Cannabis in the news May 15, 2019

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News on cannabis stocks and on developments in the industry haven’t let up in today’s volatile markets. Here are this week’s stories that we believe will mean most to you as a Canadian investor.

  1. Canadian veterinarians are now lobbying the federal government to broaden the country’s new marijuana laws to allow cannabis subscriptions for pets.A group of vets plan to bring several dogs to Parliament Hill this week as part of their efforts to legalize prescribing cannabis for pets.The legalization of cannabis last October stopped well short of sanctioning vet pot prescriptions for pets. Lobbyists argue that preliminary research suggests cannabis could be beneficial in treating pain, seizures, anxiety and other disorders in dogs, for example. More generally, research into the medicinal benefits of cannabis compounds, primarily for humans, is now ramping up in Canada and the U.S. It’s an effort to support or rule out anecdotal evidence of cannabis as medicine.

    The vets are also concerned that Ottawa’s requirements for cannabis labels warn consumers to keep it out of the reach of children, but fail to highlight the potential harm to animals.

    “For our patients, they age much faster than we do,” says Dr. Sarah Silcox, president of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine, “and this really isn’t an issue that can wait for a three-year review.”


  1. A leading cannabis producer is marking a milestone of sorts with the announcement it sold 9 metric tons of pot in the most-recent quarter.
    Aurora Cannabis is the latest big producer to report quarterly earnings this week, pointing to net revenue growth of 20% over the previous quarter. The company’s “recreational sales” alone rose 37%.The 9 tons of cannabis in volume sales is behind that revenue jump. Aurora is expecting to reach another key milestone in the current quarter.

    While its negative cash flow shrank 20% in the most recent quarter, the company should approach break-even cash flow at the end of the current quarter (with cash flow defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

    Aurora stock has risen 70% this year to give it an $8 billion market capitalization.


  1. The Nova Scotia Supreme Court may soon set a precedent in Canada when it decides whether a medical marijuana user was wrongfully evicted from his smoke-free apartment building.
    Philip Bennett, 57, was evicted from his apartment this month after losing legal challenges at the provincial Residential Tenancies Board and small claims court.Bennett’s cannabis smoking had attracted multiple complaints from other residents of the building, which was designated smoke-free prior to Bennett moving in. While he was aware of the ban, Bennett argues that a debilitating genetic condition necessitates the use of pot to alleviate physical pain.

    He wants the court to provide an exemption that would grant medical cannabis users protection against apartment and condominium rules blocking marijuana smoking.

    Both a small claims court and Nova Scotia’s Residential Tenancies Board have rejected those arguments.


  1. The Quebec government is expected to amend its Bill 2 to allow cannabis smoking in public places.The announcement, expected Wednesday, is likely an indication of how challenging such a ban would be to enforce.Lionel Carmant, Quebec’s junior health minister, has reworked the bill to give more leeway to municipalities, reports the CBC.

    Montreal’s mayor, Valérie Plante, has led the fight to drop the upcoming ban. Last February, she told a parliamentary committee that the restrictions “pose significant difficulties for Montreal.”

    The Quebec government will, nonetheless, move ahead with its plan to raise the age of consumption to 21 from 18. Elsewhere in Canada, cannabis is permitted at age 19, except in Alberta, where the legal age is 18.

    The provincial government aims to pass Bill 2 before the summer break in June.


  1. California’s legislature is set for a key hearing on whether to let state-chartered banks and credit unions provide services to legal marijuana businesses operating in California.
    Senate Bill 51 aims to help pot retailers and other marijuana firms that have been shut out from the traditional banking system. The measure would give private banks and credit unions access to limited-purpose state charters permitting them to provide depository services to licensed cannabis businesses.Currently, marijuana businesses, including pot shops, are forced to deal in cash due to federal banking restrictions. The California effort mirrors proposed federal legislation that would allow federally regulated banks to serve cannabis-related businesses without risk of prosecution.

    A California legislative committee could determine the fate of the state’s proposed measure as early as this week when it takes up Bill 51. A state cannabis panel last year released a report on cannabis banking, pointing out that “large amounts of cash make cannabis businesses, their employees, and their customers targets of violent crime.”


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