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The Bis – Weekly News Update – December 9 to 14


Another busy week in the cannabis industry. Looks like everyone is trying to finish the year strong. 

American companies are making moves into the Canadian markets — including big tobacco — Shopper Drug Mart is ready to start shipping medical weed, and more. This is your weekly cannabis roundup with The ‘Bis.

American tobacco giant invests in Cronos 

Get ready for the Marlboro man and the Cronos Kid.

This week, Canadian LP Cronos Group revealed that it entered into an agreement with Altria Group, a US company that also owns Marlboro cigarettes, for approximately $2.4 billion in equity investment.

The deal will give Altria 45% ownership of Cronos Group with an option to later increase that to an ownership position of 55%. This strategic partnership provides Cronos Group with additional financial resources, product development, commercialization capabilities, and deep regulatory expertise to help them compete, scale and grow the rapidly expanding global cannabis industry.

“Investing in Cronos Group as our exclusive partner in the emerging global cannabis category represents an exciting new growth opportunity for Altria,” said Howard Willard, Altria’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that Cronos Group’s excellent management team has built capabilities necessary to compete globally, and we look forward to helping Cronos Group realize its significant growth potential.” 

Altria’s also owns Philip Morris USA, and the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company and also holds an equity investment in Anheuser-Busch. The brands of Altria’s tobacco operating companies include Marlboro, Black & Mild, Copenhagen, and Skoal.

Shoppers Drug Mart finally approved as cannabis seller in Ontario

Shoppers Drug Mart has long been a place where people can go to pick up their medications or have them filled. It’s also replete with snacks, making it a great stop for hungry pot smokers in need of giant bags of obscure flavours of chips — blue cheese flavour, anyone?

Now the company will become another official source for mail-order cannabis.

The company received approval in September 2018, but it was only recently that the pharmacy was officially granted a license and added to the list of approved cannabis sellers in Ontario by the Government of Canada.

They will only be selling online to patients with a valid prescription from a doctor. According to the list, the pharmacy is now registered to sell medical cannabis in the province. The authorization extends to the sale of plants, seeds, dried and fresh flower, and oils.

Mississauga says no to cannabis retail 

Mississauga, Ontario, a city that makes up a large part of the west Greater Toronto Area, has taken the Ontario government up on its offer to opt out of having private cannabis store fronts. 

“Our Council made the decision to opt out as we feel that the recent changes to the retail cannabis model have occurred too quickly and there are too many unanswered questions at this time,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “The province has not given municipalities any control over where cannabis stores can be located in our City. This is cause for great concern. The City of Mississauga may decide to opt-in in the future however in the meantime; we will continue to consult and engage with our community. 

“It’s important we take the time to get this right.” The mayor will write a letter to the province to formally explain the council’s decision and will also be asking for greater powers for municipalities to have input into the location and number of retail stores that are permitted.

The Government of Ontario gave municipalities until January 22, 2019 to decide whether they will opt in or opt out of having retail cannabis stores. The production, sale and use of recreational cannabis was legalized in Canada on October 17, 2018. 

Private cannabis stores will be legal starting April 1, 2019 for municipalities who choose to opt in. Until then, residents can purchase cannabis online from the Ontario Cannabis Store. Residents must be 19 years or older to purchase cannabis in Ontario. 

Canopy Growth has fallen nearly 50% since legalization

Canopy Growth is the largest cannabis company in the country by market cap, but its stock has been on a tumultuous ride as of late. Since peaking in the days before Canada’s cannabis legalization there has been a near-steady decline in the company’s stock price.

Currently sitting with a market cap of just under $11.5 billion, it’s over $1.5 billion ahead of its closest competitor Tilray, according to The Marijuana Index, a site that tracks cannabis stocks prices and trading.

At time of writing, Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE:CGC)(TSX: WEED) is trading at $31.02 USD on the New York Stock Exchange, a heavy fall from the pre-legalization high of $56.89 USD, on October 15.

Canopy Growth is the largest cannabis company in the country by market cap, but its stock has been on a tumultuous ride as of late. Since peaking in the days before Canada’s cannabis legalization there has been a near-steady decline in the company’s stock price.



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