Cannabis secured a historic win this week thanks to its removal from the United Nations (UN) Commission on Narcotic Drugs’ Schedule IV list of addictive drugs.
Also this week, the shares of a Canadian cannabis producer bounced back even though it announced the halt of operations at a promoted facility in Alberta.
Keep reading to find out more cannabis highlights from the past five days.
UN moves to change status of cannabis
On Wednesday (December 2), the US Commission on Narcotic Drugs confirmed that while cannabis remains a controlled substance in the eyes of the international body, it is no longer associated with the other drugs in the strict Schedule IV category of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Schedule IV drugs include heroin, and the vote came in response to a recommendation from the World Health Organization. The vote was close in a narrow 27 to 25 win for cannabis, with one voter abstaining. According to a report from NPR, Russia was the biggest opponent to the policy change.
“This is a major win for cannabis advocates around the world with considerable symbolic and some practical implications for cannabis regulation,” Conor O’Brien, an industry and data analyst with Prohibition Partners, told NPR. Similarly, CND Monitor researcher Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli told MJBizDaily the decision is a “giant step toward the normalization of cannabis in medicine.”
Overall, the move represents a shift in the way medical cannabis is seen and recognized, but experts believe global restrictions on the drug are unlikely to be lifted quite yet.
Aurora makes additional cuts, shuts down facility
Cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB,TSX:ACB) announced on Wednesday more cuts to its operations as the firm finds itself pausing the day-to-day operations to its Medicine Hat, Alberta, facility.
The operation, known as Aurora Sun, was given a capacity projection of 230,000 kilograms of cannabis per year in April 2019. As part of the shutdown, 30 staff members will be impacted, a report from the Calgary Herald indicates. Meanwhile, the Canadian Press reported that an Aurora spokesperson confirmed the closure will be done by December 18.
This marks another development in the stark reality facing the Canadian cannabis industry, with cutbacks on spending and staff. For its part, Aurora already laid off 700 workers in the summer.
Construction work on the Aurora Sky facility was stopped late in 2019 as part of shifting strategy for the company after it reported lower finances than expected.
“Furthermore, the Company has decided to defer the majority of the final construction and commissioning activities at its Aurora Sun facility for the foreseeable future which is expected to conserve approximately $110 million of cash,” Aurora told the market back in November 2019.
While shares of Aurora hit a low point in the week on Wednesday, since then the value of the company in the open market has jumped nearly 18 percent. As of Friday (December 4) at 1:24 p.m. EST, shares of Aurora were trading at C$14.09.
Cannabis company news
- Canopy Rivers (TSX:RIV,OTC Pink:CNPOF) shared an update on its investment strategy regarding TerrAscend (CSE:TER,OTCQX:TRSSF), YSS (TSXV:YSS) and Dynaleo.
- PharmaCielo (TSXV:PCLO,OTCQX:PCLOF) has decided to transition from the leadership of David Attard as CEO, following the release of the company’s recent Q3 financial results. “I look forward to continuing to provide advisory support as the company transitions from necessary infrastructure development to global commercial leadership,” Attard said on his departure.
- Zenabis Global (TSX:ZENA) confirmed its plan to sell a facility in Delta, BC, for the price tag of C$6.65 million. The producer expects to see the deal closed by the end of the month. CEO Shai Altman said the firm will transfer its analytical testing equipment to the Zenabis Atholville facility in the province of New Brunswick.
- VIVO Cannabis (TSX:VIVO,OTCQX:VVCIF) announced a transition for the company from the leadership of CEO and Director Barry Fishman and Chair Paul Lucas. Richard Fitzgerald, an independent director on the board of the company, will assume the roles of both Fishman and Lucas while the company finds a new CEO. “I now believe that with the support of our dedicated and talented team, this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO to elevate the Company to the next level,” said Fishman.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.