From 11:15 AM Thursday morning you can buy shares in Australia's first for-profit medicinal cannabis production facility Cann Group Limited. The Melbourne-based company will list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) after managing to raise almost $14 million from initial investors.
In its own words, the uncreatively-named Cann Group is focused "on breeding, cultivating and manufacturing medicinal cannabis for sale and use within Australia." It was the first company to take advantage of Australia's new medicinal cannabis regulations, which came into force last year and allows anyone to apply for a licence to research and grow medicinal cannabis, as well as manufacture cannabis pharmaceuticals. Cann will also focus on developing "optimal blends of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoid oils to treat specific conditions" including arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, epilsepsy, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, and Parkinson's.
As per its investor presentation, which you can view in full here, Cann Group has partnered with Canadian medicinal cannabis grower and manufacturer Aurora. Aurora is one of Canada's largest publicly-listed cannabis companies, and invested $6 million in Cann during its IPO. The Canadians, Cann says, will bring "a wealth of experience, networks and knowledge that will fast-track and maximise Cann's growth strategy in Australia."
Cann also has agreements with Agriculture Victoria and the CSIRO that will give it access to "elite cannabis genetics" and the cultivation and extraction technology to make the most of the plant. In a press release this morning, Allan McCallum, Chairman of Cann Group, said the company's goal is to lead both Australia and the world in its approach to green pharmaceuticals.
"Our competitive strengths lie in the research and development, cultivation, production and manufacturing associated with the medicinal cannabis value chain," he said. "We see substantial future growth associated with what we view as a high value agribusiness opportunity."
So is medicinal weed a good investment? Difficult to say. Cann is an Australian first, which makes it risky, but the medicinal cannabis movement sure has gained traction over the past 12 months. Most states now have regulations in place that allow doctors to prescribe it in a limited set of circumstances, and the Victorian Government is now even growing its own.
Only time will tell how Cann Group shares fare, but if the US market is any guide, the medicinal marijuana industry has billion dollar potential. It's worth noting though that the Federal Government recently loosened Australia's medicinal marijuana import laws, which means local suppliers could face competition from more established overseas providers.
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