The North American Marijuana Index dipped back down again on Thursday, with pot stocks falling one day after the Senate Agriculture Committee voted 20-1 to pass farm bill legislation that included Mitch McConnell’s (R-Kentucky) provision to legalize hemp. In McConnell’s words, it is a “landmark” piece of legislation that would remove hemp from the Federal Controlled Substances Act, put forward as a means to replace the dying tobacco trade in Kentucky. The bill is largely expected to pass with bipartisan support, especially with Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) giving the bill his backing, though it still needs to go through the House before it reaches the President’s desk.
Of note was the last minute addition and defeat of Senator Chuck Grassley’s amendment to the bill, which sought to alter the definition of hemp by removing the terms “cannabinoids,” “extracts” and “derivatives.” As North Carolina attorney and cannabis advocate Rod Kight pointed out, Grassley’s amendment was to be a giveaway to Big Pharma, allowing for the development and distribution of “marihuana or cannabidiol” solely for medical research or drug development. Kight, who authors the Kight on Cannabis blog noted that the amendment would have effectively killed the CBD industry in its current form.
“It would have undermined the existing and rapidly growing hemp industry,” Kight said via email. “It was a giveaway to Big Pharma to the detriment of small business hemp growers, processors, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in favor of multinationals. And, for consumers, the effect would have been to limit their access to beneficial cannabinoids used for health and well being. In a word, it was atrocious.”
In fact, following the amendment’s defeat, Grassley was the lone opposing vote on the bill coming out of committee. “I'm very happy that the lone "no" vote lodged in the Committee meeting was Grassley himself and that all other members voted in favor of the bill without the Amendment,” said Kight.
Wall Street continued to generate returns for investors on Thursday, with both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq ending the day higher. News that the European Central Bank would avoid raising rates until next year, coupled with what the investment world considers positive economic news helped the market reach another day of record closing highs.
"People are looking at potential tightening on the part of the ECB and realizing it may not come to fruition," said Stephen Massocca, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in an interview with Reuters. "I think people saw that today and thought that was positive news."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.89 points, or 0.1 percent, to close out the day at 25,175.31, and the S&P 500 rose 6.86 points, or 0.25 percent, to end the day at 2,782.49. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite climbed 65.34 points, or 0.85 percent, to finish Thursday at 7,761.04.
The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ.TO) fell CAD$0.06 per share, or 0.33 percent to finish out the day at CAD$18.38, and the Evolve Marijuana ETF (SEED.TO) fell CAD$0.29 per share, or 1.66 percent, to end the day at CAD$17.22.
Aphria Is Hiring
Putting out the “Help Wanted” sign is Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) of whom it was reported by CBC News is looking for employees for their Leamington, Ontario facility. The report follows on the heels of last week’s announcement that the company would raise $225 million to expand the facility, with $55 million earmarked for cannabis extractions. According to CBC News, Aphria is working with some outside companies to develop a variety of new oils for their products.
CEO Vic Neufeld announced that the company is looking for new employees to help make the new products. "I could see anywhere from 20 or 30 employees — but these are going to be not general greenhouse labourers, rather semi to skilled employees that know how to run an oil distillate," he said according to CBC News. Those with a scientific background are now being sought out by the company.
Though prices have been troubled as of late, Aphria ended Thursday up CAD$0.09 per share, an increase of 0.79 percent, to finish the day at CAD$11.54.
The Hydropothecary Corporation (TSXV:THCX) had the first two zones of its greenhouse expansion licensed by Health Canada under the ACMPR… Maricann Group Inc. (CSE:MARI) (OTCQB:MRRCF) updated the market about their letter of intent to acquire a license in Malta… Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB) expects its first harvest from its Aurora Sky facility this month.
Stopped off at #AuroraSky to huddle w @dmacpher re first harvest this month, automation, robotics, additional tech. Astonishing facility. All working perfectly, touch wood. This is 1 of the first 2 rooms in cultivation - 1 of 17 flower rooms of 34,000 sq ft each. pic.twitter.com/5jKkBUU2AN
— Cam Battley (@CamBattley) June 14, 2018
Senator Rob Portman Just Says No
From the DC Examiner comes a discussion with Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on the opioid crisis in America. Watch as the Senator talks about cannabis and how he is against giving states greater power to set their own laws when it comes to marijuana legalization. The conversation comes on the heels of the recent STATES Act that was introduced into the Senate last week by the bipartisan coalition of Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).