Like many small caps, pot stocks felt the impact in March as coronavirus fears saw money drain out of risk assets.

But the sector is off to a strong start in April, as markets assess the likelihood that unprecedented stimulus measures from governments and central banks will prove effective.

In more mature markets such as the US and Canada, pot stocks were initially circled as possible beneficiaries from the pandemic.

After all, what better catalyst is there for existing marijuana users to replenish stocks if they’re forced by law to sit at home and watch Netflix all day?

But when it comes to ranking priorities in lockdown, we came across an interesting bit of research for industry magazine American Marijuana, based on a survey of 990 cannabis users based in the US.

Perhaps the most illuminating question related to the importance of key items, where marijuana was ranked against food, face masks, hand sanitisers and toilet paper.

It came off second-best in all four categories, performing best against face masks (28 per cent of the vote), while only 17 per cent (maybe that’s still a lot?) of respondents deemed marijuana to be more important than toilet paper.

Back to Australia’s medical marijuana-focused market, and this week’s numbers show local pot stocks hitched a ride to the risk-on sentiment that remains pervasive across all the major indices.

Of the 33 companies tracked by Stockhead, 22 posted a gain last week while just five stocks lost ground.

While those results look good in isolation, the sector is still down by an average of 42 per cent over the past 12 months, with just two companies in positive territory over that time.

Below is a summary of weekly and annual price performance for ASX-listed cannabis stocks.

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

Code Name Price ($) 1Y Tot Ret 1W Tot Ret Market Cap
MMJ MMJ GROUP HOLDINGS LTD 0.13 -45% 57% $21.2M
ESE ESENSE-LAB LTD-CDI 0.01 -58% 43% $1.3M
CPH CRESO PHARMA LTD 0.088 -80% 33% $19.3M
APH AUSTRALIAN PRIMARY HEMP LTD 0.145 -40% 60% $3.7M
IDT IDT AUSTRALIA LTD 0.15 -6% 25% $34.7M
IHL IMPRESSION HEALTHCARE LTD 0.067 161% 25% $38.7M
THC THC GLOBAL GROUP LTD 0.32 -40% 21% $41.5M
SCU STEMCELL UNITED LTD 0.015 -26% 17% $9.6M
EOF ECOFIBRE LTD 2.28 -6% 16% $581.1M
WOA WIDE OPEN AGRICULTURE LTD 0.155 -3% 15% $10.9M
CGB CANN GLOBAL LTD 0.008 -78% 14% $23.2M
BDA BOD AUSTRALIA LTD 0.245 -21% 11% $21.0M
ZLD ZELIRA THERAPEUTICS LTD 0.049 2% 11% $45.7M
PAL PALLA PHARMA LTD 0.60 -54% 10% $70.5M
LSH LIFESPOT HEALTH LTD 0.053 -21% 8% $5.2M
BOT BOTANIX PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.043 -59% 8% $40.9M
AGH ALTHEA GROUP HOLDINGS LTD 0.41 -22% 7% $81.7M
EXL ELIXINOL GLOBAL LTD 0.44 -93% 7% $50.3M
ECS ECS BOTANICS HOLDINGS LTD 0.03 -70% 7% $14.7M
RGI ROTO-GRO INTERNATIONAL LTD 0.05 -80% 4% $7.4M
CAN CANN GROUP LTD 0.86 -62% 4% $123.2M
CAU CRONOS AUSTRALIA LTD 0.09 -82% 3% $10.9M
YPB YPB GROUP LTD 0.003 -67% 0% $10.9M
MXC MGC PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.017 -60% 0% $24.6M
AC8 AUSCANN GROUP HOLDINGS LTD 0.2 -55% 0% $61.8M
RNO RHINOMED LTD 0.074 -53% 0% $13.7M
EVE EVE INVESTMENTS LTD 0.005 -25% 0% $16.8M
EN1 ENGAGE:BDR LTD 0.016 -65% 0% $12.9M
ROO ROOTS SUSTAINABLE AGRICU-CDI 0.016 -80% -6% $2.3M
SUD SUDA PHARMACEUTICALS LTD 0.049 -54% -8% $7.1M
CP1 CANNPAL ANIMAL THERAPEUTICS 0.081 -35% -12% $8.6M
MRG MURRAY RIVER ORGANICS GROUP 0.01 -78% -17% $22.1M
MDC MEDLAB CLINICAL LTD 0.22 -41% -21% $54.8M

Topping the list this week was cannabis investment company MMJ Holdings (ASX:MMJ), after markets responded positively to an update on one of its portfolio companies — Ontario-based producer Weed Me.

An investor presentation included plans to increase cultivation capacity by 300 per cent at Weed Me’s existing facility, which will triple annual output to around 4,800kg.

Shares in MMJ ripped higher by more than 40 per cent to a three-month high of 14c, as investors assess the potential of its exposure to the more lucrative North American market.

Another company on the winner’s list was Australian Primary Hemp Limited (ASX:APH), which was one of the best performers on the ASX yesterday with a gain of more than 100 per cent.

The minnow stock — which has a market cap of just $3.45m — surged in morning trade yesterday after the release of its 4C filing for the March quarter the previous evening.

Australian Primary Hemp sells a range of hemp-based food products sources from local farms, and investors approved of the fact it’s making money — the company highlighted record revenues of $450k in Q1.

The company also noted that its production facility hadn’t been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with new products in the works for Q3 and a “substantial sales pipeline”, including “several well-progressed large revenue opportunities”.