ efforts to unionize.
This followed an effort by Green Thumb Industries workers in the state in late 2019 to be represented by the Teamsters, which Cannabis Wire covered here.
Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs co-founder and CEO, said in a statement to Cannabis Wire: “Throughout this process, we have respected, supported and protected the rights of our employees to make this important decision through an independent secret ballot election.”
New hires at Tilray, Arcview.
Tilray has named as its COO Jon Levin, formerly general manager of U.S. mass markets at beauty company Revlon, and as its CFO Michael Kruteck, formerly in similar roles at Molson Coors and Pharmaca. Tilray’s current CFO, Mark Castaneda, will help onboard Kruteck while also focusing on strategic business development.
And Arcview has named as its president, a newly created role, Kimberly Kovacs, who founded MyJane, a “cannabis wellness technology platform.”
Who wants to take over cannabis sales from the government of New Brunswick?
Since the launch of adult use sales in Canada, the province of New Brunswick has had lackluster cannabis sales via its province-run entity Cannabis NB. Late last year, the government put out an RFP to see who wants to take over adult use sales in the province.
Here are the eight entities that applied, including Loblaw, the largest grocery chain in the country:
• Canopy Growth Corp.
• Fire & Flower Inc.
• Green Stop Cannabis Ltd.
• Kiaro Brands Inc.
• Loblaw Companies Ltd.
• New Brunswick Association of Cannabis Distributors
• RSL NB
• YSS Corp.
“The strong interest in our RFP demonstrates that entrepreneurs from across Canada are ready to invest in New Brunswick,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves in a statement. “Opening this new sector of activity to business is a tangible example of our government’s commitment to energize the private sector.”
The winner is expected to be announced this spring. Among the criteria are “a viable plan to combat the illegal market” and “an approach to build strong, direct and indirect partnerships with local entrepreneurs and First Nations.” The province emphasizes that it will “require a strong financial offer from the successful proponent for the sales rights for cannabis.”
Vermont League of Cities & Towns circulates resolution ahead of adult use sales push.
The day after Vermont’s attorney general and key lawmakers held a press conference to push for adult use sales in the state, where cannabis has been legal sans sales (but with home grows) since 2018, the Vermont League of Cities & Towns urged localities to sign on to a resolution “that addresses municipal concerns around commercial marijuana marketplaces in Vermont.” (Read Cannabis Wire’s coverage of the conference here.)
Among their asks, which you can read in full here:
• “guaranteed municipal governments’ local regulatory, taxation authority, and revenue sharing”
• “voters in cities and towns must be granted the right to ‘opt-in’ to hosting cannabis establishments within their community”
• “local cannabis control commissions must be given the same level of authority as local control”
• “commissions that administer licenses and permits for the establishments that furnish alcohol”
• “authority to assess licensing and permitting fees for cannabis establishments”
• “that the town/city supports a local cannabis tax of five-percent, with seventy-percent of the revenues derived from the local cannabis tax retained by the host community of a retail establishment, and thirty-percent pooled and redistributed to municipalities that do not host retail establishments”