Weekly Roundup on the Cannabis Sector & Psychedelic Sector


Key Takeaways; Cannabis Sector

  • Canopy Growth secured $50M financing, and restructured debt with an institutional investor.
  • High Tide appointed a new CFO, as the company eyes long-term growth.
  • SNDL intends to move forward with Parallel and Skymint acquisitions, despites the deals facing litigation.
  • Schwazze settled wage theft claims amidst another legal challenges.

Key Takeaways; Psychedelic Sector

  • Awakn is facing hurdles amid financial filing delay.
  • Compass Pathways set to reveal first quarter 2024 financial results on May 8, 2024.

Cannabis stocks surged Tuesday afternoon on the news that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intends to reclassify marijuana to Schedule 3 of the Controlled Substances Act. While it’s not a done deal yet, this potential move represents a monumental shift, offering hope for easing the 280E tax burdens.

Below is a weekly roundup of what happened this week in the cannabis and psychedelic sectors. In this ever-evolving landscape, we explore the major developments and groundbreaking initiatives happening among companies operating in these industries; from advancements in medical research, therapeutic applications to shifts in legal frameworks and current market trends.

Top Marijuana Companies for Week

#1: Canopy Growth

Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corporation (NASDAQ: CGC) recently announced a significant financial move, securing approximately $50 million in new financing from an institutional investor. This marks the company’s second capital raise in recent months, as it aims to enhance liquidity and address debt concerns.

Under the agreement, Canopy issued a five-year convertible debenture valued at C$96.4 million ($71 million), with an annual interest rate of 7.5%. The debenture can be converted into Canopy common shares at C$14.38 per share, providing the investor with an opportunity for potential future equity. Additionally, the investor will receive 3.35 million common share purchase warrants, exercisable at C$16.18 per share over a five-year period.

This financing move also involves restructuring around C$27.5 million ($20.3 million) of debt scheduled to mature in September 2025. The company intends to utilize the $50 million net proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Canopy’s recent financial endeavors follow its earlier capital raise of about $35 million in January through a private placement, which was aimed at bolstering liquidity and reducing debt amid mounting losses. The company has been weighed down by challenges, and this was evident when Canopy recorded a loss of C$216 million in the quarter ending December 2023, primarily attributed to challenges in the Canadian recreational market, including persistent low wholesale pricing and profitability issues.

This latest infusion of capital through convertible debt signifies a potential financial bridge for Canopy as it aims to mitigate cash burn and navigate its path forward in the evolving cannabis industry landscape.

#2: High Tide,

High Tide Inc. (NASDAQ: HITI), a prominent Canadian adult-use cannabis retailer, recently announced the appointment of Mayank Mahajan as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). This move came after the departure of former CFO Rahim Kanji in February, marking a significant transition in the company’s financial leadership.

Mayank Mahajan brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having previously worked with reputable companies such as Everyday People Financial Corp, Metamaterial, and Jubilant Bhartiya Group.

High Tide CEO, Raj Grover, expressed confidence in Mahajan’s ability to drive the company forward; “Mayank will be a great addition to our team with his exceptional leadership skills, strategic financial acumen and forward-thinking mindset…His collaborative approach will help bridge the gap across all facets of our organization and will be instrumental in positioning High Tide for sustainable, long-term growth and success.” Raj Grover said in a statement.

In addition to Mahajan’s appointment, High Tide’s board approved the grant of 20,000 stock options and 591,772 restricted share units (RSUs) to officers, directors, and employees. Each RSU entitles the holder to acquire one common share upon vesting.

#3: SNDL

Canadian cannabis company SNDL Inc. (NASDAQ: SNDL) announced its affiliate, SunStream USA, is moving forward with acquiring equity stakes in U.S. multistate operators Parallel and Skymint, despite ongoing legal disputes surrounding the targeted acquisitions.

Although facing litigation, SNDL revealed that SunStream USA had received regulatory approval from Nasdaq for the proposed acquisitions, stating that the structure conforms with applicable laws following an “active dialogue.”

SunStream USA plans to restructure nonperforming credit investments to secure majority positions in both cannabis firms. However, the completion of the deals is contingent upon meeting closing conditions, and SNDL cannot fully consolidate SunStream’s financials until federal legalization occurs.

SNDL CEO, Zach George, emphasized the strategic potential of this initiative, stating; “This initiative creates attractive optionality for SNDL upon federal legalization to deploy additional investment capital into the SunStream USA Group structure, improving the return potential of attractive U.S. cannabis assets in growing markets.”

The acquisition involving Skymint faces challenges due to litigation brought forth by 3Fifteen Cannabis, who contests the legality of the deal. 3Fifteen alleges that Skymint failed to fully compensate for a previous acquisition agreement, leading to financial turmoil. A judge has temporarily halted Skymint’s receivership as the appeal proceeds. Similar allegations have been made regarding Parallel, with a lawsuit from an investor claiming an orchestrated takeover through unsustainable debt and receivership.

SNDL estimates that the acquisitions of Parallel and Skymint would position SunStream USA as a top 10 multistate operator, reaching over 60 million consumers across five states with $5 billion in aggregate market sales.

#4: Schwazze

Medicine Man Technologies, Inc. (OTC: SHWZ), a Denver-based cannabis multistate operator, which operates as Schwazze, recently settled a significant wage theft lawsuit in New Mexico, agreeing to pay $525,000 to budtenders who alleged misconduct. The lawsuit, brought by Justin Fowler and 19 other budtenders in New Mexico and Colorado, accused Schwazze of violating federal and state laws by mishandling tips, including uneven pooling and redirecting funds meant for staff meals.

Fowler’s lawsuit, filed in August 2023, highlighted several grievances, including Schwazze’s practice of allowing managers to manipulate tip pools and withholding tips from budtenders. Despite denying wrongdoing, Schwazze opted to settle, indicating a degree of accountability.

However, the settlement doesn’t mark the end of Schwazze’s legal troubles. A similar lawsuit, filed by former employee, shift leader, John Frost in Colorado, remains pending. Frost’s case alleges more severe misconduct, including harassment, intimidation, and discrimination. He accuses a manager of taking tip money, creating a toxic work environment, and even endangering employees during emergencies like the Marshall Fire.

Top Psychedelic Companies for Week

#1: Awakn

Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (CSE: AWKN) (OTC: AWKNF) a clinical-stage biotechnology company focusing on medication-assisted treatments for addiction, particularly Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), recently disclosed its plan to file its audited annual financial statements and MD&A for the financial year ended January 31, 2024, by May 30, 2024. This announcement came in line with the standard timeline applicable to venture issuers.

The company underwent a significant change in February 2024, when it delisted its common shares from Cboe Canada and listed them on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE). This transition made the company a venture issuer under Canadian securities law. However, due to the listing occurring twelve days after the financial year’s end, the filing deadline for financial statements technically remained that of non-venture issuers, which is 90 days from the financial year end.

As a result, Awakn Life Sciences Corp. was notified by the Ontario Securities Commission of its late filing and the potential issuance of a cease-trade order if the financial statements were not filed by 3:00 p.m. (EST) on May 7, 2024.

The company is undergoing an audit conducted by its auditor MNP LLP, expecting completion and filing of the financial statements by May 30, 2024. In anticipation of potential regulatory actions, Awakn has applied for a management cease trade order under National Policy 12-203 – Cease Trade Orders for Continuous Disclosure Defaults (“NP 12-203”). This measure, if approved, would allow individuals who are not directors, officers, or insiders of the company to continue trading in their securities.

Should the application for a management cease trade order be rejected, the company expects a full cease trade order to be issued shortly after May 7, 2024. In the meantime, Awakn announced its commitment to providing bi-weekly default status reports through news releases, complying with alternative information guidelines under NP 12-2023 until the filing requirements are met. The company assured stakeholders that there is no undisclosed material information concerning its affairs.

#2: Compass Pathways

COMPASS Pathways plc (NASDAQ: CMPS), a leading biotechnology company focused on advancing mental health treatments, announced its plans to unveil its financial performance for the first quarter of 2024 ending on March 31, 2024. The company is set to disclose its earnings and provide insights into recent business developments on May 8, 2024.

Investors and stakeholders are invited to join a conference call hosted by the management team at 8:00 am ET (1:00 pm UK) on the specified date. Participation in the call requires prior registration to receive a local or toll-free phone number along with a personal pin. Additionally, a live webcast of the call will be accessible on the Compass Pathways website, offering broader access to interested parties.

The company aims to offer transparency and engagement with its community by providing updates on its financial health and strategic initiatives. According to the company, the webcast will remain available on the company’s website for 30 days, ensuring accessibility for those unable to attend the live event.