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Curaleaf shines in falling cannabis sector on news of surprising CVS deal



Cannabis stocks were mostly lower Thursday, with Curaleaf Holdings Inc. a standout after announcing a partnership with drugstore chain CVS Health Corp. on a line of CBD products.

Curaleaf shares

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     CURLF, + 17.66%

rose 3.3%, after the company said CVS

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     CVS, + 2.07%

is already selling products including creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves in eight states.

But CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant, is not actually legal yet. While hemp was fully legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill passed in December, CBD was not included but instead was put under the purview of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has promised to hold talks on CBD legalization in April and is aiming to come up with pathways that would allow companies to add to food, drinks or health products.

But for now, it is viewed as a medical drug, because it is the key ingredient in GW Pharmaceuticals PLC's

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     GWPH, + 3.10% Epidiolex, the first cannabis-based drug to gain FDA approval as a treatment for severe forms of childhood epilepsy. The FDA cannot allow a drug to be added to products without the clinical tests and trials required of drug developers that can take years to complete. Companies, none to take advantage of the perceived health benefits of CBD, are hoping the regulator will act sooner, rather than later.

CVS said that it is selling CBD products in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee. Recreational marijuana is legal in California and Colorado, medical marijuana is legal in Illinois and Maryland, but marijuana has not been made legally for recreational purposes in the other states.

Read now: Hemp is now legal in the U.S., so what does that mean for pot companies?

Attorney's General of Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and Tennessee were not immediately available for comment.

Korey Bauer, portfolio manager of the Cannabis Growth Fund

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     CANNX, -0.67%

a mutual fund recently launched by Foothill Capital Management, agreed that CBD is a gray area for now.

“This is why it needs to be legislation because right now it's a little messy, ”he said. “We need clarity on whether companies can at least add low doses or CBD to products. Right now, it's definitely risky for a company like CVS. But as soon as we have legalization, I'm sure all these companies will participate. ”

A research report from consumer data company MRI-Simmons published on Wednesday found that of the 36 million Americans that are cannabis consumers, 10% use CBD products, mostly for medicinal purposes.

For more, see: Cannabis stocks lower after Green Organic Dutchman's earnings

Curaleaf, which is backed by Russian billionaires, as MarketWatch sister publication growing revenue more than 400%. The company reported fourth-quarter not unloaded or $ 16.5 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with profits of $ 624,000, or zero cents a share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $ 32 million from $ 6.3 million in the year-ago period, excluding revenue from managed entities.

For more, read: CBD is the largest drugstore chain in the U.S.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN that he had dropped revenue from cannabis legalization from his budget for lawmakers. Cuomo, who announced his plan to fully legalize the substance for adult recreational use in January, said he does not expect the state legislature to come up with a bill by June and will now aim to get it done in the ensuing legislative session. 19659002] A group of lawmakers are seeking to ensure access to the new market for communities of color who have suffered disproportionate penalties and rates of incarceration for possession in the past.

Read now: Why New York's plan to legalize adult recreational use cannabis is a big deal

Shares of Canada's Plus Products Inc.

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     PLPRF, -0.90%

were down 3%, a day after Canaccord initiated coverage of the stock with a speculative buy rating.

"Through its popular line of gummies, PLUS has a leading share of the legal edibles market in California (10% in 2H 2018), arguably the world's most competitive," analyst Bobby Burleson wrote in a note. “We believe PLUS will be able to leverage this leadership into continued growth for existing SKUs (shopkeeping units) and gains in additional editable categories, where the company is poised to convert shelf space, brand awareness, and operational excellence into penetration of baked goods. and mints. ”

Elsewhere in the sector, Canopy Growth Corp. stock

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     CGC, -1.51%

WEED, -0.75%

was down 2.0% and Cronos Group Inc.

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     CRON, -2.63%

was down 2.0%. Aleafia health Inc.

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     ALEF, -0.44%

ALEF, -0.44%

was down 3.5% and CannTrust Holdings Inc. was up 0.7%.

OrganiGram Holdings Inc.

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     OGRMF, -0.28%

was down 1.5%. Tilray

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     TLRY, -1.63%

was down 0.8%. Hexo Corp.

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     HEXO, -1.36%

was down 1.9% and Aphria Inc.

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     APHA, -0.30%

APHA, + 1.19%

was down 1.6%. Read: See also: Cannabis stocks climb after Tilray's earnings, as New Jersey moves closer to legal weed

Aurora Cannabis Inc.

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                    ACB, -1.92%

ACB, -1.00%

was down 0.8%.

The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     HMMJ, + 0.73%

was flat and the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     MJ, + 0.16%

was down 0.6%.

See also: In California's Weed Country, wildfires burn both cash and crops

The S&P 500

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     SPX, + 0.83%

was up 0.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average

                            
                            
                                  
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
                                  
                                     DJIA, + 0.71%

was up 0.4%.

For all of MarketWatch's coverage of cannabis companies, click here.


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