Cannabis in the news September 25, 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 the most to you as a Canadian investor.

1. Cannabis retail sales in Canada rose to about $104 million in July, according to Statistics Canada.

It’s the first time that cannabis retail sales surpassed the $100 million mark since the government legalized pot in October.

Canada’s legal recreational cannabis industry has sold $676.4 million worth of pot in retail outlets in the first 10 months of legalization. As well, cannabis store sales jumped 14.3% in July from June, one of the biggest one-month advances since legalization.

Ontario and Alberta continued to drive sales in the country with both provinces reporting double-digit growth.

2. CIBC analysts are calling sales estimates for Canada’s cannabis industry “far too aggressive” and warning they could result in significant stock declines.

John Zamparo published a note to clients on Tuesday arguing that consensus estimates for revenue and adjusted earnings from other cannabis analysts are “unachievable.”

The CIBC industry analyst expects cannabis producer sales for next year to top out around $2.2 billion, growing to $3.3 billion in 2021. That’s far below the $6.5 billion in consensus revenue estimates for 2020 and the $7.5 billion for 2021.

Several of the country’s cannabis companies have already seen steep decline in stock prices over the past year since legalization on Oct. 17, 2018. That poor performance reflects a shaky rollout of retail stores, supply chain problems, and provincial regulatory uncertainty. But, it may also capture investor disappointment with sales growth.

3. GW Pharmaceuticals says that it has now received European Commission approval to market its cannabis derived drug Epiyolex as a treatment for seizures associated with specific forms of epilepsy.

The approval paves the way for the launch of the medicine across Europe.

“This approval is the culmination of many years of dedication and collaboration between GW, physicians and the epilepsy community,” said Justin Gover, GW’s CEO.

The greenlight for the cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution is based on results from four randomized, controlled Phase 3 trials. Those studies incorporate data from more than 714 patients with LGS or Dravet syndrome. Those two rare forms of epilepsy have high mortality rates.

Both conditions are characterized by multiple daily seizures. In conjunction with other therapies, Epiyolex works to reduce the number and severity of seizures.

4. An Alberta cannabis producer will host a three-day pot production class at its grow facility for college students already studying to join the industry.

Freedom Cannabis Inc. has partnered with Edmonton’s NorQuest College to offer the practical component to the school’s Cannabis Trimming and Production course.

The three-day class, at the company’s 126,000 square-foot facility in Acheson, Alberta, is meant to help prepare the students for work in the highly-regulated industry.

“It’s important to kind of teach people all those regulations and how to avoid any potential disasters,” student Devin Brown said. “This is an industry I’ve always wanted to even just get my foot in the door for.”

Several cannabis courses have now sprung up since legalization in October 2018. The industry has identified the introduction of more trained workers as a key priority as it ramps up supply and works to maintain quality control. Those pressures are only expected to increase next month as Canada opens the door to the production and sale of cannabis edibles, including infused foods, beverages and topical creams.

5. Canberra is set to become Australia’s first city to legalize marijuana following a council vote this week.

Lawmakers in the Australian Capital Territory voted to pass a bill allowing people aged 18 or over to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use.

The new law is set to come into effect January 31, 2020, reports state broadcaster ABC.

Under the new regulations, residents in the territory will be able to legally possess up to 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of marijuana and cultivate up to two plants per person, or four per household.

The change makes the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) the first of Australia’s six states and two main territories to legalize marijuana for personal use.

In Australia, drug laws differ depending on the state or territory. Under the ACT’s current law, cultivating one or two cannabis plants or possessing 50 g of cannabis carries a possible 160 Australian dollar fine ($108), while possessing more than 50 g of cannabis carries a maximum 8,000 Australian dollar fine, two years in prison, or both.


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