The outlook of the the ‘Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF’ (HMMJ) staged a comeback last week — showing a 25.13% gain after suffering a steep decline earlier this month — while news broke that New York and New Jersey may be facing a cannabis shortage.

According to a recent New York Times report, over the last 12 months a serious supply gap has begun afflicting both states after initially being kickstarted by the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused demand to skyrocket, leaving many dispensaries with empty shelves, despite attempts to ramp up the state’s cultivation efforts.

As a result, some cannabis producers are now well-positioned to capitalise on this supply shortfall, which is only expected to worsen once the Big Apple’s nascent recreational market begins to build momentum.

“There’s a tidal wave of demand coming. It’s actually monstrous, with no drop-off,” Green Thumb Industries founder and CEO Ben Kovler said.

“I would be a fool not to be making the product. There’s not a lot of inventory sitting around. It’s not likely there’s going to be enough supply.”

Meanwhile, the performance of the Australian Cannabis Index continued its month-long downward spiral — falling to -18.69% on the six-month performance chart — while the S&P 500 and Australia’s All Ordinaries were up by 16.82% and 7.8%, respectively.

Source: The Green Fund

The Australian pharmaceutical developer, Medlab Clinical (ASX:MDC), also saw its share price climb to 0.20 last week, after the company announced that its Phase III NanaBis clinical trial will employ a synthetic cannabinoid formulation.

This will allow for the industrial-scale production of NanaBis at the highest quality and consistency possible, as botanical cannabinoid extracts possess “well-documented purity issues” due to the nature of agricultural cultivation.

This decision was made based upon feedback from a number of regulators — including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — which suggested that synthetic pharmaceutical-grade cannabinoids would be preferential to an organic formulation, as it will provide greater product control across every step of the manufacturing process.

“Our clinical work over the past year has recently revealed a synthetic formulation will allow us to more closely control product development variables that could otherwise impact the manufacture and delivery of a pharmaceutical product at scale over a botanical formulation,” Medlab Clinical CEO Dr Sean Hall said.

“The company would refile its IND to reflect the new formulation which would deliver improved control over costs, certainty of supply, higher levels of purity, manufacturing, and a well-established regulatory pathway.”

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.