Weed Week: Amazon scraps marijuana drug tests and Victorian council considers cannabis crops
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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Retail giant Amazon has rejigged its cannabis policy, allowing employees who were previously fired for testing positive for marijuana to reapply for jobs.
The company has now excluded marijuana from its comprehensive pre-employment drug screening program for unregulated positions (those not regulated by the Department of Transportation).
And former employees and applicants who were previously terminated or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings will have a second chance.
The company said it strongly believes the time has come to reform the nation’s cannabis policy and is committed to helping lead the effort.
“We made these changes for several reasons,” they said.
“First, we recognized that an increasing number of states are moving to some level of cannabis legalisation — making it difficult to implement an equitable, consistent, and national pre-employment marijuana testing program.
“Second, publicly available national data indicates that pre-employment marijuana testing disproportionately impacts people of colour and acts as a barrier to employment.
“And third, Amazon’s pace of growth means that we are always looking to hire great new team members, and we’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool.”
On our side of the pond, the Maribyrnong City Council in Victoria is considering growing medicinal cannabis to reduce rates.
Mayor Cr Michael Clarke said investment in such an enterprise would benefit those in the community with chronic health conditions for whom conventional treatments may not work.
It would also provide employment in Maribyrnong with likely flow on impacts also in relation to research and development initiatives within the region.
And it would reduce the council’s reliance on rates for revenue.
“We know the cost of imported medicinal cannabis is prohibitive for many looking for relief from pain or side effects of treatments,” he said.
“By investing in a medicinal cannabis enterprise there is a potential opportunity for Council to partner with government and private industry – the scientists and experts – to establish a business that promises benefits to our ratepayers in a number of areas (such as) employment, rates relief and their health and wellbeing.”
The largest mover was Cronos Australia (ASX:CAU), up 27% after the company announced a merger to acquire 100% of Queensland-based medicinal cannabis company CDA Health Pty Ltd.
CDA has seen rapid growth over the last two financial years generating over $21 million in sales for FY2021.
The company’s wholly owned subsidiary Burleigh Heads Cannabis Pty Ltd (BHC) operates a pharmacy and doctor online portal ‘CanView’ which distributes more than 120 different product SKUs within Australia.
Plus, via subsidiary Cannabis Doctors Australia Pty Ltd, CDA operates a network of clinics on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, and Sunshine Coast, along with nationwide telehealth services.
CDA also operates Cannabis Doctors Aotearoa Ltd, which imports medicinal cannabis products prescribed by doctors in New Zealand.
And if that wasn’t enough, CDA also owns hemp-based foods player Health Not High Pty Ltd.
“We are looking forward to joining forces with the Cronos Australia team to create a market leader in the Australian listed medicinal cannabis space,” CDA founders Guy Headley and Dr Ben Jansen said.
Zelira Therapeutics (ASX:ZLD) rose 14% on plans to expand into Germany via an exclusive distribution agreement with IM Cannabis Corp’s (CSE:IMCC)(NASDAQ:IMCC) subsidiary Adjupharm.
Adjupharm is an EU GMP-certified medical cannabis distributor and will market Zenivol in Germany.
In the first half of 2020, more than €75 million worth of medical cannabis products were sold in Germany to an estimated patient population of around 120,000.
And Zelira has also branched out into acne treatments, launching products using a proprietary formulation incorporating CBD into a market worth more than US$11 billion globally.
“Zelira is staking a claim in the cannabinoid-based, over-the-counter skincare product market with our differentiated dermatology,” Zelira CEO and managing director Dr Oludare Odumosu said.
Bod Australia (ASX:BDA) was up 7% after entering into an agreement with Australian medical research group, the Woolcock Institute, to undertake a phase IIB clinical trial for the development of a new CBD product.
The phase IIB clinical trial will test the efficacy of Bod’s unique CBD formulation on symptoms associated with insomnia.
The global insomnia market is estimated to reach $5.48bn by 2023, demonstrating a CAGR of 4.2% from 2017i. The estimated Australian market for Schedule 3 CBD products is $250m and importantly, the unregulated market is estimated to be worth approximately $3.5bn, demonstrating the potential penetration for Schedule 3 medicines.
“Given the need for alternative treatments for insomnia, it is critical to investigate the effect of CBD on sleep through a high-quality study,” Woolcock Institute head of sleep and circadian research professor Ron Grunstein said.