Weed Week: Cannabis goes tertiary, while the industry braces for $1bn Aurora loss
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
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As cannabis regulation in the US inches forward, there are now 11 states where the drug is legal for both medical and recreational purposes.
An important new player — New York — is expected to become the 12th state later this year.
And in two of those existing states — Colorado and Illinois — there are moves afoot to make cannabis production part of the university curriculum.
According to Leafly, a how-to-grow course will be introduced at Western Illinois University this fall semester (which starts in September).
School administrators are hopeful of establishing partnerships with commercial businesses, linking students with various hemp and cannabis producers that have commenced operating in the state.
And over at Colorado State University, the school has plans to establish a Cannabis, Biology and Chemistry program focusing on the scientific processes behind cannabis production.
Meanwhile, back in the more volatile world of listed companies, markets are bracing for the latest set of quarterly results from Toronto-listed company Aurora Cannabis.
The high-profile company was one of the first players in the sector to launch an aggressive growth-by-acquisition strategy.
But in the wake of a brutal bear market, the company is expected to book goodwill impairment charges of between $C740m ($827.2m) and $C775m ($866.3m) — an admission to the market that it probably overpaid for a few assets at the height of the pot-stock frenzy.
Back on the local market, it was another subdued week off the back of December reporting season.
The 32 ASX companies tracked by Stockhead recorded an average weekly loss of 3.5 per cent, with nine winners, four unchanged and 19 stocks in the red.
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.
Among the stocks struggling for traction last week was Althea Group (ASX:AGH), which has now fallen by around 15 per cent since issuing its 4C filing for the December quarter in late-January.
The company updated the market with some more news around patient numbers, which are tracking in the right direction with 572 more customers added in January — Althea’s second-best month on record.
However, it was unable to arrest the recent share price slide. And looking at the space more broadly, Althea isn’t the only ASX cannabis stock that’s reporting a steady uptick in the number of medicinal cannabis prescriptions sold.
However, the lack of market response is evidence that investors are now looking for more from the local pot-stock cohort. New sales aren’t enough — there needs to be some demonstrated pathway towards scale and long-term profits.