Vol. 7, No. 2 -- Oct. 4, 2019 -- Edited by Dr. Lloyd Covens, DBA
MPP's PRO-ACTIVE RESPONSE TO VAPE CRISIS --In a no-nonsense White Paper, lead cannabis advocates at MPP suggests that state and federal agencies become empowered to "suspending, revoking or refusing to renew business licenses from violators.. order product recalls, issue bulletins(for health and safety)...and issue substantive fines." MPP called for strong labeling standards, a full "list of approved or prohibitive additives, particularly for inhaled products"--and research on what happens when those additives are super-heated in a vape. MPP also suggested that national "regulation of cannabis oil used in vape pen cartridges is not yet available"... forcing states to seek oversight of vaping with "a patchwork system." The White Paper also pointed out that many medical MJ cardholders prefer to use vaporizing for faster response to acute pain. "Consumers should be able to learn the provenance of a particular regulated cannabis product, including verification that the product came from one or more licensed businesses. At press time, CDC reported 18 deaths, and more than 1,080 lung damaged patients. "These illnesses are a tragedy, but they are also a chance for cannabis programs to increase their effectiveness" said MPP. In another vape response, the NCIA sent a member letter to Congress to suggest, again, that legalization would slow down production of illicit and deadly vape cartridges.See the full MPP White Paper here: www.mpp.org/VapingReport
Fall Hemp Harvest Projections: Under $3Bill, Over $6Bill? From isolate, to hemp crude (winterized) oil to refined full spectrum oil --and bulk smokable dry flower - who buys and processes which segment will answer the big question. Does the first all U.S. hemp/CBD harvest end up paying out for wholesale (farm) side product rise over $3billion, or perhaps rocket up to pass the $6billion dollar mark. No one will likely know until the new year, but "with great uncertainty, comes great reward... or great risk."
Unknown to the market is the true capacity of a few thousand processing centers, concentrated in the major growing states-- Kentucky, Oregon, Colorado, Tennessee. Montana, North Carolina and New York. Weighing down the net output of quality hemp-CBD have been a summer of:
extreme heat, extreme rain and flooding, hail and Hurricane Dorian (unleashing punishing winds and crop damage in North & South Carolina, and Virginia);
pests like grasshoppers and worms unable to be sprayed without EPA approved pesticides;
a freak (and freezing) winter snowstorm in Montana and Oregon at the end of Sept.;
problems getting proper and timely drying processes going for the hemp; and
continuing confusion of which states will allow biomass to be transmitted without interference.
While the USDA's Sept. 1st estimate of 420,ooo-plus acres planted is tough to verify, all agree that much less will reach the market. Hemp Benchmarks estimates that between 95Mil to 135Mil. pounds of hemp will be produced bearing between 8 and 10 percent CBD. At Kush.com, analyst Chase Nobles thinks some 180,ooo acres will be harvested. Furthermore, both PanXchange and Hemp Benchmarks agree that isolate prices will continue to fall-- and that bulk CBD flower(9 percent-plus) will continue to remain above $300 per pound through the fall. And for the price-per-percentage of high-yield CBD, the earlier-2019 price above $3.50 per point has given way to reported offers under $2 per percentage point of CBD.
"We have no idea where the pricing will bottom out," offers Hemp Today publisher Kehrt Reyher. From Europe, Reyher says the prior CBD market shipment to the US have dropped by 50% in 2019. Nobles says "Many farmers are holding back on contracts, hoping for higher prices, but that is not happening." For ten-percent raw CBD, Nobles reported a high percentage price of $3.94-- falling in September to an average $2.30 per point. And the educated guesses of Nobles and Reyher--both interacting with farmers expectations-- is that the planning for next Spring has already begun, evidenced by the increase in hemp seed prices since summer. It will be impossible for only one category of product type to be used for the entire fall crop, Hemp Benchmarks Keith Holocek did price out what that could mean, given the closing September prices. For zero-percent CBD isolate, HB projects a range of $2.9Bil to $4.5Bil., even as that category has shown a 25% decrease (see box below). If all the harvest went to winterized crude, HB suggests wholesale revenue would be $3.3Bil to $4.2Bil. And for the full spectrum distillate (with an average of 80% CBD, and perhaps 3 to 5% THC) wholesale totals would be $5.7Bil to $7.1Bill. if that was the only final product processed.
Will processors grow more selective as the fall harvest expands? South Dakota processing Hemp Processing Solutions says yes, writing in its customer memo, "no longer will extractors accept biomass of all varieties and types. Higher oil content, fiber-free biomass will soon become the standard by which all growers are judged in the eyes of the processors," opined the company. On the West Coast, major media quoted Roger Cockroft of Delta Separations who had a dire prediction that as much as 90 percent of the total U.S. crop might be left to rot in the field, due in part to a shortage of processors, caused in part by reticent banks not willing to fund hemp operations.
CNN's 5th national report on the cannabis revolution--this time Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at "The CBD Craze" noting, "research is slim, but success stories are not". In reviewing the major presence of CBD in every form, Gupta asks, "Has it gone too far?"-- also interviewing a young vaping victim who thought they were getting CBD, but instead got a toxic form of illegal "spice." Excerpt at https://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2019/09/27/weed-5-cbd-craze-sanjay-gupta-cnn-special-report.cnn
The researcher who discovered the active THC/CBD cannabinoids in cannabis has presented a breakthrough in isolating and synthesizing the "acid-forms" thought to be several times more effective in medical applications, like spasticity, anti-inflammation and nuero-protection. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam-- working with university researchers in Israel, Canada and Britain, along with three non-US for-profit concerns-- told the CannMed Conference last week that his team had developed "a process for creating synthetic, stable acids" which could be licensed for drug development or research. While difficult to product in quantity in growing plants, THCa and CBDa are thought to have superior bioavalability and water solubility. One of the partners, EPM said it expected to initially advance some acidic compounds for treating psoriasis(topical forms) and to begin clinical trials by the end of 2019.
While two known deaths have been attributed to vaping systems in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown is reported to be torn between declaring a moratorium on vape sales versus letting the crisis play out, and not disturb the significant cannabis/hemp processing industry in her state. Oregon has one of the nation's largest number of post harvest processing plants, and more than 1883 of growers who have reportedly produced a record crop, in spite of severe flooding, hail and an early frost snowstorm. Oregon agriculture officials said they had approved over 10.2Million square feet for indoor hemp grows, and granted another 61,640 acres, second only to Colorado. Brown is reported to be considering a 4-month ban on all vaping sales, mimicking the action of Massachusetts governor who placed a ban on all vaping products thru early 2020. A federal suit has been filed seeking to overturn the Massachusetts vaping moratorium.
Link-of-The-Week-- Seeking Alpha takes apart the future prospects for Canadian MJ giant, Canopy Growth, arguing that the buying spree set off by the $3.4Bil. investment by liquor giant Constellation Brands, is unlikely to pay-off for investors. Even as the analysis ran last week, Canopy reported its purchase of control in BioSteel Sports Nutrition, a Toronto-based producer of hydration and athletic nutrition products which now plans to move aggressively into the CBD space. Read the report entitled, "The Frankenstein Cannabis Company," by Seeking Alpha at https://seekingalpha.com/article/4293658-canopy-growth-frankenstein-cannabis-company
Alan Brochstein's New Cannabis Ventures that North American cannabis stock values had fall an average of 13.4 percent for 2019, thus far, reaching a two-year low for the 80-plus stocks tracked. Concerns about adverse U.S. federal oversight, have joined growing concerns about the industry-wide negative impact of the vaping crisis. Added to this are some particularly severe setbacks like Health Canada's revocation of licenses to Cann-Trust-- the company which illegally grew and exported MMJ crops from non-authorized buildings. The firing of Bruce Linton at Canopy may also have spooked the larger investment market, and the FDA slapping Curaleaf over CBD health claims have also shaken up the market. On a brighter note, NCV says more companies reported improved revenues in September, adding"one trend we have observed is that many of the companies are now providing pro-forma revenue as well, which is an attempt to more accurately portray the operations by taking into account the results of closed and pending acquisitions as the multi-state operator (MSO) space rapidly consolidate."
Senator Mitch McConnell wants the Drug Enforcement Agency to immediately find (and presumably license) a THC-measuring system which can be used by law enforcement in the field. Cited as a key concern among law enforcement's opposition to the growth of smokable hemp(under .03 THC)-- the inability to reliably track consumer use of non-THC hemp cigarettes (with similar smell and format to regular joints) has caused Florida and other jurisdictions to suspend enforcement against MJ users. In spite of more legal states arriving, NORML reports total MJ arrests rose for the third year in a row. For 2018, NORML cited FBI statistics reporting 663,367 cannabis arrests (with about 90% tied to possession-only), up from 659,700 arrests in 2017.
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