There was big cannabis news Wednesday for the medical marijuana industries in both Canada and Australia.
Both countries saw significant changes to rules surrounding the use of medical cannabis, and investors in the space will certainly want to be paying attention.
Here’s a look at what happened.
Canadian medical marijuana patients allowed to grow their own cannabis
First, Canada’s Federal Court struck down federal regulations aimed at restricting the rights of patients who grow their own marijuana for medical purposes. As CBC News reported, that’s a big win for patients who rely on medical marijuana.
“Basically we won, and it was a complete victory,” said Kirk Tousaw, lawyer for Neil Allard, who filed the claim. “[The Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations] were declared to be unconstitutional and violate the charter rights of medical cannabis patients.”
Under the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, introduced in 2013, patients would have been required to buy cannabis from licensed producers, and would not have been allowed to grow their own.
That could have been a problem for some patients. As Lynne Belle-Isle, chair of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, told CBC News in March 2014, buying from licensed producers might mean a fair jump in cost for those who currently grow at home.
“I’ve heard recently they can grow for about 50 cents a gram, so going from 50 cents to $12 is quite a jump,” she told the news agency. Meanwhile, marijuana activist Dana Larsen said that dispensaries in Vancouver would typically sell marijuana for $7 to $8 per gram.
Still, there will be plenty of room for licensed medical marijuana producers at market.
For first-time growers, the price for initial supplies needed can run upwards of $1,000, according to Colorado Pot Guide, not to mention the space needed to set things up. Buying from licensed producers could certainly be a simpler alternative.
“The ball is in the federal government’s court. Mr Trudeau and the justice minister have six months to respond to the court’s ruling and come up with a system of medical cannabis regulation in this country that doesn’t impact and negatively take away the charter rights of medical cannabis patients and their providers,” Tousaw added.
Australia legalizes medical marijuana
In other cannabis news today, medical cannabis is now legal in Australia. Health Minister Sussan Ley announced on Wednesday afternoon that a bill allowing for access to medical cannabis products has passed in both the House and the Senate.
“This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals,” said Ley in a statement. “This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy.”
Cannabis is still technically illegal in Australia, and patients will need a valid prescription to access cannabis products.
In any case, the announcement was certainly good news for Australian medical cannabis company MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC), previously Erin Resources, which gained nearly 25 percent to close at $0.033 on Wednesday. Certainly, investors will want to keep an eye on how the medical marijuana space continues to develop in Australia.
Mettrum Health (TSXV:MT) recently put out its third-quarter results for the period ended December 31, 2015. The company had a strong quarter, recording an 18-percent increase in revenues to roughly $2 million, and a 20-percent reduction in growing costs to $2.55 per gram. The company’s EBITDA improved by 18 percent to a loss of $1,337,989 for the quarter relative to Q2.
Meanwhile, THC BioMed (CSE:THC) was granted a license to produce medical marijuana under Canada’s Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. “We are filled with emotion and pride and take this opportunity to thank our dedicated shareholders for helping us get to this point,” said THC President and CEO John Miller in a statement. “Now we look forward to providing the highest quality product to our customers and value to our shareholders as we work diligently to build a world class cannabis company.”
Finally, Naturally Splendid (TSXV:NSP) recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Korea Beauty & Healthcare regarding the distribution of its food brands in South Korea. Under the terms of the agreement, Korea Beauty & Healthcare must achieve minimum hemp seed sales of 200 metric tons in the first year of the agreement, 300 metric tons in the second year of the agreement and 300 metric tons in the third year of the agreement in order to retain exclusive rights to Naturally Splendid’s hemp food brands.
Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Mettrum Health and Naturally Splendid are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid for content.