The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ) ebbed lower this week after rebounding at the start of the April — while still exceeding its six month performance by more than 80% — despite news that lawmakers in Virginia have elected to legalise recreational cannabis.

The new law is due to come into effect in July this year, making it legal for individuals aged 21 and older to use or grow marijuana in the state, with a regulated market expected by 2024.

“We made history as the first state in the South to legalise the simple possession of marijuana. I am pleased that the General Assembly accepted my proposal to make this change on July 1, 2021 nearly three years earlier than planned,” Democratic Governor Ralph Northam said.

“Marijuana laws were explicitly designed to target communities of colour, and Black Virginians are disproportionately likely to be stopped, charged, and convicted. Today, Virginia took a critical step to right these wrongs and restore justice to those harmed by decades of over-criminalisation.”

However, the response from the investors has been muted thus far, as the decision to delay the introduction of legal sales means that retailers and cannabis dispensaries will be unable to set up shop in the state for some time.

Meanwhile, the performance of the Australian Cannabis Index began to claw back lost ground — climbing from -7.68 to -5.3 over the last seven days — while the S&P 500 and Australia’s All Ordinaries enjoyed steady gains before ending the week up by 18.74% and 14.89%, respectively.

asx cannabis
Australian Cannabis Index – The Green Fund

Shares in the Australian pharmaceutical developer, Medlab Clinical (ASX:MDC), ended the week on a high of 0.28, after the company announced that it had received a notice of intention from the European Patent Office (EPO).

The notice confirms that the EPO will soon grant a patent to the company covering the use of its proprietary NanoCelle sub-micron drug delivery platform, which may possess considerable potential for eventual commercialisation.

“Receiving Notice of Intent from the European Patent Office represents another important validation of our NanoCelle drug delivery platform, offering NanoCelle protection in one of the world’s largest markets,” Medlab Clinical CEO Dr Sean Hall said.

“The grant will not only bolster the competitive advantage of our pharmaceutical and nutraceutical portfolio, it will also support our robust R&D pipeline and commercial partnering focus.”

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.