Weed Week: Six weeks out, New Zealand’s cannabis referendum is still on a knife edge
Health & Biotech
Health & Biotech
Link copied to
Legal weed in New Zealand looks to be far from a sure bet, as Kiwis prepare for a referendum on the matter in October.
The result could have a material bearing on the domestic market, given a Yes vote has been cited by cannabis commentators as a key catalyst for advancing regulatory reform in Australia.
However, the latest round of polling shows marijuana advocates are neck and neck with their counterparts who don’t want any changes, with Yes and No voters split at 49.5 per cent each.
Indications of a tight race mark a continuation of the broader polling trend going back at least two months, with no clear favourite emerging in either direction.
A Yes vote would then see New Zealand legislators table a Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill to parliament. So far, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken a diplomatic stance on the issue with no preference for either side.
Over in the US, lawmakers are also preparing to vote this month on a key piece of cannabis legislation.
If passed, the MORE Act will remove cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, where it’s currently classified with other drugs such as heroin and LSD.
Along with reduced penalties, declassifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug will also free up researchers to carry out more detailed tests on the possible benefits and effects of cannabis treatments.
To the ASX market, and off the back of a strong fortnight local cannabis stocks ran out of puff over the last two weeks.
Of the 35 companies tracked by Stockhead, just nine advanced while 23 lost ground (with three unchanged).
Below is a summary of fortnightly and annual price performance for ASX-listed cannabis stocks:
Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.
Israeli ag-tech company Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies (ASX:ROO) led the pack, after it surged higher on Friday (a move which prompted a price query from the ASX).
That followed a Thursday update where Roots, which makes the RZTO temperature optimisation system that can be used for cannabis crops, said it had signed a deal with an Israeli distributor that included a buy now, pay later component to facilitate additional sales.
Shares in Roots climbed by 92 per cent on Friday, before falling by more around 40 per cent to start the week.
Stocks that lost momentum over the past fortnight included THC Global (ASX:THC), which is back near its March lows around 20c after climbing to mid-June highs above 40c.
The company announced a shakeup of its leadership team yesterday, removing CEO Ken Charteris without disclosing a reason.