The outlook of the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ) reached a high for the week on Thursday, hitting 87.73% on the six-month performance chart before close of trading, after news broke that tobacco giant Philip Morris International is weighing up a push into the cannabis market.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Phillip Morris CEO Andre Calantzopoulos explained that the company is currently considering a number of variables before entering the marijuana space, including product efficacy, toxicity levels and the potential differences between pursuing the pharmaceutical or recreational use market.

Phillip Morris previously dipped its toes into the cannabis sector roughly five years ago, when it invested in Israeli medical cannabis company Syqe Medical. However, the purpose of this deal was to secure exclusive global rights to the company’s “high precision” smoke-free technology.

“We are doing all this work and will determine one day what avenues to pursue. But our priority is what we’re doing with our smoke-free products, and that’s where I would stay on cannabis,” Phillip Morris CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said.

Conversely, the performance of the Australian Cannabis Index fell again last week, while the outlook of Australia’s All Ordinaries was edged out by the S&P 500, which recorded a gain of 27.87%.

Image: The Green Fund

The Australian medicinal cannabis company, Cann Group (ASX:CAN), managed to close out the month with a 2.08% boost to its share price, after announcing the shipment of more than 20,000 bottles of cannabis extract to iuvo Therapeutics.

This week also saw the release of the company’s latest quarterly activities report, which showed a $3,988,000 increase in cash flows compared to the previous reporting period.

This was fuelled in part by a 23% reduction in manufacturing costs coupled with an almost 500% uptick in customer receipts, although the lion’s share was generated by a payment from the Australian Taxation Office as part of the government’s R&D incentive scheme.

“Recent exports of medicinal cannabis products to Europe confirm the growing opportunity for Australian producers. We look forward to strengthening the relationship with iuvo over the coming few years and delivering more value-added products into the quickly expanding European market,” Cann Group CEO Peter Crock said.

The Cann Group also experienced a $3.57 million decrease in cash during the quarter as the result of a “cyber security incident” that took place earlier this year. The company has confirmed that legal action has been undertaken to recover the lost funds, however a resolution to the issue is not expected until late 2021.

The Green Fund’s Australian Cannabis Index allows investors to benchmark top players in the Aussie cannabis space against the S&P500, the AORD, and HMMJ, giving them an overview of the health of the industry Down Under.