Marijuana News Today: Will Recreational Marijuana Kill Medical Cannabis?

marijuana news today 10 October
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Marijuana News Today

Yesterday we expounded upon the fruits of U.S. medical marijuana. In the marijuana news today, we examine the effect of legalized pot on the medical cannabis business.

As I’ve said many times before, the medical marijuana business almost always precedes a gradual journey toward full legalization of marijuana.

This process has taken place several times in the U.S. on individual state levels and has also happened in Canada. It makes sense. Medicinal use comes in, reduces stigma, gains widespread acceptance for marijuana, and then legalization follows. (Source: “Medical marijuana industry sees boost ahead of legalization — but will it last?” CBC, October 10, 2018.)

But what happens to the medical marijuana sector—a business that has never hidden from the fact that some patients have been merely looking for a legal way to access pot, rather than seeking treatment for a legitimate ailment—when legalization increases marijuana accessibility?

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The reality is that the medical marijuana business is going to be hurt by legalization of recreational marijuana. There’s no way around that.

Some users who were simply looking for a legal way get high will swap the relatively lengthy process of seeing a doctor and getting a marijuana prescription with dropping in to their nearest storefront to pick up some bud. Or, easier yet, ordering marijuana online and having it delivered directly to their door.

Many medical marijuana producers are asking themselves how to deal with this change to their business environment. Some believe that legalization of recreational cannabis will effectively wipe out the medical marijuana sector, but I find that to be hyperbolic.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has called for the elimination of the medical cannabis sector after legalization enters the country, citing doctors’ concerns about dosing and effectiveness.

While I firmly doubt that legalization will be the end of the medicinal marijuana sector, there will definitely be some changes coming to the industry when legalization hits.

Medical marijuana providers will need to find a way to differentiate themselves from their recreational counterparts.

For those taking the drug for the sole purpose of combating an illness, it makes sense to continue to see a doctor to monitor progress. That segment will remain with the medical marijuana community.

But some medical marijuana producers have suggested taking a turn toward having more on-site resources at their clinics, offering more information and perhaps strains of marijuana that are expressly designed to treat certain ailments.

This is a strong idea, since it creates a unique value proposition for these clinics. While it may be easier for marijuana users to simply stop by their local store to pick up pot, the resources available at a medical clinic may push them to seek out medical cannabis over the general variety.

In any case, companies that focus solely on medical pot (a small number, to be sure, as most companies have branched out into recreational pot as well) will need to find ways to stay relevant and enticing in the age of legalization.

Tilray Stock

In what has been one of the quieter days for Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY), the marijuana news today saw the company gain about one point in early-morning trading. TLRY stock’s gain came as most marijuana stocks fell at the beginning of the day.

Tilray stock is typically a high-movement stock, meaning we often see jumps in the five-percent area at the very least, making today’s muted gains a change of pace.

Tilray has had a rough go of it recently, with the stock falling by about 16% over the past five days.

TLRY stock remains one of the most—if not the most—volatile stock play in the marijuana market as it continues to show violent swings both up and down.

Today marks a true outlier for Tilray—both in terms of bucking the industry trend as well as through its tiny movement.

Canopy Growth Stock

As mentioned above, most marijuana stocks were down today, and Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC) was no exception.

CGC stock fell by about two percent to start the day. By no means a calamitous drop, much of the cannabis industry has been in pullback mode over the past few weeks.

Canopy Growth stock is also down approximately five percent over the past five days.

It’s worth remembering that the stock made a strong gain as Canopy Growth shipped medical marijuana to the U.S. for research yesterday.

Mark Zekulin, president and co-CEO of Canopy Growth, said the following:

The United States presents a unique market opportunity and as the most established cannabis business in the world we, in turn, offer a unique ability to advance standardization, IP development, and clinical research that can improve the understanding and legal application of cannabis and cannabinoids. By engaging in the market through federally legal means and with the right partners, we can create a US-based center of expertise while also supporting our rapidly expanding global business.

(Source: “Canopy Growth Completes First Legal Medical Cannabis Export from Canada to the United States,” Cision, October 9, 2018.)

CGC & TLRY Stock Performances

The CGC stock (blue line) and TLRY stock (black line) performances from the past week are seen in the chart below.

Chart courtesy of StockCharts.com

Analyst Take

Much of the cannabis stock market is in a pullback in the marijuana news today as investors react to the blisteringly fast gains made in August.

The medical marijuana industry is also bracing for what is a potentially dramatic redefining of how it does business in Canada going forward.

But both these developments will likely be offset by the marijuana legalization that’s fast approaching in Canada, which is likely to set marijuana stocks in general on a rise in the coming days.