Weed Week: US okays hemp but the Kiwis are eyeing off full legalisation
Health & Biotech
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The US has officially legalised hemp farming, opening the door — and the borders — to hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products.
Hemp CBD is exactly the same as cannabis CBD, but occurs in smaller amounts in the former.
Cannabis is still federally illegal in the US so the hemp move — which lawmakers hope will be signed off by President Donald Trump today — is a big deal.
It’ll allow hemp-derived CBD products to be sold across state-lines and internationally, and is the first opening of the world’s biggest pot market to the international sphere.
>> Scroll down for the list of who is doing what in Aussie pot.
The other big international news was in New Zealand.
The Kiwis pulled the trigger last week on medical cannabis, legalising it immediately for people with terminal illnesses but delaying it for everyone else while regulations and a licensing scheme are designed.
Then this week they promised to hold a referendum on recreational cannabis in 2020, an election year. Legalising pot use for everyone would put New Zealand in a rare club with Uruguay and Canada.
Kiwi pot companies have been preparing for the legalisation for over a year.
Waikato-based Cannasouth wants to be the first pot stock on the NZX, with plans to list by June, while one of the country’s most prominent weed startups Helius Therapeutics has launched a marketing campaign in Auckland with billboards screaming “cannabis is medicine”.
While Australian federal Labor and Coalition politicians are not keen on full legalisation yet, Reason Party MP Fiona Patten wants to get the ball moving in Victoria.
Ms Patten introduced a bill to the Upper House on Wednesday to legalise and regulate adult use of cannabis in the state.
Keeping up with the companies
Pot stocks are winding down for Christmas, doing the opposite of last year’s mad rush through the holiday period.
Impression Healthcare (ASX:IHL) announced another pot deal, signing a letter of intent with a Canadian company to buy cannabis oil to sell in Australia.
Investors sent the stock up a cent in a change from their behaviour thus far where they’ve chosen to use the company’s cannabis announcements as a reason to sell.
THC Global (ASX:THC) is super excited: they’re in a trading halt as they prepare to tell the market just which permits the Office of Drug Control has given them for Christmas.
Investors jumped on the word ‘permit’: licences give companies the right to get their cannabis operations together, but they need permits to start growing plants and making products.
CEO Ken Charteris’ predictions might be coming true.
In July, Mr Charteris told Stockhead he believed they’d have a cultivation permit and be growing plants by the end of the year, and producing cannabis oil by the end of the first quarter — March.
AusCann (ASX:AC8) still hasn’t found a new CEO.
It said this week that Elaine Darby will step down and director Dr Paul McLeman will fill in from January 1.
The search, it says, is at an advanced stage and they have a shortlist.
Botanix (ASX:BOT) got its ethics approval for a Phase 2 atopic dermatitis study so they can now start recruiting patients in Australia and the US.
The company completed a phase 1B trial in June, which indicated the cream BTX 1204 was effective at treating what is more commonly known as eczema.
CannPal (ASX:CP1) finished a phase 1B study into whether its drug helped with pain and inflammatory control in 48 beagles and foxhounds, and found that it did.
Lifespot Health (ASX:LSH) not only got production of its marijuana vaper underway, but signed a deal with a Canadian platform which makes devices available to organisations wanting to do clinical trials of their cannabis products.
In the suspension corner there is MMJ (ASX:MMJ) again, “pending response to ASX queries”.
And Queensland Bauxite (ASX:QBL) is still not on the boards, with its latest supplementary prospectus sticking with December 21 as its start date but extending its capital raising, launched on October 1, until that day as well.