The North American Marijuana Index saw it’s third straight day of gains on Thursday, despite fluctuation in the global markets, which may be an indication of a turning tide for pot stocks as opening day for recreational cannabis sales in Canada nears. In fact, most Canadian cannabis companies and marijuana stocks have spent the summer putting together deals to prepare for the moment, both locally and internationally. The Index rose 3.53 points or 1.55 percent to close out the day at 231.63.
The United States Marijuana Index rose 1.70 points, or 1.86 percent, while the Canadian Marijuana Index jumped an impressive 7.23 points for an increase of 1.38 percent.
Looking over at the Global Cannabis Stock Index, that too continued its upward trend for the week, ending Thursday up 1.30 points, or 1.42 percent at 92.58.
As the Canadian cannabis industry prepares for the opening of the legal marijuana market on October 17, some companies continue to enter into strategic partnerships while expanding their cultivation and production capabilities. One such expansion effort is being undertaken by Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. (TSX-V:EMH) (OTCQX:EMHTF), whose 50/50 joint venture with Village Farms International, Inc. (TSX:VFF) (OTC:VFFIF) created the new Pure Sunfarms to expand their large-scale cannabis production rapidly.
More recently, Emerald completed the acquisition of a dealer license from Abattis Bioceuticals Corp. (CSE:ATT) (OTCQB:ATTBF) upon the purchase of the remaining shares of Northern Vine Canada Inc. in a deal for $2 million in cash and $4 million in shares of Emerald stock. Emerald’s ownership of Northern Vine increased from 65 percent to 100 percent in the transaction.
“Product innovation is a primary pillar of Emerald’s global business strategy. The acquisition of Northern Vine allows us to leverage its dealer license and research and development facility to advance our research plans to develop cannabis formulations supporting new products for both recreational purposes and to treat a broad spectrum of human conditions and diseases,” said Chris Wagner, CEO of Emerald. “The dealer license would also enable Emerald to cost-effectively source non-dried-flower cannabis products from suppliers in other countries.”
An Interesting Deal On Both Sides
The deal was an interesting one on both sides, especially considering the recent price volatility of the marijuana stock market. Abattis has lost nearly 90% in stock value since the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, for Emerald, Northern Vine is a Licensed Dealer (LD) under the provisions of the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Under the ACMPR, only official Licensed Producers (LPs) can cultivate, process, and sell medical cannabis in the legal market. The Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act controls the LD permits; licensed dealers can import and export oils and resins and mix them with other additives (including both controlled and non-controlled substances). An LD license is extremely valuable, particularly come October, giving Emerald a leg up in the new market for a relatively small price.
Currently, Canada has fewer than 50 Licensed Dealers, but they have more than 100 Licensed Producers. Therefore many LPs already licensed for medical cannabis have been scurrying to obtain an LD license to enter the export market at a higher price point. Being able to export cannabis extracts is a much more lucrative business than exporting cannabis flower alone.
Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC) was one of the first to snag a dealer license way back in December 2016. After Canada approved nationwide recreational use, more companies have scrambled to acquire the highly coveted LDs, including groups like Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (TSX-V:XLY)(OTCQX:CBWTF), the former Cannabis Wheaton.
Now that the Northern Vine purchase and other ventures are complete, Emerald Health Therapeutics has some stellar new capabilities that significantly supplement the company’s existing operations.
Meanwhile on Wall Street
The market took a slight hit on Thursday despite gains for Apple (AAPL.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O). Big losses came in both the energy and financial sectors, while Tesla lost nearly all of the ground it made following Elon Musk’s tweet earlier this week stating the company may go private.
"It's hard pressed for this market to really leap ahead. It's been a slow, steady climb, led by an increasingly smaller number of companies," said Rick Meckler, a partner at Cherry Lane Investments, a family investment office in an interview with Reuters.
"Somehow, technology seems a little more insulated" to concerns facing some companies, including trade war tensions, Meckler also said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 74.52 points, or 0.29 percent, to end the day at 25,509.23, while the S&P 500 fell 4.12 points, or 0.14 percent, to close out the day at 2,853.58. Also, the Nasdaq Composite gained 3.46 points, or 0.04 percent, to finish out the day at 7,891.78.
Of note, financial concerns in Russia and Turkey sent stock futures down, feuling worries for the trading day on Friday. Dow Jones futures dropped 0.40 percent while the S&P 500 fell 0.45 percent and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.53 percent.
The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (HMMJ.TO) gained CAD$0.26 per share or 1.65 percent to end the day at CAD$15.97, while the Evolve Marijuana ETF (SEED.TO) gained CAD$0.52 per share or 3.58 percent to close out Thursday at CAD$15.05. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) ended the day up $0.37 per share or 1.39 percent at $26.98.